Signed up for group fitness training? Here are 8 ways to get the most out of it.

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Group fitness has to be one of the most affordable ways to train. You get all the benefits of seeing a trainer regularly, and there’s the potential to get similar results to what you would through one-on-one sessions. Win-win.

As a personal trainer, I love running group fitness classes because it means I can interact with more women and teach them how to get the most out of their workouts. Here are eight ways to do so:

1. Match your session to your goal.

Want to tone up, lose weight, get fit and be more body confident? Many women will answer ‘Yes’ to all four. In that case, a circuit-style outdoor workout offering a cross section of weights/resistance, high intensity cardio and core workout is best. It’ll give you a nice balanced workout and push you out of your comfort zone.

If it’s flexibility, core strength and balance you’re after, yoga, Barre and Pilates are your best bet. To avoid dropping out, find a class close to work or home that best fits your schedule — if a class fits into your life, you are less likely to make excuses not to go.

Barre Body is great for core strength

For cardio fitness, perhaps a dance style workout or spin class is more your vibe

And if you need to get fit for a Fun Run, join a running group that incorporates a little body weight strength work to increase strength and decrease the chance of injuries.

2. Join with a friend.

Having the added support of knowing someone can help shake those nerves when it comes to group classes. Find out what you both want from a class (in terms of goals/intensity), then start Googling what's available in your local area or work district.

Get by with a little help from your friends.

3. Keep up with the “elite” members of the group.

An easy way to push yourself is to hang with the leaders of the pack. Yes, you can totally start at your own pace — that's one of the beauties of a group workout — but if you want to really smash through your goals, working out around those fitter individuals will see you breaking through your plateaus faster than ever. (Post continues after gallery.)

4. Aim to work out at least three times per week.

With most group workouts costing between $30-75 per week, it makes sense to go regularly and get the most out of your money. Many PTs and gyms offer discounted rates for group training and this works in your favour. The more sessions you get in, the fitter/stronger/leaner you become, and when people get results they're more likely to continue on their fitness journey.

Three sessions spread out over the week is manageable for most and will really set you up for some obvious physical results in as little as four to six weeks. It’s important to make that healthy lifestyle commitment and not have your fitness routine be something you do for a few weeks and then drop.


5. Warm up and stretch in your own time.

You’ll use your workout time more effectively by doing your own stretching or foam rolling in your own time. You can easily spend five to ten minutes after your session, or in front of the telly at home, to do this yourself.

Some of Natalie's group training at New Outlook Fitness (image supplied)

Most good trainers or instructors will incorporate a decent warm-up in their sessions anyway — if not, simply jump on an exercise bike, rower or cross trainer for approximately five minutes at a medium pace to elevate your heart rate and get the body moving. If you're outside, a light three or four minute jog or walk is great, followed by a unweighted set of 12 reps each of lunges or step ups, full range squats then some dips and pushups.

6. Train wisely.

If you don’t feel comfortable with an exercise or feel pain, simply stop. Never push through pain.

Muscle soreness or fatigue is different; that’s the feeling after or during your workout that we eventually learn to love. Actual pain is not something you want to 'push through' — let your trainer know immediately if something just doesn’t feel right.

Also avoid doing too much to soon. I know you can get 'in the zone', but multiple workouts in a day or back-to-back workouts can be detrimental to your results and can lead to over-training. If you are a newbie, take it easy. Remember you can always build up to more classes and intensity later on.

7. Ask your trainer for advice.

You know what? We trainers love dishing out advice! It’s in your best interest to get chatting to your instructor or PT because they may have additional advice for you. Good trainers want to see all their clients and participants succeed, so if you show extra interest they will welcome your enthusiasm. Trust me. (Post continues after gallery.)

8. Don’t forget to have fun.

The topics my clients and I bring up during our sessions are hilarious — there’s always some tangent we go off on. But you know what? We are always moving and we always have a laugh — it’s just part of my style. I'm not into draconian workouts (that’s cool if you are). I just feel that at the end of the day, we're all trying to get through our workouts as fast as possible, get some decent results, dump some stress, and not take ourselves too seriously.

Do you train with a group? What do you like best about it?

This article was originally published on Natalie Carter Talks Fitness — read the original story here. You can also find Natalie on Instagram here.