Archive for the tag - group classes

Lacking Results in Group Classes.

Hey Davey Wavey,

A couple of years ago, I started attending fitness classes and have increased the amount of classes I do over time. I now do 6-8 classes per week, each at an hour. Some of the classes involve weight training and others are cardio.

While the classes helped me slim down and build some muscle, I’m at a stand-still and am not noticing any changes. Am I doing something wrong?


Hey Peter,

I’m not at all surprised by your situation - and it’s actually very common. Fitness classes are fun, informative and a great way to get started or to add variety to your workout. But because it’s in a group setting, it’s hard to build a class around one person’s specific goals.

Your goal may be to build muscle. The person next to you may be looking to lose weight. Moreover, your ability levels could vary greatly. Ideally, the instructor would be working with the two of you very differently - but, in a class, everyone gets lumped together.

Breaking through fitness plateaus involves taking your workout to the next level - but, since new people are always coming into a class, it’s unlikely that the instructor will increase the intensity of the program. With classes, participants tend to get more of the same, day after day and week after week. If you’re just looking for maintenance, then this is great. But if you’re looking to build on your results, group classes almost always fall short.

If you’re serious about building muscle, then you’ll want to spend some time training with machines and free weights. Because free weight exercises are so specific, take time to setup (i.e., loading the weights, etc.) and require space and equipment, most classes exclude them. You might find a class with light dumbbells, but I’ve yet to see a class that incorporates, for example, the bench press.

It sounds like you’re ready to take your workout to the next level - and, if I were in your shoes, I’d scale back the number of classes that I take in exchange for some individual workout sessions. Ideally, it may make sense to higher a trainer for a week or two to help put together a customized program.

Having said that, group classes are still great for adding variety to a workout, and an effective way for gym newbies to get acclimated to exercise.