– What makes a group training session tough? (It probably isn’t what you think…)


Strength coaches CAN jump.

I will answer the question in a moment, but first I want to share a little story that will illustrate my point when I eventually make it – bear with me, it’s not the longest of stories 😉

In addition to being a personal trainer and a strength coach, I am also a group fitness instructor.  I teach Les Mills BodyCombat.

I love everything about it.  I love the vibe in the group fitness room, I love the fact that anyone regardless of fitness level and ability can come into that room and have a safe and effective workout. I love that it’s hard.  I love that wanting to be an authentic role model in a class like BodyCombat pushes me to train hard to be strong both physically and mentally.  And this love makes me want to share that feeling with every single person who steps foot into the room.

After a class it is not unusual to find me wandering around in a glycogen-depleted haze with sweat literally running off every limb. So why is it that I have some participants (and some instructors!) tell me after a class that BodyCombat is ‘way easier than they thought it would be’…? The answer to my story – and the answer to my original question is a simple one.

A group training session – be it group fitness, circuit training, modified strongman training, whatever – is easy, or hard, not because of the exercise selection, not because of the ego of the person training you through it, and definitely not because the person training you through it has posted on social media that their’s is the most hash tag brutal session ever.

It comes down to the drive, the tenacity, the passion inside each individual participant… And all of that is driven by love.

It seems a strange word to use doesn’t it – love?  Think of it like this.  When you love what you are doing – either for the result that it gets you or for the feeling that it gives you, you work harder.  I’m not making this sh*t up.  A ton of research points to actual enjoyment of a particular activity, and the feeling you get from doing that activity, as being of primary importance when it comes to establishing that activity into your routine with enough consistency to continue doing it for long enough to get a result from it.  And when you do something consistently, and with love, you get better at it, which allows you to work harder again.  And in the case of a group training situation, THAT is when the session gets tough – when you allow yourself to develop the skill, strength, and hunger to improve, simply by loving what you are doing.

OK, hold on Margs, are you saying that the trainer has NOTHING to do with this AT ALL???

Haha, no, the trainer is a most useful tool in the process.  He or she should be there to introduce movement patterns in a way that is most effective for you, to select and order the exercises in a way that will challenge you, and to motivate you in a way that drives the love.  The love that keeps you coming back and trying YOUR hardest every single time.

It is not your trainer that dictates how hash tag brutal your group training experience is.  It’s you.


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