On group fitness and motivation

It’s been almost 5 months now since I became a certified Lagree Fitness Instructor and things are a little slow-going at the studio. As much as I am addicted to Pilates on the Megaformer and I LOVE what the workout has done for me physically, my morale was beginning to sag as I came into an empty studio every day and did my own routines…alone. When it comes to a workout as intense as the Lagree Megaformer workout, it becomes difficult to stay motivated to complete the workout alone, with no one urging you on. Music, however pumped-up it might be, can only take you so far.

In the past, I was never much of a fan of group fitness classes. For years when I was single, I worked out alone on the elliptical machines at the gym, or rollerbladed by myself, eventually working up to cycling with my husband. The closest I got to group fitness was yoga. As you might be aware, yoga is a very internal practice. The instructor motivates, but not in a harsh way. Practicing at your own level is always encouraged and discomfort is seen as a sign that modifications are needed. You can “plateau” in yoga if you want to, and it’s kind of OK unless you decide to take it further of your own initiative.

Pilates on the Megaformer is completely different than all that. Have I mentioned the word “intense” 50 times yet? It is. In order to make it through 50 minutes of this workout, you need serious encouragement. This comes not only from the instructor and the tempo of the music, but also from the energy in the class atmosphere. I’ve found that I really NEED to be able to look over at the person next to me and think, “If she can do it, I can do it!”, or I will give up from the pain. Sometimes, know that someone else is doing this too is all that keeps me going even though my legs, stomach, and arms are shaking from fatigue. And that, my friends, is how the workout is designed. Reaching that level is what causes this form of exercise to keep burning calories for 24-38 hours after you leave the studio. It’s what keeps producing results as you go back. I love it!!

But, it’s difficult to maintain alone.

I was feeling a little down and burnt out this weekend, when I heard that Sebastien Lagree would be teaching 4 special classes at the new Pilates Barre studio location at Preston and Forest in Dallas. Only 10 minutes from my house! I did some serious schedule rearranging and made it there to the 5:30pm class last night. I was like a great big geek meeting Sebastien, creator of Lagree Fitness and the Megaformer machine.

Me and Sebastien Lagree
Me and Sebastien Lagree!!
I’m sure he doesn’t know who I am aside from a weird geeky instructor fan 🙂

Of course, there is no one like Sebastien to completely kick it into gear. The energy in that PACKED class was amazing and encouraging. My muscles were shaking probably 15 minutes into the 50 minute class but it was awesome. I came away very encouraged about this workout and what I do.

And now I’d like to draw a parallel to a life lesson about how having people around you who know you to encourage you is important in life as well as in fitness. When I was younger I never had that, but now I do and it has made all the difference in all areas of my life. I guess you could say that I’ve converted to being a big fan of group fitness, when before I was a fan of solitary workouts.

What about you? Have you noticed a difference in your motivation when you are surrounded with others who can encourage you?