Staying fit is a lot more fun if you have someone else to keep you company and you will find yourself substantially more motivated when you engage in group fitness activities.
- Running Faster: Running clubs. What better way to run than with someone who can pace you? The running clubs I have run with divide their runners into three groups: beginner, intermediate and advanced. The three groups either run at different paces, different distances, or in some cases- both. The pacer encourages his/her group to keep up and ensures that nobody gets left behind. If you want to push yourself, join the intermediate or advanced group and you will have no choice but to keep up or get left behind! Or in my most recent case, get lost in the middle of London, which I was certainly not willing to do. There is a great website called MeetUp where you can find running clubs in your area but try searching on Google or contact any local sporting retailers such as Nike, Lulu Lemon, Sweaty Betty or Asics.
- Meeting People: New City? New Social Life? What better way to meet people than to join a fitness-related class or club. The best thing about these clubs is that the people who join them are typically a like-minded bunch of people. Runners and fitness fanatics are social, high-energy, optimistic, enthusiastic, positive people! And when you are all high on endorphins after your run, you can go for coffee or cake together and chit chat away about how much you love running (and cake). Use sites such as MeetUp and Facebook to finds clubs near you!
- Low Cost, High Fun: Since moving to London, I have ran with a running club in Mile End, the Chelsea Running Club, and on Saturday morning I am going to a British Military Fitness session in Hyde Park. How much did all of this cost me? £0. I walked or jogged to every meeting, the running clubs are free, and the BMF give you the first session for free. Joining a gym is essential if you want to do weight training and have access to shiny, fancy, state of the art exercise equipment. But why not copy me? Join a budget gym (hello Puregym £35 per month membership with access to ALL gyms in the UK) and use the extra money on classes and clubs. If you compare Puregym to Gymbox, you are saving £50 a month on membership fees. That’s at least 3-4 classes, which is one a week!
- Accountability: If you join a club and miss a week, you are going to have a whole club of people asking you, “where were you last week?” Committing to a regular club or class ensures that you have a whole team of people rallying behind you, encouraging you, and rooting for you to succeed. You have a network of support and a bunch of coaches who will hold you accountable if you fail to show up or try to give up. It’s a wonderful, wonderful thing and it’s extremely motivating. Be thankful for it.
- Healthy Competition: A little healthy competition never hurt anybody! Unless you are a complete Dwayne Rock Johnson Machine, you are unlikely to have the kind of motivation it takes to compete with yourself on a daily basis. So, why not gently compete with the people in your running club or class? Did Tess move up from beginner to intermediate this week? Well then you bet your ass that you are going to do the same. Did John just squat 100kg? Well then you better get working on your PB. Did Alison run 5K in 25 minutes? Well then you are going to do it in 24. Don’t be hostile or alienate yourself and don’t be brash, but if competition is what motivates you, then do it cautiously and make it fun.