Over the last 5 years, we have seen some explosion of various fitness methods, trends and classes all springing up in Singapore and around the world. In a way, we have too many options and are spoilt for choice! There really is no excuse that we cannot keep ourselves fit and active.
Classes and fitness trends such as Crossfit, H.I.I.T, Bootcamps Circuit, Functional Training, Movement Pattern Training, Barre, Pilates, Yoga, Aerial Silk, Strength Training, Powerlifting, Muay Thai, Mixed Martial Arts ( MMA) and many more seem to be here to stay.
So with so many options to choose from, literally, “where do I begin?” will be the first thing that anyone can ask.
I started fitness at a late age of 17 years old, while waiting to begin my 4- year undergraduate study in Food Science and Technology, I found an unique fitness-based class at that time, that blends both fitness and ballet/dance and got immediately hooked to it. Subsequently, like many fitness enthusiasts, I tried other form of fitness classes such as vinyasa yoga, hatha yoga, climbing and eventually moved into bodybuilding/strength training for a few years.
Later over the years, I have tried classes like BodyCombat, BodyPump, Spinning, Zumba, Muay Thai, Aerial Silk and had some “play time” with functional training and movement pattern training.
After nearly 5 years in this industry as a professional, I can safely say that these are the following questions I was ask myself, truthfully, when selecting or trying out a group-based classes.
1. What are my goals?
2. How serious and committed am I to achieve my goals?
#1 and #2 will make a real difference between opting for group-based classes or individual coaching. If you are really serious and committed, then nothing beats hiring a well-trained and qualified professional for individual training. Because they will give you a good overall assessment, a customized training program and track your progress along the way.
3. BE HONEST — are you having any injuries, either fresh or nagging?
4. How long have you not been exercising or actively engaged in a routined exercise program ?
#3 : having nagging or recurring injuries will mean it is best to see a professional physiotherapist, osteopath or chiropractor or a coach who is well-versed to solve the root of the problem. Because in a group based classes, there is no way the instructor can give you the 100% attention to ensure you progress and will not get injured. Also in a group based setting, there is a real high tendency to adopt a “monkey-see-monkey-do attitude”, thus if you aren’t aware of what you can or cannot do, you run a high risk of aggravating your injuries. and it really is not worth it in the long run.
#4 : Assuming, you have no injuries, if you have not been really active and been isolated, perhaps a go with fitness classes will help jumpstart the fire in you. Don’t go full-throttle though, the key is to still to take one step at a time with classes. Starting from 2 classes each week, and work your way up.
5. Do you want strength-based or just dance-based?
#5 To gain strength, requires a different style of coaching and programming as compared to getting in dance-moves. Strength gains typically means spending less time on co-ordination and keeping with the beats and tempos and more on training with right form and right speed with progressive weight. Some classes may even go down to conditioning your tissues, tendons and ligaments which takes more time and patience. The benefits of a great structured strength training program is that it really gets your body , from top to toe, fundamentally strong. Thus giving an overall long-term health and fitness benefit.
Dance-based will focus more on hand-eye-leg-feet coordination, keeping with the rhythm and tempos. and in some cases, good range of mobility and flexibility to execute some dance moves well. Cardiovascular work will also definitely be incorporated as we have to dance through the song. and oh, let’s not forget the super fun factor especially if it is your favorite song, which adds to the motivation factor.
Personally, after trying out so many classes over the years, and having some recurring injuries from time to time, which humble me so much even as a professional, I would rather focus on a great strength training protocol. As I believe and know that with the right strength training program under the eye of trained professional on a 1-1 level, I can go on to attend any group-based classes without worrying about getting any injuries.
Hope this helps and like always, if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or email me. I am always here to share what I know and guide you along the way.
P.S. This can also apply to any fitness professionals out there too, remember we are all human beings. We can get tired, burnt out, ill, injured. Never be afraid to work our fitness and strength from the ground up.
To your vitality,