Expert Tips

Mark Laws: Strength in Numbers

Always working out on your own? You’re missing out, says Mark Laws, group exercise is where it’s at…

 

Not requesting help for fear of ‘not putting anyone out’ is a common British trait. We take our stiff upper lips, our sarcasm and our patriotism and we just crack on trying to solve our own problems as best we can. But there is a much better way.

Whether we are referring to business or personal issues, the old wives’ tale was right – a problem shared is most certainly a problem halved. Nowhere does this ring more true than within the health and fitness world. 

Ever wonder how Weight Watchers and Slimming World persuade millions of people to go to their local village hall every Tuesday and pay £5 to stand on some scales? 

Did you ever stop to think how CrossFit gets millions of people to head to their nearest industrial estate to voluntarily participate in hell-on-earth style workouts every day? 

While we are at it, why on earth did 309 Carlisle United fans drive over 500 miles to watch their team play in Cheltenham on a bank holiday weekend? …because they are all part of  a group!

Human beings achieve far more if they are part of a group and this is widely known by organisations such as Alcoholics Anonymous, The Suffragettes, The Armed Forces and ermmm… Hugh Hefner to name just a few. Hollywood may have us believe that Sylvester Stallone could take on an army single handed but I am afraid that is just not true… and Mr Hefner certainly needed a hand or two. 

Success rates go through the roof when we operate as part of a group, which is why you should get yourself a training partner, then get some more training partners, and then look at participating in some gym-based group sessions. 

 

ACCOUNTABILITY

Not going to the gym is the easiest thing in the world to achieve, but if you have agreed to meet Steve at 5.45pm, and if he has sorted childcare and switched his shifts at work, you will not be popular if you bail out to watch the end of Pointless. I am pretty sure your motivation levels will rise. 

 

COMPETITION

Plodding along in the gym and avoiding breaking into a sweat so you can get away without showering again is not too difficult either. But, if Gary starts curling more weight than you, and if the Cross-trainer girls appear to be giving him a bit more attention, then you will soon find that ounce of extra energy to smash him out of the park and move up to those mighty 12.5kgs after all. 

 

FUN

Whether you vomit, sweat, bleed or cry after a tough workout depends on a few things, but one thing is certain – there isn’t much ‘fun’ about any of those scenarios. But when you have completely drained your tank and are struggling to lift yourself off the floor, imagine how much fun you will have watching Darren cry like a little girl before chundering into his gym bag on the way home! 

Next time you are planning on going to the gym, ditch the headphones and take a mate with you. If you can’t find anyone to join you, then go into a class. No matter what your goal is, there will be something appropriate where you can meet some new and like-minded people to share all of the highs and lows. 

 

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