The weather is definitely changing. Or, seeing it’s almost GOT time again: “Winter is coming.” And with the darker mornings and early sunsets, it’s inevitable that a little bit of laziness creeps in. It happens to the best of us.
Your bed is so warm and a morning workout just doesn’t seem worth it, right? Fitness is a lifestyle, though, which means you don’t stop when the weather isn’t your preferred mild summer’s day. But how? Virgin Active’s Ceri Hannan has the lowdown – and you’re going to need your squad…
Group workouts vs solo workouts
“There are many benefits to working out in a group versus on your own,” Ceri begins. But he’s narrowed it down to three. “Group exercise not only holds you accountable while having fun, but also enables safe and effective fitness outcomes,” he adds. Here’s how…
First, there’s accountability. “Many clubs require you to sign up via an app in advance for specific classes,” says Ceri. So you’re committed before the time – especially if your friends are expecting you to be at that class. “Even if your class or activity isn’t bookable via an app,” Ceri adds, “it’s still a scheduled time. It’s an appointment, adding to that accountability we all need with regard to ‘showing up!’. Be that a hair or dental appointment, or that exercise class. It’s got your name on it!”
Second up, it’s just way more fun! I mean, have you been to Fit Night Out?
“Choose a class to meet your goals,” Ceri advises, “but then just have fun. If it’s relaxation you want, get yourself booked onto a mediation class. Calorie burning? Try a high-intensity interval-based workout.” The music and vibe will get you sweating and there’s nothing like frying kilojoules with like-minded individuals all working towards a common goal.
And last but not least, there’s structure. Working out by yourself equals zero guidance.
“Not only [will you] be lonely, but more seriously [it] can lack the structure of a wholesome workout,” Ceri adds. “It’s so easy to skip the warm-up and cool-down and go straight into the main body of your exercise routine!” These are vital steps that can cause an injury if skipped.
Sweat together, slay together
When you’re enjoying a workout with friends and a qualified instructor, you’ll find it easier to push yourself harder than if you were training alone – no matter the workout. But when it comes to fat burning, what does Ceri rate as the top workout style?
“For successful weight loss to occur, it’s best to incorporate a mix of both low- and high-intensity cardio, not only to maximise your body’s ability to use and burn fat, but also burn more total calories overall,” he advises. A mixture of HIIT and low intensity will target all that stubborn fat.
“Of course, it goes without saying that the secret weapon in all of the above is a solid strength training program to complement [this],” Ceri continues. This not only increases your resting metabolism, but improves balance, coordination and bone health, and provides muscle mass protection. Plus, it does wonders for your posture.
“My key piece of advice is to make sure your activity of choice is fun,” he concludes. “This way you’ll be more likely to keep at it and make it sustainable.” And honestly, for me, there’s no better way than to make my friends suffer with me. It doesn’t even have to be a near death workout. Activities such as walking or dancing burn a fair few kilojoules and are perfect group outings.
Women’s Health presents: Chase The Sun
You loved Fit Night Out, you loved Secret Sweat… and you are definitely going to love sunrise sesh Chase The Sun at the gorgeous Val de Vie estate in Paarl on 11 May – another group event to get your bod glowing. Plus: It’s a chance to turn a workout into a party with your best mates.
Ceri will be leading the warm-up in the way that only Ceri can. “If you’ve ever experienced the amazing Fit Night Out events,” he adds, “you’ll be familiar with the musical extravaganza that I use for the warm up.”
This musical warm-up has been 20 years in the making, he tells me. “My goal is to take you on an emotional rollercoaster using music old and new, from musical theatre, all the way through to iconic dance anthems. There really is something for everybody!”
It’s going to one epic group workout. We’re stoked and Ceri can’t wait to see you there. Get your ticket now before they sell out.