New York City

Fitness Groups – Which to Choose and How to Be Picky

By Leyla Shamayeva

Tandem Bike in Central Park During the WinterYou’re finally ready to get in shape, but the last thing you want to do is hit the gym by yourself, in the middle of winter. Who can blame you? Experts agree that there are multiple benefits to working out with a partner, extra accountability and motivation being the top two. Plus, most events are just more fun with a friend, right?

No partner? No problem. Luckily, you reside in New York City, where there are likely at least a dozen other complete strangers who share the same exact fitness goals and interests as you do. Whether it’s at a donation-based yoga studio or a trampoline gym, join them and you’ll immediately find yourself part of a new fitness group (and a new social circle, too).

Not surprisingly, New York City offers quite a few fitness groups to choose from. You’re guaranteed to find at least one in your geographic area. Check out:

  • Fitness classes at your local gym. Extra plus here – members are likely part of your immediate community, so this is a cool (albeit sweaty) way to meet your neighbors, too. You can also check out Shape Up NYC for free classes near you.
  • Fitness clubs in your community. Do your research, especially if you live near a public park. Most are highly active during the summer, but may offer indoor workouts in the winter too.
  • Groupon and Living Social. The New Year is the perfect time to take advantage of a super cheap deal. You won’t have trouble finding a class that interests you here, whether it’s Crossfit, dance, kickboxing, martial arts, Zumba, or aerobics. The best part is that there is no long-term commitment required. Enjoy the deal, then move on if you don’t like it.
  • MeetUp.com. Some groups are more active than others, but you’ll likely find dedicated fitness trend followers of all levels here. Even if you never end up going to a meet-up, sign up to receive notifications. You might just change your mind!

Drowning in choices yet? I definitely was when I first started exploring New York City’s fitness scene. Despite multiple choices, keep your mind focused on the most important thing- YOU! I’m a firm supporter of trying different groups, but before you jump in, be picky to make sure your needs are met. Make sure:

  • The group’s goals align with yours. You’re on a mission. It can be to lose weight, gain weight, get stronger, improve your balance, strengthen your endurance, or something else. Regardless of what it is, ask yourself if the group will help you achieve your goal.
  • The activities match your fitness level. The most important beginner’s lesson: don’t do too much too fast. The greatest athletes worked their way up, and, for your safety and well-being, so should you.
  • You’re actually interested in the activity. Hate cycling? Don’t attend a Soul Cycle class just because you heard that it’ll help you lose weight. You’ll just end up hating it (and yourself). Instead, choose something you know you’ll enjoy. You’ll burn the calories anyway, get your heart pumping, have fun, and will be more likely to keep attending the class.
  • The group is convenient to participate in. I wouldn’t travel an hour and a half on the train to get to a class on the weekend, and neither should you. Choose wisely. A group fitness class should fit your With so many options, you shouldn’t have to go out of your way to attend one.

Let me know what your favorite group class in NYC is. I might just end up seeing you there next time!

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