On any given weekday at the Y you have over 30 different opportunities to be a part of something bigger than yourself, to stand next to someone whom you may not know, but with whom you are (at least for the next 30-60 minutes) on the same team, encouraging along and working toward a common goal. Each participant has individual goals, yes, but I see over and over again how those individual goals take a back seat to the collective good – to the over-arching united goal of fostering a healthier community. You see, there is something so uniquely profound in our group exercise class program. And that profound uniqueness is YOU.
Last time I wrote I shared how I was hurt and troubled by rumors about our group exercise program and the attitudes or behaviors of those in it, mostly because I know the benefit and good group exercise is for our Y community. I don’t want to leave a bad taste in your mouth or a poor image in your mind. Although I think it’s important to bring to light any negativity – whether real or perceived – in order to disclose it and remove it, I don’t want to leave us there.
Today I want to share all the good that happens in our group exercise classes, on the regular. To tell you how a new member was received not only by the instructor, but also by at least 3 other participants in class. How they encouraged her with stories of their first time and the awkwardness they felt, to help put her at ease. How the instructor connected her to a regular member who she immediately felt a kinship with. How a Wellness Staff member walked a member down to the aerobics studio and introduced her to the instructor, letting her know this was her first time. How a participant gave up her spot next to the mirror, knowing the new member would need help identifying proper technique by spotting herself in the mirror. How an instructor gave up her personal workout time to talk with a new member and help him decide if the class he had in mind would be a good fit for him right now. Even how a member was willing to sacrifice her group exercise experience for the sake of the new member, offering her the last mat left in the packed class. THESE are the day in and day out happenings that the Y is known for. These are the reasons why members want to come back. Having great music is important. Having enough equipment is clutch. Having an instructor who is passionate and knowledgeable about her class is key. But the group exercise experience would be sorely lacking without these consistent intentional acts of kindness displayed to one another; without the communal celebration when a regular member lifts more weight for a track; when a member pushes beyond what he thought he could due to the encouragement from the group and the cheers for trying; when your absence is noted if you happen to be sick or unable to attend.
Anyone could come to the Y and get a workout. But, in my opinion, it is because of the selfless, engaging, others-focused members that our group exercise program is so impactful, empowering and effective. Group exercise means you value the interest of the GROUP over your personal workout. And because of that, everyone wins. Everyone walks away getting a killer workout, but also contributes to the collective good of our community.
Maybe this whole thing is a bit overwhelming and you find yourself just wanting to shy away in the back row to be a wall flower, get your heart rate up, sweat a little, but leave pretty much unnoticed. There is room for you too! But, may I be so bold to predict that you might catch the “fever” and find yourself, with every class you take and with every member you engage, making your way to the front of class and becoming one of our group exercise program’s biggest proponents.
If you’re wondering how you might be able to take your group exercise experience to the next level, we may have just the answer. Starting in May we will be accepting applications for our brand new volunteer position of Group Exercise Class Ambassador. We are looking for members willing to share their love for the Y’s group exercise program by being a help to the instructors, welcoming new class participants and being an overall ambassador for our program. Be on the lookout for more details. And be sure to sign up for our upcoming Triple Class challenge. This special fitness event takes place on Saturday, April 21. There will be 5 class choices available. Each class is between 30-45 minutes in length. Attending 3 of the 5 classes gets you a T-shirt.
Here is the Triple Class Challenge line up:
8:00am - 8:45am NEW! Les Mills TONE
9:00am - 9:45am BodyPump
10:00am - 10:45am BodyStep
11:00am - 11:30am CXWorX
11:45am - 12:30pm BodyCombat
Register TODAY by calling Members Services or signing up online here: https://register.ymcaatpabstfarms.org/
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