Five Ways to Add Community to Your Physical Fitness --And Why It Matters

We do very little by ourselves these days. We seek out community within our neighborhoods, our religion, in new mommy groups, adult sports leagues, within our schools -- heck, thanks to book clubs, many of us don’t even read alone. 

So why should tackling health be a solo mission? 

Perhaps it’s the deeply personal nature of it, but when it comes to health we put all the weight (and blame) on our own shoulders. If we don’t yet feel or look our best we automatically assume we should just try harder or be more disciplined. We take it completely on ourselves and try to figure it out alone. But when does isolating ever get you where you’re trying to go in life?

When it comes to meeting your physical goals, seeking out community will directly impact both your level of effort and your results. Here’s how to start building relationships around your physical goals:

Start by joining forces with your friends
Chances are you are already friends with one of two types of people: 1) someone who’s super healthy and active or 2) someone who wants to be more healthy and active. Your fitness-loving friend just loves to talk about their favorite workout classes, instructors, and gyms and would love nothing more than to bring you along. And your other friend who wants to get active would definitely love a partner in crime to try that workout they’ve been a bit too shy to try solo. Join forces and get moving together. Accountability, especially when it comes to fitness, is the good kind of peer pressure. Plus, going with friends is way more fun.

Try Group Fitness
Energy is contagious. How often have you gone to the gym only to lie on a mat just stretching and never really feeling like doing much of anything? By attending a group fitness class you’re ensuring that you won’t have to create your own excitement. Instead, you’ll be swept up in the madness and therefore guaranteed a great workout. You also don’t have to decide what you should do and ensure you have good form so you don’t get injured. In a class, you’ll put yourself in the safe hands of a professional instructor who knows what’s what. Group fitness is also scheduled, ensuring that you can’t sit on the couch putting it off or let a late night at work get in the way of your workout. Not to mention that you pay when you sign up. And not wasting money might be the best motivator of all.

Virtual Community
Not all of us have healthy friends. Some of us might not even know people who want to improve their health at all. And in many parts of the country, there aren’t workout studios popping up on every corner as they are in big urban centers. So how do you build community when you’re kind of going it alone in your world? Time to tap into the wonders of social media! We all devote plenty of time (maybe too much) to our online social media communities. Whether on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or whatever the next big social network may be, there is a fitness-minded community just waiting for you to join and lots of fellow online followers for you to befriend. Thanks to social media there are tons of fitness personalities eager to gain your following and guide you towards health success. And studies show by tapping into online encouragement can actually propel you further towards your goals. Be sure to find the organization or personality that fits your own and ignore all the rest. You have tons of information and inspiration right at your fingertips!

Sign Up for an Event and Join a Training Group
Putting purpose behind your training is one of the best ways to keep you moving and connecting you with a community. Whether it’s the CrossFit Open or a local road race, by signing up you’re ensuring that you’ll do the work it takes to prepare and aligning your workouts with a whole group of people also on a mission towards the finish line! Whether you’re following a shared training schedule or physical training with a group, you’re not going this alone. Remember, it’s very common to feel some level of fear or anxiety when you sign up for a fitness challenge. The point of it all is to push you a little bit outside of your comfort zone. You’ll never regret that you did!

Join a Workout Challenge
Speaking of virtual fitness, there are tons of online group workout challenges out there including one that I host and that you can join right now! The MYBx22 Workout Challenge simply challenges you complete twenty-two workouts in one month. By joining and tracking your workouts all together on our Group Workout Log, you’re automatically creating a structure around your workouts, no matter your workout of choice or your level of fitness. Watching others also tracking their workouts will inspire you to keep up with your fellow challengers and cheer each other on. Aiming to hit the twenty-two workouts helps you avoid that mental battle over whether you should or shouldn’t work out that day. Often we spend so much more time thinking about working out as opposed to actually working out. But if you’ve got a clear workout goal to meet then it’s an automatic go and you’re out the door! All types of workouts count and every first of the month, the slate is wiped clean and the challenge begins again. 

Our communities reflect who we are and what we stand for -- including health. If your current community doesn’t reflect where you want your wellness to go, feel free to explore what else is out there. One of the biggest challenges we all face when it comes to fitness is sticking with something. Instead of blaming yourself, turn to your peers who are there to cheer you on -- and vice-versa. 

But you don’t have to only stick to virtual challenges -- there are great in-studio challenges locally to keep you motivated and moving, too. Check out Chapel Hill Bootcamp for example -- an awesome community challenging you to show up, challenge yourself and then keep showing up some more. Set class times ensure a now-or-never mentality, curated guided workouts won’t let you give anything less than 100% and a group of actual humans awaiting your arrival always helps, too. Because remember, you don’t have to go it alone!


A Certified Health Coach and founder of the @moveyourbooty wellness brand, Emily Newman is a former Food Network executive who is fresh from New York City after more than a decade and back in her home state of North Carolina continuing her work in wellness, food, and fitness. A CrossFit lover, 5-time marathoner and brand new mom, there isn’t a workout or recipe trend Emily won’t try or taste! 
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