Today’s blogger: Marissa Stephenson, SHAPE senior associate fitness editor
How familiar does this sound? You head to the gym vowing to have an hour-long Superwoman workout …but instead opt for 30 minutes on the elliptical with a clear view of America’s Next Top Model. It’s the solo-session syndrome! We all have the best intentions to give our all, but finding that motivation to challenge ourselves—when it’s just as easy to slack off without anyone noticing—is tough.
The trainers at As One (as1effect.com), a new fitness program in New York City, have a solution: You take a small group class that has you constantly moving and working multiple muscle groups (think running up stairs, dropping to the floor for crunches, and hefting sand bags overhead) and you push each other along the way.
I tested a class last week, and I can definitely vouch that I would never sweat this much on my own time. Our group switched up exercises every two minutes, and when our will was waning, we eyed each other with a little friendly-competition look to keep ourselves moving. What I loved most was that our coach that night (personal trainer Mark Merchant) never let us sacrifice form for a rep count. He reminded us that you should always exhaust your muscles doing a move the right way—meaning you slow down, double-check that your stance is right, that you’re holding the dumbbell correctly, etc.—instead of being the girl that’s cranking out sloppy, and potentially injury-inducing, pushups.
Unlike other kamikaze group workouts I’ve tried, I woke up after As One feeling sore, but psyched to go back. And it’s finding that perfect balance of intensity and excitement that’s the real solution to getting your fittest.