Have any of you ever read the book on the formation and history of Zappos? Its called Delivering Happiness, by Tony Hsieh. This book was brought to my attention by a mentor of mine, Alywn Cosgrove and he summed up Tony’s message in a great way; ‘The book conveys the notion that people spend time seeking things they think will make them happy, instead of what would bring them happiness. “

This got me thinking about what we notice about the experience our members get after a group or semi private training session. These groups usually have generally more happiness, more energy and outwardly positive feelings regardless if they are introverted or extroverted people.

It got me to sit down and think about the reasons why? Why do they seem generally more satisfied?

Alwyn also points out that if you look at society in general, group dynamics rule. Tony Hsieh points out that if you keep asking Why someone does something or feels something you will, in time, find out the answer.

I think we can constructively break this down and find the underlying reasons, which I believe in the end, and you will agree, that the social dynamics of group training speak more to the “what” makes us happy and not what we “think” makes us happy.

There are many examples in the field of Fitness, Team Play and Rehabilitation where we see many examples of “Group Dynamics” and the benefits its gives the coach/practitioner, but more importantly the client.

I believe that the psychological effects of group dynamics, whether that is 2 on 1 to 15 on 1 enhance the physical outcomes without even thinking about it.

In a group setting, the session really becomes more about the totality of health (psychological-physical-internal), as opposed to the effort and the program on paper. There are clear case studies that show, as we age, living a long healthy life is as much about social engagement, friendships, laughter, camaraderie and not just about your fitness level They all matter, but there is a reason why so many experts in the field talk about balance.

Are all these traits not part of a group dynamic?

There is a reason why professional sport teams train together. They develop a bond over time that exceeds any individualism. In fitness, this same bond is instilled and delivered with the small and large group dynamics. I believe that these specific roles we take on during group environments is what delivers happiness beyond the physical effect of exercise.

For example, one day you’re the leader. You slept well, ate well and are having a great day and can pull those that are having an off day through a workout. You may even be the person who “lends an ear” because someone needed to get something off their chest. You get as much out of giving support, as receiving it.

What do you take away from these moments? Satisfaction, happiness? You did something meaningful beyond the completion of a set or rep. You gave instead of received and everyone feels good when they are helping. It’s during these specific moments that make you realize, it’s not all about the size of your waist or the number on the scale. You have accomplished more than what exercise is intended for and you received more than you thought exercise could give you.

The one thing you will notice when you get together with people in a group fitness/semi-private setting, is the natural accountability and the natural reminder of anything and everything related to health.

Next time you are in a group, don’t talk…..listen. Here are some of the things you are going to hear – “how did you do this week? Did you make yesterdays class? What did I miss? Did you stay on your diet this week?” How is your mom?” How are your kids? “Are you sore from that workout on Monday”?

You end up asking the questions your coaches would ask. Whether you believe it or not, people in groups look forward to your presence, count on your presence and truly miss you when you are not there. It is never about the superficial world that our multi media makes us obsess about. Its about delivering more to others, receiving support from others , which in return, gives us a very healthy fitness balance.

Like a professional sports team, the workout is not the workout unless the full team is present. Does a team not miss their full compliment of players when they are hurt or not present? Of course they do. Does the energy decrease without the full compliment of players? Of course it does. That’s what team training does for us. The accomplishment felt as a team, after a hard workout is a far greater reward than worrying about the calories in that Starbucks scone you powered down before class.

Ever been in a class that you are used to having 10 people participate and 3 show up? I bet the energy and enthusiasm was totally different. As a coach, it is the first thing we notice. Why do you think that coaches and trainer enlist in workout partners, join training groups or go to gyms that have groups that train together? Its for all the positive traits group dynamics bring to the individual. The personalities, the energy, the different roles we take on, the accountability. It’s endless.

What better way to keep you motivated than to know that there is someone their counting on you to show up.

The relationship built during these times of stress or these moments of “enduring the suck” make for tighter bonds that could not be done over coffee or wine.

There is no question you love your coaches. Coaches understand that the culture that comes with group experience becomes more about you, your friends, and your experience and not about them. It is a culture that you create as members. You become apart of something bigger than yourself. You give more of yourself without knowing by just showing up – by lending that ear when one needs it – by leading the group when others need to hold back- by telling a friend how much you appreciate them for coming and by sharing a piece of who you are.

These are the things that make friendships better. These are the situations that enhance your healthy environment. These are the times that pay themselves over 100 fold.

There is more to health than just fitness and being apart of a group does more for your health than expanding your lungs. Lets face it, when it comes to health, fitness and wellness we would all be more successful if our team was with us 24-7. We would eat healthier, make better choices, sleep more often and we would follow the group mentality. This is the one time, everyday, where we are reminded upfront, that our health matters and like our bank account, needs to be checked in regularly.

We all start out with the notion that Fitness will make me happy, – maybe, just maybe, the “WHY” that actually makes you happy is your group of friends, and the bond you share.

Come and see what a Cypress group experience can do for you.

~ Your Cypress Team