Then I began a distance running program. As a life-long sprinter running long distances is very challenging to me. If you ask me to run 100 meters I can hold my own, if you ask me to run 10,000 meters I will probably be one of the last in the group. After running my first dam to dam (which was brutal) I knew I needed something else to help strengthen my core and legs. The answer was kettlebells and Matt happened to be instructing his first kettlebell class at that time.
I had known about kettlebells through a co-worker, but never thought about working out with them until Matt started including kettlebells in his group fitness classes. After the first workout, using a 25 lb. kettlebell, my arms were shaking, my shirt was drenched, and I was about ready to lose my whole wheat toast and OJ breakfast. I realized 2 things that day. Using kettlebells along with functional bodyweight movements is tough and working out with a group of people is a great motivational tool.
The small group fitness setting is ideal for me because I see the way it motivates others. Although group fitness is about competing with yourself, having others around to push you makes that 1 more rep or those few more seconds possible. Not long after Matt’s first kettlebell class I partnered up with Joe and we continue to motivate and push each other to this day.
As the old saying goes, Joe and I are woven from the same cloth. We not only compete with each other, but motivate each other to go above and beyond our abilities. If we are trying for the maximum number of repetitions we can do you can bet if I go first Joe is going to get 1 more rep than me and vice versa. 9 times out of 10 we will grab the same weight and if we don’t, the other will switch to the heavier weight. This is possible because we are very even in terms of strength and ability.
A good partner doesn’t have to lift the same weight as you, but having a partner like Joe keeps you from slacking off and saying, “I’m not feeling good today,” or “I have a tummy ache so I think I’ll use a lighter weight today.” If I come to a later class time than Joe I always ask what weight he used because I know he pushed himself that morning. Even when we aren’t partners Joe is working hard and if I don’t do the same I’ll have to forget about that “1 more rep than Joe” t-shirt I want to get (just kidding).
Since joining Matt’s group fitness classes my distance running times have improved, my core strength has increased, and my body fat has decreased. It’s not only having a good partner to work out with but seeing a hard-working, dedicated group of people give 100% effort day in and day out that makes this possible. They say success is contagious and if you’ve been working out with Matt as long as I have you will believe it’s true. Join a gym, find a partner in crime, and give the group workout thing a try. You will see increased strength, better health, and make lifelong friends.