The Opposite of Group Motivation: Is Your Exercise Group Too Competitive?

Group fitness classes, step-challenges and weight loss support groups are among the most common programs designed to motivate peers into living a healthy lifestyle. In fact, many people attribute their healthy habits to the encouragement and competitiveness these groups provide, but what happens when they have the opposite effect?

Individuals can easily become dissuaded or frustrated by group wellness initiatives if they feel they are not on the same level as their peers.

Avoid these common pitfalls when participating in team activities so as not to discredit your own progress or self-confidence.

Choosing the wrong group or partner. 

Selecting the right team is essential if you wish to remain positive and motivated throughout your wellness journey. Choosing a group that you don’t have time for, or do not have the fitness abilities to truly participate in, can leave you feeling distressed. On the other hand, choosing a group that’s not challenging enough may foster feelings of frustration when you don’t see the results you wanted. Most importantly, make sure to choose a group you are passionate about. Don’t sign up for a weekly yoga class if you’re more interested in running. Your desire to participate will be much greater if you don’t dread attending each week.

Focusing on others’ results instead of your own. 

Nothing ruins your motivation faster than feeling like you don’t measure up to others. To be successful in a group setting, you must find a way to recognize the accomplishments of your cohorts without diminishing your own progress. Instead of thinking, “She always has more steps than I do– i’ll never win,” try thinking “I should go for a walk so I can achieve my personal step goal.” You can also keep a journal of your personal goals and accomplishments to look at when you’re feeling intimidated or jealous of your fellow group members.

Refusing to use the additional resources your group offers.

Fitness groups can provide more than just motivation to exercise. Take the time to get to know the individuals in your group. Developing friendships with these people can potentially provide you with new ideas, experiences and perspectives. It may also eliminate feelings of jealousy and intimidation within the group setting. Reach out by sitting next to someone new in your fitness class or asking someone in your step-challenge group to go for a walk together.

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Photo Credit: Runway Pilates

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