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Christopher Rhoades


March 19, 2024

Top 3 Mistakes in Group Fitness

People love group training. The energy of a group and working along side your friends can be super motivating. However, when we are training in a group setting we often see a few common errors that can lead people into less than desired results when trying to change their body composition and gain strength.


You might be doing just one or two of these things, but just being more aware can help you make the changes you need to get more out of every group exercise session you take. 


The three mistakes we are going to talk about today can really be applied to any group exercise setting but even more so when you are training in our group program at Renegade Fitness. 


So let’s jump in...



When we are given exercises to perform, whether it is just a few or longer list in a circuit format, its instinctive to want to work through the list of exercises as fast as we can. Now while there is a time and place for this, it’s not the mindset we want to apply the majority of time for our resistance training exercises. 


Resistance training isn’t limited to just weights with dumbbells or barbells either. This also includes things like TRX suspension trainers and other body weight based exercises where we are using our own weight as resistance. 


The real benefits from resistance training comes when we increase our strength and add lean muscle mass to our body. We do this from spending time under tension and challenging progressive loads. (ie more weight lifted over time) 


If we go into a list of exercises with the mindset to work quickly, we often choose resistances that allow us to move at a faster pace. While this might feel harder during the actual exercise because we have a higher heart rate, breathing heavier etc. It won’t actually lead to much increase in strength. It will do very little for additional calorie burn during your workout session as well. 


So how do you select an appropriate weight in a group setting?


My advise is based from what our common members goals are. Gain strength, lose bodyfat, and add lean muscle mass. Most are looking for that “toned” look.  


If you are someone with just a few months of training experience, a good rule is to simply select a weight that feels “challenging”. A challenging weight should leave you feeling some muscle burn, slight fatigue and some muscle soreness after your sessions. 


After your initial 4-6 months of training, once we have established a baseline of fitness and confidence in our exercise execution, we can get more specific.


For most group purposes, being either a rep or time based workout, each set you perform should be close to “technique failure”. 


Meaning the last 2-3 reps should bring you to a point just before your form starts to get “sloppy”. 


The takeaway here is for the majority of resistance based exercises, you want to take your time and be in the moment, focused on what muscles you are working and making those last few reps each time tough! 




Everyone wants those dream 1,000 calorie burner workouts. We get it. 


However most 30-45 min strength sessions are realistically going to leave us with about 300-500 calories burned. This is fine because we shouldn’t put all our fitness eggs in the “calorie burned in workouts” basket. 


When doing resistance based exercises the goal should NOT be solely focused on keeping your heart rate elevated to burn more calories.  We also need to realize that if we are challenging ourselves with appropriate weights, our heart rate can elevate just as much as most cardio activities. When we finish a heavy exercise like a squat or a deadlift, your heart rate will be elevated because you just worked a lot of muscles groups all at once.


Rather than focusing on your heart rate during your strength training, my recommendation would be to focus on how “muscularly” challenging you can make the exercise. If your doing a lunge, can you feel you glutes, quads etc? Are reps hard to complete towards the end?


Keep in mind when we resistance train and add lean muscle mass to our body, the “in the moment calorie burn” might not be as high as when we perform cardio. But think about this as an investment in your future and overall daily calorie burn being higher the more muscle mass you are the proud owner of. 




When you are training is any group setting you have to keep in mind this is a collection of individuals with their own goals, their own backstory and everyone is at their own point in their fitness journey. 


The key to your own results is to frankly mind your own business. Work through things at your own pace. You have to again keep in mind the spectrum of your fitness journey, which hopefully never ends!


Those around you can always be used as motivation or inspiration. But there should be no comparing yourself to someone else in a “better vs worse” manner. Just because someone can lift more weights than you or is more athletic than you does NOT make you any less of a person. You have to remember you are good enough and everyone has been either at a starting point with their own fitness, or working towards that next level. 


Everyone is there to work on improving themselves and that is a communal effort. It is done together, which should hopefully inspire and pump up everyone to do there best. The key to your success is to keep showing up and to keep trying. Even those at the top of their game continue to train and improve. 


Hopefully this helps you understand how you can make some adjustments to your workouts if you are feeling stuck. Stuck with your strength or maybe experiencing negative self talk if you are not where you want to be yet with your fitness. 


If you are reading this as a Renegade member you are in luck because we are here to help you through the process! 


If you are still confused, ask a coach for some guidance as you begin your workout and give them some specifics so they can help you decide the best course of action when selecting your workout weights and intensity.


Coach Chris 

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