I've walked by the group exercise room at the Y and wondered "what's going on in there" on more than one occasion. I've never been able to give an opinion on a group class though...because as of two weeks ago, I had never participated in one. I've always considered myself more of a loner when it comes to sweating it out and finding some mental space. That hasn't changed much, but I can give an opinion now-becuase yes...I did hop into a class or two the passed few weeks to see what all the rage was about. Curiosity finally killed the cat...
My overall opinion: Group classes are a really challenging, heaping spoonful of positive peer pressure, kind of like high school gym class with much louder music experience.
I walked into a cardio sculpt class and parked it in the middle of the room not wanting to hide out in back unable to see the instructor. These classes are ongoing throughout the year...so you just go when so moved, making the crowed vary week by week. Even with the changing crowd as a cover, it became obvious early on that I was a "new" girl whenever I paused to figure out what they were doing-oh well. All that pausing sure didn't give me enough of a break to keep from being super soar over the next three days. Ya...I kind of thought I could handle it, but turns out, I'm not in the habit of lunging and squatting in sets of fifteen for an hour.
The next week I tried ZUMBA. Yes...the dance fitness class of our era. I'll just be frank and say my high school years didn't involve much "dancing" and I'm not real great at it (I got the math and science award my senior year if that explains anything ;) From what I can tell, it's possible to turn Zumba into a simple step class with no legit dance like moves if you're dead set on not swinging your hips in any particular direction. But I looked around, and as the room was full of all women-only one being totally intimidating with her sure footed lithe movements- I kind of let go and got lost in the salsa. The instructor saying in an encouraging voice in the background "it's just a step forward and back, make it Latin with a swing like this."
I still enjoy a solitary run through the woods...but group classes are a fun change up to any routine that is getting dull.