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A "Community" Approach to Fitness
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A "Community" Approach to Fitness Hot

Written by Resident Events On  June 16, 2015   4500   0
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A "Community" Approach to Fitness
I recently stumbled upon a system called the 21 Day Fix, which is essentially a group fitness program that attempts to get everybody on the right track with exercise and nutrition over a 3 week period. Before I begin, however, I want to stress that this is not meant to be a sales pitch for the system, as I haven't seen the entire 21 days in action, but the initial concept was so compelling to be implemented in an apartment community, I couldn't help but share.

This program takes a community approach to self-controlled workouts and nutrition. At least in the situation I saw, it was sold by an independent rep, similar to how people sell Tupperware, Mary Kaye, etc. But rather than selling strictly a product, this is both a set of products as well as a community approach to fitness. Each person gets their own set of DVDs with different workout routines, containers that help with portion control and selecting the right balance of foods, and literature that helps with the whole process. That, in itself, isn't anything special. What really got me excited from an apartment community event point of view is the group approach to the program. The person who ran the group I am familiar with set up their own private Facebook group, where each member could share their own experiences with a specific workout, questions about the program, recipes and diet tips, and general motivation for the rest of the group!

While many of our communities have gyms for residents to use, they often do not inspire a cooperative approach to working out and fitness. Each resident comes in, does their own routine, and then leaves. Although they may meet some acquaintances along the way, it isn't really a "group" environment. This program, however, takes the complete opposite approach. Even though everyone is exercising in their own home, they are all part of a larger "team" all there to motivate each other to make it through the grueling 3 week program. That grueling aspect actually plays a role in the process - the fact that it is challenging leads the group to grow together in the shared struggle.

As I watched people get involved, and heard stories of them all discussing their own struggles and helping each other overcoming those obstacles, I saw how wonderful of an opportunity it might be for an apartment community. It was more than a simple workout program and became a bonding program, which is exactly what we want to create in our resident events! By the end, not only have the residents gotten to know each other, but they have endured a shared experience where they struggled and then worked together to overcome. Those types of shared experiences are what relationships are built upon, so I think this might be an opportunity to lay a wonderful foundation for a sense of community.

Bonus Notes:
1) Even though each workout can be done independently, it might be interesting to provide a dual approach - residents can work out in their own apartment or they can meet in a shared location and do a workout together! If this approach is taken, it would be important to plan how to "convert" those who work out at home to coming to join the live group. Additionally, those that work out together might form an initial "clique", so it would be important to ensure that those that build up the courage to join the live group are welcomed warmly and included.

2) One of the requirements is that each person post before/after pictures to the Facebook group. This might work if everybody is already friends, but might be a dealbreaker for groups of strangers, so consider augmenting that rule.

3) A launch party might be a great way to have people meet face to face, as well as learn more about the program and rules before the 21 days official start.

4) An after-program party would be a great way to celebrate and let all the people who had been talking online get to know each other in person. This is a good opportunity to transition the group into a normal fitness routine at the community gym. You could also give out prizes for who is the "Biggest Loser".

5) Remember to share the success stories (with permission, of course) of the group with the wider community!

Again, I am not trying to sell this particular program, so there might be others that take the same approach that are even better! If you have any experiences with this program or one similar, share your experiences below and whether you think it would "translate" well for apartment communities!

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