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Group workouts


Kris and I were talking last night about whether or not we were going to go to class this morning. The hour wasn't too late, but since I arrived home just today having been for over three days, and I was leaving again this afternoon to go pick up Sam, maybe we could skip the class and just sleep in instead, maybe have sex and a slow, pleasant breakfast (or was it breakfast and slow, pleasant sex?). Kris could work from home while I puttered around and cooked breakfast (as I'm fond of doing as of late), and he could drop me off at the airport before heading into work.

What really stopped me from this plan, however, was a conversation with Paul yesterday and the end of an email from Lyndsay.

Paul started coming to Velocity last week. He went both Wednesday and Friday last week, with Kris. I went to an afternoon class on Wednesday, and was in L.A. on Friday, so missed that class, too. At practice yesterday, Paul asked me, "Are we ever going to work out together?" I explained my absenses, and let him know I would be at class this week.

Lyndsay ended an email with, "See you at Velocity!" yesterday, too. She and I had been talking about her coming to class regularly, joining in on the class that Kris and I go to. The timing of our class works well for her commute and work schedule, so she's planning on starting up. I inferred from her signoff she was starting up this week.

So, two of my teammates going to Velocity this morning. I wanted to go, too.

(No, neither Paul nor Lyndsay were at Velocity this morning, but I didn't know they wouldn't be there when we left for class. Kris and Breanne both told me that Paul is planning on Wednesdays and Fridays only. I don't know what happened to Lyndsay. I suspect she's also planning a midweek workout.)

I've realized a lot in the past few years just how motivating teammates can be for me to go to class, workout regularly, actively improve my skills. People in general behave better when they know someone is watching them. One of the reasons that religion is so effective in keeping people in line is the belief that an omniscient entity sees (and presumably judges) everything someone does. Studies have show that the mere display of eye watching people will make them behave better.

Teammates are these watching eyes. They have not only the motivating effect of "I want to do well so that I don't disappoint my teammate," but also the motivating effect of "She's going 10% harder/faster/better than I am. If I push myself, can I catch up?"

They also make the hard work more fun. When I first switched to the afternoon Velocity classes, they were a little rough for me. I didn't know anyone in the group, but everyone in the group of regulars knew each other. They joked about things, asked each other about updates of their sporting events or other life events. They talked about previous workouts and how this one compares. I was on the outside, doing my workouts solo in a group. Even though the workouts should have been physically easier than the morning ones with Breanne, they were mentally much harder because of that isolation.

Of course, getting sent to the principal's office gets you noticed, so now that isolation has dissipated.

The group motivation and social aspects are a big reason why I spend $60 in train fare to commute back home after classes, why I go to those group classes in the first place. Sure, I like the smaller groups of six over the larger groups of 12 when at Velocity, but I still prefer the groups of 12 over a workout by myself.

Ultimate is the first team sport I ever willingly participated in. The people and the culture have a lot to do with my enjoyment of the sport. Sure, I wish I had played in team sports when I was younger, and learned these lessons long ago. But, really, I wish I had learned a lot of lessons long ago, so what's one more?