Guest Blog Post by Kara Johnson, with Level Up Cycle and Fitness

Level Up Cycle and Fitness Newberg OregonMy husband runs overnight basketball camps every summer. One night of camp is extra special: Intensity night. Every camp, kids are divided into teams and they each have the same coach all week. On intensity night, each team and their coach rotates for one hour through a series of stations in a circuit style workout. It is a highlight of camp, a great physical challenge–the time when emotions run high and kids work their hardest (and finish their proudest). On my husband’s last week of camp this summer he texted me these words: “I just realized intensity night is group fitness”.

Yep. Whoever’s idea it was years ago to make this a signature night of these camps knew that when people of any age work out together in a group big things happen. Not only do they push themselves harder because they feel more empowered or a sense of competition, but they leave mentally and emotionally healthier as well.

Don’t take my word for it. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association in 2017, people who engage in a group fitness program show significantly higher increases in quality of life and stress reduction than those who do exercise individually or alone. Other studies have shown that working out with one or more people resulted in longer and better exercise sessions, superior form and technique, and increased accountability.

People who exercise in a group capitalize on both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. The intrinsic piece, though, is the greatest predictor of whether someone will stay with a program. Group exercise feeds intrinsic motivation because it increases mental health and social connectedness. And those who feel more connected in their exercise program are far less likely to “fall off the wagon”. They’re even more likely to arrive on time as well as resist distraction.

And let’s not forget about the powerful element of competition. Most have experienced the way a competitive drive makes them work harder. Same idea with team sports. In the end, it’s all group fitness.

Now you know why Crystal, Diane, and I love it so much. We have seen and experienced the benefits of group fitness and can’t wait to lift each other up in this way.

Xo, Kara


Kara Johnson is a wife, mother of four, musician and, of course, fitness lover. She and two partners own Level Up Cycle and Fitness, a group fitness studio in Newberg, Oregon. Kara finds joy in cultivating mutually uplifting relationships and experiences through group exercise (good beats always help too!). She believes that true fitness is wholistic. It’s about stepping into and fully embracing our best selves and how we are designed, both inside and out.