1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
2. a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.
It’s the ties that bind – think school, church, workplace, gym, sorority or locality. Any one of those and so many more, community is often the key to reaching a fitness goal. Hmmmm…..
Seven years ago, I set out to create a “community”. One that would empower, love and support women at any time in their life. Wet behind the ears, the community managed to blossom and over time became something special – at least in my eyes. And while fitness brought women together, it was the family-like atmosphere that kept them there. But not EVERY place is like that…
CrossFit and yoga studios have it right, creating lasting entities far beyond the reps and the poses. They understand it’s about people…nothing more…nothing less. Sure, you can master a snatch or tree pose, but you do so and others celebrate the victory with you.
Community-based fitness – that’s what some call it – takes root in doing/accomplishing/learning something versus a means to an end. In other words, people’s approach within a box or studio is to do something with their body versus trying to get their body to look a certain way. Not that there’s anything wrong with transformation. But often when the goal is focused solely on body composition, the community feel built on the teamwork of doing something struggles to surface. The result? Frustration.
While the statistics continue to show increasing waistlines and unhealthier teenagers, the trends in fitness are in and around building community – there’s hope and optimism in that. More community can lead to winning the battle of the bulge and beyond in our society.
To change our society, we must begin with changing peoples’ thinking. Stop for a moment…it wasn’t a pill or a program that altered the perception of smoking. Cool, sexy and relaxing were replaced with repulsive, disgusting, and dangerous in the minds of many. What was once the norm now has become the exception due to collective thinking and similar attitudes. And where did it all begin? IN COMMUNITY! If it is accepted and rejected by groups, then it is accepted and rejected by individuals.
Are we at that tipping point in the fitness industry? If you look at the popularity of fitness trends (versus fads) based in a strong sense of community, then “Yes” would be the answer! Will we get healthier through teamwork, support and community? It may just be what turns the tide.
A chuckle exits my mouth each time I fumble through my keys to unlock the door at one of three fitness facilities. Upon closing the door to the sorority of women I created, other doors cracked open with a glimmer of light. Gently pushing each one, my understanding of “community” has expanded. Teaching in one facility, training in another and co-owning a third, the communities are distinct in their own right – boot camp, Crossfit, aerial/group fitness. Yet one thing remains the same – the people.
And as long as the vibe attracts the tribe, there’s no reason for any community to not flourish.