While we've been using group fitness classes and buddy gym trips for years to boost our motivation to work out, it feels pretty good to see a major inspiration like Michelle Obama endorse our strategy. The former First Lady posted a series of Instagram photos showing how she and her girlfriends work out together—a "boot camp" tradition that they've held for years and are continuing now that Michelle is no longer living at the White House.
In her caption, Obama explained that the benefits of working out in a group go beyond just getting to see your friends more often—they can have far-reaching effects for your self-image, and for others in your life, too.
"It didn’t matter that we were all at varying fitness levels. Our bootcamp weekends were a reminder that if we want to keep taking care of others, we need to take care of ourselves first," she explained. We love her attitude of acceptance and the emphasis she places on self-care... something we all need to remember to prioritize.
See the former First Lady's post below, and then check out some of our favorite group-friendly workouts for instituting your own annual ladies' "boot camp"!
When I was at the White House, I often hosted bootcamp weekends for my close girlfriends. It didn’t matter that we were all at varying fitness levels. Our bootcamp weekends were a reminder that if we want to keep taking care of others, we need to take care of ourselves first. And even though I’m no longer at the White House, I've continued this tradition and wanted to share some photos. My girlfriends have been there for me through all kinds of life transitions over the years – including a pretty big one recently! – and we’ve done our best to stay healthy together. Whether it’s a bootcamp or a walk around the neighborhood, I hope you and your crew can find some time this summer to be healthy together.
One of our favorite ways to work out with our entire crew? Barre class. It not only provides an incredible workout that gets you long and lean (which, let's face it, is pretty much #goals in a nutshell), but a barre class is a great way to sweat with your whole squad. (Did we mention that those leotards remind us of pretending to be ballerinas with our friends back when we were kids? Just us? Okay.) Here's everything you need to know before you go.
Okay, okay, maybe we're biased about how cool this workout is, because we got the inside scoop straight from the source. Creator Erin Oprea was so excited to share the details of this city-specific group workout craze with us that her enthusiasm was infectious. But seriously, how much fun would it be to explore your city with a few dozen of your closest friends all day, and get a killer workout at the same time? This has got to be one of our favorite new fitness trends for getting facetime with your friends while getting fit.
Take a page from Mrs. Obama's book and create your own friends-only bootcamp at home. Invite a few friends to meet up and use some of our favorite bootcamp-inspired moves to get fit as a fam. Challenge one another to beat your personal bests and don't forget to lay on the encouragement! You're likely to find that everyone pushes themselves farther and has more fun when you work out as a group.
Take it from us, there's no better feeling in the world than kicking butt and feeling super-strong alongside your girlfriends at a kickboxing class. Even if you're a total beginner and the thought of signing up sounds scary, we encourage you to try it once. (Plus, we have a guide for that.) The feel-good energy you'll be experiencing after class will last for days, and your girl gang will be stronger than ever.
We admit it, hot yoga (or cycling or barre or...) initially had us feeling a little hesitant. There's something about knowing you're going to be dripping wet during an already-intense workout that held us back for a hot minute.
But as it turns out, "hot" workouts actually help your body perform better over time, according to Brooke Asbury, founder of Hot Yoga East Nashville. “The heat literally warms up the muscle tissue so it is more pliable and can stretch more than cold muscles within the postures...This increased flexibility and elongation of the muscles produced during the posture is retained after class to a degree.”
Knowing that our ladies are there to support us (and that they'll be looking just as frazzled as we will) makes it much easier to push ourselves and try something new. And really, isn't that what friendship is all about?