The Köhler effect — the phenomenon that occurs when a person works harder as a member of a group than when working on their own — is always recognizable in group workouts. Carla Primero, a Chicago trainer at The Barre Code and Core Power Yoga, understands the degree to which group fitness classes influence motivation, intensity and create better results.
Whether she is teaching or participating in a group fitness class, for Carla, the key is community. As a competitive cheerleader from elementary school through college, Carla has always been a team player, and it was her team mentality that drove her to becoming an instructor. Now, she shares the benefits of group fitness with each client who shows up for class.
“I missed the team dynamic after college,” Carla said. It wasn’t long after she started taking group classes like The Barre Code and Core Power Yoga that the team feeling she had in college was restored. “The same people would keep coming to the same classes so we all got to know each other.”
Carla took her first yoga class in 2009 and first barre class in 2012, and was immediately hooked on both. Not only did the exercises help her develop strength and flexibility in new ways, she also felt a strong connection to her instructors. “When I would take a yoga or barre class, I was so inspired by the instructor. They were sharing something they were passionate about, and I wanted to do the same,” she said.
Now, it’s Carla who gets to help others get inspired. “Clients get so excited when they discover what their bodies are capable of doing, and that makes me excited. It’s pretty awesome when a client can finally reach for their toes or lose those last few pounds they’re struggling with. I’m grateful to have a job that really never feels like ‘work,'” she said.
Carla knows results are possible, because she sees them in her regular clients, but they don’t come easy. “It’s up to you to put in the hard work to discover your strength. Find a workout or activity that you love and that is challenging, and despite the sweat or struggle, your mind and body will be thankful for it,” Carla said.
As the saying goes, easier said than done. Finding the drive to really push oneself physically and establish a regular routine doesn’t come easily to all, but Carla has some recommendations for those who may need some extra motivation. “Start small. Get your body used to moving more, like taking the stairs or walking. Find a workout or activity that’s challenging but enjoyable, and invite a friend. Most people won’t cancel on their friends, so get a workout buddy to keep you accountable. Also, write down why working out would benefit your life. Really think about how those reasons will improve your health and wellbeing.”
The first step is up to you, Carla emphasized, but once you show up, she has some strategies to set the tone for a successful class. Changing the music on her playlists on a daily basis, the sequence of exercises and intention of class each day are all strategies intended to help clients stay motivated while also having fun.
Finding a friend to go to classes with or reaching out to new friends during the classes themselves can transform your experience, Carla explained, but attending classes likes The Barre Code and Core Power Yoga regularly will ultimately yield a personal reward: confidence. “When you accomplish something physically, you become stronger mentally. Not only will you look stronger, but you will feel it too. You’ll radiate confidence.”
In addition to teaching at The Barre Code and Core Power Yoga, Carla is also a health coach. She guides clients by helping them design and implement a healthier lifestyle that also fits with their daily lives and goals. With a focus on nutrition and fitness, Carla tailors each client’s regimen to the individual. She’s coached a variety of clients, including cheerleaders, brides-to-be and busy moms. Her website, launching in January, will include more details.
To see Carla’s workout tips on Instagram, click here.
To check out her yoga and fitness Facebook page, click here.