You tried jogging, but found that pounding the streets wasn’t for you. You thought about a home gym, but there was nowhere to put it, and even if you bought it you were afraid that it would just sit gathering dust in the spare bedroom. You paid for an expensive gym membership, but you couldn’t get there every day, and you felt too many of your fellow members were only there to pose rather than to keep fit, so you only went four times and then found excuses not to go again. You knew you wanted to keep healthy but you also knew that you needed the motivation and sense of camaraderie of being with like-minded people to keep up a proper fitness regime. Maybe you tried step aerobics, too manic; yoga, too slow; martial arts, too threatening; or maybe you even went to a dance class, but none of it was for you. Then one day you came across the idea of exercise resistance bands, and ‘hey-presto’, you had discovered an exercise system that suited your needs, and you can use them for jumping bands to jump higher (if you are a basketball player ) or pull-up bands (if you are a CrossFitter) or even rehab bands (if you are rehabbing).
That was a few months ago, and now you’ve dropped the extra poundage that you’d been carrying for the past couple of years, you’re feeling much fitter, and you’ve got more energy. The one thing that’s missing is the sense of being part of a group, motivating each other to keep to the fitness regime you’ve chosen. You may be fortunate and find a class locally, but even if you don’t you needn’t despair. Ask around and you will probably find that there other people also using exercise bands as part of their fitness program, or at least some who are interested in the idea. Once a few of you get together you can organize somewhere convenient, such as the local school gym or church hall for regular sessions, but if you want to establish a feeling of mutual supportiveness within the group then you’ll need to gel as a team, and become more than simple exercise buddies.
‘Band Aid’ with a difference
You could do that over a drink in a bar afterwards, but that rather defeats the purpose of being there. A more purposeful alternative may be to consider doing something together for the benefit of the community. You could raise money for the homeless, drug abuse treatment, the local hospice, or any other good cause that you think will capture interest in your area, and at the same time you may even recruit a few new members along the way.
Set the Challenge
Firstly, have a chat with those already involved, and no doubt you’ll discover that most of them are as socially aware as you, and may want to contribute in organizing some fundraising activity. You could aim to get high numbers all exercising at once, but that may be difficult to co-ordinate and difficult in terms of the amount of equipment available. So it is probably best to set a challenge in terms of the number of a particular exercise someone can achieve in a set time, such as three minutes. Remember that there will be beginners, and hopefully people of all ages taking part, so keep to the basics, and perhaps choose to base the challenge on a seated row or something similar, which will open things up to the widest possible participation.
Secondly, be savvy and ask around to see if there is an existing event such as a fete, fun day or carnival that you can attach yourself to. It’s better to be part of something bigger, varied and already established than to try and start from scratch. Organizers are often looking for something different to add to an event, and if your group offer to do a demonstration as well it will make the offer even more attractive. This also means that you won’t have to think too much about publicity, and someone else will probably do the worrying about any insurance requirements.
The third thing to remember is that although you might not have to produce posters, if you intend that people should get sponsors, you’ll need sponsorship forms, and you’ll need to try and contact as many potential participants as possible beforehand. So you could try the local high schools, gyms, amateur sports teams, and even pensioners clubs, as well as any others you can think of. Those interested in taking part would usually ask family and friends to sponsor them for a set amount of money per sit-up or row-pull. It also means that it is up to them to collect the money in and deliver it to you. A simpler alternative is to have people pay a small fee to take part and to offer a small prize for the winner, or for different winners in various categories, although inevitably this will bring in less money than sponsorship normally would.
Finally, have fun. It’s meant to be bringing your group together as a team and showing others that using exercise bands is a good way to achieve and maintain fitness. Be generous with your time, offer to demonstrate to those who are interested, and let them have a go with the bands to show how versatile and easy they are to use. If you want people to join your group, then you’ll need to show that it’s something they’ll enjoy as well as derive fitness benefits from, and the best advert for that is you… okay and your pull-up bands.
Thanks to Izzy Woods for this valuable contribution!