By Mike Gustafson//Correspondent
Any swimmer knows the benefit of group exercise. Not only do teammates and coaches help keep you motivated during practice, but they keep you coming to practice. When you know a teammate, coach, parent, or rival swimmer is out there waiting for you at the end of the lane, you have an easier time waking up at 5am. Swimming is an individual sport that is sometimes dependent on the group.
There's a new business that focuses on linking people with group fitness classes. It’s called PeerFit. Swimmers have it easy: They can join a new team and immediately have access to a coach and teammates. But when you’re retired from the competitive swimming circuit, or when you are just looking to exercise outside-of-the-pool, it can be difficult to find group exercise activities. That’s where PeerFit comes in.
“We created a website and mobile app, and we help people find group fitness classes for them,” says Rex Tullius, one of the people behind PeerFit. “It’s used on rating systems for classes, instructors, gyms, and a lot of innovative techniques.”
Tullius personally knows the benefits of group exercise. Himself a former swimmer.
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten to the edge of the pool with my swim suit on, and said, ‘I’ll just swim later today,’” says Tullius. “That didn’t happen if I was training with the group. There’s so much to be said for group fitness.”
Tullius tells me that 70% of people are more likely to exercise if they know someone is relying on them. That’s a significant number. I think back to my swimming days when the alarm clock came too early on cold, January mornings. The only thing that got me out of bed was knowing a group of 20 other guys would hold me accountable for missing practice.
Group fitness works because the group will hold you responsible and keep you honest.
PeerFit, which is more geared for finding gym classes rather than finding swim teams, has a website and a mobile app that is free to download. It then connects people looking for group fitness classes in their area with the class that is right for them. While everything is free for the consumer, the company makes money from royalties, should the consumer decide to buy a class after visiting their website.
As for Tullius, who still swims a little today but is unsure about a sustained, long-term comeback, he has learned many business lessons from the swimming world and his up-and-down experiences in the pool.
“The [biggest lesson] is relationships. Learning how to handle the dynamics of relationships,” says Tullius.
He adds: “Second to that would be discipline. Waking up at 5:30 every day to go swim 3 or 4 miles, it’s not an easy task. Most people charged with that task can’t complete it. When you develop discipline to do that, it flows over other aspects of life.”