Need motivation to exercise? Accountability and encouragement is the secret behind Wakefield Plantation’s thriving group personal-training program.

It's 5:30 A.M. at Wakefield Plantation. The sun peeks through the clouds, the world wakes to another busy day, and Drew Forshey’s first group fitness class is underway.

What motivates someone to show up, day after day, to an early-morning fitness class? The answer is simple: the need for a healthier, positive change in daily life, coupled with the support and motivation of like-minded classmates.

Forshey, instructor of the group personal-training program at Wakefield, knows just what it takes to change the lives of the class participants. When looking for a way to improve your overall health, a program like Forshey’s is just the thing.

“I look forward to my daily workouts with Drew and my group because I’ve found that fitness is fun with friends,” says Pam Boyden, Wakefield Plantation member and active program participant.

Wakefield’s group personal-training program has been successful since its implementation in 2014. Each week, there are 16 available workout times to accommodate varying schedules. From 5:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m., there is a slot for everyone. (So no more excuses – “I can’t find the time!”) It’s not unusual for some participants to make it to five sessions each week.

The program’s small-group philosophy is key to creating a one-on-one personal-training style experience — but with the positivity and benefit of friends to lean on for extra motivation.

Wakefield member Jill Brennan-Cook explains: “The people who exercise alongside me at 5:30 a.m. provide me with motivation. They push themselves and never, ever complain about the work. It’s an eclectic group of friendly and supportive people who are interested in being healthy and making the most of the early morning hour.”

To reach this point of commitment and dedication, each group member goes through an intake process that allows the trainer to complete necessary health and medical history checks. It also provides the trainer time to design a specific workout routine based on the individual’s needs, injury history, and goals. Each participant is different, so every program is designed specifically for the individual.

According to Forshey, exercise routines vary depending on the needs of the client. However, most programs focus on cardiovascular, resistance training, and high-intensity interval training. There’s also emphasis on balance, posture, core strengthening, and injury prevention and rehabilitation, if necessary.

As instructor of the program, Forshey reaps the benefits just as much as his students. “I love my job, I really do,” he says. “I’m excited to get to work in the morning. I love to help others however I can, and personal training has always been a way to do that for me. Prevention is worth a pound of treatment. To get someone started, then watch them really own their health and fitness ... that’s one of the best feelings.”

The classes have been truly “lifechanging,” says student Brook Ayres. “It’s the most fun hour of my day, and I am in the best shape of my life!”