3 Group Classes To Try

Let’s be honest, at some point working out by yourself gets a little boring. For all the online support and community you have, there are just some days where the idea of working out alone makes you gag. Whether you miss being around others, are feeling moody or simply in need some inspiration, we say trying a group fitness class may be just what you need. The benefits to group classes are endless but we know for certain that on these ‘not-feeling-it’ days, joining one will give you a break from routine, get you meeting new people, and if nothing else, give you an energy filled, sweat inducing and heart pumping 60 minute workout you otherwise would have half assed your way through, or skip, by yourself.

So if you ever fall into this kind of rut and want out of it, then hitting up any of the 4 following group classes should get you back on solid ground.

Indoor Cycling

Indoor cycling

What It Is?

If you enjoyed a good party back in your day then indoor cycling is for you. Most indoor cycling studios are like mini night clubs – minus the smoke and unnecessary groping – with organized seating (aka bikes), strobe/neon lights, heart pumping music and endorphin rushed energy. They usually have a variety of classes for you to chose from and allow you to reserve your bike online way in advance. Many studios will either offer a free ride or a big discount on your first ride. The instructor will usually give you quick run through of the basics, help with your set up, tell you what to expect and how best to maximize your time on the bike.

What we love about it

An indoor cycling class is not just 45 minutes of pedaling on a bike. It’s a guided journey. Some rides take you through steep hills and deep valleys (i.e. strength ride), others take you along oceans and planes for miles (i.e endurance ride) while many will take you on fast pace sprints around narrow corners and up short inclines (i.e. strength & endurance ride).In some studios, bikes may be connected to monitors so you – and the entire class – can see your power output [torque] throughout the journey, while others may give you heart rate monitors – also connected to monitors – to show how hard you are working.

How to get the most out of it

Whichever journey it is, listening to the instructor’s cues for movement (i.e. to sit or stand), speed (i.e. bike’s rpm) and resistance (i.e. turn the tension up or down) changes, will be the key to getting the most out of a cycling class. It helps too that this is all done to really good music – recall night club setting.

No matter the class type, rest assured that it will challenge you, make your legs and lungs burn like nothing else and possibly push you to an uncomfortable place. But if you give it a shot, know that you’ll never be alone. A quick look to your left or right will reveal someone else huffing and puffing but also pushing just as hard as you are.

Fitness Kickboxing

Fitness Kickboxing

What it is

Fitness kickboxing is not new but it isn’t the Billy Blanks brand of kickboxing either. Instead we’re talking boxing gym – or martial arts – type kickboxing, where gloves, wraps and kick bags are standard staples used often in classes. Some gyms may offer introductory classes for newcomers before allowing you to join the main group class.

What we love about it

We love how instructors break down the varying punches and kicks and then give you combinations of both to do for a short period. Usually a class involves a series of rounds – lasting 3 minutes each- with each round building on the next and may even include some partner sparring. Some gym’s include a core circuit – think 1 minute plank holds and burpees – between rounds while others inject them after completing all rounds. Good fitness kickboxing instructors while teaching you to be fast on your feet (agility), defensively sound in your stance (strong) and effective in your strikes (accurate), will also teach you to do so safely. They teach you how to breathe with each strike, how to relax while moving and what to look for when sparring with someone else.

How to get the most out of it

This is the kind of class where you MUST use your whole body. And if you think, 3 minutes is too short a time, think again. It is not! Your arms will fatigue, your legs will get heavy, your heart rate will spike and you will be sweating buckets. All it means is that you are burning calories, getting stronger and building stamina. If nothing else, just think how much enjoyment, and stress relief, you’ll get from punching and kicking the shit out of a bag. Don’t believe us? Go check out your nearest boxing gym and give it a try.

High Intensity Interval Training

Interval Fitness Training
Source: Orange Theory

What it is

Depending on the gym or facility you go to, Interval Training could have a variety of names. Some facilities have specific classes, like 24hour Fitness’s Intensity, while some facilities build their brands on the concept of Interval Training like Orange Theory Fitness. Regardless of where you go though, the basic idea behind interval training remains the same, i.e. repeated rounds of short bursts of intense effort followed by varied rest periods. The effort can be on strength movements like squats and push ups, or cardio type movements like running and rowing. Movements can be performed on machines, with additional equipment or simply using one’s body weight.

What we love about it

The workouts are typically different each time, requires intense effort for short periods – anywhere from 15 seconds to 8 minutes – followed immediately by built in rest time, and incorporate a variety of movements. Depending on where you go, some gyms may incorporate odd objects like large tires, sleds, battle ropes and sledge hammers. This is not your typical gym class. It means, you aren’t likely to be bored from doing the same workout each time you go; will be able to last the whole 20-60 minutes instead of crashing after 15 minutes; and are making your mind and body stronger through a variety of ways.

How to get the most out of it

It’s the perfect combination workout for, those who dislike cardio but want to include more of it in their day, or those who are afraid of strength training  but know it will help enrich their daily lives. Go with an open mind and be prepared to be step out of your comfort zone. Having knowledgeable, fun and motivating instructors who break down movements, give good cues and ensure the class’s safety will further make any Interval training session an enjoyable one. It also helps if they’ve got some banging music that keep you moving from start to finish.

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