Following through on your fitness goals can be one of the most challenging things you’ll ever do, especially for beginners. All it takes is a few mornings where you don’t want to get out of bed or a few hectic days at the office; the next thing you know, you haven’t been to the gym in two weeks. Then you do go to the gym, and you have the most frustrating workout ever.
Group exercise classes provide a ready-made alternative because they can provide you with the accountability and social support that get you through the days when you want to do anything but work out. Let’s look at seven types of group exercise classes that can help you stay on track with your fitness goals.
Yoga can be especially challenging to practice on your own. Enroll in a class, however, and you’ll soon be filling in the gaps in your practice. A teacher can help you with better postures, while going to a class with like-minded people can get you over the I-don’t-feel-like-yoga-today blues. Once you fall head over heels in love with your yoga practice, consider planning a vacation to San Diego. Aside from the fact that yoga gear is the preferred casual attire of the masses, you can practice yoga outside in some of the most beautiful locations–in parks and on bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean–and in studios of nearly every discipline.
Indoor cycling is especially popular among California gym goers, often as a regular supplement to a yoga practice. Whereas yoga training provides flexibility, balance, and a sense of calm, spin cycling can give you a boost of supercharged energy–and a body that feels more confident in yoga gear. Spin cycling provides a workout for your core, upper body, back, glutes, quads, hamstrings, and lower legs. And a single spin class can burn more than 500 calories.
If yoga seems too quiet and a spin class too intense, maybe you’re looking for a group exercise class that feels like a party. Zumba has its roots in the 1990s when a Columbian choreographer named Alberto Perez created the dance-aerobics class that would become a worldwide sensation. The steps you’ll learn in a Zumba class have their roots in salsa, reggaeton, merengue, and cumbia. Zumba helps with weight loss, muscle toning, balance, coordination, and stress relief.
Fitness Boot Camps
Fitness boot camps were inspired by the basic military training that members of the armies, air forces, and navies of the world go through. A fitness boot camp will provide you with a high-intensity workout with the goal of building strength, endurance, and agility. Class styles may vary by teacher, but you can usually count on a combination of calisthenics, drills, and sprints as you blend aerobic, speed, and strength training.
A pilates class will most likely focus on a series of exercises to help you with breathing, concentration, core muscle control, centering, flow, precision, relaxation, stamina, and postural alignment. There are similarities between Pilates and yoga; however, Pilates focuses more on building core strength–specifically, increased muscle strength and tone of your abs, lower back, hips, and buttocks.
If Pilates and yoga got married and had a baby, that baby would be PiYo, a workout program that combines the core-firming and muscle-sculpting benefits of Pilates with the flexibility and strength that come from a solid yoga practice. PiYo was developed by Beachbody, the fitness company that also gave us workout programs such as P90X and Insanity.
While at first you might think that aquafit is a workout for seniors and the infirmed, you might be surprised at how trendy it is becoming for fitness-seekers in their 20s and 30s. One of the benefits of an aquafit class is that no one can see if you mess up a move because it’s underwater; this takes the pressure off and lets you relax and work out peacefully. Benefits of an aquafit class include strengthened muscles and improved cardiovascular fitness while providing benefits to the internal organs and lymphatic system. Plus, it just feels nice to get into the water sometimes.