FITNESS

Choose the Right Group Class

Figuring out your fitness goals first will help you find the perfect group class.

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By Maddy Barney

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So you want to lose weight, maybe build muscle, or get a little faster and stronger? You’ve joined a gym, and now have no idea what to do. Luckily most gyms offer various group fitness classes, but which one is right for you? There are many options to choose from. In my opinion most people should try all classes that they can to help decide which one they prefer but also think of your goal! How does that fit in to your decision? Are you trying to lose weight? You want to be doing something involving a lot of continuous movement. Want to run faster? Now look into a high intensity interval training (or HIIT) class. There are many options and this article is meant to help you narrow down your choices.

Weight Loss Goal

In terms of weight loss most classes are going to be pretty good options! Try and find a class that involves both cardio (so you’re keeping your heart rate elevated continuously through the class), and weight lifting. Why? Well cardio helps burn calories, and weight lifting helps build muscle which tightens the skin and can offer a more toned look.

Most gyms will offer a “Total Body Toning” class that will offer this sort of movement. If it’s a little intimidating, try something like a TRX class, the TRX is a good way to start exercising as the difficulty is modified easily. It’s also a great way to build a foundation of muscular strength. Pilates is also an excellent way to enter into the fitness world, but tackle it from a different angle. Pilates offers strength training and core development while keeping your heart rate elevated. Other class options include your basic offered classes such as Zumba, Kickboxing or any “Ab Attack” or “Booty Builder” class.

Strength and Flexibility

You want to get stronger, but you want to be bendy. Is it possible? Yes it is actually. If you’re looking for strength development most weight lifting classes offered can help you with that! You just have to remember to get some heavier weights and pace yourself! To help work on your flexibility I would recommend most Yoga classes, as well as any Barre classes. Yoga is a great way to work on total body strength as well as your flexibility, there are many different kinds. Most involve movement that is coordinated with your breathing. These can help improve your flexibility, your strength, as well as your balance. Barre classes are a combination between pilates, dance, yoga and functional training put to music. It is an excellent way to move a little differently but see similar results!

Performance Focused

For performance focused goals (such as run a marathon, increase running speed etc.) you want to focus on Interval Training classes. Look for a “Athletic Conditioning” or “Sport Conditioning” class, they aren’t the most commonly offered but can be a great way to work towards improving your performance.

Most gyms offer a Cycling class which is a great way to really push yourself and push to new limits, it can also be a good form of cross-training to help prevent injury if you’re training for a running event. At the end of the day any HIIT class is going to help to improve your speed and distance! So if your goal is lose weight, AND get faster, try a HIIT weight lifting class.

If you’re working on decreasing that mile time, cycling is a good alternative to help develop your body’s ability to process oxygen and speed your run up.

Final Words!

To finish up just remember that moving is our goal, so get out there and move. Try ALL of the classes, see which one you love the most and stick to it! Be sure to ask your gym what classes they offer and take full advantage of every single one. Have fun moving!

Maddy is currently living in the Bay Area and moved there to pursue her Masters in Exercise Physiology at San Jose State University. She has a Bachelor's degree in Human Performance and has been working as a Personal Trainer for the past 3 years. She has worked with a wide demographic of clients pursuing various goals and works hard to help them see their potential. She is an outdoor enthusiast and dedicates her workouts to rock climbing, hiking, and whatever new experiences may come her way.

Main Photo Credit: UvGroup/shutterstock.com; Second Photo Credit: Jacob Lund/shutterstock.com; Third Photo Credit: wavebreakmedia/shutterstock.com