Read on to learn exactly how fitness classes leave you with more muscle or better tone.
Bulky upper-body muscles might have hindered early humans who had to chase their prey across the plains, but it could help those who often had to climb trees to adjust their satellite dishes. That?s why the body builds muscle according mostly to use: do enough curls, and the biceps expand. As anyone who has experienced post-workout soreness could intuit, those curls are actually a form of controlled damage, making thousands of miniscule tears to the muscle tissue that beckon autoimmune cells to show up alongside testosterone and other hormones. The white blood cells help switch on satellite cells, which are similar to stem cells. Before they're activated, satellite cells aren't doing much?instead, they lie dormant around muscle fibers until they're called into action to repair torn tissue.
This isn't the only kind of cellular transformation at work in growing muscles. Long muscle cells, which contain several nuclei, can also begin to change type after a workout. Certain kinds of muscle fibers are equipped to handle brief bursts of effort but will quickly become tired if asked to do more intense work. These are the first to disappear as someone starts an exercise routine, as they're converted into fibers with more endurance. This principle is so dramatic that a sports scientist can generally tell whether someone is a professional athlete or a professional mattress model by examining a minute sample of muscle tissue.
Dance instructor Kelly Anderson didn't always like to exercise. But 10 years ago, at the behest of a friend, the mother of five attended her first cardio dance class and was thrilled to discover that exercise could be fun—as long as it was treated as though it were a party. Eager to share her passion and weight-loss tips with others, Kelly helms Dance Jam Fitness, where each class she teaches is a fun, energetic shindig complete with hip-shaking tunes plus moves dedicated to sculpting muscles and building one's power to ignore come-hither stares from donuts. In addition to her class schedule, Kelly hosts motivational events throughout the year that help participants lead healthier lifestyles.
Jenni Anderson, the owner of Red-Yoga, has assembled a staff made up of instructors who have each trained under different teachers, giving students a buffet of yoga styles to choose from. During class, temperatures soar to 102 degrees, making muscles more flexible for deeper, safer stretches and causing pores to eject toxins in the same way DVD players instinctively eject Michael Bay movies.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were accidentally installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circle of hydraulic resistance machines designed to work with women's bodies, promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage machine maneuvering and muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing momentum, the hydraulic machines use each lady’s body weight and unique fitness level to create resistance that matches her abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions can create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
CrossFit Station's experienced coaches mold men and women into Olympian impersonators during high-intensity CrossFit training sessions. Embark on a strength and conditioning journey with one month of unlimited classes, making exercise part of daily habits such as checking email or drinking beer in the shower. Classes combine sequences of short exercises drawn from a range of sprints, squats, pushups and more, igniting full-bodied athleticism and bolstering core power, flexibility, and stamina. Exercises are ever-changing, with the gym's [whiteboard] showcasing each day's featured workout alongside doodles of the trainers' favorite comic strips. Sessions run throughout the week, and may be scaled to accommodate athletes' fitness level and desired impact.
Novice calorie burners and ripped Michelangelo models alike can take advantage of Anytime Fitness’s one-month membership ($59), which equips bodies with enough treadmills, cycles, elliptical machines, and weights to make them fit enough to run a marathon inside of a swimming pool filled with mud. Two personal training sessions ($35) help self-sculptors attain results. This deal also includes unlimited tanning ($25/month) to paint new, ripply physiques a brilliant shade of bronze.