Find Your Fitness Philosophy
So your home gym equipment is gathering dust and the beginner workout routine you devised usually leaves you panting on the living-room floor instead of making any real progress. Sounds like you’re in need of the sort of structure and motivation that only fitness classes can provide.
But which trainer-led workout do you choose? There are plenty out there, but you don’t want to waste your time with a class that you find discouraging or unenjoyable. Nor do you want to wander around the gym or exercise studio like a wide-eyed first-timer.
That’s why we talked to instructors of four different types of popular fitness classes—barre, CrossFit, spinning, and yoga—about what to expect from their discipline, who their classes are suited for, and how they propel their students to greatness. (Or, at the very least, not-couch-potato-ness.)
One of the most popular workouts for women, barre fitness uses the graceful, flexible movements of ballet, Pilates, and yoga to train and condition specific muscle groups. But you don’t need any dance experience to be successful—instructor Lauren Ross just recommends arriving early and being willing to accept pointers from your trainer. Learn more about what to expect from a barre workout.
CrossFit is one of the best fitness programs for anyone inclined to competition. Students challenge themselves to beat their best times, weight, or number of reps, and peers—especially devoted CrossFitters—like to one-up each other. There also tends to be a good amount of drill-sergeant-style prodding from intense trainers like Tom Parry. Read Parry's detailed account of a typical CrossFit session.
Spinning is another fitness discipline that’s popular among women, though everyone’s welcome in Stephanie Beck’s classes. That’s true even if you’ve never ridden a bicycle before. Her workout tips? Always play music with a driving beat to hype you up and have something to look forward to in order to push yourself to the finish. Check out more of her upbeat guidance about taking on spinning as your exercise hobby.
Yoga isn’t all “Ommm”s and breathing exercises. It can also be a formidable workout. Holding difficult poses, for instance, can be a form of strength training, while flowing styles like vinyasa and ashtanga can help you burn calories and break a sweat. Instructor Brentan Schellenbach’s practice not only keeps her fit and flexible but also helps with stress relief and self-doubt. Let her explain what newbies should look for in a yoga teacher and class.
Photos by Grant Walsh and Matt Schwerin, Groupon