Thursday, April 19, 2012

What is your favorite exercise program or class?

As a fitness instructor, it’s important to explore a variety of programs, both in gyms and at homes. Some people love to do their own thing, and I do too occasionally, but I love the structure that comes with a solid exercise program. For fun, I’m going to list my top five favorite workout programs, ones you can find in a gym or ones you can do at home. Would you share your favorites with me and those who read this? Post a comment. What’s your favorite exercise program? Feel free to share your own original routines as well if that is what you prefer to do.

#1: Turbo Kick. No surprise, I know. But out of all the exercise classes I have taken, this one is the hardest, burns the most calories, has by far the hottest music, and is the most fun. I share with my students one simple fact: If you are going to spend an hour exercising, why would you choose anything but the best? Today, the HR department told me where I work that my class had the reputation for being the hardest. I love that. I hate, however, that people are scared to try it because they think it is too hard. Keep this in mind when trying any program: Pace yourself. Be patient. Don’t try to burn 1000 calories the first time you do it. We let our egos get in the way sometimes, and then we try too hard and burn ourselves out. But if you have a Turbo Kick class in your area, try it. If you live in my area, talk to me and I will hook you up. If you can’t find a Turbo Kick class, there is a home version of the program called Turbo Fire. 

#2: P90X. This is by far the best home program I have completed. Over 12 workouts over a 90 day period that balance weight lifting, cardio, yoga, and more. More than weight lifting though, you are isolating muscle groups on different days. There is a real science to the program, and it will get you in the best shape of your life. It’s a no-joke program. There is no gimmick, meaning, no one will tell you it is easy. You have to work your butt off, but it is worth it to be in the best shape of your life. 

#3: P90X2. I am 39 days into this program. It may top the first P90X, but it’s hard to say at this point. I love this program because it introduces new variety to your workouts with stability balls, medicine balls, and more balance and strength exercises than you could imagine. I love the variety, the challenge, and the results. It’s another program with no gimmicks: work hard in a variety of ways and you will see results.

#4: Body Pump. This is a Les Mills gym program, but there is now a home version available too. I love the music and the simple but effective structure. It’s a whole body weight workout with barbells, dumbbells, and more. It’s the perfect program to do for a couple of months in between other programs, as it will work your entire body in a variety of intense ways. 

#5: Insanity. This is another home workout, and the title does not lie. You have a variety of exercises without weights, but there is still plenty of strength training. The philosophy here is to complete maximum repetitions every time you do a move. You are not trying to reach 10 or 15. You are trying to reach 100 and more, and you keep going at that intense pace, move after move, day after day, for 60 days. What a rush!

If I had to pick five workout programs at this time in my life that I would do for the rest of my life, it would be the above programs. Mix up your routine. Make a commitment to try a new program. Make a commitment to have better results, no matter what your fitness objectives are.

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