No matter what you do in life or what you want to accomplish, I have always encouraged others to incorporate fitness. It sharpens the mind. It energizes us, we feel better, and we sleep better. When all of that happens, you find that you have more energy and greater focus for the other things you wish to accomplish. There’s just no excuse not to do it! And if you want to tell me that you’re too busy: foolishness! I can promise you that I'm pretty busy too. But I find time to brush my teeth every day because that’s important. You can find time to exercise too. Because it's important!
I love some time on my own in a weight room or out on a run, bike ride, or hike. It’s good to have that meditative, independent time. But what I want to do here is encourage you and challenge you to get involved in group exercise. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done for my fitness.
In group exercise, I’ve made new friends and found many new mentors and inspirations. I’m motivated by the great music and the fun atmosphere. I learn more about fitness and technique all the time. And I work harder and make the most of my time. You can get a great workout on your own, of course. But you will be motivated MORE, learn MORE, and have MORE fun in a fun setting with other participants chasing a goal similar to yours all the while being led by a motivated and trained fitness leader. My point: You get MORE out of group fitness!
I’ve been a certified fitness instructor for over three years now, and I work at a facility with dozens of great classes. So what should you try? And what’s the best? Let me tell you about a few of my favorites. These are some of the classes offered at the fitness center where I teach.
BODY PUMP: This is a full-body strength class that uses barbells and dumbbells. It’s fantastic for toning, weight loss, strength, and endurance. The moves are matched to music, and it’s always a motivating and rewarding class!
P90X LIVE: P90X LIVE is the group format of the classic home DVD series. Like Pump, you’ll get an amazing strength and endurance workout. It’s not choreographed to music; it’s more of a boot camp (do this one move for one minute), so if you prefer to work at your own pace but still have a motivating group environment, it’s a great option for you.
BODY COMBAT: What a great martial arts inspired class! You punch and kick your way to a leaner body with the spirit of a fighter. Moves are choreographed to music, but they are easy to follow and learn. You’ll feel like Rocky at the end of a workout!
TURBO KICK: Like Combat, it’s punching and kicking, but if Combat is the main fight, then Turbo is the victory celebration after the fight! It has a lot of athletic moves and a rave-like feel. There's a ton of variety to the choreography and you will never be bored. This class is all about energy and creating that party-like atmosphere.
BODY FLOW: It’s the ultimate yoga + Pilates class that leaves you feeling calm and refreshed. You’ll stretch the body and strengthen the core and end with meditation and relaxation. It’s an absolutely beautiful workout-- good for the body, mind, and soul.
RPM/Spinning: Who doesn’t love a bike? Now, add a fun instructor and high-energy music and take a spin with a group of motivated people! You’ll use resistance to burn mega calories and strengthen the body all in a fun and challenging atmosphere.
There are a ton of other classes, but I won’t lie: The above are my favorites to take. I teach P90X and Turbo Kick, but respect all of the classes. I recently got certified in KettleWorX and look forward to adding the uniqueness of kettle bell training to my workouts too.
Now, what’s the best?
The answer is simple. The best fitness class is the one you do. We all take pride in our individual interests, but egos aside, what matters most is that you are active. If you take a class, you’ll learn new things every time you workout. It’s not just working out; it’s an education too! And when you’re surrounded by other people and a motivating instructor, you will find yourself working harder than if you were on your own.
One of the common themes I write about when it comes to achieving goals is this: it’s often the positive influence of others that really help you succeed. The same is true for fitness. Try different classes and find a format that you like. You won’t like them all, and that’s ok. That’s why we have so many! There is something for everyone. You’ll find encouraging instructors and supporting participants like yourself, and when you put that together, you will get better results and will learn to enjoy exercise.
Do you have a favorite class? Why do you love it? Let me know in the comments.