If you are looking to establish a workout schedule and a fitter, healthier lifestyle, monotonous machines and weights are not your only options at the gym. While there’s no doubt you will break a sweat and eventually see results with any faithful exercise routine, running or cycling in place can get old pretty fast, making it hard to enjoy – or stick to – your plan.
Fitness classes make working out more interesting. Between the motivation of the instructor and the energy of the group, classes are challenging and fun. We’re excited about these calorie-burning, sweat-inducing exercises that experts and fitness fanatics alike are loving.
Most gyms offer a variety of fitness classes included with memberships or offer them at a discounted rate. Try a few to find what you like best. Active&Fit Direct makes finding a place to workout even easier with over 10,000 fitness centers to choose from nationwide for just $25 a month.
Yoga’s focus on breathing, posture and stretching helps to tone muscles while improving your balance, flexibility, circulatory health and much more. While there’s been just about every imaginable type of yoga, from hot yoga to goat yoga, high intensity interval training or HIIT yoga is an exciting addition. Compared to other forms of yoga, HIIT yoga is more active, having you alternate between intense bursts of movement and periods of cool down. This hybrid routine will help you sweat, stretch and burn calories.
Whether it’s due to the primal allure of punching and kicking or perhaps the satisfaction of working out your stress and frustrations by beating up a punching bag, kickboxing has a lot of fans. Kickboxing helps build strength while burning a whopping 750 to 900 calories an hour, according to Women’s Health. It also works muscles across your body, from arms to abs to glutes. What’s more, you don’t actually need any equipment to do the forms, so you can practice at home.
Who wouldn’t want to try an exercise that makes you feel like a rock star? Pound classes offer a full body workout as you jam out to a soundtrack, making the experience all the more fun and energizing. Better yet, the only equipment you’ll need is a pair of drumsticks. While it’s obvious you’ll be working the muscles in your arms, this kind of workout also tones your legs and abs while improving your balance and cardio.
Dancing is another fun way to exercise. While dance classes like Zumba have been popular the past few years, if you’re looking something a little less structured and technique-oriented, Group Groove or Bokwa could be a better fit for you. Both of these options offer a bit more room for creative expression, where attendees are free – and even encouraged – to incorporate their own dance moves when they feel the beat of the music.
While the rowing machine has been a common fixture in gyms for years, there’s been a recent spike in the popularity of rowing classes where groups row together toward a common goal. Rowing builds power and endurance, and according to a study from the English Institute of Sport, it works an astonishing 86% of your body’s muscles, including the arm, core and leg muscles. Despite being considered relatively low-impact compared to other cardio workouts – meaning it’s not as harsh on areas such as the ankles, knees and hips – it’s still intense, so take it slow if you are new to it.
Barre is a workout that takes the best aspects of ballet, Pilates and yoga to help improve flexibility and posture while building strength. Though a bar – hence the name – is the essential piece of equipment for this kind of exercise, you’ll also use a mat, free weights and exercise balls and bands to get fit in this class. By using such a variety of techniques and equipment, you’ll be working a wide range of muscle groups, which include your arms, core, legs and glutes.
Strength training isn’t just for body builders. Kettlebells, which are cast iron weights with handles, are often used for team or group conditioning. The swinging motion used during kettlebell training – along with the accompanying dead lifts, squats and lunges – works various muscle groups, giving you a full body workout. The best part is you can burn a staggering 800 to 1200 calories per hour, according to Women’s Health.
Take a Class at Home
If you don’t have time to go to the gym as often as you’d like, at-home workouts are just as effective. Between all the apps, virtual trainers and streaming workouts, there are plenty of options. With Active&Fit Direct, you’ll have access to over 150 videos, articles and classes, included in your membership.
Finding the Right Class
Fitness classes are not one-size-fits-all. Everyone is different, and finding what works for your lifestyle, schedule and fitness preferences takes a bit of time, trial and error. Active&Fit lets you try different participating fitness centers with a guest pass. You can also change centers at any time and visit different ones while you’re traveling.
No matter which exercise, or combination of exercises, you decided to try, make sure you give your body time to rest and recover after, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Eating a well-balanced diet will also help you feel healthier and give you the proper fuel for a successful workout.
Which of these fitness classes would you like to try? Tell us in the comments.
AAA members can choose from over 10,000 participating fitness centers nationwide for just $25 a month with the Active&Fit Direct program. Learn more.