Going to the gym, you only get out what you put in. This is where classes come in handy! While you may be able to say to yourself “not right now” or “I’ll just stop here” on your own, a class always starts at the same time and it keeps going with a room full of people doing the same thing, which is an encouraging environment. It’s a set workout you can trust to make you break a sweat, and in today’s craze of new types of workout classes, you’ll definitely be able to find something that suits your style. For a look at what’s out there, check out these 8 types of workout classes that’ll leave you very very sore, but feeling satisfied and empowered with the work you put in.
1. HIIT Fit
The HIIT in HIIT Fit stands for High Intensity Interval Training, but basically what all those fancy words boil down to is kicking your butt for a short amount of time and then giving you a small rest before doing it all over again. If you’re one of those people who swears by, “I can do anything for 30 seconds,” then HIIT Fit is for you. As the name implies, the workout guides you through short bursts of alternating cardio-focused exercises (with some strength and abs thrown in of course) with small rests in between. You’re always fighting hard through intense exercises like burpees or squat jumps to make it to that next break. The fast pace keeps you distracted and quickly moving through the class until the time is up and you’re dead, but you’ve crushed your workout.
People who get into kickboxing as their go-to work out class swear by it. It’s a class that definitely shows the meaning to you only get out what you put in, but when you put that energy in to each kick or punch, you’ll feel the burn and later the reward. Part of this is because it requires you to actively and knowingly engage your muscles. You have to use your core or your back muscles to throw a punch rather than just swinging your arms. But once you put in that intensity to your own work, you’ll get an intense cardio-heavy workout well worth your time.
3. Pole Workouts
We all giggle behind our hands when we think about going to a pole workout (ya know, like one of those that might be used for stripping?), but they’re actually thought of as seriously good workouts for getting fit if you stick with it. Walking into your first pole class (a beginner one is the move), you’re not going to immediately be challenged to do all the fancy aerial spins holding yourself up with only your arms. The start is all about learning the simple stuff and how to use the pole, which makes for a much less intense workout as you’re having to stop and take time to figure things out and practice. You’ll have to laugh at yourself a lot at first, but later when you’ve got a body of toned muscles, nobody will be laughing.
Barre classes are one of those crazes that’s popped up in the last three years or so, but it’s definitely stuck around. From what I’ve heard and read about Barre classes the workout moves are small, meaning rather than throwing your whole body in the air for a squat jump, you’ll be focused on contracting specific muscle groups, while moving in small ranges of motion. Meanwhile, you’re holding onto the ballet bar to keep yourself balanced and the rest of your body still. If you’ve ever had to pulse in a class, think of it like that: keeping your body tensed in a position while you quickly move in a very small range of motion. The movement may be tiny, but that’s how you really begin to feel the burn when toning those muscles, and you’ll for sure be sore after the class, and probably in it as well.
TRX is another one of the types of workout classes you’ll have to take time to get the hang of since it involves some complicated equipment, but after just a few classes you’ll be wishing for those days when you had to take it slow because you didn’t know what you were doing. It’s the main type of core suspension training you’ll find available at local gyms. If you’ve ever passed a workout room with one of these inside:
and gone holy crap, what is that? That’s the typical TRX equipment. The main idea is that those straps are used to perform each exercise, which incorporates using your own body weight as resistance weight in every exercise, even one as simple as squatting. This requires you to keep your core constantly engaged, even as you begin to work on other muscles like your arms or butt too. Your core is always working hard to get that flat stomach we all dream of.
Unlike a lot of these types of workout classes, the term “bootcamp” is at least somewhat familiar to everyone. Whether you’re a pro or a gym newbie, you vaguely know what the term bootcamp implies. The specific reality isn’t much different. Modeled after the military workout you’d see in a war movie montage about getting in shape for battle, these workouts regularly focus on strength training, but with trusted exercises like lunges, squats, running, and jump moves thrown in, until your full body is sore and covered in sweat. There are tons of renditions on this class type today, so you can try whatever fits your style. Either way, you’ll come out feeling like you really spent your time working out.
If you really go for spin class, or just wish you did, then you’ll likely be excited to try out a rowing class the next time your butt bones are way too sore from sitting on that bicycle seat. It’s crazy that you can get so much from one little machine, but it really is true. When rowing in class, you’ll engage your arms and your legs. You’ll be doing a cardio workout, while simultaneously building up strength in those muscles. There’s not much more you can ask for. A lot of people have switched to rowing classes over cycling because it offers many of the same benefits, but without the high impact workout that can lead more often toward injury.
This option may sound like one of the more boring types of workout classes, but think of it more as classic or standard. Why mess with a good thing? I will admit that I often fall prey to the idea that yoga isn’t worth my time in the gym as much as other, more active classes, but every time I go it still kicks my ass. Just because you’re not jumping up and down doesn’t mean you’re not getting a good workout. With yoga you’re not just stretching, you’re putting your body into position where your core has to perk up and put in work to keep your muscles tensed and balanced. So while yoga helps with flexibility, breathing, peace of mind and injury prevention (and those are all very worthwhile benefits), it’s also just actually a good workout. If you don’t think so, you’re probably not doing it right.
The great thing in the end is that there are so many rewarding types of workout classes out there, you can definitely find one you like. Familiarize yourself with multiple to keep your weekly workouts varied and challenge different parts of your body in different ways for a totally comprehensive butt-kicking. The most important thing to remember when trying out one of these new classes is to go in with the right mindset (and maybe a friend!). Everyone is in the same boat as you, trying to get and keep their bodies healthy, and there’s no reason to be embarrassed even as you work to get the hang of things. You’re in a supportive environment where everyone wants to work together to come out exhausted, but fulfilled.