This guest post is written courtesy of Jennifer MacGregor
How to Choose the Best Fitness Class for You
Fitness classes come in all styles and sizes. Whether you’re looking for a fitness class with a small-group vibe, a large class with dozens of other participants for a lively sweat session, a class for high-impact aerobics, or fitness styles that combine the best of physical activity and mindfulness, the perfect fitness class is waiting for you.
But what if you’re not sure what type of fitness you need or even enjoy? Choosing between the many different styles of low, medium, and high-intensity fitness options can be overwhelming to say the least. There’s no harm in experimenting with all types of fitness to find a class that resonates with your soul.
What Are Your Goals?
What are you looking to accomplish by taking a fitness class? If you’re trying to lose a few extra pounds, try a cardio-focused spin class to get your heart rate up or a hot yoga class to burn extra calories and increase flexibility. Want to tone up and increase your muscle mass? Look for some kind of aerobics class. Or perhaps your goal is to increase endurance and train to run a marathon; try an indoor rowing class to develop flexibility in your legs as well as gaining cardiovascular benefits.
Are you a social butterfly? Find a class where you can chat with friends while you work out like a dance class instead of a boot camp where you’re expected to focus on training.
What is Your Fitness Level?
Most gyms, fitness centers, and studios offer a range of classes from beginner all the way up to advanced levels. Carefully read the description of the classes you’re considering to determine whether it’s a good fit for the level you’re currently at. If you’re new to fitness, for instance, intense cardio or advanced aerobics may not be the best options to start with.
If you have your mind set on a specific class that’s too advanced, start out with an introductory or lower-level program and make it your goal to work your way up. Increasing strength and endurance is sometimes necessary before attempting some forms of advanced fitness.
If you’re new to the exercise game, start with gentle yoga or a basic aerobics class. Not an athlete but still able to do full push-ups and run moderate distances? Try something a little more rigorous like kickboxing or pilates. If you’ve been mostly focused on strength training, try a boot camp to get a more well-rounded workout.
What Do You Want to Try?
Now that you’ve decided what your physical goals are, and what your fitness level is, it is time to think about what you are most interested in trying. Staying committed to your fitness regimen is much easier when you actually enjoy working out.
For instance, if you’ve always been interested in dancing, there are many different kinds of dance fitness classes offered today from modern to hip-hop, tap, ballet, Batuka, Zumba, or even burlesque or belly-dancing. All of these are designed to give your body a workout while you’re having a blast.
Have you always wondered about strength-training classes, kickboxing, or challenging yourself with a boot camp? These types of classes are great for working on your endurance and building muscle at the same time. However, if you’re looking for something different than the usual aerobics or kickboxing class, you could take a water aerobics or swimming class. These are great full body workouts, and water exercise is easy on your joints.
Open Your Mind and Try Anything
Do not be afraid to try something new when it comes to fitness. Changing things up is a good way to stave off boredom from your current exercise routine, and many fitness experts recommend doing exactly that when you’ve hit a plateau. When you mix things up you will also work out your muscles in a different way, which is great for your body. If you try something new and it doesn’t work out, switch it up and try something else. Or, who knows…you may even accidentally discover your new favorite fitness class.
Experimented with a few different fitness styles and found more than one that you’re head-over-heels in love with? Create your own hybrid program, alternating different styles on different days. This is especially helpful if you’ve found that you enjoy something in the strength-training area as well as something in the aerobic arena, as cross-training is best for optimal health. Designate Mondays as yoga day, Tuesdays for kickboxing, Wednesdays for Zumba, and so on to create a weekly or bi-weekly schedule that changes things up and gives your whole body a workout through the week for optimal health.
Jennifer McGregor is the co-creator of PublicHealthLibrary.org, which was made for one of her pre-med classes as a project. With the site, she intends to provide various resources pertaining to medical inquiries and general health. When Jennifer is not busy being a student, she enjoys walking her dog through the park.