Sometimes, a solo workout where you push yourself to your limits is just what you need. But other times, it’s very difficult to motivate yourself to work out alone. A group fitness class is the perfect thing for those days when you need to work out, but just want to stay home and sit on the couch. Having an instructor guiding the exercises takes the pressure off of you to create a workout plan, and the group of fellow exercisers will push you to work harder than you would if you were on your own. From the traditional classes held in gyms, to more unique outdoor and studio classes, here are five of the best group fitness workouts to help you stay motivated.
CrossFit is an extremely popular workout that focuses on multiple fitness components, including cardio, endurance, strength, balance, speed and flexibility. It’s a high intensity workout that changes up its routine daily to keep your muscles working and prevent you from getting bored. Many CrossFit boxes, or gyms, are very social places where people are encouraging and helpful. Many CrossFitters find that they become friends with their fellow athletes outside of the gym, as well.
Sitting on a stationary bike staring at a gym TV can be a bore. While spin class still uses a stationary spinning bike, an instructor will walk you through an intense workout that works your lower body. Spin classes can be endurance rides, strength-building hill rides, or high intensity interval training (HIIT) rides that involved “jumps” on the bike. Many gyms offer spin classes, and there are spin-specific studios, also. Some classes are solely focused on the ride, but some spin classes are almost like parties, held in rooms lit only with black lights and with loud, pump-up music blasting.
Anyone who has ever tried doing yoga at home knows how difficult it is to stay focused on your flow when kids, pets or roommates are walking in and out. Plus, it’s just so tempting to settle onto the floor in shavasana (corpse pose) as soon as you can. Going to a class at a studio keeps you focused and stops you from just quitting in the middle. Working with a real instructor, as opposed to following a video, has benefits as well. They can correct improper form (you can injure yourself in yoga!) and teach you new poses you might not otherwise find.
OrangeTheory classes is a cardio focused class that rotates attendees between a treadmill, rowing machine and the weight room for an intense full body workout in 60 minutes. You wear a heart rate monitor throughout the class, and adjust your intensity to get into the “orange” heart rate zone for the most effective workout possible. You get to see your data in real time during the class. Depending on your weight and the amount of time you spend in the orange zone, you can burn between 500 and 1,000 per class.
Barre classes pull their workouts from the same concepts that ballet dancers use to build long, lean muscles. They often use isometric movements, slowly moving only an inch or two on each exercise to build lean and toned, not bulky, muscles. Most barre workouts start with arm and chest exercises, followed by legs and glutes using a ballet barre (hence the name) for balance.