Hey readers 🙂
When you join the gym you are often bamboozled by the class timetable that offers 100+ classes a week, each with its own unique benefits, yet equally scary looking routines and combinations.
When I first started in fitness, over 10 years ago now, I had a genuine fear of public speaking, and the idea of “teaching” a class literally terrified me. That, and my serious lack of co-ordination! But in order to work in a gym, it was a requirement to teach classes… So I very quickly had to get over both of these and begin to face my fears. 😳😱
Since then, group fitness has offered me a lot of things on a personal level, from learning so many new techniques and methods of exercise, but also giving me the confidence to stand in front of a group and instruct. My co-ordnation still sucks… but thats just me. Put me on a dance floor in a club and watch me bust out shapes, but choreograph it, and I’m a mess!
But the same benefits are available to each and every person who walks into that studio to participate in the class. Not only will you gain health, fitness and weight loss results, but you will amplify your Confidence as well. And probably make some new fitness buddies at the same time!!
Group fitness classes are possibly one of the best places to boost your results, not only are they fun, but you can meet so many awesome people and make some fantastic friends. And it is that support network that brings you into the group each and every week.
Whether you have been a regular exerciser for some time, or have never dropped a squat in your life, the classes can cater to the needs for each of the participants. Especially if you have a good instructor.
In my career, I have taught MOST styles of fitness, from Aqua aerobic and Spin (indoor Cycling) to Boxercise and Bokwa. I have created my own classes and mashed up various styles of fitness, as well as sticking to the routines created by the overseeing organisations.
And each style of class has their own individual benefits, depending on what you want to achieve!
So which classes are the best for Weight loss???
#1 Body Pump/Pump FX/Weights Based Classes
My personal Favourite!!!
Body Pump is a class that brings with it a whole plethora of personal challenges, but personal bests & personal achievements as well. It’s an amazing confidence booster and body changer!
If you have never taken a “pump” class, then it may be about time that you raise the bar…. The barbell that is!!!
You may have avoided it until now, thinking it was all about building muscle, getting strong and building mass. Well, yes, it is about building muscle and getting stronger, BUT not in an “Arnie” kinda way.
When you join a Pump class, the first thing you will have to get to grips with is the weights, the Barbell is by far the best piece of equipment in the gym, but launching it over your head or squatting with it on your back may be a little daunting.
So start light and build your confidence & technique.
Although the class may look scary as hell from outside the studio, it was originally developed for people of all levels of fitness. From those who are regular gym-bods to those who have led a sedentary lifestyle until signing that piece of paper and setting up their monthly membership direct debit.
It is a resistance weight training class, created and designed to help build tone & strength, without adding bulk and mass. So you will NOT get big and bulky!!!
The 60 minute class focusses on lower weights with higher repetitions, and this is the perfect recipe for tone. If you wanted bulk & mass, well, you would need to go heavy weights and lower reps.
Each track of the motivating and pumped music is targeting a set muscle group, i.e. legs, core, triceps, back etc. So you only spend a few minutes on each area of the body, exhausting the muscles just enough to get the desired results.
Although choreographed, the moves are simple, and the tempo is set by the music. Counting 1 beat to 3 beats, 2 beats to 2 beats or even 4 beats to 4, your eccentric and concentric contractions work equally. Giving balance to your muscles.
- You can expect to realistically burn in the region of 600 calories per one hour class.
- Your overall metabolism will improve, giving you more energy & greater fat burning capabilities.
- You will experience a better sleep quality & improved focus and concentration.
- You have better overall health.
- Although resistance training, your cardiovascular system will also improve.
- Stronger muscles = lower injury risk
- You will have a more sculpted and defined body.
If you want to burn fat, then body pump or resistance weight based classes are the “go to” class for you!
#2 Spin/Indoor Cycling
Another firm favourite of mine, and one that I use to teach several times a week. Spinning is a fantastic workout, and again one that you can start from ANY level of fitness.
If you have never sat on a spinning bike, then let me tell you a few key facts, so you know what to expect when walking into the studio.
Firstly, the bike… There is very little to it! Hand bars, tension dial, brake, pedals, saddle, frame and fixed wheel!
When you first start, ask your instructor for help in setting up your bike. It is really important that both your handle bars and saddle are in the right place for you, and not the last person to use the bike. A saddle that is too low will not recruit the muscles effectively in the legs or glutes and too high will have you over extending, and handles bars that are too close or too far way will impair the upper body work involved in the class. So make sure your set up is right before you start.
Secondly, ask your instructor A) where the tension dial is. B) Where the brake is. And C) how to tighten your foot cages!
Trust me, the last thing you want is your foot to pop out the cage mid-sprint and injure your leg… and it would be a nasty injury. I’ll spare you gore and photos, but trust me… foot cages are ESSENTIAL!
If you are going for cleats on your shoes, make sure they are secure. I would only recommend cleats if you are a seasoned cyclist or Spinner!
Get to class about 5 minutes before you start so you can sit on the bike and spin your legs out before you start, this just helps to get the blood pumping around the thighs and burn through any lactic build up before you start.
In a 45 minute spin class, you can expect to burn around 500 calories, but this depends on if you are increasing your tension on the bike as directed by your instructor. You are only cheating yourself if you don’t… So my advice…. crank it up!!!
The spin bike has a fixed wheel, and you would do well to remember and respect this when on the bike!
This basically means that if you stop pedalling, the bike doesn’t! The wheel & pedals will keep turning. So if you want to stop, hit the brake. Otherwise, you risk jarring your knees as the force of the pedals kicks up.
Although intense, Spinning is technically a low impact workout, as you are not jumping or impacting on joints, so it can be a great option for those with low grade injuries. I have even heard that Spinning is now being recommended to people who suffer from arthritis, although I would take it steady to begin with, and build yourself up slowly.
Your cardiovascular fitness is going to see some HUGE improvements from Spinning. So expect to puff & pant, and if you are not heaving your breath in and out during your spin class, just check if you are working hard enough. Either that or you are already SUPER fit!
Spinning also offers some great toning benefits to your arms, legs, butt & abs.
During a class you can expect to do some sprint work, climbs – both seated & standing, combinations and steady state tracks. The tension dial is set to emulate the force of riding up hill, and a good instructor will bring both standing & seated climbs to a class to vary intensity.
Take a sweat towel to class too…. if you aren’t sweating you aren’t trying hard enough!!!
My advice, see if your gym offers a 30 minute beginners class and try the out first. If not, just delve in and tell your instructor it is your first time. Just do your bloody best!!!
This video was taken from one of my spin classes back in 2010 😲 So the quality of mobile phone cameras was not quite as good as today, but you can get the general gist of what is going on. During this climb track, we use standing and hovering climbs. The hover engages the core muscles, making spin more than just a leg workout.
You may be thinking “but thats for the oldies” and I have news for you chicken… HELL NO!!!!
I remember me & a friend driving over to Bedford to our gyms head office for a two day course on teaching Aqua, both of us thought the exact same thing…..
“Pa… this’ll be easy. It’s the pensioners class!”
Sheeeez….how wrong were we??? (note to self, NEVER underestimate things)
Aqua has some seriously huge benefits to the body and the health and fitness of the participants, and after just one session, I was sold on how amazing the class was. Muscle burn, heart rate up, sweating whilst wet!!! Win Win!
But one of the biggest benefits of Aqua is the reduced impact in the water. Allowing those who have back or joint issues to enjoy the class without the aches & pains of the usual aerobics classes.
On average, 30 minutes of aqua could burn up to 300 calories!
Working out in the water helps you to build up your endurance, as when in the cooler water, your blood will travel through your body faster in order to keep you warmer. Throw in the aerobic workout, and the performance of your cardiovascular system will show great improvements over time.
You may not think it, but a “light as a feather” piece polystyrene can act as a really effective piece of resistance kit when in water, pushing and pulling the object through the water offers a brilliant muscular workout for tone and strength.
The pool offers a safe exercise space for the injured & elderly. Not only does the water offer a secure place where falls are less likely to happen, but if they did, the impact of landing will be hugely reduced. But also, the water helps to alleviate the feeling of fatigue and impact on the body & joints, as you are “lighter” when in water.
Aqua can also help to improve flexibility, as the body is able to do a wider range of motion when gravity is not forcing against it.
If you are just starting out, I would HIGHLY recommend booking on to one of the many aqua classes at your local gym.
Circuits is old-stool fitness, it has been around FOREVER, and over the past few years many variations have been conjured up… even just using different names for the classes to try & attract a new crowd.
HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), Interval Training & Tabata are all really just forms of Circuits in some way or another.
Circuits, traditionally means a series of stations/exercises which the participants move around and perform for a set period of time, usually 30-60 seconds for each.
Tabata is a set exercise performed for 20 seconds with 10 seconds rest and HIIT and interval are similarly timed intervals of effort with set rest periods.
The only difference being that HIIT is Higher intensity exercises.
It really is that simple to differentiate between them.
The class offers a whole body workout, combining both resistance, body weight and cardio exercises. Meaning that you will reap the benefits of not just Cardiovascular fitness, but fat loss, muscle building & toning.
The greatest benefit of circuits, it the Metabolic influence it has. Much like pump, your body will continue to work at an elevated metabolism for a period of time after you finish the workout, depending on the exercises you have done, this could last up to 72 hours. Rather than the instantaneous return to normality you experience after steady state Cardio work like running or Zumba.
Although circuits can be tough, you are not dictated by the beat of the music, so you are able to work at your own level throughout, and ultimately progress on your journey at a comfortable pace for you!
Tabata and intervals offer the same benefits, but many people find tabata to be easier from a mental perspective, as you are only performing 20 seconds of effort for eight exercises before you can have a rest.
Either way, you will see results!
Boxercise has been around for a REALLY long time, and FUN FACT it was actually born here in Northamptonshire. Actually, it was in a small gym in Long Buckby where Andy & the creators started their new style of fitness class and held their very first sessions. It grew massively & is now all over the country & beyond.
Boxercise incorporates many components, from circuits to boxing techniques, making it a full body workout with massive health benefits.
The boxing element of the class is amazing for fat burning, fitness and muscle tone with punches, twists, squats, ducking & weaving and so much more.
Based on true boxing techniques that have been modified to work for everyone the class offers a fun, stress-busting workout that will burn up to 500 calories in a 60 minute session.
Working with a partner, means that Boxercise is a great class for taking with a friend, and the closest that you will hopefully come to actually hitting someone.
Using Focus Pads & real boxing gloves, Boxercise allows you to strike out and work as hard as you want. But don’t worry, your focus pad holder doesn’t get hurt!
In fact, when you are holding the focus pads, the workout changes slightly, although you are not building up your heart rate, you are working the muscles in your arms, shoulders and torso. This makes it an effective toning class (and really helps to banish the bingo wings).
Boxercise is one of the most engaging AND fun workout classes that you can do, so do not feel intimidated watching through the studio window. Just get the gloves on and give it a go! You’ll very quickly get to grips with the workouts!
Which ever class you decide to attend, you can be confident that most classes offer you the ability to work to your own fitness level, and really it all just boils down to your personal preferences.
The best class for you and your weight loss will be the class that you enjoy going to the most! 😁 And whether you’re hiding on the back row or rocking out at the front, if you are moving, puffing and sweating….you will see results! 💪🏻🏋🏼♀️😉
Tell us your favourite class/es in the comments below & how you have benefitted from attending them.
Thanks for reading 🙂
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