Trying out a new gym class can be overwhelming and intimidating at first. You’ve done your research and read up on the class description, but actually finding the courage to walk into something brand new and unknown is pretty intimidating! Quite often thoughts will run through your head like, “What do I do with my hands?”, “Why does everyone seem to know what they’re doing?”, and “Why am I the only one here with shoes on?” Trust us, you’re not the only one thinking this.
These days, with new gyms seemingly popping up on every street corner, there’s such a huge variety of classes to choose from, and it can be hard to know how to choose the best fit for you. There are classes that are aimed at energising both your mind and body, and ones that feel like they’re pushing you to the point of complete exhaustion.
So, with so much choice out there, how do you choose the right one? Well, it will all depend on your specific goals and what kind of exercise you enjoy and keeps you motivated. Whether you prefer aerobic activities, lifting weights, low-impact cardio, or even meditation, there’s a gym class out there for you. To help you select the best gym class for your needs, we’ve put together this simple guide based on some of the main goals you may want to get out of your workout.
You Want to Burn Calories
Try: Spin, HIIT, Aerobics
If you hate the treadmill or the elliptical, but are keen to burn calories fast, try a high-impact gym class, such as Spin, HIIT or Aerobics. All three of these types of classes are intense, physically demanding, and total sweat makers!
To really add to the burn, many high-intensity classes will include interval training, which involves exercising at 90-100% of your maximum effort for a short period of time before moving to a slower pace during a recovery period. This sequence is then repeated throughout the duration of the class, usually mixing and matching different exercises with varying time differences. With really intense cardio classes like this, you can expect your heart to be pumping the whole time.
These kinds of classes are also great for those who find themselves getting bored easily. With so much movement and different exercises being thrown at you, you won’t get a chance to feel even slightly disinterested!
You’re Not Very Coordinated
Try: Spin, Body Pump, Boot Camp
So, you’re a little clumsy. Our advice? Steer clear of Zumba and Step, which might just see you falling over your feet. While these kinds of Aerobic-style exercises might not be so suited to you, there are still a lot of other gym classes out there that won’t be too intimidating with your uncoordinated ways.
Non-Aerobic style classes such as Spin, Body Pump, and Boot Camp will push you to the limits but don’t require a lot of coordination. With the focus more on exercises that keep you stable, you won’t have to worry about tripping over or messing up the moves in front of a class full of people.
You Don’t Want to Be a Sweaty Mess
Try: Yoga, Pilates
You can still get a killer workout, even if you aren’t sweating all over the place. Slow resistance style classes such as Yoga and Pilates can help you build up muscle, endurance and flexibility in every area of your body without the high-impact.
Low-intensity classes with also aid in relaxation and help you destress, both of which can help you find a healthy work, life and workout balance.
You Just Want to Have Fun
Try: Zumba, Step, Body Attack
Now this all depends on what your idea of fun is, but by adding a little bit of flavor to your workouts with these music and dance-focused workouts and you could find yourself more motivated than you’ve been in years!
These energetic and upbeat classes performed to music could be the way to really start enjoying your workouts and keep you moving. These are the kind of classes with loud music, upbeat instructors, and a lot of people running around. Targeted to people who don’t love the traditional forms of exercise like running or lifting weights, Zumba, Body Attack and Step are perfect for increasing your heart rate, burning some calories and letting off some steam.
You Want to Work Every Muscle in Your Body
Try: Boot Camp, Circuit, F45
If you want an all over workout in the one gym class, then Boot Camp, Circuit training and the ever-growing F45 are your new best friends. With a variety of cardio, resistance, and strength exercises, these types of gym classes are perfect for a full body work out.
If you don’t want to target just the one area when you exercise, avoid doing too many classes like Core and Spin in a row. Instead, opt for an all-round gym class that is the perfect combination of cardio, aerobic endurance, body weight strength and weights, helping to give you an overall body workout.
You Want to Build Strength and Stability in a Particular Area
Try: Body Pump, Pilates, Core
If you want to focus on a particular muscle group and your goal is to really start building up strength and stability, Body Pump, Pilates, and Core are for you.
All with varying different target areas, each of these classes will keep you strong, stable, and we hate to tell you this, sore. Whilst engaging specific muscle groups, you’ll really feel the burn.
You’re Recovering from an Injury
Try: Pilates, Body Balance, Yoga
Coming back from an injury or post-surgery can be tricky. You want to push yourself to get stronger, but at the same time you want to avoid re-injury.
Selecting the right class will all depend on where you are in your recovery, but generally choosing low-impact exercises are the best. Slower resistance training, such as that found in Pilates and yoga, will keep you fit and strong, but can be adapted to suit your body. Just make sure you don’t push yourself too hard too soon and risk re-injury.
These days most gyms offer a wide range of classes, making it hard to pick the right one for you. Sure, you could try them all, but by looking at this helpful guide you’ll gain greater insight into which classes will have you looking and feel your best and most motivated.