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Which Fitness Class Makes Sense for You?
And just like that, summer is winding down. Transitioning back into reality isn’t easy, but for the sake of your fitness goals, it’s got to happen.
Our tip for success? Double down on fitness classes. With hard start/stop times, classes are more straightforward additions to your schedule – you can insert a workout cleanly into whatever timeslot works best for you. And with instructors leading the way (and often, holding you accountable!), sometimes a fitness class is exactly what you need to push through those post-summer blues and force yourself back into the swing of a faster-paced season.
With so many fitness classes out there, where to begin? It all depends on what makes most sense for your lifestyle – and of course, what you truly enjoy! To help you get started, we’ve rounded up some of the most popular fitness classes out there. (Too strapped for time to get into a class? We’ve found apps for that!)
Whether you’re working with an instructor or consulting an app on your own time, think of these picks as jumping-off points for figuring out what works best for you this season. Once you get going, you can introduce/remove classes until you find your sweet – because as fitness routines go, that’s all that matters!
The AKT Program (http://aktinmotion.com/)
FitPro’s Anna Kaiser is the mastermind behind this ground-breaking fitness technique. Pulling from a range of tried-and-true methods, from HIIT to dance cardio to Pilates, no part of your body is left behind in this 360-degree lifestyle program. With some of Hollywood’s fittest starlets among its many devotees – need we say more?
The NW Method (http://www.nicolewinhoffer.com/nw-method/#the-nw-method)
Developed by famed celebrity choreographer and fitness expert Nicole Winhoffer, the NW Method is born out of stage performance – so think of it as your superstar workout moment. Designed to access the meridians used in acupuncture, the 55-minute sweat session focuses on the waist, the buttocks, and behind the arms. “Action!” is right.
Adam Rosante’s Two Week Transformation (http://www.adamrosante.com/two-week-transformation)
Got two weeks? Great, because that’s all strength and nutrition coach Adam Rosante (Naomi Watts calls him her “secret weapon for staying in shape year-round”) needs to whip you into shape. Designed to make its participants stronger, faster, and leaner, the Two Week Transformation taps into everything from nutrition to strength training to cardio. Best part? You can do the workout wherever you want, on your own terms – and for just 20 minutes a day.
Everyone has at least one friend absolutely addicted to spin class – and who can blame them? From the sweat factor and dance-party music to high-energy instructors and (in some classes) the element of competition, there’s a lot to keep you motivated as you push yourself to the max. Spinning at just a moderate pace can torch around 600 calories in an hour, and the cardiovascular benefits are major. What’s great about spin is that you can cycle at your own pace: just crank the resistance knob to whatever feels right for you. And if you’re worried about bulking up from spin, rest assured – that won’t happen. You’ll work your core and leg muscles hard for sure, but given that spin is an aerobic, endurance-based workout, it builds something called slow-twitch muscle fiber, which never increases in size. Overeating after a hard class, however, is easy to do, so be sure to stay extra mindful about how you’re replenishing those burned calories.
Looking to do your core, your posture, and your joints a serious favor? Two words: Barre class. Super-controlled isometric movements – think: hip tucks, chair holds, and leg lifts – performed while stabilizing yourself at a ballet barre target tiny muscles that may go missed otherwise. And as a straight spine is crucial to the success of each set, the inevitable outcome of a consistent barre routine is taller, stronger posture. With no muscle group left behind, you’ll certainly be sore, but in the best way possible. Oh, and don’t get scared when your legs quiver uncontrollably during holds – it means that incredible results are just around the corner.
Whether swimming sprints or breaking for poolside planks, more and more workouts are beginning to incorporate water – and the results definitely make the whole swim cap-and-goggles part worth it. Water, of course, provides built-in resistance (studies have deemed that resistance to be anywhere from four to 42 times greater than that of air), so not only are you keeping your heartrate up as you slice through the H2O, but you’re torching calories and getting a significant muscle-strength workout. And thanks to the magic of buoyancy, very little stress is placed on your joints, meaning that an especially hard workout won’t leave you hobbling around for the rest of the week. Hello, fitness longevity!
Not too long ago, it was borderline impossible to find a boxing gym that wasn’t just for tough guys. Now, boxing is enjoying a serious surge in popularity, with everyone from 9-to-5ers to A-list supermodels extolling the benefits of this full-body workout. The nonstop footwork means major cardio; and the intense punching – over, and over, and over again – seriously strengthens your abs, arms, shoulders, and back. Throw in other conditioning exercises common to boxing, like push-ups, jump rope, and light weights, and you’ll be feeling every bit the ringside champ. Plus, who doesn’t love getting in some good hits every now and then?
Cardio barre. TRX and spin. Yoga, then onto the treadmill. With so many amazing workouts out there, why limit yourself to one? This up and coming fitness movement – some call it hybrid, some call it fusion – is all about Frankenstein-ing together the best components of complimentary workouts to create a supreme fitness experience that pinpoints exactly what you want to work on, and where. Barre-toned glutes meet boxing-class arms? Yes, please!
Can’t make it to class? Download a fitness app! With so many award-winning, trainer-approved apps on the market today, it’s never been easier to squeeze in a workout session on your own terms. Maybe you want an app that allows you to choose a workout based on the results you’re looking for (toned thighs? A faster mile?) Or perhaps, you want one that allows you to choose how long you want to want to work out. No matter the approach you pick, fitness apps are great for those who only have fleeting windows of time to exercise during the day. Plus, they allow you to go at your own pace – which can’t be said for some in-class workouts.