Are you the type of person who struggles to work out solo, mainly to wander around a gym with no direction? Do you like to work out in a group setting where someone tells you what to do, while surrounded by others going through the exact same experience. If this sounds like you, you may benefit from taking a group fitness class. Whether you like to stick to one type of class like yoga or indoor cycling or you like to mix it up with Class Pass, there are endless types of classes and gyms to choose from. I tried out eight of the current most popular fitness classes and break it down so you know exactly what to expect and maybe it will help you start on a new fitness journey that you truly enjoy and want to stick with. Here's how I fared — from the invigorating to the most sweat-inducing.
Even those of us who can't stand the thought of running on a treadmill will love getting in their cardio with Flywheel. You spend 45 minutes on one of the most tricked-out stationary bikes in a stadium, dimly lit with cool blue lighting. The bike itself has a digital display that shows you your RPMs (speed) and Torq (resistance). Your super motivating instructor will coach you through the class with a mix of sprints, climbs, arm exercises and other choreography that has you in and out of the saddle to a playlist that makes the time fly by.
Barry's isn't for the faint of heart, but it is great for those who like a challenge. It's a combination of HIIT (high intensity interval training) in the form of cardio and free weights. The classroom is lit only with red lights and class is broken into two groups. One group is getting in their cardio (in the form of treadmill intervals) while the other is working with the weights (each day of the week focuses on a different muscle group). You will be going back and forth between the resistance and cardio stations, which will get your heart rate up and your muscles burning. The music is loud and will get you pumped up, but word to the wise: pace yourself to avoid overexertion before the 50 minutes is up.
These hour-long barre classes will get your heart rate up and leave your muscles quivering. It's a mix of movements centered around a ballet barre with added light weights (at high repetition, what they call interval overload). You will also move through a series of body weight exercises, including intense ab work, all to a mix of upbeat music that makes you want to dance. The workout focuses on strengthening the core and developing long, lean muscles like a dancer's physique.
If you're looking for a class that maximizes your time and calorie burn, this is it. In just 30 minutes, you will have gotten a full-body workout and will be drenched in sweat. You spend the entire duration of the class on a versaclimber that utilizes your arms, legs and core to keep it constantly moving. Each climber is positioned to face the instructor in a room that is basically lit up like a club. With the music bumping, your instructor will push you through different climbing intervals designed to get that heart rate up. The climber itself promotes healthy spinal alignment so you won't walk out of there with any aches or pains in your neck and back — you will walk out with your quads and abs on fire and a satisfying puddle of sweat under your machine.