Four Fitness Classes to Try this Spring
Bikini season is imminent!
It has been a busy last few months with lots of travel. I am pretty consistent when it comes to running, and it is convenient if I am away, but it can also be a little solitary. I was feeling the need to shake things up a little. I went on a little spree of workout classes to see if anything took my fancy. I revisited classes I had tried before and had written off or just haven't kept up with, along with those that I'd never heard of. I rediscovered some old favourites, and had lots of fun discovering new methods that really helped me push myself and reinvigorate my love of group classes.
1. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)
HIIT is a very efficient way to burn fat fast. It alternates between bursts of really intense activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity and/or rest. This is similar to how I like to run anyway. For example, I like to run as fast as I can for two minutes and then walk for four. You can do HIIT in classes or solo at the gym. An example of a routine I like is running on the treadmill fast and with an incline, then combine squats with hand weights for one minute, another minute of running, rest a minute and repeat. Then I will swap-in crunches and mountain climbers for two minutes and another burst of running. It's worth trying a class and when you do it on your own, modifying to hit the target areas you want to focus on. It's a serious work out that feels really hard but is totally worth it and invigorating at the end!
I love the fluid movement in Barre classes. It blends cardio, ballet, Pilates and strength training to give you a full body work out, without the coordination (or lack thereof!) necessary for the 80's style Jazzercise class. A good teacher will enforce great posture which will maximise your core strength. Feeling graceful and really focusing on the target area that you are developing is so productive for muscle memory and productive toning.
I go on and off spinning every few years but the truth is, it's my purge-y exercise. It's pretty addictive but can seem a little intimidating. Buy yourself a bundle of classes so you really give it the chance it deserves. It's a fast way to burn calories (about 500 a class) and with the right teacher can be really invigorating; remember, one of the perks of exercise is the endorphin release! It's great for bum, tum and thighs and I find really improves my motivation to push myself because of the group dynamic and pumping music.
I think this will become really popular for people that enjoy Pilates and Yoga elements but haven't yet found they sufficiently hit all their exercise needs- the combo is great. Piyo is a cool workout because it combines the flexibility training and focused mindfulness of yoga with the muscle toning activation sequences of pilates. It is high-intensity but low impact so works for every level and can be supportive if you have joint issues. This is such a productive exercise sequence if you find that Yoga can be a little stagnant for your liking, because you are up, down and all around, combining core engagement and the movement of Pilates positions with the postures of a Yoga practice. Here are some moves to get you started at home.