Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Head of the Class

Hey readers! Sorry for the late post today...let's just say I've been lacking inspiration on the blog lately. But never fear, I put the question out to Twitter and Facebook about what ten things people would like to have me talk about today and I got a request for a list of workouts I have tried and what I thought about them. The title of the post refers to the fact that no matter what workout class I take, I must be right at the front. I'm a shorty and if I'm not in the front I can't always see what the instructor is doing. And despite the picture below of the girl in pink, I am not usually smiling when working out.

Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert, these are only my personal opinions on what works for me.

1. Pilates - Similar to yoga but very core-based. It has been a while since I have taken a Pilates class, but if your core is your weak point, Pilates may be for you. It is more a strength workout, so it should be used as such. You will need cardio to supplement. I personally prefer to do my ab exercises when I have time rather than take a class though.

2. Zumba - I have taken zumba twice and absolutely hated it both times. I know a lot of people love it, but my personal opinion is that it's cardio for sissies. I barely broke a sweat either time and it was a lot of random spinning around, not even really dancing as I had expected it to be.

3. Kickboxing - I used to take kickboxing on a weekly basis and loved it. It's quite a workout. The only complaint I have about kickboxing is it has become increasingly popular over the years and every class I have been to has been very crowded...and if you have never taken a class, I will just say that it's hard to put your full energy behind your punches and kicks when you have people very close together. Aside from that, it's one of my favorite forms of cardio.

4. Spin - Spin is my workout love. I do it three times a week now and look forward to every class. It's practically the only workout that I can get excited to get out of bed at 5:30am for. It totally kicks my ass everytime and I leave a sweating hot mess.

5. Vinyasa Yoga - Vinyasa is one of the most popular forms of yoga. Vinyasa is a beginner/intermediate form of yoga that does get your heart pumping a little bit as well as stretches you out. Vinyasa is my preferred form of yoga. The only drawback is that yoga at a gym is so much different (not in a good way) than it is at a studio...but since I already pay for the gym, I find it hard to justify paying for yoga also.

6. Bikram Yoga - Bikram is a series of mostly standing poses (the sequence and poses never change) in an over 100 degree room. I have done bikram a handle full of times, and while I can say that I do like it, I have almost passed out a few times from the heat. I am a serious sweater and extreme heat dehydrates me. A few recommendations for bikram...go early in the morning before the studio gets a chance to get humid and stinky from all the sweating bodies, bring a towel to put over your mat, and freeze your water before class so that it stays cold.

7. BodyPump - In case you live under a rock and have not heard of BodyPump, it's basically a full body strength training workout set to music. Each song is a different muscle group. It's an hour long class and focuses on number of repititions rather than weight. Aside from spin, BodyPump is by far the best workout you can get. Unfortunately I no longer go to a gym that offers it, but am looking forward to moving and joining a new gym that does offer it. A lot of gyms have a similar option (sometimes called Conditioning, or Strength, etc.) but none that I have been to compare to BodyPump.

8. Step - I know you're thinking step is so 80s, and truthfully it's exactly how you would picture it to be. It's good in a pinch if you are not a treadmill person and only a class will do, however, I would not personally add it to my rotation as I prefer variety, and it's basically straight cardio with no intervals. Plus many instructors/classes don't have music and I NEED music to work out.

9 - Boot Camp - Most gyms offer some form of boot camp, and there are many free or cheap boot camps that pop up in cities once the warm weather hits. Boot camp is basically a series of circuits that totally kick the shit out of you. I like it because you are constantly changing what you are doing. I would take boot camp more often, but unfortunately my gym doesn't offer it at convenient times for my schedule, but I definitely recommend squeezing it in if you have room.

I know this is supposed to be ten things, but I have only tried 9 classes so the tenth one is one I've been dying to try.

10 - TRX - This is a strength training class using suspended cables and your own body weight. I have heard nothing but good things and can't wait to try it!

What classes do you prefer? What have you been wanting to try?


  1. I love kickboxing, too! I haven't tried spin yet but need to - its kind of scary to me! Thanks for the awesome post.

  2. I used to love tae-bo and kickboxing. I wish it were still popular. I love Core Fusion and Physique 57 right now.

  3. I do the Ultimate BootCamp on the Boston Common and have a huge love/hate relationship - 6AM is too early and its so tough, but such a GREAT workout!

  4. Thanks for sharing! Some of these I've heard of and always wondered what the hype is about. Good to know!

  5. I love this list! I want to try TRX so badly and would love to try spin but I have horrible knees so I usually stick with zumba or yoga. I am not a huge go to class every week kinda girl, I like it every now and then.

    PS-Cecil is coming your way soon--such a crazy wk over here!!

  6. I love Body Pump but now it's going to be all yoga for this girl. I really want to try Bikram.

  7. I love kickboxing, but I haven't been in awhile. Maybe I'll try to go soon... I also really want to try BodyPump but my gym doesn't offer it. My favorite classes (other than kickboxing) are ones that focus on strength training. I used to take one called Fitball Chisel where we used an exercise ball and weights and it was awesome.

  8. I love kickboxing right now! It's my favorite class to go to. I also try to hit up spin once or twice a week too...usually in the AM- it's a good way to get me out of bed and moving without having to think about it, you know?

    I have never tried yoga.. much too nervous, and I don't think I would enjoy it since classes are SO LONG!

  9. A lot of those classes sound like a lot of fun, unfortunently I don't really live close enough to a full gym that offers that kind of stuff, plus I don't really have the money for it.