Four workout classes you have to try this summer
Hate working out on your own? These classes will push you to a new level of activity that you just can’t seem to reach on your own. We all know it’s easy to give up on a workout once you start to feel tired, but that’s why classes are so great: They motivate you to finish every workout, which means that you'll see the best results. If you haven’t already been exploring the world of exercise classes, start with these.
Orange Theory Fitness
I’ll admit—Orange Theory is my favorite workout of all time. Orange theory combines treadmill running, rowing and weight lifting (like push ups, squats and dumbbell curls). This combo of cardio and weights is the perfect duo needed to lose fat and tone your muscles like you’ve always wanted. The best part? You don’t have to be in shape to do it. OTF accepts all fitness levels by giving you the option of power walking, jogging or running. Even better? You wear a heart monitor during the class to make sure you’re pushing yourself to the right level. Under-training is never good, but neither is over-training. The heart monitor tells you if you’re in the target zone *and* how many calories you’re burning throughout the class. When I go, I burn anywhere from 500-700 calories, so I know my hard work is paying off.
Barre is different from any workout I’ve ever done, which is why I like it. Rather than focusing on high intensity, high weights, high cardio, barre does something a little different to sculpt your body: It uses really lightweights and small movements for a long period of time. It usually starts with arm exercises where you use either two or three pound weights or resistance bands, then moves on to include abs and lower body moves. Lower body work is usually done on an actual ballet barre, which is awesome for those who love dance, Pilates or yoga. The best thing about barre is that it targets a lot of different muscles in the body that someone would typically tone through dance. You’re also getting an amazing workout even though your movements are small (trust me, you’ll be sore).
Hot Vinyasa Yoga
Hot vinyasa is a type of yoga that’s done in a room heated to about 85°F. This probably sounds like torture (that’s what I thought at first, too) but hot vinyasa is one of the best things I’ve ever done for my mental (and physical) health. You begin by lying on your back on your yoga mat and slowly move through poses, stretching and breathing with very smooth transitions. Calming music is playing in the background, and candles or incense are often lit to bring a soothing smell to the room. Hot vinyasa is all about flow, so you continuously flow from position to position and repeat flows to reach a state of Zen. The best part? Every class ends with you lying on your back for about 5 minutes, simply breathing and meditating. Not only does this type of yoga work your muscles in a way they’ve never been worked before, but it also calms your mind to reduce anxiety and depression. Any time I am feeling stressed or sad, hot vinyasa is my cure.
Love biking? SoulCycle is the ultimate total-body spinning workout. You’ve probably been to spinning classes where your legs and glutes burn like crazy the next day, but SoulCycle will work more than just your lower body. With crunches, pushups, and tap backs incorporated into the workout as well as a weights section, SoulCycle tones every part of you in a fun way. The classes always have new, hip music playing so you can dance to great tunes while cycling away. The best part is? They turn the lights off during the workout, so no one can see how much you're sweating (if that’s something you worry about) or if you're keeping up with everyone else. With the lights off and the music blasting, it’s your zone, your workout—and you can focus on your own body.
What are your favorite exercise classes?