From aerial yoga and rebounding to underwater spinning, cardio circuits, pilates reformer classes and so much more, you can actually get the best out of your exercise routines be it a group fitness class or personal workout.
You’ll usually find a pretty comprehensive schedule at most gyms. Fitness has evolved so much so for the most part, most gyms have a large selection of classes. If you don’t find what you’re looking for at your gym, there are also great group classes offered at smaller studios and boutique fitness centers that might be worth checking out too. If you’re looking for something different and feeling like you need a change in your normal line up, check out these classes.
1. HULA HOOPING CLASS
You probably thought hula hooping was either a thing of the past or something you only did as a kid. Think again! Hula hooping classes have become a fantastic way to move your body in a whole different way. Set to music, you’ll move and groove to your instructor’s choreography. Fitness hoops are usually weighted which gives you a little resistance and makes this class more challenging than the regular hooping you might have done years ago. You’ll have to stabilize to maintain control and balance all while getting your heart rate up! According to the American Council On Exercise, you can burn up to 600 calories per hour with this full body workout. Plus, you’ll improve flexibility and balance we well as strengthen the muscles in your back, abs, arms and legs. Some gyms even fuse hooping in other classes like Pilates and yoga.
Gliding discs make any workout more challenging. Generally, gliding discs are placed under hands or feet depending on the movement cranking up the intensity level in a non impact kind of way. You’ll have to exert more to maintain balance, stability and control while going through movements like lunges, squats, skaters, plank moves, mountain climbers, shuffles and so much more. Sound like fun? You can try gliding at a local gym or studio. Some classes are all gliding – 50 minutes of upper body, lower body and core work. Some studios may also fuse gliding, like hula, into other fitness classes to mix things up. Either way, the moves are fun and effective. Pro Tip: If you glide at home, you can always use paper plates on carpet or towels on hard wood floors. Be careful of slipping though. Test out a few moves before you get started with a full on workout.
3. BODYWEIGHT TABATA
This class can be done anywhere especially on the beach so the views and the atmosphere make it a whole different ballgame. This fitness class is challenging! Most of the movements are moves that many people have done before – push ups, planks, dips, squats, lunges, power jacks, forearm get ups, fast feet and more. Doesn’t sound complicated or hard, right? It’s the format and the tempo that change everything for this workout though. If you’re not familiar with Tabata, the format is 20 seconds of intense work followed by 10 seconds of rest 8 times. For example, we would do 20 seconds of push ups x 10 seconds of rest 8 times which is equal to about 4 minutes. 20 seconds of work might not sound like a lot but when you repeat it over and over and over again, it taxes muscles in a really great way. You’ll sure to feel the burn with this workout! Don’t worry, you don’t have to join us for a fitness vacation just to try out this class. There are plenty of gyms and studios that offer it too. Be on the look out for Tabata or even a HIIT class that uses bodyweight only.
4. MYOFASCIAL RELEASE
A recovery class, this focuses on releasing tight, tense muscle and connective tissue. In general, we do so much tightening and strengthening and not enough of the recovery work to keep our muscle and fascia relaxed and balanced. Some stretch classes will fuse myofascial release in with them. Other classes may focus solely on deep release or foam rolling. According to Yoga Medicine, the term myofascial release refers to any technique that works on the muscles and the fascia. There are many different modalities; however, the most common self-myofascial release (SMFR) techniques usually involve the use of balls or foam rollers. The beauty of SMFR is that it can be done with simple tools and training. Which means, it is a very accessible tool. You will most likely see a blend of group classes and/or private sessions when it comes to this type of recovery work. Either way, it’s important as part of a balanced fitness routine. It’s also important to do it correctly so although you could do this at home, I would highly recommend taking at least one class or session from a professional to learn proper technique.
5. AERIAL YOGA OR AERIAL SILKS
Depending on the fitness center and/or class, you might see this termed either as aerial yoga or aerial silks. Either way, get ready for a totally different yoga experience! These classes are basically a combination of yoga and acrobatics. You’ll explore asanas from a supportive material (like a hammock) that hangs from the ceiling. This support will give you less joint compression during certain inversions and better range of motion for other poses like hip opening pigeon. Now, this might sound tricky but it’s not as crazy as it sounds on paper. You don’t need prior experience but be sure to let the instructor know it’s your first time. Although you’ll be using material suspended from the ceiling, your feet will still be able to touch the ground. As you practice this type of yoga, you’ll get a chance to improve your strength and flexibility. We all need a little bit of that!
6. APPARATUS BALANCE TRAINING
A whole class dedicated to balance training? Yes! Channel your inner gymnast – OK not really but get ready to improve your balance and coordination. Balance training is great for everyone. It’s something we practice at the retreat on a consistent basis. What makes these types of classes fun for people though is the inclusion of different pieces of equipment. For example, we use small stability discs, larger balance aids like the Bosu and even balance tools that resemble a balance beam to strengthen feet and ankles, challenge balance and refine the mind body connection. It makes the class challenging and fun all at the same time. Many of the movements require focus and concentration making this class a totally different experience. It’s tough and challenging but it goes by quickly because you have to really think about what you’re doing. Check your local fitness studio for balance classes. Again, you may see fusion classes that incorporate a combination of balance and strength or balance and core so be on the lookout for creative names and read descriptions.
Have fun with fitness! Try new workouts to keep your head and your body in the game. Change is always good and it’s fun to mix it up with interesting workouts. You might find a new favorite fitness class! If you’re unsure of the classes and what they entail, ask an employee so you can get a better understanding of what you might be getting into.
Enjoy trying something new. Don’t get discouraged if you have a little bit of a hard time in that first class. It’s normal! Give yourself a break and a chance to learn a new activity. Most instructors will offer modifications but feel free to as for one if you’re uncomfortable or unsure of an exercise.