With a huge variety of fitness classes offered now, we are spolit for choices. We know that it can be quite overwhelming to choose what type of classes to attend first or by which order is best for beginners. In this post, using four popular fitness classes as an example, I am going to share with you how to categorize them and what will benefit you depending on your fitness goals and fitness level.
Categories: strength, cardio, and/or mobility (flexibility with good strength control).
Category: Cardio - For people who want to do cardio but dislike running
The ever popular cardio class suitable for all ages and fitness levels. I loved it! To me, this class is like doing cardio the fun way, compared to a simple run. You can usually find beginners in these classes so it doesn’t matter if you are a left-hand-left-leg person because honestly, it’s all about just moving and having fun. You do not have to be afraid of others judging you as everybody is there to enjoy themselves! Also, if you look closely, everyone will be focusing on the instructor to follow the next step. So don’t be shy, just dance your own way even if you don’t get the steps perfectly, move and sweat it out. The harder you execute the movements, the more calories you burn.
Category: Mobility - For people with muscle tightness
You may have realized that there are many different types of yoga classes out there: Yin, Yang, Hatha, Ashtanga, etc. To keep it simple, always start with a “YOGA BASIC/FUNDAMENTALS” class. I’m sure most of your first yoga experiences are in a typical Hatha flow class whereby the instructor will go through a flow of repeated movements and we will just watch, copy and paste, without knowing which muscles to engage or stretch and I’m sure you have no idea what in the world is a “downward dog”. Trust me, invest in a few sessions to learn your basics so that you can fully benefit from a regular class!
Category: Strength + Cardio - For people who enjoy interaction and muscle burn
I know that the name can sound quite intimidating to some of you (imagine you are in an army camp getting shouted at for not finishing your push up). But it’s really NOT the case hahaha! This is one of my personal favourites because there is more interaction with other participants while working out as compared to the other types of classes. We are all humans, who like “touch”, and we can get comfortable with a stranger by offering a simple action like giving them a high five. Interactions come in during partner and group workouts and are sometimes turned into games. As we all know, time flies when we are having fun and we will forget how breathless and tired we are! You gotta give this class a shot if you haven’t. With a competent instructor, the fitness intensity can be adjusted accordingly by offering variations and modifications to the exercises.
Category: Mobility + Cardio - For people who LOVE the muscle burning sensation
A combination of Ballet, Pilates & yoga? Sounds like fun! As usual, if one workout has a mix of a few genres, it will definitely help if you know some basics and foundation of at least one of them. This class is dynamic and involves continuous movements with the music so the instructor may not have the leisure of time to break down the steps one by one or correct you.
At the end of the day, the intensity level of most fitness classes can be adjusted accordingly provided if:
You’ve already learnt the fundamentals for that specific class or,
The instructor is experienced and able to give regressive and progressive movements on the spot depending on the participants’ ability during the class.
There are so many other types of fitness classes available so I am not able to cover every one of them. If you’re still unsure what type of fitness classes to attempt, you may want to try this quiz. You will get a suggestion based on your preference e.g. slow or fast paced, music or no music. Those who are already exercising actively can also try it out for fun, you may find something new to freshen up your routine.
Remember, you do not always have to stick to the same activity. Have a good combination of strength, cardio, and mobility exercises to ensure sustainability. I hope you can find something suitable for yourself and all the best in your fitness journey!
- Gina Chan