There are a lot of fitness classes available these days. To someone who is new to fitness it can be a bit confusing when you are looking at a gym or fitness center and see this list of classes with a whole bunch of different names. So we have taken the time to provide a down and dirty overview of the basic classes many places offer to act as a cheat-sheet to help you decide what will work best for you.
- Abs Classes – In a nutshell you work your abdominal and core muscles for about 20 to 30 minutes. This class is great for people who want to learn new exercises and ways to train the abs. It is also a great workout but you will need something else if you want to burn fat.
- Aerobics Classes – Usually high energy classes that help you move and groove to burn calories in a choreographed set of movements and exercises. This is great for burning fat and working the heart but won’t do a lot for muscle strength or tone.
- Body Sculpting Classes – These are like aerobic classes but add an element of weights and exercise bands to work on more muscle tone. Usually they are a 50-50 mix of aerobic exercise and sculpting exercises.
- Boot Camps – These are bigger classes geared for a group mentality and very hard work. Typically you have a drill instructor pushing you as you do a lot of cardio and bodyweight exercises. You will get the heart rate up, burn calories, build muscle, and work on endurance. The classes are great but usually not for beginners into fitness.
- Circuit Training – This is like a body sculpting class but usually without any aerobic segment. Instead you keep the heart rate up by moving through weight exercises (typically using dumbbells) quickly and then repeating the circuit. It burns calories and is nice for muscle endurance and tone.
- Dance Fitness – This can be a lot of types such as jazz, cardio funk, or even Zumba. It mixes aerobics and dance moves into a fast paced routine that burns a lot of calories. Generally this is a high energy, fast paced aerobics class, but don’t expect to learn a lot of actual dance moves; you are there to sweat.
- Cycling Class – These are also known as spin classes. If you like riding a bike these can be a great way to get some serious cardio work in. Classes vary from steady to variable speeds. Most come with high energy and loud music. The bikes have come a long way and are much more comfortable and sturdy. The upper body doesn’t get much work but the legs will feel the burn and get toned up while you burn calories.
- Kickboxing – This is another high energy cardio classes that exchanges punching and kicking for other choreographed movements. You aren’t learning how to fight, but more training like a boxer would (which is a great workout) by getting the heart rate up for short bursts and then keeping it at a moderate level in between.
- Yoga – This is a great class for any level of fitness because it works on flexibility and toning. You will sweat but not burn nearly as many calories compared to other classes. However many people reduce a lot more stress and loosen up more in yoga than anywhere else.
- Power Yoga – A more intense yoga form that works on strength and flexibility more than regular yoga. You will also get a bit more of an aerobic affect.