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Finding the Group Exercise That Works for You

Posted by Kristine Ciardello on

When it comes to group fitness there are more options than we know what to do with. Spin, Barre, Pilates, yoga, aerobic, conditioning, circuit, boot camp, and even treadmill and rowing classes. At this point, it’s not really a secret that boutique fitness has completely taken off.

There are also several apps and companies that allow you to take advantage of each of these options as many times as you want—and you can spend months sweating all around your city figuring out what you like best and what’s right for you.

Trying to get strong? You may want to try out a boot camp-style class like Barry’s Bootcamp or Orange Theory Fitness. Craving cardio? SoulCycle or FlyWheel may be what you’re after. Want to get long and lean? Yoga, Barre, and Pilates are the direction you’ll want to take.

Trial and Error

It’s really easy to get caught up in wanting to try everything, either because you saw it on your social media feed or read an article about how amazing it was for someone. Personally, I build muscle really easily. Meaning that after a month of regular boot camp classes, I can pack on a significant amount of it—which isn’t necessarily the way I feel my best.

Through quite a bit of trial and error, I’ve figured out that my secret sauce is a couple of SoulCycle classes a week coupled with reformer Pilates and yoga to stretch it all out. (And I always get my Fitbit steps in!) With a bit of trial and error on your own, you’ll be able to figure out your perfect group exercise, too.

Breaking Down Your Options

Each class will get your heart pumping and your muscles working, but how do you know what’s right for you? Let’s break it down:

  • Spin – cardio, endurance, high-intensity interval training, core, arms, that heart-pumping sweaty dance party and sense of community
  • Pilates – lengthening, toning, core stability, low-impact, stretching
  • Yoga – mental reset, stretching, lengthening
  • Walking – cardiovascular, fresh air, disconnect, unwind

That’s not to say I haven’t tried almost every class out there—I have. Some because I suffer from major sweaty FOMO and wanted to see what it was all about, some because they were cheaper than other options, and some because it was all that everyone was talking about.

Ask Yourself Before You Decide

When it comes down to it, the best way to figure out what type of group fitness is best for you is to get really clear on a couple of things:

  • What do you enjoy doing? If you enjoy the method of exercise you’re paying for or classes you’re attending, you’re much more likely to stay consistent – and see results
  • What works for your body? Are your knees killing you after every single run? That may not be best for you – why not try a spin or rowing class to get your cardio in while sparing your bod?
  • Why are you doing it? If it’s to stay healthy, de-stress, lose a couple lbs, etc you’re much more likely to create a habit out of it, and doing that creates community – you’ll start to see the same people in class. Grab a smoothie or coffee together after!

What works for someone else may not work the best for you and that’s okay. I have friends who would rather do anything than my workout routine, but can go to yoga every single day because they love it and it works for them—mentally and physically. You may be someone who is able to run 30+ miles a week and then top it off with a couple of yoga classes. But again, that’s not for everyone.

Bottom line is don’t be afraid to experiment. Try everything, and when you find something that just fits, stick with it. You’ll be glad you did.