As some of you may recall, I grew up as a competitive swimmer. For most of my life, swimming was my only form of exercise. Although I was on teams throughout middle school, high school and college, swimming is still very much an individualized sport. When I decided that I wanted to lose weight, I switched to the elliptical for years and years. Every morning, I had an hour-long date with that machine. Once I started running, it was always just me and the road.
That said, I’ve always been a solo exerciser. However, I’ve dabbled in a few group classes here and there, and I finally realized that I actually really like working out in a group setting. Sure, it can be intimating at first, but after you get over the hump of attending the first class, it’s really not so scary. Here’s what I’ve been enjoying lately.
Spinning is my favorite form of cross training. It’s low impact, but gets your heart rate up and your legs moving. I think the key is finding an instructor who can pick great songs that can help distract you from just how hard you’re working and also doesn’t bore you, since you are essentially riding a bike that is going nowhere. I love that I can squeeze in a 45-minute class over my lunch break. I always leave class refreshed and ready to tackle the afternoon.
I’ve had to take an extended break from my beloved CrossFit due to the ongoing injury in my calves (still not any better!). While Body Pump isn’t close to a replacement, I surprised myself and actually enjoy it. Each attendee can adjust the workout weight to their skill level. We spend an hour doing lunges, squats and all kinds of lifts, with the goal being high reps, low weights. The music is fun, and — I hate to admit this, because I cringe thinking about how much more I used to be able to lift — I do feel sore afterwards!
Although they are totally not my thing because I love to really move and sweat, I understand how important it is to stretch and lengthen your muscles. I am probably the least-coordinated person in the world, and for a while, I’d only do pilates and yoga from the comfort of my own home. However, with no one there to fix or adjust my form, I realized I wasn’t getting the full benefit of the workout. So, I force myself to attend the classes, and I always try to remember: They aren’t laughing at you, but with you. And I always feel much more relaxed and less tense after.
These are just what I’ve been into lately, though I am willing to try anything at least once. I even tried Zumba, and well, never again.
But, like my mom always says, at least you tried.
Group classes: Yay or Nay? What’s your favorite group class?