Fitness

Fitness Friday; The Best (and Worst) Fitness Classes

Holy Moly!  What a week!  I have been completely M.I.A this week and that’s for no other reason than I have been trying to keep my head above water with my classes.  That’s neither here nor there because it’s FRIDAY and I can finally breath.  Phew, I literally just let out a long breath of air.

Despite my insane week, I have been making sure to squeeze in a little time each day to sweat out all of my tension and anxiety that develops from school work.  Being able to take 45 minutes or an hour to go for a jog outside in the sunshine or zone out on the treadmill is a blessing.  I guess I don’t think about it much, but having the ability to exercise isn’t something to be taken for granted.

With that being said, my workouts this week looked a little something like this:

Saturday: 15 minutes of treadmill jogging, 10 minutes of incline walking and 10 minutes of running intervals.  When I do running intervals, I usually do 45 seconds at a speed of 9.0 or 9.1 and 15 seconds of 6.0.  I also did a quick leg workout with lunges, squats, moving squats and a bunch of the leg machines.

Sunday: 3 mile walk with my dad!

Monday: 25 minutes of running intervals.  That workout gets me SO sweaty, but I always feel so accomplished when it’s over!  I did a round of tricep exercises.

Tuesday: It was beautiful and sunny, so I skipped the gym and headed out for a long slow run.  It ended up being around 50 minutes and 6.2 miles.  Running outdoors does amazing things for my mind. Oh, and it left me incredibly sweaty, which means it was a good run, right? 🙂

Wednesday: I really wasn’t in the mood to do a long workout, so I told myself just to do 15 minutes on the elliptical and then do whatever I felt like doing.  I ended up completing 10 minutes on the elliptical, 10 minutes on the treadmill, and then I did a bicep and shoulder workout.  Between each set, I did 20 seconds of cardio (like jumping jacks, jump rope, or mountain climbers) to keep my heart rate up.  For not feeling like going to the gym, I think it was pretty good workout!

Thursday: I woke up late and didn’t have as much time as I would have liked so I hopped on the treadmill and completed 45 minutes of alternating jogging and incline walking every 10 minutes, followed by an ab workout.

Friday: Friday’s are always rough for me, but despite being exhausted from the week, I can usually convince myself to leave my warm bed and roll over to the gym.  I wasn’t in the mood for anything too intense, so I did 10 minutes on the elliptical, 10 minutes on the treadmill, a quick chest workout and abs.  In and out in 55 minutes!

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Those gym pictures (especially in the bathroom) sure do make for some adorable pictures!

Despite my obvious lack of fitness classes this week, I wanted to talk about some of the fitness classes that I have tried and what I like or don’t like about them.  As I’ve said before, group fitness classes are an awesome way to try out a new exercise, get your heart rate up, learn a few new techniques and maybe meet new people!

1. SPINNING

To date, spinning is my absolute favorite fitness class.  If you aren’t familiar with what it is, it’s basically biking, but you do different “exercises” or routines while on the bike.  I have been to a number of different classes, with different classes, so I have an idea about what kinds of things I like in a spinning class and what I don’t like.  The idea of spinning is that the instructor will tell you to be at a certain “level”, and will call out different levels throughout a song and throughout the workout.  For example, my favorite instructor uses a 25%, 50%, 75% and 100% system, so she will call out 25%, etc.  The great thing about spinning is that they don’t say “50% is level 35” or something like that. Those percentages are whatever YOU consider them to be.  50% of my ability might be 25% of your ability.  It is all about how much YOU want to push yourself and what you make of it.  I love that it’s so personal, because when she calls out 75%, or any other number, I always try to push a little further and spin a little faster to make MY 75% has hard as I can take it before I would consider it to be 100%.  The spinning class that I go to also incorporates three different positions on the bike, so we do a lot of standing, sitting and squatting.  It never gets boring with the loud, pumping music and the different workouts during each song.  We do sprints, “pushups”, jumps, and climbs.  Trust me when I say that I leave the class SOAKED in sweat.  As in, sweat drips on the floor under the bike.

As you can tell, I think that my spinning instructor is AWESOME, but I have been to classes with instructors that I don’t like.  The instructor will make or break a class, so be sure to try out a couple different classes to see what is right for you.

2. BODYPUMP

I have only taken one BodyPump class, so I wouldn’t call myself any sort of expert in it!  I know people rave about BodyPump, but I wasn’t thrilled with the class.  Maybe it was the instructor or just the class, but I didn’t feel like the music was energetic as I like workout music to be.  I thought the workout itself was great and my muscles were definitely shaking, but I found myself looking at the clock pretty often, and that’s never a good thing.  All of this being said, I’m not turned off to BodyPump forever and I would definitely be willing to give it another chance with a new instructor.

3. TOTAL BODY TONE

Total Body Tone is the title of the class at my school, but there is some form of this class in most gyms.  The class incorporates a whole bunch of different exercises to work each major muscle group.  It’s fast moving with fun music and gets your muscles burning in no time!  I was sore for 3 days after going to Total Body Tone for the first time.  It’s a great class if you’re looking for a full body workout in under an hour.

4. YOGA

I’ve tried yoga a few times and I WANT to love it, but despite my best efforts, I don’t.  I really want to be a stress reliever and calming, but it never is.  I have gone to a few classes and always find myself staring at the clock after 15 minutes.  I would love to be someone who goes to yoga a couple times per week and unwinds, but it just isn’t me.  Maybe one day!  However, if you ever get a chance to do yoga during sunrise on the beach, that is worth it.  I was still staring at the time, but not as often 🙂

5. PILATES

Pilates is tough!  Doing ab exercises are probably my least favorite thing to do, so doing ab and core workouts for a half hour or more is brutal for me.  I have only been to a couple pilates classes, but I think they’re a great thing if you can convince yourself to go!  I’m still working on it.

6. BOOT  CAMP

Boot camp classes are SO MUCH FUN.  I was terrified to go and try one for the longest time because a class called “boot camp” is so intimidating!  Would there be big strong guys and really fast girls there?  Would I embarass myself?  I finally got over that fear and was pleasantly surprised at the diversity in fitness levels.  There were people of all different abilities, and besides, like I have said before, everyone else couldn’t care less about what you’re able (or not able) to do.  Boot camp classes are great because they keep things moving because they have a nice mix of cardio, strength training, and speed work.  The class flies by and leaves you nice and sweaty by the end!

7. ZUMBA

I have done Zumba twice and while it was FUN, it’s just not for me in terms of a workout.  Don’t get me wrong, it is a great workout and I had to stop a number of times to catch my breath, but there were so many people and my lack of coordination makes it tough to keep up.  Zumba is awesome for people who love to dance and want to do a really fun workout with friends.  It’s a little unnerving at first, because it seems like everyone knows how to dance, but you just need to remind yourself that no one is looking at you!

Well, I think that just about wraps up the classes I’ve tried.  Remember, there are SO MANY classes out there for all fitness levels and abilities.  If you try a class a don’t like it, try it again, or try it with a new instructor.  If you don’t like it at all, try another class.  There is a class for everyone, you just need to find it.  Who knows, a fun class that gets you pumped up could be your key to a healthy life!

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