Exercise Classes Reviewed

This blog is dedicated to breaking down the pros and cons of some popular workouts/gyms.  Group exercise or very specified gym memberships can help keep you stay motivated especially during the winter season.

action-activity-adults-1246953                                                     Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

CrossFit

CrossFit is a strength training centered workout.  Functional movement is the focus of crossfit workouts.  The moves implement high intensity movements over a short period of time.

  • Pros:
    • The CrossFit culture is very motivating. “Box” members tend to form a relationship with their coaches and fellow participants.
    • Offers a variety of different exercises to keep classes from getting boring
  • Cons:
    • Injuries can occur if proper technique is not followed
    • Over-exercising is common

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Photo by Leon Martinez from Pexels

Orange Theory

Orange Theory is a group exercise centered gym.  The main goal is for your heart rate to stay in a fat burning range for as much of the 60 minutes as you can.  Theoretically staying in this heart rate range allows you to burn the maximum amount of calories for the longest period of time. Each class is 60 minutes long.

  • Pros
    • Very focused on maximal calorie burn
    • Good length of time (60 minutes)
    • Well rounded workout
    • Encourages you to try a variety of cardio equipment
  • Cons
    • Pricing
    • Must go during a class time
    • No “free equipment” with membership.  Only classes.

 

Cyclebar/Soul Cycle

The gyms listed above are popular cycling centered gyms.  Cycling workouts focus on keeping your heart rate in a cardiovascular zone for long periods of time.

  • Pros:
    • Group classes and instructors provide motivation.
    • Excellent cardiovascular exercise
    • Provides some resistance exercise
  • Cons:
    • Minimal strength training included
    • Membership can be expensive.
    • Will need to have a different gym or place to get needed strength training and stretching

Yoga

There are many different forms of yoga. Some classes focus more on stretching and meditations, while others focus more on strength. Pick your class based on your specific goals.

Pros:

  • Classes tend to have a slower pace
  • No matter which form of yoga is being performed, body awareness and stretching tend to be included
  • Helps with mindfulness, deep breathing and relaxation.
  • Helps with muscular recovery between strength training sessions.

Cons:

  • Injury &/or overstretching can easily occur if one does not listen to their body and forces a pose
  • Though some forms of yoga can build muscle, often additional strength training is necessary

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Pilates

Pilates increases strength and flexibility in a balanced manner. Classes may or may not utilize spring weight equipment to help “lengthen and strengthen” muscles simultaneously.

  • Pros:
    • Focuses on training muscles while in proper alignment to help prevent injury.
    • Focuses on breath/being present
  • Cons:
    • Expensive
    • Additional strength training is likely necessary

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Overall, it is most important to find a form of exercise you enjoy and that is safe for you. Is there a class that will keep you motivated and looking forward to attending? You may need to try several different classes to find one that is the right fit for you. Keep in mind, that there is variety in these different forms of exercise depending on the gym and instructor. For example, if you have a bad experience at one yoga studio, you may try a different one and love it!