Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live inJim Rohn
I absolutely love exercising and the buzz that I get after I know I have worked hard! To me, it’s not about losing weight or the number that comes up on the scale afterwards, it’s about enjoying yourself and doing the best that you can do. It’s how it makes you feel on the inside that counts. It used to be the situation for me that I wouldn’t enjoy exercise as much because I felt so self conscious in front of other people and I didn’t really know what I was doing in a gym environment! I soon realised that no one is looking at you when you’re in the gym class and they are way too busy focusing on what they are doing so it really isn’t something to worry about. I love the community aspect of doing a class and the mindset it puts me in. I am a very firm believer in the fact that whilst it is important to exercise for your body, it is also so important for your mind as well and that doesn’t always have to be something that makes you sweat and feel exhausted. I think there is a type of exercise out there for everyone that you can enjoy, you just have to find what it is! With that in mind, these are my personal favourite exercise classes.
Les Mills Tone
Les Mills Tone is a fantastic class that incorporates cardio, strength training and core training to tone your muscles. The routines are so much fun and the moves can vary between using weights or doing more aerobic type work so there is something for everyone and you definitely have a lot of fun with it. The gym that I go to does a variety of these classes with different lengths so you can work your way up to a longer duration if you don’t want to start off doing an hour which is something I found really useful. The routines are updated quite often as well so you never get bored doing your workout which keeps you coming back for more. I have been able to see results for me personally in my fitness levels from doing this class and it has also helped me with toning up so this is a personal favourite of mine.
I was so scared to try Body Pump for the first time because I had an image in my head that it would be a class full of extremely bulky men and that I just wouldn’t be able to keep up or fit in with the rest of the class. I soon realised that this was not the case at all and when I went to the class there was such a wide variety of ages of both men and women at varying levels of fitness. It’s also good because no one can really see how heavy the weights are that you’re using if that is something you worry about and you can gradually build up your strength over time. It’s a form of muscle conditioning and this is one of the classes that I have seen the most difference in my body in terms of muscle definition and strength. It’s a lot of fun and you can adapt your weights to whatever suits you best and it really defies all the stereotypes that people have around weight lifting or training so I would really recommend giving it a go!
Les Mills Sh’ Bam
Ok of all the classes on this list, this one is the most fun! It is basically dancing for around 45 minutes to some great songs and having such a fun time! I really didn’t think this class would be for me because I honestly cannot dance to save my life and I truly mean that! I originally went with a friend who wanted to go and the whole class was trying to follow the moves as best they could but the focus was more about having a good time and getting your heart rate up. The instructor always said to us not to worry if we were doing it right and was always encouraging everyone to feel confident in themselves so I have now become a regular member of that class, which I never thought would be the case!
I won’t lie, this is a hard class. Cycling for around 45 minutes, depending on what classes are on offer where you are, is not easy particularly in a spin class where you are pushed to do new moves with hill climbs that you feel you can’t get your legs round and then into a sprint where you feel like you can’t breathe! However, the thing that’s great about it is that you can adapt the bike to set it on levels that best suit your ability, it’s also normally quite dark in the room with loud music so everyone gets in their own zone and isn’t paying attention to anyone else at all. I personally really enjoy this class and my fitness has improved dramatically since doing this. It has been the best class for me to lose weight and improve my stamina so the results are really great both mentally and physically.
Les Mills Barre
Les Mills Barre is a ballet based workout routine to improve core strength and posture. It lasts for around 30 minutes which trust me is enough because the thing that people often don’t realise about this class is that it is actually very difficult! My legs have been burning more after this than a spin class and I have so much more admiration for ballerinas after doing this, knowing the strength that they must have. It is also another chance to just let go a bit and have a dance and no one is actually worrying about whether they’re looking like a ballerina or being graceful or not because the chances are no one is! I am not at all a graceful person, nor do I have the build of a ballerina however anything goes here and it’s a really great class to try something new.
There are way too many types of Yoga for me to get into here but there is definitely a type that suits everyone. Don’t be worried about not being flexible either- I can’t even touch my toes. Yoga incorporates so many different things and so different types of yoga will focus on these different aspects of fitness. I really enjoy Hatha Yoga to practice the postures but I also love to focus on strength in yoga too which can be found in strength Vinyasa. This can be quite tough and you will break a sweat if you do strength yoga so don’t think that you will spend the whole time lying down and relaxing because this is not the case! My core strength has been at its best doing yoga regularly and there are so many other benefits too both mentally and emotionally. It does really help to reduce stress, improve your breathing and improve your sleep. There are so many health benefits to yoga of all varying kinds and once I started I completely got immersed in that world and started meditation too which has really helped me to wind down.
This is another one that can be quite tough but I love the variety that circuit classes offer. You also know that you will be moving on from that particular station at some point so it’s great motivation to keep going! It’s all about doing the best that you can and normally everyone will be on different stations doing completely different exercises so you can’t really make comparisons if that is something that you are prone to doing. You go at your own pace and that’s what I love about it and then you can see the improvement as you go on. These classes vary so much depending on the instructor so there really isn’t any set way of doing it, except that you move round doing various exercises so you will never get bored!
Legs, Bums and Tums
This is a really great one for me as it targets the areas that I am most insecure about on my body. You tend to find that a lot of women go to these classes and it is usually a really friendly and supportive atmosphere which I enjoy. This also is great for toning up and mainly involves aerobic exercise so you don’t have to worry about not having particularly big muscles!
HIIT classes can be pretty tough but definitely worthwhile. HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and focuses on cardiovascular exercise which really increases your metabolism so you will burn a lot of calories in this class! The good thing is that because it’s so intense it doesn’t last too long so you get it over and done with and it goes quite quickly when you’re so busy focusing on the routine. The moves will be quite similar to those you might find in circuit training so if you’ve done similar things before then you will be able to adapt quite easily.
Body Combat is a really fun class and a great way to de-stress after work! You can get all of your frustrations out here and you don’t need any previous experience of any types of combat or martial arts as it’s really just these types of moves to music. If you want to let your anger out whilst toning up then this is definitely the class for you and it also really improves your stamina too!
True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body ; the two are ever united.Wilhelm Von Humboldt
Thanks for reading my top 10 favourite exercise classes! I really try to live a healthy lifestyle and sometimes this isn’t always possible so it is also important to remember that if you did’t make it to the gym one day then that is completely ok, don’t feel guilty or beat yourself up over it. It’s all about balance XOX