Sorry, no food on today’s post, seeing as it’s Wednesday and workout starts with a W, I thought I’d put a fun little alliteration together and do a post on my favorite workouts. I almost always get my activity in the form of a group fitness class. I think they’re a great way to increase motivation (I always want to work harder than my neighbor) and challenge myself, as well as learn new plyometric and weight training moves for specific body parts.
I try to switch up the classes I take to keep my body guessing and my mind interested in working out. I’ll go through phases, but try to go with the flow, because if I force myself to do a class just because I feel like I should be doing that type of class instead of another, I’ll just grow to hate the gym. For example I was the queen of spin as a junior, but haven’t really done any spinning at all in a little over a year and am fine with that, because I just got sick of it and still haven’t wanted to get back to it. And if I do want to someday, I definitely will head back to spin class.
My gym uses a lot of classes by Body Training Systems, which is very similar to Les Mills for you bloggers that haven’t heard of them. A lot of the classes are virtually the same and offer a great workout with a nice variety. I do know of one blogger that I have been following for quite awhile, Heather, who teaches BTS classes. Any others out there who are certified to teach a BTS class?
Group Power: I did this one on Monday. This has the exact same set-up as Body Pump – a song for each muscle group, with weight-lifting moves choreographed to the music, using a bar and plates. I always leave Power feeling so strong and accomplished! In fact, my hamstrings are still sore right now, just two days later. No matter how much I try, I never seem to get as good of a strength training workout on my own as I do with this class. I love feelin the burn!
The songs in Power go like this:
- Legs (usually all squats with the bar)
- Chest (some combo of presses, flies, and push-ups)
- Back/Legs (some combo of dead-lifts, dead-rows, clean-and-presses, and sometimes flies)
- Triceps (some combo of tri push-ups, kickbacks, overhead extensions, and presses)
- Biceps (curls, occasionally a bicep row is thrown in there)
- Legs (some combo of different types of lunges, and sometimes sumo squats)
- Shoulders (some combo of split raises, presses, upright rows, rear delt t’s, arnold presses, and more)
- Abs (lots of different possibilities here)
So as you can see there are plenty of varying exercises to keep your body guessing and keep your interest peaked!
Group Step: Think your traditional step classes, but each song has its own focus, and is choreographed. So if I keep going to Step each week, I get better and better at the routine and can put more into it each time. I love dancing and this kind of reminds me of that!
Just like Power, the order of the song focuses does not change, but the songs in each release do along with the steps!
- Step Start (warm-up)
- Step Ahead (cardio-focused)
- Step Up (cardio-focused, usually involving lots of knee lifts)
- Step Strong (leg workout, squats and lunges)
- Step Energy (top speed)
- Step Agility (balance worked in somehow, usually involves running and high knees)
- Step Motion (lowers heart rate before the finale, often involves dance-like moves like mambo, cha-cha, etc)
- Step Attack (peak heart rate, think a combo of Step Strong and Step Energy)
- Step Symmetry (abs and/or push-ups)
- Step Down (stretch)
Group Groove: For all you Zumba fans out there, you’d really enjoy this class! This is purely a dance class, but it’s a great workout all the same – in fact, I’m attending tonight! Just like Step, it gets really fun once you’ve gone enough times and have the routine down pat because then you can put more effort into getting really into the moves and getting the best workout possible. Some of the moves are cheesy (the last release did involve a moment or two of air guitar…) but it’s easy to sub-in your own momentary move if you feel too silly (for example, I do dynamic lunges during the air guitar portion).
Groove songs go a little something like this:
- Warm Up
- First Dance (just to get you into the dance mode, a fairly easy routine)
- Party Dance (usually a Latin song, involving lots of cha-cha-cha)
- Cardio 1
- Low Dance (legs focused, most of dance done in low-stance, usually something urban)
- Cardio 2
- Break Dance (get heart rate down before peak, slower, often ethnic in some way)
- Peak Dance (two-song mash-up, learn the moves in first song and go all out with them in second, peak HR)
- Last Dance (cool-down)
Group Kick: This class is what I like to call a kickboxing-dance hybrid. I would throw the dance thing in there because it is choreographed. Instead of punching and kicking bags you are punching air, but you can still get a great workout in. Kick typically involves lots of jumping and fast-feet. I always forget how much it works your shoulders – mine are usually surprisingly sore the day after! There are little cardio drills spaced throughout, at the end of random songs, that can really kick your butt and put a nice interval spin on the workout.
I don’t get to go to Kick nearly as much as I’d like to anymore because the classes are either on nights I have school or are too late in the day on weekends for me (I like my 8am and 9am classes on Saturdays/Sundays). But whenever I do I am always surprised at how sore my shoulders and legs are the next day!
Unfortunately my gym doesn’t offer any other BTS classes, but there are plenty of other things I like to do there:
- Interval Training: This class kicks my butt every time – it’s 3 minutes of intervals alternating with 3 minutes of weights. Each weight interval is a different body group. So much is changing that you don’t get bored with any one move!
- Yoga: I haven’t gotten to a gym yoga class in awhile but when I’m stuck at home with no other workout alternative (hello snow days), I really like the P90X Yoga DVD. I am covered in sweat by the end and though 90 minutes seems long, the hardest portions of the workout are split up by nice stretching moves.
- Pilates: Ditto on not getting to pilates in awhile, but it’s a great ab workout and also surprisingly hard on the legs. Don’t shun pilates or yoga until you try them – they are tough! I was in a pilates and yoga phase my senior year, I did each about twice a week, and loved how flexible and lean I felt.
- Elliptical: Not a class, but when all else fails and there is no class for me to take but I want to work out, I hop on the elliptical, alternate the resistance from normal to super high, and read a magazine. Sometimes this is just all I’m in the mood for, AKA I’m not in the mood for an intense class but want to get moving, and it works for me!
Thank you to Body Training Systems for the images in this post. I was not given any incentive to write about their programs, I just did so because I love them!