Every time I decide to do a workout, I’m faced with a myriad of choices. My subscription to a mega gym means that I have access to many clubs in the same area. At work, I have three gyms in the vicinity. Near home, I am a five-minute drive away from the nearest gym. I also have the option of going for an outdoor run.
Once I decide to go for a workout, I pull out the online schedule and my thought process goes like this:
1. Are there yoga classes today?
Yes -> Taught by a teacher I like? -> Yes -> Go for yoga; if no, go to Option #2.
No-> Select a high-intensity interval training type of class -> Option #2.
2. Are there circuit training/body pump classes today?
Yes -> Do I have a lot of energy today and feel like kicking ass? -> Yes -> Go for circuit training/body pump; if no, go to Option #3.
No-> Select another cardio class -> Option #3.
3. Are there body combat classes today?
Yes -> Can I stand the thought of punching imaginary people, yelling in class and learning bad martial arts form? -> Yes -> Go for body combat; if no, go to Option #4.
No-> Select another cardio class -> Option #4.
4. Are there dance classes (Sh’bam or Body Jam) today?
Yes-> Am I in the mood to use my brain in an exercise class? -> Yes -> Go for dance class; if no, go to Option #5.
No -> Run on the treadmill or outdoors -> Option #5.
5. Run on the treadmill or outdoors
This is my last resort if I cannot find a suitable class in the gym.
Looking at what I just wrote, I realised that this pretty much means that I prefer yoga, circuit training and body pump over all the other group exercise classes. For yoga, it is very much dependent on the teacher. I like teachers who focus on fitness, body alignment and throw us challenging poses to stretch us. I don’t like teachers who give us strange breathing exercises (fire breath) at the start of the class and expound on the spiritual essence of yoga. But yoga with a good teacher wins all other group exercises anytime of the day.
The next is circuit training. Unfortunately, I only have one circuit training class every week that falls on a Friday lunch. This class is a killer. It’s very difficult and usually I’m collapsed before the end of each round but I can tell that it’s doing good for my muscles and toughening me up.
As for body pump, this class is great for women who are intimidated by the weight lifting. I have never used the weights and machines at the gym because I don’t know how to use them. I am also frightened by the grunting and heaving in front of the mirrors. But body pump classes are great because the instructor will tell us when to add weights and when to remove them depending on the muscle we are exercising. I can also imitate the instructor’s posture because good form is crucial for lifting and it’s important to learn it to stay safe.
If I had more time and money, I would prefer other types of exercise. I found a lot of interesting little gyms online that offer fat loss boot camps, kettlebell classes, outdoor circuit training and even crossfit. But they are not cheap considering that I would have to add it on to my costly two-year gym membership.
What are your favourite group exercise classes and most importantly, which do you think are the best for burning fat?