8 Popular Fitness Classes, Explained

8 Popular Fitness Classes, Explained

by Posted on: August 15, 2013Categories: LiveWell 24/7   

Ever wonder what all the different fitness classes at your local gym were about? Well, this article is designed to explain what which exercise class is about and what areas of fitness it targets. After reading through each class, find out which one appeals most to you and get active!


What it is: Zumba combines Latin dance, hip-hop, martial arts, and resistance training in an upbeat fitness choreography that makes working out tons of fun. A typical, 60-minute class helps relieve stress, tone muscles, and burn calories. Appropriate for all ages and fitness levels, it’s no wonder that this confidence-boosting, rhythmic workout is such a hit.


What it is: This ballet-inspired fitness class uses high repetitions of small, precise movements to tone muscle, build strength, teach muscle control, and improve overall posture. Quicker-paced classes can serve as a cardiovascular workout and condition muscles. Participants feel the burn in their arms, abs, glutes, and thighs with this strengthening and lengthening routine.

Bikram Yoga (Hot Yoga)

What it is: The 90-minute yoga class includes 26 hatha yoga postures and two pranayama breathing exercises. Commonly referred to as “hot yoga,” Bikram is performed in a room heated to 105 degrees to ease the body into its most flexible state. Challenging the mind and body alike, this form of yoga focuses on the importance of oxygen flow and breathing.


What it is: This low-impact, conditioning workout is filled with body-sculpting moves that only require a space the size of an exercise mat. Instructors help participants connect the mind and body through a series of small, breath-controlled movements that help build flexibility, muscle strength, and endurance in the legs, abs, arms, hips, and back. Most classes emphasize the importance of achieving proper pelvic and spinal alignment, resulting in improved posture.

Boot Camp

What it is: This umbrella term describes any group fitness class that combines cardio moves, strength training, and agility work into one intense sweat session. These military-inspired workouts help burn more calories by varying the exercise styles and movements while maintaining an elevated heart rate. Circuit-style workouts — performing a series of moves without rest in between — provide a great way to condition the entire body at one’s own pace.


What it is: Spinning is a form of indoor cycling that is offered in large gym chains and boutique fitness clubs across the country. An enthusiastic instructor guides participants on specialized, stationary bikes through an intense, 40- to 60-minute cardio workout that focuses on strength, endurance, intervals, high intensity bursts, and active recovery. The group pedals along with motivating music timed to the instructor’s choreography.


What it is: CrossFit combines a series of cardiovascular exercise, bodyweight strength training, gymnastics, and weightlifting into fast-paced, total-body workouts. Workouts harness the power of metabolic conditioning circuit-training, requiring participants to complete each set of exercises as quickly as possible while still maintaining proper form. The varied movements and little rest make for a tough workout that lasts anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes.


What it is: Boxing is a powerful alternative to cross-training workouts. This empowering exercise often includes free weights and plyometric moves — quick exercises that exert lots of force, such as hopping and jumping — to maximize calorie burn and increase lean muscle mass. Participants focus on improving speed, mental and physical strength, coordination, and endurance with this combat-based, total-body workout that only draws the line at full-contact sparring.


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