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Monday, January 7, 2013

A Newbie's Guide to the Gym: Part 3 - Specialty Aerobics Classes


We have had a lot of questions about specialty aerobics classes that many gyms are offering, so ask and you shall receive! Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list of any and all classes that can exist. If you class is not listed, try to use Part 1 and this post to to identify the type of class that you are taking and schedule accordingly.

Cardio Dance-Related Classes - You will see a lot of variation in dance-style classes at gyms in your area. You may be familiar with Zumba, a latin-based cardio dance program, of you may have a hip hop class that your gym offers. You may also see classes listed as Latin Sizzle, Latin Groove, Jazz Funk or simply Cardio Dance.

Premise: Dance your way to fitness! Cardio based class that typically does not use any weights focusing on burning calories and increasing your cardiovascular health.

Benefits: If you are moving the entire time, similar to the way a Zumba class is taught, 60-minute classes typically burn more than 600 calories. Other dance-related classes like hip hop may provide quite a few breaks and you may burn about 400 calories during this class/workout. If you are just getting started and have a good deal of weight to lose, this is a great class to start with. While you won't get strength training in this class, you will get acclimated to moving your body and have fun doing it!

Disadvantages: There are a few disadvantages to a class like this if this is all you have time for in the week. You won't get any strength training in this class (unless there are weight incorporated somehow) - you will need to set time aside to incorporate a strength-based class or a incorporate a weightlifting routine on your own.

How Often do I take this class? I would recommend this class 2-3 times per week, serving as a pure cardio class. It's also a fun class to take as a way to "shake" up your normal routine.

Kickboxing Classes - You may see classes listed as Kickboxing, Cardio Kick, Club Box or even by the trade name, TaeBo.

Premise: Combine martial arts style training with high energy music and choreographed routines.

Benefits: This class will not only let you trim down, but it's a great way to tone your lower and upper halves using body weight. Push-ups, punches and "speed bag" intervals are great for your upper body, while kicks, squats and thrusts are incorporated for toning your lower half.

Disadvantages: There are really no disadvantages to this class that I can really speak of! Just make sure that you pay close attention to the steps and each piece of choreography because you may be running into your neighbor if you aren't careful!

How Often do I take this class? Although this class is mainly cardio, it does do some toning for you. I would encourage you to consider taking a break from lifting legs the next day! Lift chest and back or arms - trust me - your legs will thank you.

Spinning Classes
 - You may see classes listed as Spinning, Indoor Cycling, RPM, Fast Track, etc. (I'm a little biased about spin since I am a spin instructor! I'll try to be objective though!)

Premise: Using a stationary, upright bike with variable tension, you perform speed and tension intervals on the bicycle set to music.

Benefits: This is a great cardio and lower body workout! Be prepared to work your calves, hamstrings, quads and glutes! You really shouldn't be gripping the handlebars for dear life, so if you feel some tension in your neck, check you posture next class!

Disadvantages: The obvious - the seat! Most will experience slight discomfort with the seat during and after their first few classes. Gel seat covers will alleviate some of the discomfort, but rest assured that your body should be used to it by the 3rd or 4th class.

How Often do I take this class? Same advice as the kickboxing class - While this is a cardio class, you will definitely feel the work in your legs. Especially if you adjust your tension accordingly! I would encourage you to consider taking a break from lifting legs the next day! Lift chest and back or arms.

I hope these additional explanations help!



  1. Cycle is awesome! Going tomorrow for an hour and then my Persona Training session for an hour. I love Tuesdays after work!!!

    Tonya’s Treats for Teachers

  2. Really manage to find the health info from your blog.
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  3. Love all the thoughtful info on your site!
    I am trying to do a combo of spin/ bar method & yoga. Is it safe to say that I can do a spin class, then the next day a bar class in place of lifting weights? The bar class I go to is pretty agressive- weights for arms and shoulders, body weight for legs etc....
    I am really looking to lose fat & tone. I don't have a large amount of weight to lose- maybe just go down a size.
    any suggestions or thoughts would be helpful:)


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