When you walk into a fitness club for a tour the sales people do their best to sell you not only the membership but to sell you on all the equipment and the total complete group fitness class schedule. There is something for everyone. At least that's what they tell you. They're right. There is something for everyone but what they aren't telling you is which one is for you. Go for your assessment and chances are the fitness consultant won't tell you either. So what do you do?
There are a few things to look at. First, what's your goal? Increase your cardiovascular endurance? Get a strength training workout in? What about bootcamp? What's that good for? So many questions. What kind of class do you like? What about the instructor? The first thing I'll tell you is go to a class that gets your heart rate up and also uses weights. The fountain of youth is not in cardio alone. In fact there are a myriad of articles now that support what so many personal trainers (us included) have said for years. Cardio is great for your heart, but that's about it. That's not to say you won't burn calories or reach some goals with a strictly cardio based workout. You will. But try HIIT classes first. Classes like INSANITY LIVE fit that bill very well. Heart rates up high for a brief period of time followed by a lower heart rate period. Incredible at strengthening the heart as well as burning calories the rest of the day. Thats the class where 4 hours later you may still be sweating. It's all good. Obviously if you are new to fitness or getting back into it after a lengthy or short period of time, you're going to want to ease into it. ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS communicate with the instructor. They aren't Jedis and cannot read your mind. Let them know you are fresh to the class and that you are easing into it. A good instructor will keep an eye out for you and constantly give you modifications (as well as the rest of the class).
If your goal is weight loss though along with building up some lean tissue. Thats muscle by the way. Get into a class that has an interval style that utilizes weights. There are a lot of those out there. I teach P90X LIVE at our studio to our members and it is exactly what they are looking for. Total body fitness encompassing cardio, weights and core. Try and find a class that incorporates body weight as well as free weights. It becomes a more dynamic and functional workout which translates better to your everyday life.
What about spinning. Go for it? But get biking shorts with padding. The seats are terrible and poke in places you may not want to be poked in during a fitness class. I'm not going to venture into the uber popular world of spin classes with weights. I have a simple rule of thumb when on a spin bike. If I wouldn't do it on a real bike, I won't do it on a spin bike.
Dance classes like Shaun T's Cize, the up and coming Country Heat or the ever popular Zumba. That's going to be a personal thing. When it comes to dance, everyone has what they like and what works for them. But like any other class, you need to push it to your outside limits.
So what is the right class. All of them. But go with these things first. ALWAYS have a strength training class at least 2-3 times a week. Strength training builds muscles, muscles burn calories. Thats the goal. Cardio is great fun. You'll definitely get a workout, but remember to get in those weights. How about going with what you like as well. Your bff may love the boot camp class with the instructor that barks at her and is constantly blowing a whistle. You may absolutely hate it. If you don't like the class, don't go to it. Look at the club schedule. They will always have an alternative class to that one. Now, look at the instructors. Are they motivating? Inspiring? Are they walking around talking to members during the class or are they pushing you and everyone else to reach the goals you're there for? We have a simple rule. 70/30. An instructor should be instructing and motivating and correcting form and technique 70 percent of the time. 30 percent is how much of the class they should actually be doing. Are you taking a class where the instructor is getting their workout in at the same time? Time to switch classes. We're getting paid to be at the front of the room to help you, not ourselves.
Bottom line. The right class for you is the one that you are going to go to. That is really the answer. Find what you love. It may not be the first class you try. In fact, it probably won't be. But try and keep on trying. Until you find YOUR workout.