Beginners Guide to Group Fitness

Image Credit: Ben Wagner Photo

Hi Friends!!

I have always been a huge fan group fitness. I love the positive atmosphere and the unique culture that each class seems to possess. For a few years, I worked out at a local Crossfit Box and I truly loved it. I even filmed a few really awesome lifestyle segments there for the Miss USA video packages. However, Crossfit isn’t for the faint of heart. Even though it is adaptable for all fitness levels, it incorporates a lot of really challenging lifts and the workouts are done at an intense pace. I thrive in challenging or competitive situations but I also love to change things up! So, after discovering a couple of bloggers on Instagram (@sweatsinthecity) I decided to beat the fitness winter blues I was going to tryout several different group fitness workouts! Also, I live in Ohio so many of the places that I visited are in and around the Columbus area. Many of the studios are chains though so you will most likely be able to find one near where you live or something similar. 

Class Reviews:

1. The Butcher Shop a Lagree Fitness Studio

Length: Approx. 50 mins

Intensity: Way more intense than I expected. This workout focuses on slow and controlled muscle movements using the megaformer. You will really sweat during this class and there is very minimal impact so it is perfect for those worried about joint pain. My muscles were extremely fatigued after this workout and I visited Chill Chryotherapy to combat some of the soreness.

Gear: Grip socks are mandatory and sold in the studios.

Cost: First-timer $10, Drop in $25, Monthly $250

Atmosphere: I was a little intimidated at first because I had never been on a megaformer before but the music was really upbeat and the instructor was very helpful in making sure I was using the machine correctly. It is a smaller class if you attend the Studio in New Albany so make sure you use ClassPass to book your session ahead of time.

2. The CycleBar

Length:  45 mins

Intensity: This ride has something for everyone with a mix of strength, endurance, challenges, hills, and drills. It is really as intense as you make it. The instructor gives suggestions for resistance and speed but if it is your first time cycling dial it back until you get use to riding!

Gear: Towels and Cycle shoes are available for FREE, just bring a water bottle.

Cost: First-timer Free, Drop in $23, Monthly $159 (Discounts are also available for new riders and students!)

Atmosphere: LOVE, LOVE, LOVED IT! I attended this class with a group of girls from the Columbus Hive of Bumble BFF. It was a special reservation for all of us to test out the Cyclebar for the first time. I have to say that this was one of my favorite group fitness experiences. The music was awesome and you could download the playlist afterwards using their “CycleBeats” feature. The instructor was extremely helpful, personable, and motivating. I highly recommend this class to anyone looking to try something new. Also, if you are planning on riding in the Pelotonia it would be a great way to get a ride in when the weather isn’t great .

3. Yoga on High – Aerial Silks Class

Length:  60 mins

Intensity: Warning: Not your average yoga class. The class I attended was for beginners (thankfully) and it was lots of fun yet really challenging. I had to pause several times because being upside down results in a lot of head pressure and the movement of the silk hammock makes you slightly nauseated.

Gear: None needed.

Cost: Drop in $20, New student Monthly $49

Atmosphere: Lots of serene laughter. The instructor lead us through sun salutes as a warm up before moving into simple sequences with the aerial hammock. Every class ends with a 10 minute savasana where you’ll be cocooned in your hammock, suspended in air. I personally would not enjoy attending this class regularly over the more traditional yoga classes but it was a fun experience. Oh yea, you get really awesome Instagram photos too!

Image Credit: Infinite Photo

4. Orange Theory Fitness

Length:  60 mins

Intensity: This class focuses on high intensity interval training (or HIIT for you fitness gurus) so it feels challenging the entire time. The treadmill section is where I felt the most intensity but like with any new workout you set your own pace. The instructor guides you through the exercises and then you can rely on your heart rate monitor to find your “orange zone” of intensity. This class offers some serious calorie burn. I have heard many success stories about OTF goers really transforming their bodies!

Gear: Water bottle & Towel

Cost: First session is FREE, monthly membership costs vary by how frequently you plan on attending the classes.

Atmosphere: Intense and Upbeat! The instructors are very motivating and helpful. It also reminded me a little of my crossfit experience but without the heavy lifting. There is a leaderboard for those of you who are competitive. Your heart rate monitor will rank you and the other class participants according to overall calorie burn and intensity.

5. Pure Barre

Length:  60 mins

Intensity: This workout is moderately intensive. The most challenging thing for me about the class is that there are a lot of moves and positions that I wasn’t use to being in. The class incorporates a lot of ballet style small muscle movements, so you will start to feel the burn. This is another great workout if you are on the hunt for something low impact.

Gear: Grip socks and Leggings

Cost: First week is FREE, First month is $99

Atmosphere: This class also incorporates new and upbeat music so the workout was very engaging. The instructors are really amazing at what they do. The girl teaching my class was helpful and she came around to help correct your form throughout the class. (I needed a lot if direction so I also appreciated that the instructor pushed her microphone away so she didn’t broadcast my struggle to the whole studio! haha) Overall, I thought that the atmosphere was a little intimidating for a newbie. There are lots of die-hard barre babes and everyone seemed to know exactly what to do all the time! I was thankful to have a girlfriend with me experiencing the class for the first time as well to share in the humor.

I hope you all enjoyed this blog post and found it useful in your search for a new workout. Whether you prefer to workout solo or are a group fitness regular, I encourage you to grab a pal and try something new! I learned a lot about my overall fitness trying out these different classes and it was also a chance to step out of my comfort zone. Who knows, maybe you will fall in love with something totally unique or at least make a few new friends along the way. Have more questions about workouts or diet? Comment them below or check out my Q&A here.

Thanks for reading!!

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