4 workouts everyone needs to try

(at least once. And that’s if you’re without specific injuries and limitations, of course!)

Hi friends! Happy humpday. 🙂 Hope you’re enjoying the morning! Huge congratulations to the winner of our Polar giveaway: Carly M. (<— check your email, Carly!) Stay tuned for more fun giveaways on the way during Winter Shape Up, which starts on the 25th. Mark your calendars!

For now, here are some workouts I think would be perfect to shake up your routine in 2016 if you’ve never tried them before. 

4 workouts to try in the new year

New Years is kind of like Black Friday in the big box gyms. The crowds swarm in, there’s a little bit of competition to snag your doorbuster deal (in the gym’s case: a machine or piece of cardio equipment) and there’s a buzz and purposeful energy in the air. I love love love the packed classes after New Years, and the fact that many people are working to achieve new health and fitness goals.

I’m often asked about my favorite workout classes and what I would recommend to those looking to try something new. Some of my all-time favorites aren’t necessarily ones that I would recommend to *everyone*. For example, if you hate circuit training and the treadmill, I probably won’t drag you to Orangetheory with me. If you only like SUPER sweaty cardio-driven workouts, I wouldn’t ask you on a barre date. If you don’t like the heat, I’m not going to recommend hot yoga.

Yoga six 2 

But, there are a handful of workouts I recommend to EVERYONE, no matter what your fitness level may be. Here’s what they are, and why I think they’re great fits for most of the general population, pending any injury or special limitations consideration.

1) BODYPUMP. I think BODYPUMP is one of the best ways to become familiar with strength training major muscle groups, and it removes a lot of the intimidation that can occur when you first begin lifting weights. Even if you’ve been lifting weights for a long time, it’s still an awesome class because it challenges your muscles differently through muscular endurance, and you can always make it more challenging by adding on weights. It’s equally approachable for males and females, the music is motivating, and it’s a killer workout. Wins and high fives all around.

Bodypump

(Source)

2) Spin. Ok, so this one probably won’t work if you hate riding a bike (or the feel of riding a bike), but it makes a fantastic cardio option. It’s low-impact, so it’s very easy on the joints; you can challenge yourself depending on your personal level and how you feel; and you can use it to build cardio endurance, leg strength, and speed gains. You don’t need to have a ton of experience (just a knowledgeable instructor with proper form cues/coaching) to get in an awesome cardio workout.

Spin bike

3) Gentle yoga. Yoga is fantastic for relaxation, mind-body awareness, core strength, posture, and flexibility. Even if you enjoy the hardcore yoga classes, gentle yoga makes an ideal recovery option, as you’ll spend time taking deep breaths, stretching (which may help prevent injury by maintaining full range of motions in your joints), and gently stabilizing/strengthening. Find a gentle yoga class, and use it as a guided stretchy nap. We all need more of those in our lives, yes?

4) Dance cardio! Even though I think Zumba is dying a slow death, there are plentiful dance cardio options in the sea. Why I like it: it takes the “work” out of working out. Also, dance cardio encourages lateral movement. So often in life, we move forwards and backwards. That’s it. It’s good for your body to move side to side, challenge balance, and change directions. Also, dance cardio is great for your brain. I love the results of this study, and it’s one of the many reasons why I want to dance as long as I possibly can. Check out and see if there’s a Masala Bhangra, Werq, U-Jam, Jazzercise, dance cardio, or LaBlast class in your area!

Dancing with sasha

(dancing with Sasha! I miss her. PS she’s in Boulder if you’re nearby and want to take her Orangetheory class!)

Are there any workouts you love and would recommend to anyone? Any fitness dates gone awry? I’ll never forget when the Pilot and my brother Trevor took my Zumba class. The best.

xoxo

Gina

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Comments

  1. I’ve still never tried a spin class! Thankfully it’s one of the few fitness classes they actually have up here in Alaska, so I’m hoping to go soon!

  2. It surprises me about zumba dying done yet step aerobics is still going strong. Apparently we all love Jane Fonda. 😉 I hated biking until I went to my first spin class. I never knew biking could be so much fun. Pilates is my other favorite. Such a great core workout and it makes your weakness very apparent.

  3. I just did a little happy dance because I’ve tried all 4 of those workouts! I really like Body Pump (with the right instructor), and even though it’s dying, I love this one Zumba instructor at my gym who uses all kinds of 80’s classics in her class!

    • Fitnessista says:

      oh, that’s amazing! i feel like if you have a great instructor that switches it up, it’s still a ton of fun. i just think as a whole, it’s losing traction

  4. I LOVE bodypump but it can be a bit confusing when you first start since you may be unsure how much weight you need. It’s definitely a great idea to get there early and talk to the instructor so you know which body parts you’re working .

  5. Yay I’ve done all 4 too! Bodypump was awesome for getting me used to weight lifting and being comfortable with that type of movement. I’ve been really interested in Orangetheory and barre lately 🙂

  6. I have always wanted to try a Bodypump class, but there aren’t any offered around me. I am hoping that one day I will get the chance. Right now I am really loving yoga. I can do it at home or go to a class. It is perfect!

  7. I’ve tried all 4. One of my favorite workouts is pilates. If done properly it is a great workout.

  8. Hi Gina, I know it can be super intimidating for people to get into yoga, so sometimes I even think a few online at-home sessions is good just to get your feet wet and get a sense of what you may experience in a real yoga class. But the benefits of yoga are so vast, it’s really something everyone should try. So hard to get into though … Of course, I love your suggestion of BODYPUMP, as an instructor of that, it’s challenging for everyone and low impact (mostly unless you do jumps from older releases). I’d also recommend a combo class with cardio and strength, like Orangetheory, Barry’s or other conditioning classes, because they give you a full workout when you don’t have many hours to get it all done each week and need it all in one place. I need more dance fitness in my life … like NOW! 🙂

  9. I definitely agree! Bodypump was how I got into strength training and now I’m a trainer, it makes it easy! I’d say spin, but you may have to give it a few tries because I really like instructors that use the music as the cue for the sets, but some facilities do it a bit different creating challenges that don’t jive with the music. Some people love it but it’s not my thing. I think the best point you made was if you don’t try it you will never know if you like it!

  10. Ah yea! If you want group fitness, bodypump is the way to go!! I miss it so much! But it is such a “gateway drug” to everything fitness! Haha!

  11. Love this list, totally agree. Question – right now, I really love the option of working out at home + pure barre. My go to cardio is zumba on the wii, but you can only do the same songs so many times. Any good suggestions for dance cardio at home? I’ll look into your above suggestions, but was wondering if you had any other strictly home based ideas. Thanks!!

  12. My upline coach is actually a Body Pump instructor. I took her class while I was home for Christmas and OMG!!! What an incredible workout!

  13. I love both Bodypump and Spin 🙂 Although I think Spin class depends heavily on the instructor (music is key for me). Bodypump is awesome for everyone! But I think it can be super overwhelming to someone who has never lifted at all. I think something I might add is playing a sport. I play soccer in an adult rec league, definitely an awesome workout.

    • Fitnessista says:

      i totally agree. i’ve taken some womp womp spin classes
      love the suggestion of playing a sport! i played success years and years ago and always thought it would be fun to do it again

  14. I think gentle yoga is definitely something a lot of people can do. I know people who have had injuries and used yoga to improve their mobility. I also recommend swimming/water exercises to anyone (as long as they can tread water or at least stay in the shallow end lol).

  15. Yoga. But I mostly do my workouts at home.

  16. Great recommendations! BP is my personal fave (& Body Flow!). I did Jazzercise for years & loved it SO MUCH! (I don’t have one in my area now.) Wow, I would have loved to witness the guys in your Zumba class… 😛

  17. I’ve tried spin a handful of times, and I go back and forth on whether I like it or not. Some days, it is a huge YES. But sometimes, I just can’t get into it. I think I may go back and give it another shot because I know so many people rave about it.

  18. I love Body Pump and Spin classes. They are my top favorite classes although I’m giving the classes a bit of a break to let the craziness settle now.

    Time for home workouts!

  19. I teach HIIT workouts that are basically like “Crossfit-lite.” We do a lot of the same movements minus the Olympic lifts. It’s an incredible workout and I never want to do anything else! If you’re ever in Chicago let me know and I’ll hook you up! 🙂

  20. This is a great list. I couldn’t agree more that yoga is for everyone, whether they are total beginners, fitness maniacs, or full-on yoginis!

    Although this is not exactly a fitness “date” gone awry, I did recently have a slight bummer of a Zumba class. I usually enjoy Zumba and have taken it several times, but I tried a new instructor at a different gym last week and it was…interesting. She was a brilliant dancer, but literally did not stop once to explain any of her insanely complicated dance moves! I’m all for a fast pace, but I feel like most instructors I’ve had before at least repeat sequences several times throughout a song so that students can get the hang of it – not the case here. Needless to say, I ended up flailing foolishly through most of the class! Sadness.

  21. I am on such a Les Mills kick at the moment! Bodypump is my jam but I am really enjoying RPM and Sh’bam for cardio!

  22. I recommend Bodypump to everyone also! It is so fun, and never gets old. I LOVE how packed my classes have been this week! Also, Sasha is so close to me! I might have to check out her OT class 🙂

  23. Ballet! Adult ballet I mean. It’s so much more fun without the pressure!! I took it after I had a major shoulder surgery thinking it pull be a mainly lower body workout, but as weird as this might sound, it was waaaaaay better rehab than most of my PT. plus it always puts me in a fantastic mood!

  24. Body pump = Life Changing!
    I miss it so so much. I no longer have access to a gym, but I am still a huge advocate!

  25. Completely agree with your list! You should add Soli Beat in the dance cardio recommendations 😉 I’ve also heard really good things about BodyJam, but haven’t had the chance to try it yet.

  26. I have been wanting to try bodypump for awhile just haven’t found an affordable studio around! And I agree with suggesting Spin, I think you can have a love hate relationship with it, but the energy in the classes are amazing I think!

  27. Bodypump & Hot/Power Yoga

  28. Just because you’re not into it now doesn’t mean that Zumba is dying! As both an instructor and participant classes I teach and go to are still as fun as ever. Let’s not discourage others from trying something just because we may be tired of it.

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