Your Gym Classes, Explained

Gym classes aren't for everyone but can be great for those who don't like working out alone, need a little extra motivation when it comes to breaking a sweat or those that simply like to try something new and different every once in a while.

Better still, most classes are included in your gym membership so are a great way of learning new tricks and techniques for getting the most out of your workouts. However, have you ever had a curious look at the timetable of classes for your gym and wondered what half of the things entail? Half of them you can't even pronounce nevermind perform and without a description online and your fear of seeming clueless, you are tempted to give it a miss and stick to your own routine instead. Here are some common ones explained so you can go and see what it's all about.

Legs, Bums and Tums

Although this might sound a little ominous, Legs, Bums and Tums is pretty much what it says on the tin - a circuit type class that targets mainly the lower body and is all about 'feeling the burn' in your thighs and sculpting and toning your glutes and bum - as well as working and strengthening your core. Most LBT classes focus on weight training and conditioning but do mix in a bit of cardio to really get your sweat on. Think jump squats, barbell lunges, planks and if your PT is really evil - some burpees threw in. LBT has been around for years and has really stood the test of time, outliving some more faddy classes due to participants seeing an undeniable result. Of course, intensity depends on who takes the class and the gym you're in but this is generally a moderate fitness class and if you're not a regular attendee, you may be sore for a few days afterward.

Tabata/HIIT

This is a fairly new fitness craze, but rather than being a fad, it seems this style of working out is definitely here to stay and is now being named as one of the most effective ways to work out and burn fat. Tabata is a HIIT style workout, and love them or hate them, there is no denying that they make you sweat. Tabata can be incorporated into pretty much any workout as it is basically just high intensity for a short amount of time - for example, a spin class that includes sprints of 20 seconds with 10 seconds rest (these timings are most commonly used in Tabata and last for eight or nine rounds). Aside from how effective it is, Tabata is also popular because it is a quick workout (15 mins) so can be performed by anyone, anywhere at any time and is easy to fit into a hectic lifestyle.

Barre

I wouldn't blaBarre Fitness Classme you if you couldn't even pronounce this one, but if you get the chance to do it...definitely give it a go. It's unlikely you'll see Barre on your regular gym class timetable as it does require a special studio and equipment but look for Barre classes available in your area and see if there are any studios nearby. Barre mainly focuses on toning, tightening the muscles and improving the posture - taking inspiration from workouts such as ballet and pilates. If you're in an extra tough class you may also use some light weights to really feel the burn. The majority of the workout takes place on the ballet bar and you use your own body weight for resistance to really tone your thighs and bum. Barre brings all the benefits a good workout should, muscle definition, weight loss and even posture improvement.

Body Pump

Body Pump is a Les Mills creation and is definitely a tough one. A weights class that focuses on fairly low weight (you can build this up as you begin to attend regularly) and high reps through a series of 'tracks' that each last around five minutes. If squatting, lunging, benching and curling until everything is numb seems like your thing, then you will definitely enjoy a Body Pump class. Joking aside, Body Pump may be extremely tough but the results are well worth the sweat and the rewarding feeling of seeing your strength increase class after class is definitely contagious. From experience, the classes are extremely popular and usually very busy, so if your gym has a booking system, get in there quickly.

Functional Fitness

This might be a new addition to your gym timetable and is a great all-rounder for those that want to get a bit of everything out of their workout. The class is 'functional' so will use everyday actions such as reaching, walking, carrying and bending which are then incorporated into a pretty grueling workout that will make you feel great afterward. You may find your functional fitness class uses equipment such as kettlebells, barbells, sandbags and battle ropes  - it can be likened to a circuit class but with fewer exercises and more repetitions. This class, along with Body Pump are really great ways to increase strength, and you may notice an improvement fairly quickly if you remain dedicated.

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