Personal trainer Dave Giloi says that by incorporating one of each of these classes into your weekly training regime you will “achieve a balanced training programme which covers the majority of fitness modalities safely and effectively”.
What it is: Stationary bike cycling with an instructor at the front of the class directing you.
Dave says Who can do it: spinning classes cater for all fitness levels, so don’t worry about not being able to ‘keep up’ just move at your own pace. The gym will usually indicate what type of class it is; from beginner to advanced, and from strength to endurance. It caters for a wide range of goals and levels.
Why you should spin:It’s a great cardio workout that’s low impact on joints, is high intensity and a great workout for your legs and heart.
What to take with: Plenty of water and a towel, heart-rate monitor if you have one, but it's not a necessity.
What it is: Pilates is similar in some respects to yoga and is an exercise system designed to strengthen and stretch the muscles while integrating the mind and body. Dave describes it as “building strength from the inside out”.
Classes will cater for specific levels - and there are classes for beginners to advanced in most studios. Who can do it:
Why you should do Pilates: The moves in Pilates are excellent for building core strength and stability and over a few classes you should feel more flexible and even physically look more toned. Dave adds that you will also ‘attain greater body awareness and strengthening of your stabilising muscles’. Expect mat work or working with specialised Pilates equipment, ie : the reformer.
What to take with: Your own yoga mat (although not a necessity as most gyms provide them), comfortable clothing (shoes not required) and a towel.
Functional strength class
What is it: Depending on the gym you belong to, these classes come under a variety of different descriptions, but the workouts are often very similar. “Expect interesting and varied movements, using body weight, kettle bells, elastic bands, physio balls, bosu’s, medicine balls, dumbells and sometimes even climbing ropes, car tires, monkey bars and many more unusual training methods,” says Dave.
According to Dave, the object of Who can do it:strength training classes is “to achieve strength which is real, dynamic and useful to meet your goals. Make sure classes are appropriately progressive or else the risk of injury is increased. Working with an experienced trainer is essential due to the very dynamic and demanding nature of the movements.”
Why you should do it: If weight-loss is your goal these classes will help burn fat fast as well as build muscle over time. Dave adds that they’re also fun, challenging and effective.
What to take with you: A towel and lots of water.
Remember to always tell the class instructor if you are new, injured or pregnant as they will be able to advise you on exercises you should avoid or take easier.
Take water and a towel with you to all classes to keep hydrated and mop up when you're done if you've sweated excessively.
Don't be afraid to try new classes, remember everyone was 'new' once.
If one instructor rubs you up the wrong way, don't just abandon the class, try another one with a different instuctor.
Most of all, remember to enjoy your gym classes.
Reference: Dave Giloi, personal trainer at Body Excel Gym. For more information or to contact Dave on 073 427 9499 or email firstname.lastname@example.org visit www.bodyexcel.co.za
(Amy Froneman, Health24, updated January 2012)