Have a hard time convincing yourself to hit the gym after a long day? If you’re struggling to lose weight on your own, group fitness workouts might be the solution. Not only do group classes mean you’ll have an instructor around to ensure you don’t hurt yourself, but they also provide you with a group of fellow fitness seekers. You’ll likely work out longer and harder knowing people are watching—and perhaps even looking to you for inspiration.
In fact, studies show that people who participate in group workouts may enjoy better results than those who exercise alone. According to a 2013 study published in the International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, participants who used rowing machines for 45 minutes in groups rather than on their own reported a greater pain tolerance. Experts believe that this benefit results from the endorphins that are released when individuals exercise as a group.
While group fitness workouts abound, we’ve created a list of our favorites. Here are some of the best group classes you can take in 2018 if you want to achieve serious results:
If you’re a fitness fanatic, the odds are good you’ve heard of CrossFit. An intense exercise regimen, CrossFit focuses on making improvements in multiple fitness areas, including cardio, endurance, flexibility, and balance. By switching up their routines regularly, participants keep their bodies guessing and maximize muscle development and weight loss.
With the rise of the CrossFit-specific gym, group exercise fans now have a place to perform these workouts alongside their peers. Highly social, many CrossFitters enjoy one another’s company outside of class as well.
Many exercise addicts like to get their workouts in by taking a long bike ride through the country. However, hitting the trails can be less than enjoyable if it’s the middle of a heat wave or a cold spell. That’s where spin classes come in. High-intensity classes that involve endurance, strength training, and cardio, spin classes tend to be noisy, fun, and highly social. As is the case with most group fitness classes, having a great instructor is essential. Choose one who knows how to keep the vibe positive and energy levels high.
You don’t have to be a soldier to benefit from bootcamp-style training. Featuring exercises involving military-style training equipment, such as tires, ropes, and medicine balls, these courses invite participants to bond together over the challenge and celebrate in their success. And because many bootcamps take place outside, they also give sun worshipers a chance to spend some time outdoors.
Want to get fit while getting out some of your aggression? Maybe you want to up your skills in self-defense. A group boxing class offers a fun, full-body workout that improves strength and hand-eye coordination while supporting healthy weight loss. Just make sure you find a class with a knowledgeable instructor who can advise you on the proper postures. The last thing you want to do is suffer an injury that prevents you from working out all together.
If you have a busy schedule—and who doesn’t these days?—you might be struggling to fit in a full workout. One of the benefits of tabata is that it enables you to get in a high-intensity, effective workout in mere minutes. An exercise regimen that’s growing in popularity, tabata involves working out hard for 20 seconds, resting for 10 seconds, and then repeating the process. The benefit of tabata is that it can raise your heart rate and increase your metabolism in just four minutes of exercising. In fact, one study from Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise shows that engaging in tabata for five to 10 minutes yields the same benefits as participating in other moderate exercises for 45 minutes. Not only are tabata workouts effective for losing weight, but they also provide a great environment for meeting people and making friends.
Prefer an exercise option that’s less work and more fun? Zumba lets you dance away the pounds while listening to high-energy Latin beats. While there’s nothing wrong with the occasional solo dance party, these classes tend to be more fun when you do them with others. Fortunately, a number of the bigger gym chains, such as LA Fitness, offer Zumba as part of their regular weekly schedule.
Whether you’ve recently suffered an injury or are just looking to get back into fitness after a pause, water aerobics offers a fun, low-impact way to exercise with peers. These classes tend to involve performing basic aerobic exercises in an indoor or outdoor pool. While your friends are sweating in stinky workout rooms, you can stay cool while working off the pounds in water.
In the end, what matters is that you find a workout you can stick with. Let us know which of these group fitness classes works for you.