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Popular Group Fitness Classes – And What To Expect From Each One


by Catherine Rotman

Starting a fitness routine can be intimidating, but it helps to have an idea of what to expect before joining any class. Across the communities we serve nationwide, we offer an array of different group fitness class types to meet the dynamic needs of our communities. If you are just starting out with the idea of a group fitness class, keep in mind there is never a one-size-fits all. If you tried one type of class and didn’t love it, there’s probably still another fitness class that might be a game-changer for you. We’ve listed the top 10 most popular types of group fitness classes we offer in-person, with a breakdown of what to expect if you attend a class like this in your community.


Yoga is our most commonly requested group fitness class, and most people are already familiar with the concept of it. This type of exercise has nearly a dozen variations of its own, with the most popular styles including Hot Yoga, to Vinyasa Flow, and Gentle Yoga. The exercise itself consists of deliberate, concentrated movements and postures designed to promote flexibility, tone and strengthen muscles, and align the body. Most often, breathing techniques are also encompassed along with the movements, allowing participants a relaxing experience coinciding with the movement. The end of the class typically ends in a ‘Savasana’ or meditative pose on the back to conclude the practice. This class is ideal for someone looking for a relaxing, quiet routine that helps them release the day, while building muscle tone and flexibility.


Pilates is commonly compared for it’s similarities to Yoga. While Yoga focuses on strength and flexibility through long held, swift-moving postures and “grounding” positions to help you feel centered and balanced, Pilates brings a heavier element of core focus, with repetitive and small movements of isolated or full body muscle groups. In addition, PIlates tones the full body and promotes endurance. This routine uses movements like planks, side planks, and core exercises to enhance your muscles and core strength, all while promoting relaxation with integrated breathing.

Circuit Training

Circuit Training classes are typically an interval-style, fast paced, shorter routine that does exactly as its name implies – a series of exercises that complete a circuit. Normally in this class setting, you complete one exercise (usually in a station) for anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute, and then move on to the next station/exercise for another 30 seconds to a minute, typically with a brief break in the routine once you complete one full circuit. Circuits can average 5-6 different exercises or stations, and you normally repeat the circuit 3-5 times, depending on the time one full circuit takes. This class is ideal for you are looking for a calorie-burning, strength-training fast paced workout.


HIIT stands for High-Intensity Interval Training, and is an exercise strategy that alternates short periods of intense exercise movements, followed by less intense, but still active “recovery” periods. The goal with a HIIT class is to reach a sustained target heart rate for exercise, allowing you to quickly burn fat in a brief amount of time. This class is ideal for someone looking to burn serious calories through intense cardio movements, and work up a sweat!

Water Aerobics

Water Aerobics can be a fun way to engage muscle endurance and strength in a low-impact setting. This aerobic-style class usually involves light dumbbells and movements designed to get your heart pumping at a steady, consistent pace. Because of the lower intensity, classes are most effective in about an hour length time span. Normally, when you attend this type of class, you can expect a warm-up, a period of cardio, and some strength-training with smaller weights and a cool-down period. This workout is ideal for anyone who is looking for a steady, longer, low-impact routine that is exciting and unconventional from standard routines.


A Cycling class is great cardio workout that relies on a fitness center cycling machine, usually in a room designated for this type of fitness class. Often times, the class includes fast-paced upbeat tracks to help build the heart rate at different intervals over the course of the workout with alternating periods of sitting and standing, as well as adjusting the intensity or grade of the bike. Classes average around 45 minutes in length, and it’s a great idea to bring a towel and water bottle with you to this class – you’re going to need both!

When using the cycle machines for the first time, it’s really crucial to make sure you properly adjust the height of your seat and your bike handles to your own personal setting, and consult your instructor to make sure you have done this correctly and locked each piece into place for proper machine safety and reduction in the risk of improper knee form mechanics.


Bootcamp classes are normally more challenging classes designed to push you outside of your regular limits through a hybrid combination of high intensity, cardio and strength-training movements. If you go to a Bootcamp class, you can expect to encounter anything from push-ups and burpees, to bursts of sprints, sit-ups, pull-ups, barbell and weight lifting, as several examples. The variety of these movements keeps your body guessing and working, all shown to effectively maximize your progress and long-term development. As intimidating as a bootcamp class can sound, this class is ideal for someone who is up for a good challenge and seeking the deepest, most rewarding level of exercise.


There is no doubt in the fact that Zumba takes a spin on conventional ideas of exercise and converts it to to an upbeat form of aerobic movement that disguises the effort of regular workouts! A Zumba class offers a series of energetic dance routines that provide a great cardio exertion by mixing low intensity and high intensity moves for an interval-style, calorie burning, dance fitness party. The biggest key to joining a Zumba class is to not be worried about your dance moves, because everyone else is on the same boat! Anyone who loves to dance and is looking for a fun routine that trades traditional, mundane workouts for music-inspired movement would enjoy this type of group fitness class.


Kickboxing is an adrenaline-pumping martial-arts style of fitness that provides a great cardiovascular workout and helps build endurance, coordination, tones muscles and core, all while working the heart and burning a lot of calories. In addition to all these great benefits, kickboxing classes also help with balance, flexibility and agility, and can even promote better self-defense. Classes usually require weighted bags and intervals of punching and kicking in a small group setting, class-style setting, or in individual stations with weighted bags. This class is a great option for anyone looking to relieve a lot of stress, or expel an excess of energy for calmer state of mind and better sleep, as well as anyone simply looking for a more interactive, high-intensity cardio routine.

Are you interested in bringing a variety of in-person fitness where you live? If so, contact us to get started on a plan for the community you live in today.

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