If you like to compete, either with others or yourself, group fitness classes can be an effective way to tap into that powerful source of motivation.
Depending on the class type and instructor style, certain formats and coaching cues let you connect with that inner drive to improve, excel, and of course win! The following are a few excellent options that lend themselves to the thrill of competition to take your workout and fitness results to the next level:
Vicious Cycle/Shred Express:
These high intensity cycling class options are more appropriate for experienced riders and those who want to be challenged and pushed. Both formats focus on high intensity intervals through either virtual hill climbs or sprints. Use your cadence meter to measure power, the most relevant measure for advanced cycling. Instructors will challenge the group to achieve specific levels of speed, and/or power, and/or total distance within each drill or by the end of the workout.
Tip: glance over to your neighbour’s cadence meter to see if you’re crossing the imaginary finish line first!
This circuit-based class highlights teamwork and focuses the use of the versatile Bosu as a signature equipment piece. Class is divided into three groups to attack three stations in three progressive rounds–hence the name, 3D. First round is to practice the drill (50 secs), second round is to push it (40 secs) and the final round is to crush it for 30 secs!
Tip: be prepared to finish the workout with an adrenaline pumping relay race to see which team comes out on top.
This classic HIIT format appeals to the competitor who loves to push their inner athlete. Tabata is all about going for 100% effort and recovering in repeated cycles. Traditional Tabata is 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times. It is intended to be exhausting and not recommended for new exercisers, though all exercises are modifiable and you don’t have to complete all 8 rounds. You will definitely notice improvement on every level of conditioning week after week with this style of training. Benefits are enhanced fat burning capacity and oxygen carrying capacity, making physically demanding tasks seem easier over time.
Tip: Compete with yourself to see how many reps you can increase within the 20-second timeframe… burpees are a good one!
These strength training formats are ideal for developing muscle tone and overall conditioning. Training muscular endurance and strength is amazing for bone health and increased metabolism. However, most participants tend to not lift heavy enough to create change. Be sure to progress slowly but lift enough weight to truly achieve momentary muscle fatigue by the last rep (the point of shaking or slight loss of form). This ensures that your body responds during rest by building damaged muscle tissue (i.e. strength and size gains).
Tip: Challenge yourself to increase your weight plates or dumbbells by one increment every 4-6 weeks for at least two different exercises – one upper body and one lower body.
If you think you’re “not competitive” – think again!
We all have the desire to improve and excel. Tapping into your competitive side will up your game and your gains. Here’s to the winner in you!