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A Guide to Cardio-based Group Fitness!

Whether it’s Zumba, Tabata, Cardio Kickboxing or Group Cycling; Group Fitness classes offer incredible variety and can have a significant positive impact on your health.

Studies by the International Health, Racquet and Sports Club Association consistently find that up to 90% of adults prefer to workout in groups and rate their workouts as more enjoyable compared to those who workout alone. What happens when you enjoy your workouts?  You’re likely to workout more often and reap the health benefits that much more!

One of the most common goals is increased endurance and stamina – the desire to perform tasks (from the everyday to the athletic) with more energy and less fatigue.  This component of fitness is actually the capacity of your heart and lungs to perform work: cardiovascular fitness.

There are two types of cardiovascular fitness: interval training and steady-state!

There are different forms are cardiovascular fitness generally divided into two types: steady-state and interval training.  Both are beneficial and serve different purposes.  Steady state is useful for long duration activities such as marathons, while interval training is more suited to athletic stop/start bursts of effort such as a shift in an ice hockey game. 

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You can perform both types of training on a cardio machine such as a treadmill, or opt for the fun, motivational, supportive environment of a group fitness class!  Here are a few terrific options:

Steady State cardio is typically at a lower intensity and therefore sustainable for 20 - 60 minutes or more.  It’s a level of intensity where you feel your heart rate increase and build a good sweat but can still talk to your neighbour in class.  Zumba, BollyX and Street Dance fall into this category.  If you enjoy old-school step classes, then Classic Step will also give you the cardio with the choreo combo you crave.

Try choreography fitness training like!

Not into choreography but still want the steady state feel? Try 20/20 for 20 minutes of cardio either on the floor or using the Step (followed by 20min of strength) or Knockout for a boxing-inspired, heart pumping challenge.

Interval training has become wildly popular for the enhanced fat burning effects and quick results.  However, HIIT (high intensity interval training) isn't for the faint of heart!

True HIIT is bouts of all-out effort interspersed with brief recovery periods, repeated in a cyclical pattern. Rest and recovery are critical components of this training style.  That said, you can also enjoy HILIT (high intensity low impact interval training) for a moderate but effective interval-based cardio workout. 

Great HIIT class options are Tabata (8 rounds of 20secs “on” and 10secs “off” repeated, or a similar structure); Power Intervals and The Works (interspersed cardio and strength drills with a variety of tools). 

For HILIT training try “spinning” (group cycling) such as Cycle Beats, Drills + Hills or Shred Express, a low impact cardio challenge for all levels to motivating tunes.

Exercising with the guidance of a quality instructor and the energy of a group can take your workouts up a notch. In fact, "working out with a crowd carries a plethora of intertwined benefits that include enhancing consistency, duration, motivation, conversation and inspiration” explains Dan Griesel, PhD and co-author of Turbo Charged.

So, the proof and the positivity of group fitness is more than evident. Give these classes a try and enjoy the results.  See you in the studio!

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