6 Workout Classes to Make You Love the Gym

Let's face it: the gym can be a little bit intimidating. You might have finally decided to drag yourself to the gym - and kudos to you - but, unfortunately, just being in a gym doesn't actually guarantee any health improvements. If you're one of the people who isn't exactly sure which way to face when you sit down on some of the machines in the gym (and no shame, we've been there), it may be a bit more efficient to have some guidance. 

Personal training is always an option but can be pricey as well as intimidating. So, whether you hate running with a passion, you're scared of the weight room or you just want to try something new, a workout class may be right for you. Since navigating the class schedules can be as difficult as finding a free treadmill, here's a list of classes that you might want to consider to get you started. 

Related: What to Change If You're Hitting the Gym and Seeing No Results

1. Yoga

Yoga is definitely one of our favorite workouts, mainly because you don't realize you're working out until you wake up the next day with all of your muscles aching. Despite common belief, you don't hve to be flexible to do yoga. It would be a safe bet to say there will be those super bendy people in your class, but if you're doing yoga right you should be focusing on yourself anyways - there's no competition in this fitness class. A fringe benefit of choosing a yoga class is getting into a meditative state while getting your sweat on. 

There's lots of different types of yoga out there, from ones that don't feel like a workout at all to ones that will have you super sweaty and sore, so be sure to look into what you're getting yourself into. Hatha yoga is a classic style that commonly focuses on aligning and stretching your spine. Vinyasa is also a pretty popular style, which will focus on the flow so you can expect to be moving through the class. Bikram (aka hot yoga) will have you sweating before you even get moving, but can be a great way to feel cleansed after class. Try a few classes to see which style you prefer, but make sure to check the level on the class because all styles of yoga will offer some classes which are easier and some which are more intense.

2. Zumba​

When asked what workout classes she prefers, Marisa Pieper from Arizona State University  responded “I love Zumba and yoga!” Zumba is yoga’s more upbeat cousin. Pieper continued “I love Zumba because I love to dance. Zumba distracts you from the fact that you’re working out because you’re laughing, getting in touch with your body and the whole class is doing it too!”. If you want to work a bit on your flexibility, but would rather do it to your favorite songs than the collective sound of breath, Zumba is the choice for you. Both workouts will probably give you slight flashbacks to childhood dance classes.

Whereas yoga gives you a core workout, Zumba is incredible for cardio. Personal trainer Christian Stone from Loyola Marymount University class of 2018 says “In my personal opinion I think that Zumba classes are possibly the best class around because they are fun, easy, and will get you moving.” Stone explains “Sometimes TRX classes are too complicated or Spin classes are too intense depending on the instructor but all instructors I know and have worked with are amazing with newcomers and try to make it a welcome environment for people who looked dazed and confused.”

3. Boxing/Kickboxing

You don’t have to be aggressive at all in your everyday life to find it oddly satisfying to punch and kick things. If you use your workout as your destressing time, this is a great way to get some release into your fitness practice. You get to hone a new skill (which hopefully you don’t have to use in real life), but if you love to learn new things, you might just enjoy these classes so much you forget you are working out.

In boxing, you’ll get a great arm and core workout between bending down and learning to punch properly. Kickboxing is a great but different choice, incorporating your legs as well as your arms. This gives you the chance to work on your leg strength and flexibility as well as your arms and core. Both tend to be fun, high cardio workouts.

4. Pilates

If you aren’t too keen on weights or cardio, pilates offers a great in between. Makena Gera from Marist College says, “One of my favorite workout classes is pilates. I love it because it’s not too high-intensity (like spin for example) but it still gives you a really great workout. I always get really sore after, but it feels great! And it’s super fun!”

Pilates is an incredible way to strengthen your core and tone your arms and legs, in addition to gaining some flexibility.

5. Bootcamp style classes

These might come with a variety of names but are essentially getting at the same thing. If you want to do a general workout but just don’t know where to start, find a fitness class that is just plain old fitness. This type of class is perfect for someone who seeks results more than fun, or finds pride in hard work no matter what they are working at. David Patchell-Evans, CEO of Goodlife Fitness tells Her Campus about a class offered at his gym, called Body Pump.

“It’s a hard workout - it allows you to use a barbell - it’s not complicated choreography and you start with the weight really light until you get better and get really good results fast,” Patchell-Evans says.

6. Aerial skills

This option isn’t available at every gym, but it’s an exceptional option to your exercise routine if it’s available in your area. Aerial silks isn’t great for the faint of heart, but if you think flipping through the air sounds like fun then this is an amazing thing for you to try.

Lena Serkin Mazel, a graduate student at Mansfield College, loves aerial silks so much she says she “literally [does] it for a living now.” This might be a good option for you if you’re new to working out at the gym, but not if you are new to exercise altogether because it’s way harder than it looks. Try starting out with some stretching and core exercises before you head into an aerial silks class. Pilates or yoga can even be a great stepping stone to strengthen your skills.

If you still don’t know which class to choose, why not try them all! Everyone prefers different workouts, but don’t fret, you will find what suits you best. Personal Trainer Christian Stone added “I think the most important thing is that you find a time that you can consistently go to and form a relationship with the instructor because that will hold you accountable”. An added benefit of starting new workout routines, of course, is picking out cute new athletic wear. So, grab a water bottle and your favorite sneakers and head to the gym.