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The Best Group Ex Classes to Take at UREC

I grew up a dancer and never really went to the gym until college. I would occasionally do workouts on my own in high school to punish my body when I ate too much chocolate cake or salt and vinegar chips, but never enjoyed working out unless it was dance practice. Skip to the second semester of my freshman year and I am off crutches (long story for another time) and ready to hit the gym. I didn’t like working out on my own because I felt as though I didn’t know enough about the equipment to use it, and I would leave after about 30 minutes because it felt “good enough.” I started going with a friend to some Barre and yoga classes and it changed my life. I now love going to the gym and only ever take classes, and I have UREC’s group ex program to thank for the start of my health journey. I now see exercise as a way to reward and celebrate my body, as opposed to punishing it.  I haven’t taken every class at UREC, but i’ve taken a bunch, and i’m here to break them all down for you so you don’t have to try them all like I did (unless you want to because I find it super fun to try new classes). 


DISCLAIMER: I don’t work for UREC and am just giving my personal experience and opinions. It might be different for you. 


Barre is a mix of ballet, yoga, and pilates (three of my favorite classes). You do some stuff on the ballet bar and some on the mats. Like pilates, its low weight high repetition. Like ballet there are tundus, and plies (if you don’t know what those are dont worry its super easy to pick up on it once you are in class). Like yoga there is a mind body connection. The classes do fill up quick and there are usually only 12 spots because you need space on the barre, so be sure to register ASAP (they open 48 hours in advance.)

Body Sculpt

This is another low weight high rep, but the wrights are just a little higher than barre or pilates. You usually do arms, legs and glutes, and core sections while standing at a mat or doing circuits. There is very little cardio in this class, so if you want to feel sore and not do cardio, this is a perfect class for you. This is one of my favorites because you often hit all the major muscle groups and leave feeling like you got a total body workout. 

Cardio Dance Party and Latin Dance Party

Opposite of body sculpt, cardio dance party and latin dance party are ALL cardio. They are an hour of dancing, with water breaks every few songs. Very similar to Zumba, this is an upbeat and super fun class. The only difference between the two is the music and a few of the moves. Latin dance parties have (you guessed it) latin music and you move your hips just a little bit more than cardio dance parties. You will get some leg engagement and depending on the teacher some arm engagement as well, but the whole class is cardio based.

Cardio Kickboxing

I’ve only been to this class once so i’m in no way an expert, but I can still give the basic breakdown. We did a certain punch and kick routine for a little bit before switching to another one. It is a great way to get your anger out, but note that this does not include punching bags, just punching the air.

Choreo Dance

This is a personal favorite of mine, because as I said earlier, I was a dancer for years. Unlike a cardio dance party, you spend the hour learning one routine. You learn a few eight counts and then get to perform it (sometimes in large groups, sometimes the whole class just does it together). For any retired dancers or people who wish they stuck with ballet as a baby, this is the class for you.

Cycle (Circut, Fitness, and Express)

Spin is THE new trendy workout, so I had to give it a try. So many of my favorite influencers are always going to soul cycle or stRIDE, so I needed to see if cycle was worth the hype, and let me tell you it is! Cycle classes made cardio so much more do-able. I would recommend going to express cycle at first because this class is only 45 minutes, compared to the hour long cycle fitness class. Cycle circuit is a mix between HIIT and cycle, so you get off the bikes which is another great alternative if you don’t want to ride for a whole hour.


HIIT is another class that gets your heart rate up without running. If you have read this far you must be able to tell that I don’t like running, and for a long time I thought running was the only real way to get my cardio in. FALSE! Going to a HIIT class will get you some cardio and some strength training. I think of it as very similar to body sculpt, but with more jumping jacks and high knees.


I LOVE pilates! I used to go at 8am every Tuesday with my friends and it was such a great way to start the day. We never missed a pilates class! Similar to barre, pilates focuses on low weights and high reps with the mind body element. You focus on your breath and spend a lot of time on the mats (there is much less standing than barre). To me pilates is much more focused on core than most other classes, but I have been to pilates classes that focus on legs and glutes. The mind element is very similar to yoga, as you are pairing your exercise with your breath. Pilates might be my favorite class offered at UREC. 

Yoga (Power Yoga 1 &2, Restorative, Vinyasa, and Yoga Fit)

If you are new to yoga (or UREC) the yoga options might seem overwhelming, but i’m here to break them down. Vinyasa flow is a great option for beginners, as it is a very basic yoga class. Yoga fit has more advanced flows with the occasional ab workout. You will also work your legs much more in yoga fit that many other classes. This is a great way to make yoga a workout! Power yoga 1 is more advanced that yoga fit, and power yoga 2 is more advanced than power yoga 1. I have been doing yoga for a few years now, but not every day, so power yoga 1 is the right fit for me right now. I feel overwhelmed in a power yoga 2 class but under challenged in a vinyasa class. Restorative yoga is much more focused on meditation. You will get much less of a stretch and spend more time down on the mat. This is a great stress reliever, as are all the other options.


I have only been to one TRX class, but my triceps have never hurt so much after. It was such a great arm workout (not as amazing for legs, but still good). It was a fun challenge and I loved trying something new, so if you are at all interested, I would recommend this class.

I hope you found this helpful. As I said in the beginning, I really have UREC’s group exercise program for motivating my fitness journey and helping me love working out. 




Grace is a Senior Media Art and Design major at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. She has lived in Virginia her whole life, but plans on moving to New York City after graduation. Gracie loves to travel and plans on being a travel writer post-grad. Her favorite places to visit were either Munich, Germany, or Cusco, Peru. Besides Her Campus, Gracie is in Gamma Phi Beta, works as the Creative Coordinator for Bluestone Communications JMU, and writes for the culture section of The Breeze, JMU's newspaper.
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