Risk it for the biscuit, do it for the gainzzzz, no guts, no glory. Whatever you want to call it, today we're talking about working out. I did the dirty work and throughout a span of a few weeks, I went outside of my comfort zone and tried a whole bunch of different workout classes so that I could compare them and let you know the pros/cons of each of them. No one's going to want to workout if they don't like it, so it's important to find you enjoy doing. Below are all of the classes that I took, all of which I do at Goodlife Fitness, however I'm more than positive that you can find similar work outs online or at a fitness centre.
So body combat is my favourite class at of all of the ones that I've taken. I've been doing it consistently for a few months now and I always look forward to going to class. The class combines mixed martial arts, boxing, kick boxing, muy thai, and taekwando, so there's a lot of punching and kicking, and a lot of 'pulsing' which you can think of as skipping without a skipping rope. I find that the learning curve is quite high relative to the other classes as there are a lot of fast combos, and you really need to focus on what you're doing. For example, a combo might be jab cross jab, left hook, right hook, back kick, knee, repeat, so you need to know what you're doing as well as listen to the instructor attentively for when changes take place. Before taking combat class, I used to do body pump (below) and I still find that combat has been more beneficial for my body, even with only doing it once a week I've seen major improvements, more than weight lifting tbh. This class works out your entire body, arms, shoulders, back, legs, butt and waist and it's intense. I'm talking red face, dripping sweat, need a nap afterwards intense. It's quite easy to keep pushing forward when your tired as the music sounds like you're at an electronic music festival, so lots of beats and drops which the combos match perfectly. Also, as a house junkie, it's totally my style and I've wondered whether or not shazamming in the middle of the class would be considered appropriate. Overall it's a fantastic workout and you're really able to feel it in your body the next day. It combines a lot of cardio and endurance into one, and it works out your body a lot for what can be seen as 'just punching and kicking"
This class is the most popular class at Goodlife Gyms because it's a simple concept where you work your entire body with weights- squats, lunges, bicep curls, chest presses, military presses etc etc. Although a great class that works out your entire body, I found that I (still) struggle to keep up to the same rhythm as the rest of the class for certain exercises. Because you're using weights and it's a class that's more of a 'low weight, high rep' style, it's much easier to get injured, especially if you're new and are trying to keep up with the rest of the class. After each set you have to change the weights to match what you're working out, because obviously your triceps won't be using the same weights as your legs (well not me at least), so I find that the changes are very fast between sets seeing as you need to add/remove weights. Sometimes if I put too much weight on, I have to stop in the middle of a set to remove it, so I'm now that awkward 'weakling'. I also forget what weights I use for which exercises so my week vs week workouts aren't consistently increasing in weights but rather all over the place. The music in the class is great as well, and it works out your whole body, however I find that the time passes by slower than other classes as it's not a 'fun' class (sorry!). This is one of those necessary evils as all cardio and no weights makes for a sad day.
OK OK OK, so at first I was like "Zumba looks so easy, its not gonna be a work out, you just shake your butt and bop around", but seriously it gets you sweating, and it's SO much fun. Even though it's essentially just dancing for an hour, it really does get you sweating and even though you think that you're going to be that one uncoordinated person trying to dance in the class, I didn't feel uncomfortable at all, even when I was confused or couldn't get the steps right. I would highly recommend this for someone who has trouble getting their butt to the gym, or finds working out boring, as I didn't feel like I was working out at all. Granted, it's probably not the best class for gaining muscles, but for a cardio workout, or anything to get you moving and off the computer, this is totally it. Even for someone as uncoordinated as I am, I found the moves quite simple to follow and that this class was the least intimidating of all of the ones that I did. I wouldn't put this on the top of my workout list, however I would totally be down to do it again, especially with friends or at home. I have a few friends that choose Zumba to be their workout of choice at home and I know why. It's a great workout to do if you want to workout but are feeling more on the 'lazier' side.
This class is a combination of yoga, tai chi, pilates etc etc. It was somewhat strange at first, and even the teacher told me that I should try it out a few times to really get into the swing of things, or else it just looks like people flailing their arms about (she seriously said that!) hahaha. Anyways, we started off with tai chi which has a lot of deep breathes and then slowly went into yoga, lots of downward dogs and stretches. The class has a lot of breathing and arm flailing (turns out the instructor was right...) and movements that might seem strange if you're looking at this class from the outside. To be honest with you, I found the class to be ok, it did raise my heart rate and make me sweat, but it wasn't anything super intense (as it shouldn't be). You do have to focus on your breathing and your balance a lot, so it's quite different than any of the other classes that I've taken. Seeing as the classes that I like taking the most are intense ones, this one was quite strange and hard to think of as a workout. The idea itself of me going to the gym for bodyflow was strange. At the very end of the class, you lay down and meditate for about 5 minutes and just focus on your breathing and being in the 'now' which was actually quite hard, and the teacher said that it was the fountain of youth, and as a 24 year old who's being using under eye cream for a few years, I stuck through it. At first, I didn't think that the class really 'centered' me, however once I got back to work I was quite clear headed and able to work very very efficiently. I think that the difference is subtle, but totally there. Would I do it again? Although I don't really want to, I do think that I should do it again for my mind, balance and flexibility. Even though it's not an intense workout like the other ones that I've taken, it doesn't undermine the work and effort that I put in and the benefits that it gave me. If I have the time, I feel like it would be worth it for me to do one of my regular workout classes and then also do an hour of bodyflow afterwards.
This class was the one that I was least looking forward to. I left it to the very end and was just dreading being on a bike for a full hour. It actually seems torturous and it always confused me why people would want to do cardio intense classes when there are other classes that combine cardio and muscle building at the same time (AHEM combat). However, I had to #doitfortheblog so I pulled up my tights, laced up my runners, and strapped myself into my seat. It's a very simple concept, you go from periods of high to low intensity biking, sometimes standing, sometimes sitting. The best thing about it is the fact that you have a lot of control. You can always choose to go faster or slower, and when it's time to increase/decrease the gear, you choose how much to increase/decrease it (if at all). Pro tip- make sure to get there earlier and find a seat and adjust accordingly. I was having trouble with adjusting the seat but then figured it out, but didn't realize (stupidly) that I could also adjust a few other aspects to the bike like the handle bar height, as well as how close/far the handle bars are relative to you. This made me uncomfortable as I wasn't properly seated, so I feel like I would have enjoyed it more if I had changed everything up to fit my body. There are some other stand alone spin classes like spinco, spokehaus and soulcycle that I feel like I would enjoy more because they have different types of spinning that adds in other moves where you use your whole body. Would I do this class again? I might see myself doing it again at GoodLife, but I would love to try out one of the other spin classes mentioned above.
Overall, my favourite would be body combat, but I do think that I was a bit biased going into it. I'm not 100% sure whether or not I can really give a real review if I've only done some of the classes once. I feel like you should really take a class a few times before you can decide if you like it or not. For example, I actually didn't like combat at all until about the fourth of fifth time... It was only because I misread the schedule and thought that I was going to body pump but I misread it and it was actually combat, which ended up being the best mistake that I ever made! Finally, I truly believe that people can enjoy working out. I find it so strange when people make working out and fitness a chore when there are so many possibilities to find what you love. Granted, a lot of it you have to pay for, but you can always looks into places where they offer free classes. The website svveat.com is a great options for us Torontonians. Also- look no further than your local park, hiking, a bike ride, rollerblading or a jog. All things that you can do without a gym membership and still get you active.