Most gyms offer a wide array of classes, but how do you know which class is right for you? We talked to Carla Marchant, Group Exercise Manager at Coffs Coast Health Club about finding the right class to achieve your personal fitness goals.
Other than cutting calories, there are two key approaches to weight loss. A cardio workout will increase your heart rate and burn up those calories. Strength training will increase your muscle mass, which in turn boosts your metabolism, helping to burn more calories throughout the day.
If you are starting from a fairly low fitness base then a Circuit class is a great option. These classes use a variety of exercise stations that change every 60 seconds to give you a good cardio workout while building muscle throughout your body. The trainer can tailor each exercise station to suit your level of fitness and can help you with technique. As your fitness improves and your muscles get stronger you can progress to harder options while staying in the same class.
Once your fitness level is higher you can step up to higher-energy classes. Body Attack is a high-energy interval training class that combines intense aerobic movements with strength exercises. Punch is a fitness-based boxing class with plenty of cardio drills. Either of these classes will really get your heart pumping and the calories burning!
If you lack the coordination (or confidence) for these high-energy classes then another great option is Cycle. With these indoor cycling classes you don’t need to keep up with the dance moves, you just need to keep pedaling. You can control how hard the class is simply by turning the resistance up or down, so you don’t have to be Cadel Evans or even particularly fit to get started.
Body Pump is a great class for strength and stability. The bar bell sessions are split up into 10×5-minute tracks, with each track focusing on a different muscle group. Your core is engaged throughout which improves your overall stability and balance.
Pump is a particularly good choice for people who find aerobics classes a bit daunting. There’s no running around or fancy dance moves. You stand in one spot and can start with light weights and build from there.
Body Balance is a yoga fusion class, combining yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates to build flexibility, strength and stability. At Coffs Coast Health Club we also run a 50+ Flex class, which focuses on postural awareness and balance work. We strongly recommend this class to anyone over 50 because improved balance will prevent falls, which can be killers when we age.
We are really passionate about healthy ageing at Coffs Coast Health Club. It seems like every new study reveals exercise is the magic cure or preventative medicine for just about everything. So, we’ve set out to create spaces where older people feel comfortable.
Our 50+ series includes 50+ Flex that focuses on flexibility, stretching and core awareness; 50+ Fit that works on cardiovascular fitness and 50+ Circuit which uses a variety of exercise stations to improve total body conditioning. These are all great classes where you can work out in a non-competitive, social environment.
Gym classes are the perfect place to hone the skills and stamina you need for sport.
The high intensity cardio workout in Body Attack will improve your cardiovascular health so you can last the whole game. Sideways running, jumping on one leg and other agility and coordination work will improve your ability to dodge around someone on a sporting field.
Another good option is TBTA – Tummy Butt Thighs and Arms. This is also a challenging workout that incorporates both strength and aerobic conditioning.
Any class is good for managing conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure. My advice here is similar to that for weight loss.
When people are first diagnosed with these conditions they are often relatively unfit and coming along to high intensity workouts can be daunting or demoralizing. So I suggest you start with a Circuit class because the trainer will be able to adapt all the exercises to suit your fitness level. You get the social support of a class, without feeling like you have to compete.
Quite often these conditions are diagnosed in older people who may not have a lot of experience at the gym. Our 50+ classes are really great options because you can build your fitness in a relaxed and comfortable environment.
Coming back from injury or surgery can be tricky. You want to get stronger and at the same time avoid re-injury. One of the things physiotherapists really focus on is getting muscles working in unison, which involves balance and core strength.
Body Balance is a good option because it focuses on improving balance and muscle coordination. It’s also a relatively slow moving class, which minimises the risk of re-injury. Sometimes in faster activities you can do the wrong thing before you even realise you’ve done it – a step to the left and your knee is out again. With a slower class you have time to think before each move.
Circuit classes are also great for rehab because the trainer can adjust each exercise to suit your needs. If you have concerns about injury or are dealing with little niggles you can talk to the trainer and structure the class to work around any weak spots.
Any kind of exercise is good for your mental health because being active stimulates chemicals that lift your mood. So just about every class will help you to feel more positive about life.
If you want to get rid of built up aggression or frustration then I recommend Punch class. There’s something liberating about letting it all out on a punching bag. Get rid of negative emotions without actually hurting anyone – it’s a magic way to reset a bad day.
If you’re feeling anxious or burnt out then the Body Balance class is a lovely way to reconnect with your body and your emotions. The class uses controlled breathing, concentration and a series of stretches and poses. There is a period of complete relaxation at the end – so the whole experience feels like a bit of an escape.
Personally I think if your main aim is to have fun you can’t go past a Zumba class. If you like dancing and Latin rhythms then Zumba is a way to get fitter and stronger without feeling like you are exercising at all.
Having said that I think every group class has an element of fun. We never take ourselves very seriously. These classes are as much about social interaction and having a laugh as they are about getting fitter and stronger.
If you are already a member of Coffs Coast Health Club then I encourage you to try one of the classes that fits your goals. If you are not yet a member then you are in luck because we have a special offer this month.
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The package includes access to all classes and equipment PLUS a FREE Personal Training Session, 30 minute Massage Session, Physiotherapy Assessment & Dietitian Consultation.