Looking to crush more calories, build more muscle or improve your form? We asked instructors from some of the most popular fitness classes out there to share their insider tips for getting the most out of every sweat session. From barre to boxing (and everything in between), check out their expert advice before your next workout.
The Workout: Indoor Cycling
“Most indoor cycling classes are designed as an interval workout, and the best way to maximize these workouts is to embrace the intervals. Work hard on the pushes and recover hard during active recoveries — that’s what they are there for. Watch your form and pay attention to your weight distribution, too, sothat the power is coming from the right muscles as you charge up a hill or push during a sprint,” says Taylor Dabbah, a full-time Flywheel Sports instructor in Chicago.
The Workout: High Intensity Interval Training
“Follow the class format the instructor has created. Every exercise and sequence will be perfectly planned to give you results. With HIIT, you have to push your body out of its comfort zone for that short period of work. As the timer gets closer to zero, you should be struggling to complete those final few reps of any exercise you’re doing. I often see people doing jumping jacks or running in place during what should be their rest period. If you can do extra work in your recovery, it signals to me that you might not be working hard enough in your high intensity interval, thus cheating your body out of its HIIT workout and benefits,” says Alexander Charles, Group Fitness Manager at Equinox Brookfield Place in NYC.
The Workout: Bootcamp
“Stay focused on yourself. The power of the community in the studio is second to none, but it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement and lose focus on yourself. It’s easy to try to keep up with the runner next to you or lift as much as the person on a neighboring bench. Your workout is for your body, your goals, and your life. While the energy of the room should enhance your experience, your main focus should be to run, lift, and sweat to the best of your ability without sacrificing form, or burning out too quickly,” says Kate Lemere, Director of Midwest Regional Marketing and Chicago Founding Trainer at Barry’s Bootcamp.
The Workout: Megaformer
“Go slow and transition quickly. This is truly what the Lagree method is about. Take each move as slowly as possible, and as you continue to come to class, challenge yourself to go even slower. Making a quick transition from one move to the next is what will keep your heart rate up and give you that cardio workout, along with strength, balance, and flexibility training. Once you’re coming to class consistently, continue to challenge yourself by increasing spring loads and taking the options instructors give to test your balance and stability. The beauty of Lagree is that you can never plateau because there are so many ways in each and every class to make it more challenging,” says Cheri Byrd, founder and owner of Chi50 in Chicago.
The Workout: Boxing
“Manage your expectations. People go into it thinking they’ll be great at it on the first go. With those types of expectations, you tend to get frustrated or intimated and give up before really diving deep into the sport. Boxing is a learned skill. Even the most experienced professional boxers have to tweak how they throw certain punches and how they distribute weight to make a movement more efficient,” says Lielen de Guzman, a trainer and CPT at Rumble Boxing.
The Workout: Barre
“Be honest with yourself and accept your vulnerabilities, as well as your strengths. Barre is challenging, and it requires a lot of acceptance from a person. You have to accept where you are and progress from there. Plan to go into class and pace yourself. You will get stronger, but barre will only work with consistency, so take things slow and expect to be sore,” says Bergen Wheeler, Director of Mind Body Innovation and Talent at exhale.