Group Fitness Classes to Help You Reach Your Resolution

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Hi Bean a Foodie readers!  I’m Melissa Grindle, one of Maria’s RD friends, and I’m here as a guest blogger for the day.  Typically you can find me over at Eat on the Run.   I’m super stoked to finally be on Maria’s blog (she’s a bit of a food celebrity around these parts) and she’s one of my really good friends.

Because it’s the New Year, many of us have set resolutions around exercise and getting into shape (or back into shape).  If that’s true, COOL!  Good for you!  Shake what ya mama gave ya 😉   One option to accomplish this resolution is by taking group fitness classes. Maria is a huge fan and I’ve been taking and teaching classes for over 6 years now.  I love when new students join my class, but there are a few key things to keep in mind for different types of classes.  Here are the five most popular group exercise classes, what they are all about, and what you should bring or know.  Sound good?  Great! Let’s go …

Indoor Cycling (aka: Spin or Spinning):

indoor cycling

This is a high energy, high intensity cardio based class.  You will utilize a spin bike which resembles an immobile outdoor bike for a 45 or 60 minute workout.  Most instructors will either teach based on interval training and music or by simulating an outdoor ride.  Be prepared to sweat!

What to bring?  A towel (you will sweat) and a water bottle.  If you really enjoy cycling, spin shoes and a padded seat are two investment pieces

What to wear?  Long bike shorts or capris and moisture wicking fabrics

Special Instructions?  If this is your first class, notify the instructor.  Trust me, we are super friendly!  They can help you adjust the bike so that you minimize injury and have a more comfortable ride.

Pilates or Yoga


These two class formats are considered mind body, meaning you won’t be allowed to space out during the workout.  Pilates focuses more on building a strong core, while yoga will have a whole body approach to strength, flexibility, and balance.

What to bring? A mat.  Although many studios have their own mats, they are communal.  And the thought of someone else sweating and slobbering all over something I’m going to lay my body on isn’t my favorite.

What to wear?  Clothing that is easy to move in and body hugging.  The only reason to wear more form fitting clothing is so your shirt doesn’t end up over your head in certain poses (how embarrassing!)

Special Instructions?  Instructors are more hands on in these class formats.  They may give manual guidance and adjustments.  If you have an injury or just don’t want touched, let them know.  They’ll be cool with it!

Boot Camp

boot camp

Attention!  You will be recruited and trained into the best shape of your life.  Boot camp is not for the faint hearted.  It will utilize body weight exercises, high intensity intervals, and strength training to get you into all around fighting shape.  If P90X or Insanity workouts look like fun, then this is the class for you.

What to bring?  A towel and a water bottle.

What to wear?  Moisture wicking fabrics that won’t get in your way.  You will be making a lot of transitions between movements

Special Instructions?  You will probably want to let the instructor know you are new.  This way they can give ample instruction and even modifications for movements that are new to you.

Zumba (aka: Dance Aerobics or Hip Hop Hustle)


If you like to dance for fun and for your workout, Zumba or any dance aerobics class is where you should be.  Zumba specifically is set to Latin sounds and moves to get you warm and sweaty.  Other gyms may offer similar classes that use the Top 40 hits or other music.  Check the schedule.

What to bring?  A water bottle

What to wear?  Clothing that is easy to move in and skidless shoes

Special Instructions?  This isn’t the time to be self-conscious, really let go and have fun!


barre class

This workout is inspired by ballet movements and touts being able to give you a ballerina’s body.  You will use a bar, similar to what you would see in a ballet studio to perform concentrated toning movements for strong and sculpted muscles.  Your core and lower body will be getting most of the workout.

What to bring? Yourself – and a buddy!  Why not?  Exercise is more fun with friends J

What to wear?  Similar to Yoga or Pilates, clothing that is easy to move in and body hugging.

Special Instructions?  Although the movements are small, wait until the next day to judge.  Your booty be burning then!


  1. Amy

    January 11, 2014 at 7:24 am

    This is really helpful Mel! Can we please I’ll take a barre class together I’ve been dying to try one!

    • mewinebrenner

      January 12, 2014 at 7:33 am

      Let me know if you find a class near us! I’d try it too – as long as a ballet outfit isn’t required!!

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