You may feel butterflies before walking into a group exercise class for the first time, but here’s the good news: The hardest part is just showing up, because once you get there you’ll meet a community of people rooting for you to succeed.
“It’s really awesome to see existing members help the new people out,” says Erin Gregory, fitness programs national development manager for Gold’s Gym.
Know before you go
These tips apply to all Gold’s Gym group exercise classes:
- You don’t have to be an expert. In fact, if you’re new to working out and aren’t sure about starting with an hour-long class, feel free to come for only part of the time. “Starting in small doses can help you build up to sticking with it in the long run,” Gregory says.
- Wear what makes you comfortable. T-shirts, tanks, shorts, leggings and whatever athletic shoes you like — it doesn’t matter; it won’t hurt your workout. (Keep in mind you might get hot more quickly in baggy clothes, and some yoga poses could make certain clothes more revealing than intended.)
- Bring a water bottle. You’ll definitely want it. You can also bring a towel from home, but most Gold’s Gym locations provide them for your convenience.
The inside scoop
Here’s a breakdown of some of the most popular Gold’s Gym group exercise classes:
The original weights class that builds strength, tones your body and pushes your limits every time
“This is a class anybody can take,” Gregory says. “We recommend it to people new to exercise. It’s a full-body workout that exercises every muscle group.”
Arrive five to 10 minutes early to set up the equipment. You’ll use a barbell with weights, a step and a mat during this hourlong class. The step is used as a tool to keep you off the floor during moves such as chest presses and tricep dips.
“I didn’t expect to become comfortable with barbells as quickly as I did,” says Caitlin, a member at Gold’s Gym Uptown. “I had never used them before and was comfortable by the end of the first class.”
You can choose the amount of weight you use. Start with the lightest, as you may do more than 1,000 reps altogether in each class. The first half of the class is the smart start section for beginners — the instructor will announce when you have completed it and that you have worked the major muscle groups.
The original dance-fitness party, featuring exotic rhythms set to high-energy Latin and international beats
This hour-long cardio workout is fun and easy to follow, Gregory says.
“Who doesn’t want to do a salsa step, even if you’ve never done it in your life?” she asks. “You’ll feel like you’re on ‘Dancing With the Stars.’”
A high-intensity version, STRONG by Zumba®, is increasing in popularity. It involves less dance and more bodyweight exercises, such as pushups, squats and burpees. You may want to start with a traditional Zumba class first before advancing to this.
Jennifer has been a Zumba student for seven years. Her favorite class is with instructor Von Stanley Gossi at Gold’s Gym Wendover.
“Over the years, he has been able to challenge not only his students but himself,” she says. “He is always helping us reach our fitness goals, perfect our moves, foster a welcoming and supportive community, live in the moment and keep me coming back for more!”
Easy poses done at a slow pace, perfect for those new to yoga or looking for a low-intensity practice
Gregory says yoga is as intense as you make it. Gentle and Hatha Yoga (another slow-paced, low-intensity class) focus on breathing and relaxation for an hour.
“Yoga has wonderful mobility, flexibility and mental meditation benefits,” she says. “But you’ll still work up a sweat.”
Mats are provided for the class, but you are welcome to bring your own. Other equipment, such as yoga straps and yoga blocks, may also be used to help with flexibility and stability during various poses.
Vinyasa Flow Yoga is a step up in intensity, with continual movement keeping your heart rate up.
“You’ll go from Downward-Facing Dog, straight to Upward-Facing Dog, straight to Plank, straight to a hip flexor stretch with a rotation,” Gregory says. “Power Yoga is a step up from that — an advanced level class with jumps between poses instead of steps.”
LES MILLS GRIT®
High-intensity interval training with short rounds of exercise followed by periods of strategic recovery
These 30-minute classes each focus on cardio, plyometrics or strength workouts.
No equipment is required for the GRIT®CARDIO class; it’s all about burning calories with fast moves such as mountain climbers and burpees.
The GRIT®PLYO class uses steps and weight plates for jump training moves on and off, over and around the step.
“It’s really good for injury prevention,” Gregory says.
Barbells are used in the GRIT®STRENGTH class, and you can increase the intensity by using heavier weights for moves such as jump lunges and clean presses.
“It’s a great workout that’ll give you results when you’re short on time,” she says. “As with any equipment-based class, arrive early.”
A mix of martial arts and endurance
Gregory says this is one of Gold’s Gym’s most popular cardio classes. It involves a lot of punching and kicking moves, and no equipment is required.
“This is a complete body workout,” she says. “It will help you with full-body weight training.”
Moves such as pushups, squats and lunges target upper and lower body muscles in this hour-long class.
“This class helps me with my endurance, energy and strength,” says Carlos, a member at Gold’s Gym Fiesta Trails. “What surprised me is the amount of men that attend. Also, the class is filled with punching and kicking movements — which is what got me hooked.”
A sustainable, functional training program that increases strength and coordination while burning body fat; available at locations that offer GOLD’S STUDIO® classes
“You get a total body workout, and the results are amazing because you can see yourself getting stronger,” Gregory says. “It’s awesome to learn a new skill and get better at it over time.”
Workouts change every day — personal trainers are specially trained to adapt dynamic, full-body workouts to meet members at their fitness level and help them get results. The class combines resistance and endurance training using bands, kettlebells, dumbbells, rowers, slam balls and your own body weight.
“It can be intimidating to show up and see people using the rigs,” she says. “The trainers will help. That’s what we’re here to do.”