When the health and fitness movement erupted, boutique studios and big-chain gym classes multiplied, exploded, then took a hard left. We saw trends err on the side of unconventional and unnecessary—like naked yoga and high-intensity interval painting (seriously).
Fitness classes started to stem from a desire to shock or serve as the backdrop for an Instagram, rather than a strong base in functional movements and proper form. But that’s not the full picture—merely a blip…a very odd, hard-to-ignore blip.
“Group fitness has come a long way since the days of jazzercise and leg warmers,” says Michael Piermarini M.S., director of fitness for Orangetheory Fitness. “It’s time to open your mind and bring variety to your stale back-and-biceps routines.”
Now there are a variety of workout classes that bring an element of competition, camaraderie, and challenge back into fitness. Will you feel a little out of your depth and comfort zone? Most likely. But that’s usually the kick you need to get out of a fitness rut.
We’ve picked 10 workout classes that are tough as hell, can serve as cross-training to your usual regimen (whether that’s strength training, running, or cycling), or can become the discipline you commit to in order to crush your goals. If you’re trying to learn a skill, train for a race, drop fat, and/or build muscle, these are the heavy-hitting classes that’ll help you make it happen.
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