7 Workout Classes That Changed My Fitness Routine This Year

It’s easy to get stuck in a fitness rut, doing the same routine and following the same class schedule week after week. It’s especially easy to avoid mixing it up when they are workouts you truly enjoy doing.

But changing up your workout routine keeps you more engaged and present during your training session—when it’s something new, your mind and muscles can’t cruise on autopilot. “Variety in your workout routine can challenge you and push you in new ways,” Diana Mitrea, NYC-based trainer and co-founder of Stronger With Time previously told SELF. “One of the best ways to jumpstart your system back into full gear is finding a new workout.” So in order to continue seeing progress—whether it’s reaching a weight-loss goal, finding new strength gains, working toward a skill (like doing a pull-up), or setting a 5K record—you need to shake up your workout routine a bit.

As SELF’s senior digital fitness editor I’m constantly trying new classes and testing new fitness trends (and probably Instagramming about it). Here are the training styles that have caught my eye, and have helped remix my regular workout routine this year.

1. WOOM Center offers an immersive workout experience.

When done correctly, immersive fitness experiences can enhance your workout—think video installations and music timed to match the intensity of your training session. When used frivolously, it’s just a gimmick. But, the concept of sense-enhancing workouts has been gaining traction, and the workouts I’ve tried have been nothing short of weird and stimulating in all of the right ways. Earlier this month I stopped by the just-opened WOOM Center for a five-sensory yoga experience. The studio features an audio/visual system that displays projections throughout the Vinyasa sequence. There are also vocal and vibrational sound meditation segments, aromatherapy mists, and a tasty juice shot after practice. During class, the extra effects were used to intensify and enhance my focus—it felt like I was practicing yoga in the middle of a mandala—and the vibrational instruments utilized during restorative poses helped deepen my sense of relaxation.

I haven’t had a chance to make it to a class at IMAXShift cycling studio yet, but my colleagues have told me that the class stadium is outfitted with a large movie theater screen and each ride will take you on a journey—think along the coastline or in outer space. Here the videos are used to create a fun distraction during a workout that can feel a bit repetitive at times.

2. Swerve cycling, Throwback Fitness, and The Pursuit by Equinox focus on crushing it as a team.

I prefer working out alone, but team classes help me push harder than I would training by myself. While I like the time a solo workout offers me to get lost in my own thoughts—it’s my time to work through shit and be a little selfish—I’ve recently found that I also thrive off the energy of a team-based workout. I’ve become that girl who cheers you on while you work through a sprint on the indoor rowing machine and will give you a high five before, during, and after class. (Because high fives are awesome.) I’ve also noticed that I push myself a little bit harder when I think people are relying on me, so I’ve been sprinkling in a few team-based workouts along with my solo training sessions. Swerve, an indoor cycling studio in New York City, separates the class into teams and you compete against each other to accumulate points throughout class. Throwback Fitness is a boot camp workout that mixes both nostalgia and a team-focused mentality during recess-game cardio drills. And Equinox’s The Pursuit cycling class uses both solo and team-based games throughout class to get you to ride harder and faster.

3. Lifting heavy at Drive Clubs has challenged me mentally and physically.

A few years ago during a CrossFit WOD (workout of the day) that involved finding our one-rep max deadlift, I started crying. I desperately wanted to keep lifting, but physically I couldn’t get the bar to budge beyond a certain weight. That weight that made me tear up a bit a few years ago is NBFD these days and I freaking love it. Over the past few months, while working with Ashleigh Kast, trainer at Drive Clubs‘ Soho location and founder of Sophisticated Strength, I’ve not only been lifting heavy on deadlifts and front squats, I’ve been throwing around some significant weight during kettlebell carries, windmills, Turkish get-ups, bench presses, and sled pulls (like the one below). I love how strong I feel when I’m adding another plate to the barbell and I love the physical and mental challenge that comes into play when you try to go for a new personal record. I’ve learned that I sometimes underestimate my own ability, and if you think you’re not going to be able to lift a heavy AF barbell, chances are you probably won’t be able to. But when I shake off the self doubt, I always manage to impress myself and crush the set. And while I’ve always loved lifting heavy, by incorporating heavy weights across the board, not just with specific moves, I’ve seen a payoff in my non-strength workouts, including running.

4. Foam rolling and mobility-focused workouts, like A.C.C.E.S.S., help enhance my regular strength and cardio sessions.

I’ve been writing about the importance of foam rolling for years. But up until this summer I’ve probably spent a total of 45 minutes foam rolling, collectively over the course of my entire life. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older and I care more about staying healthy and injury-free, as opposed to finding a twisted thrill in pushing my body to its extreme each and every training session. Or maybe it’s because I wanted to see if foam rolling really was as ‘life changing’ as everyone told me it would be. Regardless, I started foam rolling before every strength workout and I’m never turning back. The time commitment has been minimal—I spend five minutes rolling my quads, calves, and upper back (typical problem spots for me), before starting my training session—and the payoff has been huge. I move better during my workouts and I feel better after. On the rare occasion I forget to foam roll I notice the difference.

This focus on mobility isn’t restricted to solo training sessions anymore thanks to the launch of A.C.C.E.S.S. from Rebecca Kennedy, a recovery class that’s meant to be done on your rest day. This workout features dynamic stretching and flexibility training and is meant to help enhance and supplement your regular workout routine. Not only does the focus on stretching and mobility feel great while you’re doing it (well, except when you’re foam rolling because that can be quite painful), but you’ll feel great later, too.

You may also like: Ashley Graham’s 5 Favorite Bodyweight Exercises

Source Article from http://www.self.com/story/new-fitness-trends-workout-classes