Fitness Articles

Learn the Fitness Class Lingo

Read Up Before You Workout

When you think about “fitness classes,” what images come to mind? Do you picture skinny people (leg warmers included) jumping around and kicking their legs to loud music? Although that might have been the case 10 or 20 years ago, the latest trends in classes focus on the mind-body experience, and helping people of all ability levels. 

If you considered taking fitness classes at your gym, you probably picked up the schedule, only to find a list of unfamiliar and confusing classes. Spinning? BOSU? What does it all mean and how do you decide which class is right for you? Here’s a guide to some of the most popular classes and how you might benefit from them. 

Spinning/Group Cycling 
Spinning is an group cardio workout that takes place on specially designed stationary bikes. A certified instructor leads the class, indicating when to adjust your speed and resistance level (making it easier or harder to pedal). Spinning classes are typically set to music and use visualization techniques to enhance the experience.

This class allows you go at your own pace, and set your own resistance level. There are no complicated moves to learn, so regardless of how fit, flexible, or coordinated you are, you can get a great workout. Cycling is also a low-impact exercise, which is much easier on your joints than other activities such as step aerobics or running.  

BOSU Balance Training
The BOSU looks like a Swiss ball cut in half. It is an inflated rubber dome on a flat, round platform. BOSU actually stands for “BOth Sides Up,” meaning that the dome itself can be placed on the ground with either the flat or rounded side up.A BOSU class can include aerobic and strength training routines, flexibility exercises, and balance training. Familiar exercises like leg raises, crunches, and push-ups are performed on the BOSU—a surface that is constantly changing, forcing you to maintain your center of gravity. This makes the exercises more difficult.

BOSU training helps establish and reinforce balance, stability, and core strength, and can be used for a wide variety of exercises. It is safer than a Swiss ball in that you are less likely to roll off, but it also makes workouts more challenging. It can add variety to your workout, mixing things up your traditional routine.

Circuit Training
This class takes the participant through a series of exercise stations (which could also include strength training), with relatively brief rest intervals between each station. The purpose is to keep the heart rate elevated near the aerobic level without dropping off.
Continued ›
Page 1 of 2   Next Page ›
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!

About The Author

Jen Mueller Jen Mueller
Jen received her master's degree in health promotion and education from the University of Cincinnati. A mom and avid marathon runner, she is an ACE-certified personal trainer, health coach, medical exercise specialist and behavior change specialist. See all of Jen's articles.

x Lose 10 Pounds by April 5! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.