Thursday, August 30, 2012

Entering the World of Jane Fonda: My First Group Fitness Class

Recently I decided that I wanted to switch up my fitness regimen to include some strength and toning workouts. No worries,  I am not giving up my love affair with running! However since I am getting sufficient cardio in by running 4 days a week, I decided that instead of cycling on my two cross training days I needed to incorporate some weight training as well. While I am happy that my body is a healthy size 6 (and sometimes 4!), I want to be strong and toned, not just skinny- I want abs not flab! 
As soon as I got back from vacation, I started researching different classes and fitness studios.  I am not a ‘gym rat’ and so if possible I wanted to stay away from the large chain gyms.  Last week I took the plunge and visited Bella Forza studio for their Circuit Body Blast class.

I should say at the outset that I was a fitness class virgin- which means my review of the class may be a little skewed since I have nothing to compare it to and to be fair, I think that if I attended more than one class some of my “cons” may be eliminated.  That being said, here is a recap of my first experience:

The class the I tried was the Circuit Body Blast class. The class was between 45-55 minutes long and cost $15.00 for a drop in rate.  The class was described as “a program in which you move immediately from an exercise for one muscle group to an exercise for a different muscle group until all major muscle groups have been worked. The circuit of activities can include free weights, calisthenic exercises, plyometrics, mats, and balls. Moving immediately from one activity to the next allows you to work the cardiorespiratory system as well as the muscular system.”  Our class size was 11 and there were 6 different “circuits.”

  •  The receptionist was extremely friendly and welcoming and made a point to walk me back to the studio where my class was at and introduce me to the teacher
  • The d├ęcor was fun and girly- bright pinks and purples and black- which was fitting for a “sassy” women’s only fitness studio
  • The first class was free, you can pick and choose from a variety of classes each week, and you can sign up for the particular class date and time that you want online (if the class is full, you can ask to be put on the waiting list and they will notify you via email if you have been added to the class)
  • The circuits were each 2 minutes long with a 15 second rest between – which is perfect with someone with ADD like me- I mean, I can do anything for 60-120 seconds!
  • The music was great and upbeat and it was nice not to have to use my own watch or timer to know when I was supposed to rotate between stations or exercises
  • I loved how my body felt sore in a good way afterwards- I can tell that I worked new muscles or used them in a different way than I usually do with running.

  • The instructor seemed kind of chaotic- she announced each of the stations, but it seemed as if she was making them up as she went along.  And there were no notes or signs or anything to remind you what you were supposed to be doing at each station- she rattled off a list of 12 things (2 for each station) and you were supposed to remember what moves to do at each station.  Um, I’m a pretty smart person, but I had a hard time remembering what I was supposed to do at each circuit.
  • Since there were so many circuits, the instructor was not doing the moves along with us, so for someone new like me it was hard to tell if my form was correct or whether I was doing the right movement
  • While it was nice to be doing the workout with others, I did not sense the camaraderie that others have mentioned (however, I am chalking this up to the fact that it was my first time and that if I were a more frequent attender maybe that camaraderie would develop).

No, I did not wear an outfit like this to my first group fitness class!
Overall, I am really glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried something different. I am still on the fence as to whether I would prefer fitness classes to simply doing Jillian Michaels 30 Day shred videos (a lot of the circuit moves were the same as she uses on her dvds) at home, but before I make that decision I want to try a few more different classes at different studios.  As Jillian says, it is important to spice things up and “get comfortable with being uncomfortable!” Stay tuned in the next couple weeks as my adventures in the new realm of "fitness" continue!


  1. Ms. "Fonda",

    I enjoyed your commentary on the fitness class. I agree that it can be confusing moving from station to station. In my class, we often do a circuit 2-3 times so everyone gets the hang of it. I think smaller classes with fewer people make it easier to get the attention you deserve. I learned that if I speak up, the teacher's always willing to answer my question or fix my form. It pays off to speak up!

  2. It’s quite disappointing that the instructor is not even demonstrating the moves that you have to do in every circuit. As a fitness instructor, you have to lead your students and demonstrate the proper movements. It also helps them to get motivated in doing so because their instructor is initiating the action as well. Anyway, I hope you will not stop your fitness routine just because of those negative things. @CrossFit