Try a new exercise class in 2017: yoga, spinning, HIIT and aerial fitness

We discovered how hot yoga, spinning, aerial and HIIT training can revolutionise your fitness routine and keep you motivated throughout 2017.

Hot yoga: for controlling the core and burning fat

Every pose and position in yoga is designed to improve balance and stability, enhance your flexibility, strengthen the core and, of course, clear the mind.

Practising hot yoga (or ‘Bikram yoga’) in 35-40°C humidity raises the heart rate and makes you sweat more, which offers the added benefits of burning fat, cleansing pores and reducing the risk of injury.

At hot yoga studios like Fierce Grace, a 75-minute beginners’ class covers a sequence of classic poses with a focus on posture and control. The temperature makes holding positions more challenging, but it can help you stretch slightly deeper.

You’ll also leave feeling physically detoxed as well as mentally refreshed.

This is what we learnt at our first hot yoga session

  • Control your breathing (controlled breathing means a controlled core and better balance)
  • Bring a towel (you may need this for grip on your yoga mat)
  • Even confident yogis should try an easier class for their first hot yoga session (that extra heat makes a big difference)
  • Before hot yoga or any other fitness class, drink 1-2L of water 2 hours beforehand

Spinning: for burning fat and toning tummies

With a combination of cycling and constant lateral movement, spinning is a full-body workout which enables you to burn fat and boost cardio at your own pace.

Each exercise bike is built with a dial which allows you to increase and decrease the resistance, while ‘cleats’ (clip-in cycling shoes) keep your feet glued to the pedals.

At studios like Another_Space, spin classes include pedalling in and out of the saddle, press-ups from over the handlebars and curls and punching combinations with weighted dumbbells.

Every movement is dictated by the tempo of the playlist, but ultimately you control the difficulty!

Here are some top tips from our first spin class

  • Push and pedal to the rhythm to concentrate and coordinate the mind and body
  • Pay attention to your instructor (sometimes increasing the resistance relieves the workload)
  • Wear sweat-wicking leggings or bib shorts (the saddle can be unforgiving for some)

HIIT training: for enhancing cardio and burning fat

While the drills and exercises can vary, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) makes you train at 100% effort for 45-60-second intervals with brief recovery windows in-between.

Like spin, HIIT classes raise your heart rate and metabolism with constant effort and movement. This increases endurance and puts your body into a fat burning state. A session typically lasts 45 minutes.

Also like spinning, every rep is timed to a fast rhythm, so that you can coordinate the mind and body.

HIIT workouts can focus on bodyweight exercises or incorporate equipment like weights, kettlebells, resistance bands and medicine balls.

Another_Space, for example, combine sets of squats, sit-ups and mountain climbers with high-speed and high-power boxing combos on the punching bag.

Aeriel acrobatics: for boosting core strength and body confidence

Boston-based primary school teacher Dani Levy tells us why training with hoops and silks is amazing for strengthening the core and improving body confidence:

“Aerial fitness is a full-body workout. From holding the hollow body position to exercising good form in aerial inversion, your core is continuously engaged. Even in resting positions, you need to squeeze your abs and keep your body tight to hold position.

“Aerial fitness has empowered me physically and improved my confidence tenfold. I’d recommend it to anyone regardless of experience, size or age, for the strength it builds physically and emotionally.”

Here are 5 essential tips for first-timers:

Dress for the occasion

Choose tight-fitting clothing which covers the armpits and preferably the elbows and knee pits. They are contact points which may get bruised or burned if you do not cover them.

Don't get discouraged

It's worth every second of work you put in. There are so many mini-successes in aerial fitness that it soon becomes a real self-esteem booster.

Stretch your finger

My fingers and grip strength are always the first things to go.

Don't underestimate the importance of flexibility

I've seen lots of unbelievably strong people struggle because their flexibility is limited. Work on it for beautiful poses and a lower risk of injury.

Take notes (written and video)

They’ve helped me build a wide range of movements and are key to choreographing routines.

The quicker you can memorise things like the foot knot, hip key and catcher's lock, the faster you can move onto more interesting poses and drops.

Add Slendertone to your revamped fitness routine

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If your exercise classes rely on controlling and concentrating the core, Slendertone can help you get more out of your workouts.

From 4 weeks our clinically-proven abs belts can enhance abdominal strength by 49% and abdominal endurance by 72%.

Strengthening your core is the key to confidently holding poses and positions for longer and pushing harder during high-intensity training.

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