While I now consider myself to be a sort of fitness class junkie, it most certainly has not always been that way. I wasn’t unathletic, but I never found much joy in the team sports I participated in growing up and throughout high school. Luckily, I began to get into running early on in college as the gorgeous Wake Forest campus and North Carolina scenery made getting outside more enjoyable than I previously knew.
While I still adore running and utilize the trail here in Austin regularly, I’ve likewise fallen in love with a variety of group-format exercise classes over the years. Toning and building strong, lean muscle is equally as important as cardio, so I strive to embrace a mix of the two.
On my Instagram (follow me @goodness_with_g if you aren’t already!), I recently asked if y’all would like to see more fitness content, and I received a resounding “YES!”. So in addition to sharing class reviews on my social media, I want to provide a class encyclopedia of sorts to break down my personal favorite ways to get fit 🙂 .
My mom originally encouraged me to try Pure Barre, and I was lucky enough to have a studio walking distance from campus in college. It was then that I really gained immense appreciation for the mind-body connection that this workout provides. The movements are small, low impact and require concentration but intend to isolate certain muscle groups and push them to failure. It’s a full body workout that’ll leave you feeling the effects all over.
While there are various barre studios out there, Pure Barre’s signature class is my personal favorite as I love the sequence and flow. It might take a few classes to get the hang of the lingo and understand which muscles to focus on, but I assure you it’s worth the burnout.
They’ll provide you with a mat, ball, tube and weights, but bring your own sticky socks (or buy a pair at the studio).
As mentioned, my personal relationship with running has greatly evolved over the years. Growing up, you couldn’t pay me to run anything over a mile (and that was pushing it in gym class). It wasn’t until college that I truly found the joy in running as it became my escape from the craziness of dorm life and allowed me to better manage my anxiety. I’m still an avid runner and even just completed my first half marathon here in Austin in February!
My biggest tip for those looking to get into running is to cut yourself some slack. It’s easy to compare one’s progress against friends and peers, but running is entirely personal, and you have to start your journey somewhere. Rather than view this workout as a punishment, embrace the opportunity to get outside, enjoy a nice day and celebrate your body’s ability to move. Your pace and time are irrelevant while the benefits to your mind, body and spirit can’t be beat.
This is perhaps the best part – you only need sneakers, so running allows you to get a great workout in wherever you are! But I likewise encourage you to snag some headphones and turn on your favorite playlist to make the whole experience even more fun.
I likewise first encountered pilates back in college but honestly never gave it a real shot. About a year ago I decided to try out Solidcore, a new type of pilates studio that everyone in Austin was raving about. Since then, I’ve truly fallen in love with this workout. The intention behind both Solidcore and more traditional pilates is to take muscles to failure through slow movements. Similar to barre, pilates pushes you past Stage 1 muscle failure (when you feel the burn) into Stage 2 (when the shakes begin). By doing so, you break down muscle fibers to allow them to grow back stronger.
While Solidcore is a more intense class in a dark room with loud music, I’ve likewise tried Lagree-style pilates which is traditionally held in a lighter room with a less intense vibe. Both are great workouts, and I encourage you to find which you enjoy best! Regardless, you’ll work to build long, lean muscles and feel the burn for days.
Unlike most pilates studios that require you to wear sticky socks, Solidcore allows you to go barefoot, so a good attitude is all you need 🙂 .
Before becoming a Yoga Sculpt instructor myself at CorePower, I was (and still am) an avid student. For more details on my teacher training experience, read up here, but plain and simple, I’ve long adored this class because it’s both challenging and FUN! While the sequence is based in yoga, Sculpt likewise includes cardio and strength training with weights for a tough full body workout.
Because every teacher creates his or her own playlist and sequence, you’ll never get bored or experience the same class twice. And come prepared to sweat! The room for Yoga Sculpt isn’t heated quite as much as it is for the other classes at CorePower (or traditional hot yoga classes), yet it’s still toasty and gets progressively more so as you begin to move.
CorePower has three locations here in Austin and hundreds more across the country. And because of this class’s popularity, many other yoga studios have developed their own, similar versions worth looking into as well.
The studio will provide weights and blocks (if needed) as well as mats and towels for purchase. Wear clothes you’re ready to get sweaty in, and be sure to bring some water and your own mat and towel if possible!
Because I teach, run and enjoy a variety of classes, my body is typically very tight and in need of a good stretch. Plus, I’ve also made it my goal this year to slow down more, which I talk all about in Getting Grounded – Thoughts On My Word for 2020. In the spirit of embracing rest, I’ve begun to really enjoy intentional, slower movements lately. The variety of classes at CorePower allow me to get a sweat in but also calm my mind and stretch more than I would on my own.
If you’re a newby to yoga in general, I recommend trying a C1 class at CorePower before taking it up to the next level and diving into one of their C2 or Hot Power Fusion classes. All are heated but to different levels based on the class’s intensity.
While I, obviously, frequent CorePower here in Austin, other great studios include Wanderlust and Black Swan Yoga. You can also find a wide variety of studios in your own area these days! Be open to checking out a few to find where you feel most comfortable.
Each class is unique, but studios typically provide blocks and straps if needed. Bring your own mat and towel if you have them on hand or rent when you arrive.
I’m constantly pushing myself to try different workouts, as difficult and uncomfortable as that can be! So stay tuned and follow me on Instagram as I share new, fun ways to get your sweat on 🙂 .