You’re trudging away on the treadmill, lungs burning, sweat dripping, thighs screaming. You look down to check the time elapsed.
Three minutes?! Why does it feel like it’s been three years?!
Even the most dedicated fitness enthusiast has been there. Treadmill minutes feel like torture. The rower is rotten. Weights are a drag. The bike is a bore.
If you are wondering how to stay motivated to workout, sometimes what you need to kick that monotony to the curb is a change in your workout routine. Luckily, there have never been more exercise classes and fitness programs available to supercharge your fitness goal. From karaoke cycle to dog yoga to virtual reality team workouts, the most innovative and high-energy exercise classes of 2022 will inspire you to push harder—and have a blast.
Here are five of our favorite types of workout classes for you to try.
#1 Studio Cycle With a Twist
Indoor cycling, also called spinning, has long since been a group workout staple—and for a good reason. The combination of low-impact aerobics, a calorie-torching burn, and dynamic instructor inspiration makes them a favorite for anyone looking to build lean muscle and improve endurance. While the cycle classes of yore involved increasing the bike’s resistance level while climbing imaginary hills and decreasing resistance along flat fantasy roads, the studio cycle classes of 2022 have something wild in store for you:
- Karaoke Cycle – Equal parts workout and party, karaoke cycle lets you channel your inner Adele, Ariana, or Ed all from the (dis)comfort of your own bike. While one instructor teaches the class to medium-intensity music, another passes through the room with a wireless microphone giving you the opportunity to solo on your favorite tracks. So, “Come on, Eileen!” It’s time to “Lose Yourself.”
- Aqua Cycle – Originally conceived as an aquatic therapeutic device, aqua cycles are slightly different from studio cycles. Fixed to the bottom of a heated pool and lacking electronics, they’ve become popular for the low-impact, high-resistance workout they provide. Group aqua cycle is taking off in big cities because it combines the fitness of cycling with the high-energy rush of an aerobics class, all in the soothing support of an aquatic environment.
- Big Screen Cycle – Imagine the rush of cycling through a midnight field of stars, along the knife-edge of a towering cliff, or even directly under the Eiffel tower, all from the comfort of your own gym. This is the premise behind immersive indoor cycling. Riders in these classes are placed in a darkened room with a big screen at the front, basically a cinema with bikes in place of theater seats. The instructor then leads the class in tandem with the screen, creating the illusion of a ride through Paris, outer space, and beyond.
Whatever your cycle style, you’ll want to make sure you have all of the most important gym bag essentials by your side—or poolside. Pack a couple of cold water bottles, a fresh towel (or two!), your bike shoes and socks, and a dry shirt for after your workout. Remember, cycle classes can get super sweaty. (Unless you’re underwater, that is.)
#2 HIIT or LIT
HIIT is one of the hottest types of exercise classes for 2022. But so is its counterpart, LIT. An acronym for high intensity interval training, HIIT class has been the darling of the fitness industry for many years because it melts away the maximum amount of calories in the minimum amount of time.1 Plus, it doesn’t require much equipment and serves as a great option for those interested in learning how to stay fit while traveling.
However, if 2021 taught us anything, it’s that sometimes we need to take things slow as well.
Enter LIT. An acronym for low-intensity training, LIT mixes the rigorous cardio of a rowing machine with mat exercises and resistance bands for an intensely toning, but joint-preserving full-body workout.
So should you choose a HIIT or LIT class? Here are some considerations:
- Do you have knee or joint pain?
- How is your posture?
- Are you interested in calorie burn, toning, or muscle-building
If you suffer from any achy joints, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) probably isn't the best fit since it involves dynamic jumps and jerks. On the other hand, if you’re looking to build muscle mass and bulk up, this is the class for you. If toning and cardio are your primary goals, LIT classes can get you there without pain or strain. Either way, be sure to pack your gym bag with comfortable shorts or leggings that allow for easy, comfortable movement since you’ll be spending a fair amount of time on the floor.
#3 Yoga With a Twist (Literally)
A perennial workout favorite, yoga began as a spiritual practice 5000 years ago but has evolved into so much more today. Consistently ranked at the very top of group exercise classes, yoga is practiced by over 35 million Americans—understandably so. According to research, yoga may:2
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Increase flexibility
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Decrease back, hip, and neck pain
- Improve sleep
- Relieve menopause symptoms
- Help in the management of chronic disease
Today’s yoga classes range from mindful and gentle to hot and demanding. There are even a few you might have to see to believe. Basically, if you can do it, you can also do it while practicing yoga. Beyond the traditional forms of yoga like Kundalini, Vinyasa, and Hatha, some of the wackiest and wildest new yoga classes out there are:
- Nude yoga
- Yoga raves
- Tantrum (note, this is very different from traditional tantric) yoga
- Aerial yoga
- Beer yoga
- Ganja yoga
- Eye yoga
- Paddleboard yoga
- Puppy, goat, or kitten yoga
Packing your gym bag for a yoga class depends a bit on what type of yoga you’re heading to. If you’ve got a puppy in tow, you’re definitely going to need a roll of waste bags along with a travel yoga mat, a water bottle, and a sweat towel. On the other hand, if you’re on your way to tantrum yoga, be sure to bring along all of your pent-up frustrations and unpack them upon arrival. Whatever your preference, the benefits of yoga are sure to shine through.
#4 Virtual Reality Team Workouts
Okay, so this one does sound a bit metaverse, but hold your judgment. In general, VR-based fitness has a dedicated following. Virtual reality workout enthusiasts find a number of out-of-this-world benefits in this exercise space because it:3
- Affects both brain and body function
- Helps people with social anxiety
- Boosts energy levels
- Enhances motor skills
- Tracks improvement over time
While home-based VR-fitness has been trending for several years, specialized gyms have recently opened around the United States where you can simultaneously get your workout on and game on in a traditional gym setting with other “players.” By donning a VR mask while using machines or engaged in cardio, HIIT, or resistance training you’ll be playing in various sports against competitors both virtual and real. While this is certainly a niche workout, proponents of these types of group fitness classes claim you can reap all the benefits of a tough workout while having a one-of-a-kind virtual experience.
#5 Outdoor Workout Classes
Three takeaways from 2021?
- Workouts matter.
- People will find a way.
- The great outdoors really is great.
With most gyms shuttered for some portion of the year, workout classes blossomed in parks, at beaches, and even on rooftops. Although gyms are re-opening their doors for 2022, many people continue to attend these new, outdoor fitness classes that inspire them to reach for the sky:
- Boot Camp – Ideal for an outdoor setting like a grassy park or a sandy shoreline, boot camp classes (or group fitness classes) are discipline-oriented with a focus on stretching, endurance-building, and strength training. While the weights, intervals, and jump ropes are important aspects of the boot camp workout, one of the most valuable parts is the “drill-instructors” themselves. Being accountable to an authority figure promotes attendance which, ultimately, can be the key to success.4
- Dance Fitness – The benefits of dance workouts aren’t just for the ballerinas. They’re also available to those of us who may be a bit less graceful, too. Moving dance classes outside in 2021 had the double benefit of expanding the dance floor and keeping social distancing intact. From ballroom to belly dancing, many studios have opted to keep their classes on the outdoor stage.
- Open-air Pilates – Much like yoga, pilates is a low-impact workout that uses body weight for resistance training. Pilates focuses on small movements to stabilize the back and core muscles. While some forms of pilates rely on machines, many movements can also be done with nothing more than a mat and a block, making it the perfect exercise for an outdoor class. Park, or open-air, pilates classes has become a mainstay for many gyms in warmer climates, and is even offered in botanic gardens, plant nurseries, and in lakeside settings.
Packing your gym bag for an open-air class of any kind requires a little forethought. In addition to your usual fitness accouterments and specialized shoes, you’re definitely going to need to pack water, fitness-friendly shades, and plenty of sunscreen.
A BÉIS for Any Workout
Whether you’re heading to a broga session in the park, a LIT class at your gym, or aqua cycling with your besties, BÉIS has all of your gear needs covered. Our BÉIS Moves Collection features all things gym bags from sports duffels and totes to wristlets and water bottle slings, helping to keep you in shape and in fashion.
No matter how you choose to workout in 2022, we’ve got a BÉIS for you.
Looking for different fitness studio recommendations? We’ve got you covered. Below are different brands to consider for the best types of exercises classes depending on your goals:
- Booya Fitness - virtual personal training at home
- CorePower Yoga - focus on your arm and core strength as well as your flexibility
- OrangeTheory Fitness - participate in a group fitness class through circuit training
- Pure Barre - get a total body workout and enhance your muscle strength
- Planet Fitness - a traditional gym environment where you can focus on weight training or cardiovascular fitness
Ito, Shigenori. “High-Intensity Interval Training for Health Benefits and Care of Cardiac Diseases - The Key to an Efficient Exercise Protocol.” World Journal of Cardiology, vol. 11, no. 7, 2019, pp. 171–88. Crossref, doi:10.4330/wjc.v11.i7.171.
- Wei, Marlynn, MD. “New Survey Reveals the Rapid Rise of Yoga — and Why Some People Still Haven’t Tried It.” Harvard Health, 7 Mar. 2016, www.health.harvard.edu/blog/new-survey-reveals-the-rapid-rise-of-yoga-and-why-some-people-still-havent-tried-it-201603079179
- “7 Fact-Based Health Benefits of VR Fitness Training.” Viro.Fit, 12 Nov. 2019, www.viro.fit/blog/virtual-reality-fitness/7-fact-based-health-benefits-vr-fitness-training
- “Social Psychology: Obedience and Authority.” SparkNotes, 2021, www.sparknotes.com/psychology/psych101/socialpsychology/section7