Hi Hayley,

I LOVE group classes. I can't afford a personal trainer but I like someone telling me what to do, and the energy of working out with others. My question is, how does one know what the best combination of group classes is for optimum cardio and strength training? Like for a schedule like the one I've posted here.

What would you recommend for most well-rounded week of workouts? I feel like this is fairly representative of a lot of bigger gym chains. Any insight is appreciated! Thank you!!


Great question! And you are right, if you are not one of the lucky ones who have the ability to hire a personal trainer, group fitness classes are the next best thing.  When you are planning your week make sure you are not attending the same (or similar classes) each week.  I am sure most people have their favourites but make sure you switch up the other classes each week, or each day.  Also, if there is a beginner version of a class you better be planning on moving up and out of there to an intermediate or advanced version of the same class.  Progression and overload is important so if the class is no longer providing you with a challenge then move onto the next.

Try to include classes that address the five components of health and fitness: muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness and body composition.  The secondary components of fitness, such as agility, balance, coordination, speed and power are also important but not key.  What I mean is do not just do all yoga, or all spinning, or all step aerobics because you will only be addressing one or two of the health and fitness essentials.

Here is a sample week for the schedule that you provided from your gym.

Monday - Yoga.  Starting out your week with a yoga class is a great way to set yourself up for what lies ahead of you for the remainder of the week.

Tuesday – Kickbox Cardio.  This class is going to give you everything: agility, power, core, balance, strength, flexibility and cardio.  Push yourself hard this day as you are coming off of an easier day.

Wednesday – Evening Boot Camp.  Show up early and allow yourself 30 minutes of cardio to warm up.  This will make sure you are ready to go and push yourself the best you can for the entire class.

Thursday – Mat Pilates.  You have just completed two hard and challenging days so let yourself recover with a Pilates class that will address your core and flexibility.  If you are feeling energetic though that morning get there early and do the spin class beforehand, just do not push yourself to your max.

Friday – Cycle or step and sculp.  If you choose the cycle class then either before or after the class do a quick full body strength workout on your own.

The weekend – I am a big fan of getting outdoors on the weekends as we usually have more time than we do during the week to take advantage of our surroundings.  Meet some friends for a hike, get out on a bike and go for a cycle or go for a long power walk with someone you have not had time to see all week and use it as an opportunity to catch up.  Our bodies are meant to move and we are meant to move outside so do not get in the habit of doing everything indoors while someone is yelling at you to work harder.  Remind yourself that being active can actually be enjoyable. 

Attached - Will and Kate visiting the new gym at St George’s Park yesterday in London.