Get Fitter, Faster with These 4 High Energy Workouts

It seems like there’s a new fitness class that comes out every month and with it, a new cult-like following. Here are four high-energy workouts that will not only help you burn more calories, but get your blood pumping, make you sweat like no other, and get fitter – FASTER! Ready? Let’s go!

Going nowhere fast is normally a bad thing, right? Well, in spin class, that’s the whole point! This high-intensity exercise craze involves hopping on a stationary bike and peddling as hard as you can while adding and subtracting resistance. There’s a strong sense of camaraderie between riders as you sweat in dimly lit studios that pump heart-pounding music.

“Spin class is an excellent way to burn fat and calories in a short amount of time,” says Michele Petlansky, owner/certified instructor of RIDE209, an upscale, state-of-the-art indoor cycling and fitness studio located in Manteca, CA. “It’s great for all ages and helps to build a strong back and core. Cycling also tones your legs and butt. As a beginner, you can expect to burn at least 300 calories during a 45 to 50 minute class while advanced riders can burn as much as 800 calories.”

For first-timers, Michele says has a few tips to prepare for spin class. “I always advise new clients that they should arrive at least 10 minutes early to make sure their bike is properly adjusted to fit their body and height. Proper bike fit is extremely important for injury prevention,” she says. “And always bring a bottle of water to make sure you stay hydrated.”

For tracking her clients’ results and progress, RIDE209 offers FitMetrix, a technology that allows clients to track how many calories they’ve burned and how many miles they’ve gone. “These results are emailed to our riders after each workout. In addition, we also have performance boards on both of our LED televisions that allow you to compete with other riders in class, if you choose,” adds Michele.

HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, is a training technique in which you give 100 percent effort through quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short, sometimes active recovery periods. This training gets and keeps your heart rate up and burns more fat in less time. HIIT increases the body’s need for oxygen during the effort and creates an oxygen shortage, causing your body to ask for more oxygen during recovery. This afterburn effect is referred to as Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) and is the reason why intense exercise will help burn more fat and calories than regular and steady-state workouts.

Danielle Fernandes of Miami, FL searched for a workout that would produce results. She liked group classes, but hadn’t found one to achieve the outcome she envisioned. “I was overweight and frustrated. A friend invited me to try HIIT classes. It was intense, but I was hooked and am in the best shape of my life!” Danielle admits. “HIIT increased my metabolism and burned lots of fat. If I can’t go to class, I can incorporate what I’ve learned anywhere. No equipment is necessary because HIIT workouts use your body weight since the focus is on getting and keeping your heart rate up.”

HIIT classes are offered in most gyms with formats focusing on cycling, strength training, plyometrics, and speed. Danielle burns a minimum of 400 calories in her 60 minute classes. For beginners, she recommends taking a class with friends. “HIIT’s great for any age and fitness level, just remember to go at your own pace and finish each class strong. I lost 35 pounds!”

Tabata is a form of HIIT training scientifically proven to help increase endurance and performance for aerobic (cardiovascular) and anaerobic (muscular) systems. It’s a timed interval method that alternates between 20-second intervals performed at maximum efforts and 10-second stages of rest, repeated seven times for the ultimate exhaustive four-minute workout. Exercises consist of squats, pushups, burpees, kettlebells, or any other exercise that works your large muscle groups.

Michael Montanez of Tabata Ultimate Fitness in Brooklyn, NY is a certified instructor and a 4th degree black belt in Karate. “I incorporated Tabata into my martial arts and weight training programs and lost over 30 pounds in less than two months. I was faster while still maintaining my strength levels and rarely felt fatigued. I knew I had to become certified so I could share this training method with the world,” he says.

Tabata is a great for people of all ages and fitness levels. “Everyone works at their own pace and fitness level, so we’re able to have advanced people train together with beginners,” says Michael. “When someone comes to their first class, I let them know that they are silently giving me permission to kick their butts. It’s challenging and weaknesses surface immediately, but we work on them.”

Expect to burn between 450-800 calories in a 50-minute session. “The interesting part of Tabata is the ‘after burn’ effect. Some of our members have reported to burn an additional 200-300 calories after class,” Michael states.

CrossFit is constantly varied, functional movements executed at a high intensity and based on the HIIT philosophy. The program is developed to offer a full-body workout that combines elements of cardio, weightlifting, gymnastics, core training, and more to prepare the body for the unexpected.

Yumi Lee Mathews is the Co-Owner of Reebok CrossFit LAB in West Hollywood, CA and is a certified instructor and coach who’s worked with Jessica Alba, Brad Pitt, and Pink. “CrossFit is a great way to work out because it involves functional movements that make you stronger, leaner, confident, and prepared for everyday life,” Yumi says. “The community of CrossFit is also an incredible draw because unlike a gym where most people are anonymous to each other, everyone knows each other and lifelong friendships develop.”

This workout is ideal for all ages and fitness levels because all movements and loads can be scaled or progressed. “Every person in class can do the same workout with slightly varied movements and weight loads and will still experience a safe, fun, and effective workout,” adds Yumi. “At Reebok CrossFit LAB, we have kids as young as 5 and adult athletes in their 70s.”

Before taking a class, most gyms require some kind of Foundations or On-Ramp course which provides an overview and fundamentals to prevent injuries. Yumi says, “Once completed, each participant should expect attentive coaches who watch form, give weight load suggestions, and correct, motivate, and encourage.”

CrossFit classes at the Reebok CrossFit LAB are one hour in duration and focus on four parts: Structured Warm-up and Mobility Strength or Skill Timed Activity Stretching

Participants have reported burning between 400 to 800 calories a session. “Start slow and be smart. If something doesn’t feel right, ask, or don’t do it,” Yumi advises. “You’ll never go back to your regular workouts again!”

Whether you’re a beginner at the gym or just don’t have much fitness knowledge, group fitness classes may be your solution. Here are six reasons to try one today!

1. Variety: Attending different classes each week is a great way to create muscle confusion, which keeps your body guessing, ramps up metabolism, and prevents boredom.

2. Structure: Group fitness is a great way to get a workout in without having to think or plan. Each class is structured with a warm-up, balanced workout, and cool-down.

3. Proper Form: Your fitness instructor will demonstrate proper form and ensure that everyone executes exercises properly. This is important for muscles and helps to prevent injuries.

4. Accountability: Accountability coincides with group exercise. Connecting with those you exercise with will keep you coming back.

5. Motivation: Group fitness is a great way to help motivate yourself and others to dig deeper and push harder in workouts.

6. Fun: Group exercise classes provide the opportunity to have fun, meet new people, and cultivate friendships.

By Rochelle Marapao