High intensity exercise classes. They’re pretty fun, the atmosphere is good, you get to have a chat with your friends while you’re there… And it feels almost safe, like you can stay somewhat hidden amongst the other people there, you’re not going to be put on the spot.
You burn plenty of calories during the class, you get a good sweat on, and it feels like you must have achieved loads.
Honestly though, this style of exercise is really not optimal. You do indeed burn lots of calories, but you’re stressing your system with such frequent high intensity, and opening the door to burn out and injury – evidenced by the usual on:off cycle most fitness class attendees follow, due to said injury and burn out.
You really don’t need to work ultra hard every time you workout. As counter intuitive as it sounds, the goal of your workout shouldn’t be to burn as many calories as possible.
The thing with exercise is that you can use it to put your body into a better state for using up body fat stores the rest of the time; this is what your goal should be your for your workouts; not the calorie burn from the actual workout.
You can use exercise to optimise your hormones, reduce your food cravings and help your body work better. You can also build muscle mass with exercise, which will increase how much energy your body needs to just stand still the rest of the time. These should be your goals for your workouts.
The average person who works with a personal trainer is more consistent with their exercise and nutrition for three years afterwards, compared to those who don’t work with a trainer.
If you’re going to, say, three exercise classes a week, you’d get better results from spending the same money seeing a personal trainer once a month (and following the advice!). You’d end up with a proper, personalised exercise and nutrition plan, a reduced risk of injury, better results and a healthier body.