The Hippo


May 28, 2020








Moving to the music at Manchester Jazzercise. Courtesy photo.

Group work
Fitness classes provide variety, community and fun

By Allie Ginwala

Finding the time to exercise is tough enough, so once you’ve got it, why not make it fun? The Hippo spoke with local fitness class instructors about the options and benefits of trying out a unique fitness class. 

“There’s camaraderie, there’s accountability, you’ve made a decision to show up. It’s great to challenge yourself and be challenged,” said Nancy Tibbetts, owner of Fitness Results in Bedford.
A whole lotta tabata
Tibbetts leads groups through the high intensity interval training (HITT) class tabata. The workout takes you through a series of exercises, pushing hard for 20 seconds, then resting for 10 seconds. 
“You go on this interval for eight circuits and that’s one tabata round,” she said. 
A cardiovascular exercise, tabata allows for a wide variety of moves. In the 20 seconds of work, you can do squats, jumping jacks, burpees or pushups. 
“It is trying to get people away from that slow and steady training,” Tibbetts said, noting that many people get stuck in the rut of hitting the treadmill for a 5-mile jog day after day. “[Tabata] is so diverse, it’s fun, time goes by quickly and people seem to enjoy it, and that’s what it has to be about.”
One reason why she thinks taking a group fitness class is a good option is that it takes away the need to plot out an exercise plan. 
“There’s a nice feeling of not having to think or come up with what they have to do today,” Tibbetts said. “It’s spelled out for them, and they do the work.”
YoSpin me right round
If you’re looking for a workout that encompasses exercises from two very different categories, try out YoSpin, a fusion fitness class that combines yoga and spinning. Elizabeth Black, co-owner of Trilogy Fitness in Amherst, enjoys fusion classes because they intertwine disciplines to create a well-rounded regimen.
“You start with yoga and for the most part you really work on centering yourself, finding the connection with your body and breathing,” Black said. “[Then] the class moves into the spin studio and rides. … When the spin is complete everyone moves back into the room and they have a yoga class.” 
By doing yoga and spinning back to back, you get a balanced workout that provides cardio as well as restorative stretching to follow the movements that often leave the hamstrings tight.
“At the end of the week you need to work cardio, your core, balance, and resistance training,” Black said. “Adding those two … pieces together [is] better to get a total body workout.”
Black thinks working out in a group can be a big motivator because of the positive peer pressure to work harder. Plus, it’s a chance to utilize an instructor’s training. 
“A good instructor is priceless,” Black said. “They can coach on good form and technique. Even the top of our field still needs someone to watch them and help them.”
All that jazzercise
Forget the neon leotards and legwarmers: this is not your mama’s Jazzercise class. Jazzercise, an aerobic dance program fueled by music and moving, has changed with the times, according to Susanne Larkham, Manchester Jazzercise Fitness Center owner and certified instructor.
“Jazzercise has actually been around for 45 years, and in order to be around for that 45 years, [it] has tried to be at the forefront and it has evolved and is constantly evolving,” she said. “A lot of people that might have done it in 1985 or 1992, they have a picture in their head of what we used to do … but then they walk through the door. … We use everything from top 40 to Broadway.”
Jazzercise combines dance styles like jazz and hip-hop along with yoga, pilates, kickboxing and strength training. Even if you have two left feet, you can bop around and take in the benefits of a dance-based exercise. 
“Dance is one of the things that keeps your mind young in addition to your body,” Larkham said. “Doing a variety of moves in a number of different directions. … Your mind is also firing in order to execute those dance patterns.”
Total resistance exercise (TRX) is a suspension training workout that helps develop strength, balance and flexibility and build the core. 
“It’s very different than working on a machine or free weights,” said John Faggiano, certified personal trainer and co-owner of Anatomic Fitness in Bedford. “What’s unique is you have to use your core to do any of the exercises.”
A system used often by professional sports teams and trainers,TRX focuses on building a strong core and getting a full body workout, which Faggiano said isn’t important just for athletes, but for daily living as well. 
“We think of it as a strength training thing, but there are routines that you can put together that will really be cardio-based, it’s very versatile,” he said. 
He thinks that exercise in a group class is the best way to ensure better and safer results. 
“In a class or in a private lesson you can be cued, instructed, even as far as safe setup,” he said. “It’s gotta be safe, you’ve gotta understand a person’s limitation and how to correct them. I don’t think you get that at home or from a video.”
Get R.I.P.P.E.D.
Get your rear in gear with a full-body workout that targets everything from power to endurance to diet. R.I.P.P.E.D. stands for resistance, interval, power, plyometrics, endurance and diet, explained Jenna Jones, personal trainer and R.I.P.P.E.D. certified instructor at Impact Cardio Club in Derry.
“Resistance would be upper body, interval is cardio, power is big muscles in the lower body, plyometrics is also cardio, a lot of jumping [and] mixed martial arts,” she said. “It’s really great.”
The team that created R.I.P.P.E.D. puts out new seasons of workouts every three months, so instructors can introduce new materials and music into their classes. 
“I would say they’re just trying to get everything in in that hour from head to toe,” Jones said. “You hit everything in that hour that you need.” 
As seen in the January 22, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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