BWW Weighs In: The Best Bang For Your Buck and Body
It's no secret that the fitness scene is booming. In most major cities, there's a class for literally every type of physical experience your heart could desire, from pilates to bootcamp, from yoga to cycle, from circuit training to dance cardio, and more. The choices are endless, but I'm betting your schedule and wallet are not.
If you're anything like my NYC-based clients, you are running from audition to rehearsal to your day job to dance class while trying to find time to workout. With so many boutique fitness studios thriving, you might be asking the same question as my clients; which fitness class best suits my needs? With limited time and a limited budget, what's the best bang for my buck AND body?
The first step is determining your goals. Are you giving appropriate attention to strength, conditioning, and regeneration? What is your regimen lacking? Are you aiming to change your body composition, strengthen your muscles to protect against injury, force yourself to slow down, have fun, improve your cardiovascular capacity, get your sweat on, or stretch tight muscles? Once your goal is determined, find the class that best fits your needs. This is where you need to get honest with yourself and honest about what the class is truly offering.
Dance cardio can be super fun, sweaty, and spike your heart rate, but will it help you strengthen your muscles to protect against injury? Probably not. A strength based class with resistance (kettlebells, dumbbells, TRX, pilates reformer, etc.) would better suit your cross training goals. Maybe you're recovering from an injury, or perhaps you are dancing eight shows a week; your time and money might be better suited working with lower intensity in a pilates class that will help you get in touch with all of the deep muscles in your core, legs, arms, and back. You will still get your sweat on, feel super connected to your center, and walk out of the session standing an inch taller. Or perhaps, you already lift at the gym, take ballet class, and work two jobs, but lack time for regeneration? In that case, a designated hour of yoga might be the best use of your time and finances. Your body will appreciate the stretch and moderate intensity strengthening (depending on style of yoga), and your mind will be oozing positive, centered vibes. Namaste.
Whether we like it or not, booking jobs is partially based on appearances. I often see performers who want to lean out and change their body composition. Most think that doing more cardio is what they need, so they load up on cycle, treadmill, and dance cardio classes and before you know it, they're exhausted, hungry, and softer than they were before. Let me tell you a little secret, more cardio is NOT always the answer!
Aside from taking a look at your nutrition (which is incredibly important), your time would be best spent in a combination strength/conditioning class, where you are able to build lean muscle mass while your heart rate is up. When you lift heavy enough, you will naturally experience a cardiovascular effect. Essentially you are knocking out two birds with one dumbbell (sorry I couldn't resist...) So get out there and pick up those heavy weights!
Not only will these classes strengthen your muscles and protect you from injury, they will help achieve the toned look you want while also spiking your heart rate. To my dancers (and non dancers) out there, who wouldn't want their jumps to be higher, their muscular and cardiovascular endurance to be increased, and their overall sense of confidence and badass-ery to grow expontentially?!
Let's take it one step further. Consider the physical role of most performers; in your most physically taxing role, you are on stage for a maximum of two to seven minutes of intense choreography. What mimics your job the most: an hour of running steady state on the treadmill or an interval training class that combines bursts of high intensity interval (strength) training with lower intensity recovery periods?
Find workouts that mimic your job in intensity and heart rate, but work your muscles in a slightly different way (i.e. parallel versus turned out, squats versus grand plies, lateral movement versus parallel jumpkicks, etc). Find workouts that are safe (you've got one body, be smart). Find workouts that make the most sense for your schedule and supply you with a balance of strength, conditioning, and regeneration. Most importantly, find workouts you LOVE; the workouts that leave you feeling accomplished, like you're on top of the world, and that leave you eagerly awaiting your next session. If you're not sure what that means for you, reach out HERE and let me help you discover the best fitness classes for YOUR body and career.