Toning exercises can be done on your own using equipment either at home or at a gym, but taking group fitness classes with a toning emphasis is a great way to shake up your routine. If you find yourself becoming bored or needing an extra push as you work out, taking group fitness classes can be a preferable way to tone up. Never underestimate the motivational factor found in group classes - being around people pushing themselves and not giving up will keep you focused. Consider trying some of the following classes as you look to sculpt your muscles and lose inches.
1. Body Conditioning
If you're looking for a toning workout that targets your entire body, look no further than body conditioning. These class formats are typically about an hour long and mix drills with weight lifting segments across all major muscle groups. Expect to use all kinds equipment including hand weights, body bars, resistance bands, bosu balls and aerobic steps. That doesn't mean you have to bring your own equipment - it's all provided for you. Some exercises will focus on isolated muscle groups while others will be power movements where you use your upper and lower body at the same time. Because of this, body conditioning classes are a great way to get in a little cardiovascular activity, too. If you take this class regularly (two or more times a week) and are mindful of what you're eating, you'll begin to notice changes in your physique within four to six weeks.
2. Ab Class
Many gyms offer condensed 30-minute classes focusing strictly on abs. Don't be fooled by thinking you'll spend half an hour doing crunches on the floor. You'll be introduced to a multitude of movements, many of them Pilates-based, that will target your entire core. Expect to also use stability balls on some exercises. These classes are easy to squeeze in after your individual workout on the weight or cardio equipment in the gym. Since they're so short, gyms often offer them during lunchtime hours, making it easy for you to squeeze in a workout during your lunch break (if you're so inclined).
If you aspire to a long and lean figure, taking Pilates classes is the best way to work toward that ideal. Though Pilates focuses on your "core" or "powerhouse" (all your abdominal muscles and those in the back), it also includes a number of movements targeting your arms and legs. In addition to elongating and toning your figure, Pilates has the added bonus of improving your posture. If you begin taking classes three or more times a week, you'll be surprised at how quickly you notice a difference in your figure and your posture. Mat-based Pilates is a great class for individuals of all levels. Expect to spend most of the class focusing on strengthening your core muscles.
Your gym may offer toning classes not listed here. Each gym is unique in the types of classes offered, but most focus on the same principles. Try out a few and see which you enjoy the most.