Health & Wellness

Group Fitness is the New Cheers!

Group Fitness
Luxury Living Tampa Bay

Group Fitness Is Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Group Fitness

Go it alone or sweat with others? Joining a gym is no longer your only option for indoor fitness. Today, an effusion of membership-based, group fitness studios are popping up, giving Tampa Bay residents unlimited options for getting in shape, losing weight and improving their health.

There’s the cardio, strength-training, heart-rate monitored, full-body workout at Orangetheory Fitness that guarantees weight loss. Pure Barre is a prescribed order of anaerobic exercises switched up from class to class, set to engaging music, that helps women tone arms, abs, glutes and thighs. Jazzercise is a nearly 50-year-old model of easy-to-learn dance routines set to top-40 music that delivers overall fitness, toning and fun.

There’s the cardio, strength-training, heart-rate monitored, full-body workout at Orangetheory Fitness that guarantees weight loss. Pure Barre is a prescribed order of anaerobic exercises switched up from class to class, set to engaging music, that helps women tone arms, abs, glutes and thighs. Jazzercise is a nearly 50-year-old model of easy-to-learn dance routines set to top-40 music that delivers overall fitness, toning and fun.

Who Uses Group Fitness?

Whether an elite athlete seeking a training boost or a first-time mom-to-be who is better managing her pregnancy through exercise, there is one common thread that keeps them all coming back to class. Community. Having a place to go where everybody knows your name – and, holds you accountable.

You’ve likely seen those orange-painted bicycles chained to posts around town. They mean that an Orangetheory Fitness is nearby. Named for the heart-rate zone associated with metabolic burn, Orangetheory Fitness now has 12 studios in the Tampa Bay area.

Head coach Arielle Bondura is the face of Orangetheory Fitness New Tampa and her energy and passion for the workout and her members is contagious. Bondura describes the class as a one-hour, full-body workout divided between interval cardio and strength training, matched to high-energy music. Each student wears a heart-rate monitor that displays your real-time heart-rate on a screen under your name. The coach uses the board to tailor the workout to each person – pushing some, gently pulling others back.

Says Bondura, “There is a level for everybody, those who have never worked out or Olympic level athletes. We fit your level within our product.” The goal is to spend a total of 12 minutes in the orange or red heart-rate zone, ensuring a higher calorie-burning rate for the next 36 hours. Bondura says it’s easy for her to stay motivated. “It’s a platform for me to do everything I love to do. I have a group of people I get to fulfill and inspire, allowing me to work with so many different people with different levels of fitness. It forces me to continually learn and educate others, making me a better trainer.” She’s also hooked by the sense of community. “All my members are family,” she says. “We have our own Facebook page.”

Bondura says it’s easy for her to stay motivated. “It’s a platform for me to do everything I love to do. I have a group of people I get to fulfill and inspire, allowing me to work with so many different people with different levels of fitness. It forces me to continually learn and educate others, making me a better trainer.” She’s also hooked by the sense of community. “All my members are family,” she says. “We have our own Facebook page.”

Pure Barr Great Group Fitness

Group Fitness

A familiar face in Tampa’s health and wellness community is Lauren Chamberlain who hosts a fitness segment every Tuesday with WFLA News Channel 8, yet another extension of her passion for helping others achieve their fitness goals and embrace positivity. Along with Ellie McComb, Chamberlain owns three Pure Barre studios in Tampa, St. Pete and Clearwater, a career path that was set in motion the moment she took her first class in 2011.

“I was hooked,” said Chamberlain. “It made me feel empowered and positive, and I loved the sense of community that the studio brought.”
A Pure Barre class is very hands-on, Chamberlain explains. The class starts with core work and weights in the center of the studio and then moves to the

A Pure Barre class is very hands-on, Chamberlain explains. The class starts with core work and weights in the center of the studio and then moves to the barres, used for stability and resistance, for segments focused on thighs and the seat, then more core work. “A teacher stands in the front and leads the entire workout, but is constantly applying hands-on corrections to make sure each person is getting the most out of the class.” Workouts change from class to class so you don’t get bored and your body never gets used to it. One Pure Barre loyalist is Madison Hauenstein, executive director of ARC Tampa Bay Foundation. Her addiction to the formatted class wasn’t immediate. For starters, she didn’t like to exercise, and definitely not in a group. But it was hot outside and there was AC indoors. And she’d bought a one-month pass so she kept going. “By the fifth class or so I was hooked. I developed a group of friends I looked forward to seeing each class, and they looked forward to seeing me. And they hold me accountable. This was a total 180 for me,” she said.

One Pure Barre loyalist is Madison Hauenstein, executive director of ARC Tampa Bay Foundation. Her addiction to the formatted class wasn’t immediate. For starters, she didn’t like to exercise, and definitely not in a group. But it was hot outside and there was AC indoors. And she’d bought a one-month pass so she kept going. “By the fifth class or so I was hooked. I developed a group of friends I looked forward to seeing each class, and they looked forward to seeing me. And they hold me accountable. This was a total 180 for me,” she said. Two years later, she’s taken over 250 classes – a milestone she hit when she was eight months pregnant. She credits fitness as part of her daily routine for helping ease her through her pregnancy. “I exercised the entire time,” she said. “The teachers worked with me to adapt movements so that I could do them.” She was even in

Two years later, she’s taken over 250 classes – a milestone she hit when she was eight months pregnant. She credits fitness as part of her daily routine for helping ease her through her pregnancy. “I exercised the entire time,” she said. “The teachers worked with me to adapt movements so that I could do them.” She was even in class on her due date.

Women like Hauenstein are why Chamberlain just becomes more passionate about her business. “I’ve seen women change their bodies, lose 50 pounds, and leave all their problems –health, relationships, finances – at the door to focus on themselves,” said Chamberlain. “I get the greatest satisfaction seeing people achieve their fitness goals and watching their confidence, demeanor and attitude change.”

Dance Your Way Into Jazzercise Group Fitness Classes

Group Fitness

Another group class that draws mostly women is Jazzercise. Don’t dismiss it as a headband-and-leg-warmer workout belonging to your grandmother (who very well may have been, and continues to be, a student) since Jazzercise was launched in 1969 and its founder Judy Meisner still teaches classes and choreographs routines.

Fourth-grade teacher at Bellamy Elementary School in Tampa, Sophia Hubbard, owns Jazzercise Fitness Center Carrollwood, a franchise she won after coming out on top of a 2013 reality television show called Be the Boss. Hubbard was no newbie to the one-hour dance exercise class, which she’d discovered in 1996 at a time when she was severely obese. “What kept me going and loving it is the camaraderie and friendships that go with it,” she said.Devotees of Jazzercise range from their 20s to 80s. This year, Jazzercise is promoting a Girl Force campaign and welcomes young women ages 16-21 to come to classes for free.

Devotees of Jazzercise range from their 20s to 80s. This year, Jazzercise is promoting a Girl Force campaign and welcomes young women ages 16-21 to come to classes for free.

New routines are constantly introduced to pop music often heard in class before it hits Top 40 status. One member, Susan Moynihan has stuck with Jazzercise specifically because of the music. Says Moynihan, “I cannot exercise without good music. When I would set up my own mix tapes, I’d get bored quickly. I’m always surprised at Jazzercise, and if I don’t like the song, it’s over in 3 minutes. When a fun song comes on, everyone gets into it.” She also credits the lack of mirrors (“so I’m not in competition with myself”), and that she sweats more than she does in any other form of exercise. “I like it so much,” says Moynihan, “that I’ve turned three people on to it!”

Hubbard emphasized that Jazzercise is constantly evolving, responding to changes in the fitness industry and incorporating benefits from other forms such as yoga and pilates. “As we improve and learn, we share it,” says Hubbard. “People think we are wimpy, but we’re really strong.”

No matter how fit you are, or aren’t, or where you are on your weigh-loss journey, there’s a place for you in any of these group fitness classes. Since they all offer the first class for free, why not try them all and see which one you like the best? Think of it as speed-dating and choose carefully. Once you start a group fitness class, it’s hard to break up.

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