Bobbi's Ultimate Workout Guide
- Written By:Bobbi Brown
- Photography:Jon Paterson
If you want to get in shape, you’ve never had more options. From low-impact exercises such as walking and barre, to power classes like HIIT, to more interactive and social options such as spinning or hip-hop, you’ll never get bored. I’m breaking down my favorite workouts.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR: “There are no barriers to entry, so anyone can take up walking,” says trainer and nutritionist Harley Pasternak. “There’s no skill requirement, no equipment required. Men, women, old, and young, everyone can benefit from walking.”
WHAT IT DOES: Walking is a low-impact way to get in some cardio and stay fit. According to Pasternak, walking 10,000 steps a day is good for general health, and if you walk 12,000 steps or more a day, it will help with weight loss if you are consistent.
WHY IT’S GREAT: “Walking is a great exercise option because you can weave it into your daily routine and you don’t have to set time aside,” explains Pasternak. “You can walk to lunch [or] take calls while walking. If you want to spend time with a friend, you can go on a walk together. A fitness tracker will help keep you motivated. For general health, you should walk 10,000 steps a day, seven days a week.”
INVESTMENT: None—just comfortable walking shoes that provide enough support.
WHAT IT IS: Using free weights such as dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebells in repetitive movements.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR: Anyone looking for more tone and strength.
WHAT IT DOES: Depending on how much you lift, how you train, and how often you do it, weights can be used to bulk up or simply tone. It’s also the perfect supplement for cardio workouts, targeting muscles in ways that cardio alone cannot.
WHY IT’S GREAT: “Research shows that those on a combination of cardio and resis- tance (versus just a cardio) regimen have results that are exponentially more signif- icant and a lot more permanent,” explains Pasternak. “Weight training increases bone density and muscle mass. It also has a positive impact on boosting hormones that normally decrease with age.”
INVESTMENT: Minimum to moderate. Invest in a couple of sets of free weights (5 and 10 pounds would be a good start) and buy a book or download an app to get started. If you work with a trainer, that’s a bigger investment, but it means your workouts will be tailored to your body type and ability.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR: Anyone looking for a strong cardio workout that they can do pretty much anywhere, anytime, and on a budget.
WHAT IT DOES: Running is great for burning calories, melting fat, and losing weight. It targets many parts of the body: legs, glutes, core, and heart.
WHY IT’S GREAT: “There is a meditative, spiritual component to running, connecting mind and body. There isn’t any sport that I have done that equates to that euphoric chemical release that your body experiences when you run,” says fitness trainer David Kirsch.
INVESTMENT: Minimal. All you really need is a good pair of running shoes (these are non negotiable—worn-out shoes can lead to injury) and a sports bra. Once you start running longer distances, you may want to invest in clothes that feature special fabric to wick the sweat off your body. You may need seasonal clothing, too, depending on your climate. Races are a great way to stay motivated, and they generally require entry fees.
WHAT IT IS: HIIT stands for “high intensity interval training,” which features short bursts of high-intensity workouts followed by brief periods of rest. The moves are a mix of cardio, weights, and resistance done at high speed and exertion.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR: People who are already in good physical and mental shape and want maximum results in a short time period. A great option for the time-crunched. Not recommended for anyone just starting to exercise.
WHAT IT DOES: HIIT tones your entire body from head to toe. It burns a lot of calories and boosts metabolism in a short period of time.
WHY IT’S GREAT: “HIIT has fabulous results because it creates custom circuit workouts with moves such as burpees, push-ups, lunges, and squat jumps with bursts of cardio on the treadmill or rowing machine. You see results very fast when doing these high-intensity workouts on a regular basis,” explains Kirsch. “Brides love it!”
INVESTMENT: Moderate to high, depending on where you take the class.
WHAT IT IS: From hip-hop to Zumba, fast-paced dance classes provide an amazing cardio workout that doesn’t feel like exercise.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR: Someone who wants her workouts to be fun, high-energy, and interactive. Some dance experience helps, but it is definitely not required.
WHAT IT DOES: Helps you sweat, lose weight, and burn calories.
WHY IT’S GREAT: “These classes have great energy, and people have the benefit of enjoying themselves while they work out,” says trainer Ashley Wilking. “Plus the music can be really fun.”
INVESTMENT: Minimal to moderate depending on if you take classes or use DVDs. Many gym memberships come with free Zumba classes.
WHAT IT IS: Pilates actually started as a method of physical therapy. It is centered in core exercises done lying down with machines or on a mat. Unlike yoga, which is about holding poses, Pilates involves repetitive movements that target specific muscles, with a focus on gaining core strength.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR: Pilates is a good option for someone who doesn’t want to do a high-intensity workout but wants to create a strong core. If you have injuries or are recovering from an injury, Pilates can be a good complement to a resistance program. For weight loss and toning, combine your Pilates practice with cardio.
WHAT IT DOES: Pilates will lengthen and strengthen. It creates long and lean muscles and strong posture.
WHY IT’S GREAT: “Pilates works all the muscles you forgot you had,” explains Wilking. “It also fights against bad posture. In a world spent looking down at a digital screen, it’s incredibly important to strengthen the muscles that support our spine, and Pilates does this beautifully.”
INVESTMENT: Moderate to high. The least expensive option would be to invest in Pilates apps. Pilates mat classes are the next level, and classes with reformer machines are the most expensive, as they require a one-on-one session with an instructor.
WHAT IT IS: An indoor cycling class that focuses on high-intensity interval training, occasionally combined with weights.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR: People who love biking but want the motivation of a class setting and are looking for total-body conditioning, or those who don’t want all the gear required for outdoor biking. A great option for high-intensity cardio workouts.
WHAT IT DOES: The high-intensity cardio class is good for burning calories and losing weight. The biking part targets the lower half of your body, while classes like SoulCycle also combine weights to make it a full-body workout.
WHY IT’S GREAT: “Spinning is great for someone looking to maximize cardio and calorie burn in a short period of time while also focusing on endurance training,” says Wilking. “With less impact on the joints and the ability to individually manage resistance, spinning is appealing to users new to working out who want to challenge themselves without feeling left behind.”
INVESTMENT: Moderate to high. Whether you buy a stationary bike to use at home or pay for classes, spinning is an investment.
WHAT IT IS: A total-body workout centered around core strength using a ballet barre and light free weights.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR: Barre workouts are great for those who like a challenge but don’t want the intensity of a CrossFit or HIIT class. If you’re looking for improved flexibility and muscle definition, this is a great option.
WHAT IT DOES: This workout improves your posture, lengthening and strengthen- ing the body.
WHY IT’S GREAT: “Barre is a gentle and elegant workout that uses some ballet moves, but it’s also extremely challenging,” says Wilking. “People think it seems easy, but they walk out dazed by how tough it was.”
INVESTMENT: Moderate to high. Barre classes are taught at boutique barre studios and can be pricey.
WHAT IT IS: A workout combining strong weights with intense cardio. These classes are goal-oriented, with a number of obstacles you have to tackle.
WHO IT’S BEST FOR: Someone who likes a class that is intense, challenging, and community-based. Also those who want to set and achieve fitness goals. These classes are best for people who are physically prepared for a high-energy workout that requires both strength and endurance.
WHAT IT DOES: The main focus is on creating power and strength. You are powerlifting to gain strength and muscle mass and pairing that with plyometric moves, which combine lengthening muscle moves with shortening muscle moves for more powerful muscles.
WHY IT’S GREAT: “CrossFit involves skill- development workouts that require heavy lifting, power, and explosive movements, leaving users empowered and motivated after completing a workout or lifting a weight they never thought possible,” Wilking explains.
INVESTMENT: Moderate to high. With obstacle courses, climbing walls, and drill sergeant instructors, these workouts require a specially equipped gym. Some gyms require monthly fees while others are pay-as-you-go, which can add up if you go often.
TRY: Barry’s Bootcamp