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Did you know 76% of Britons say they try to take care of themselves physically, yet two in five are afraid of change when it comes to exercise*? Considering these findings, we’ve created a tried and tested guide on what to expect if you’re signing up for five of MINDBODY’s most popular fitness classes for the first time**:
25% of MINDBODY app users schedule a yoga session—making it the most-booked class on the app. Yoga is an ancient form of exercise that focuses on flexibility, strength, and breathing to encourage physical and mental well-being. Not only is yoga good for those who suffer from aches and pains, but it’s also been proven to help decrease levels of stress and depression.
Nahid de Belgeonne, founder and director of Good Vibes, gives a few tips on how to be prepared for your first yoga practice:
“It can be a bit daunting when you first enter a yoga class but do make sure that you choose a class that is the right level for you. Wear clothing you can move around in; most people opt for leggings, a vest, and a layer on top in case they need it.
Get there early to let the teacher know that you are either a beginner or new to the class and always let them know of any injuries. Place your mat where you have a good viewpoint of the teacher so that you can see as well as hear the instructions clearly. The teacher will show you a few poses that you can rest in, typically child’s pose, be sure to take it up whenever you need it.
Yoga is a practice that cultivates your skill in action, so take your time to learn the basics, and you will find a more nuanced practice sooner than those who throw themselves into a class that isn’t suitable for their level.”
A newly trending type of fitness, roughly 6% of MINDBODY app users book barre classes. Combining ballet-inspired dance movements with Pilates and other strength training methods, barre aims to make you stronger while improving balance and flexibility. Make sure to take it easy if you’re serious about signing up—this workout be quite challenging at first!
Nahid tells us what to expect with this full-body workout:
“So, you’ve decided to step up to the barre? It’s a great class for sculpting the whole body, but especially the legs and butt. Wear clothing that fits you well like leggings, a wrap-around top, and socks.
Get to class early, so you don’t miss the warm-up; where not only are you warming up the joints, but you will also go through some of the movements that you will do throughout the class. There are a lot of repetitions, which means that you have time to perfect your technique, plus it’s always to music, so you’ll feel energised and elegant afterward!”
Although only 6% of people prefer to book Pilates compared to its sibling, yoga, Pilates is definitely becoming more popular. Similar to yoga, Pilates is a form of exercise that practices flexibility and muscular strength to fortify the stomach, improve posture, and help to elongate the spine without bulking up.
Nahid advises using props for Pilates:
“Mat Pilates is a great class to help you to cultivate a connected core. You’ll need to wear clothes you can move around in and might need to wear socks with a grip depending on the studio guidelines.
You might also use props such as a Pilates ring, resistance bands, or weighted Pilates balls. Be on time to class because you spend the first ten minutes warming up the spine, and muscles and if you miss this you may not be let in. Over time, all of your workouts will benefit from a more switched-on core.”
Although a lot of cyclists may prefer to spend their time outdoors, 4% book indoor cycling through the MINDBODY app. With elements like weather, traffic, or the use of expensive equipment, indoor cycling is often a more convenient and cost-effective way to enjoy this cardio-driven workout.
Nahid reminds us that position is key to your cycling performance:
“The first thing you need to do is make sure you know whether the studio hires out cycling shoes or whether you can rock up in your trainers.
Get there early for help with setting up your bike. The position of the seat and the handlebars are crucial to enjoying your ride or not. You can expect to get pretty sweaty at this class, so make sure you take a small towel and a bottle of water to keep hydrated. The ride usually consists of a warm-up, a progressive endurance ride, and a little choreography from a standing to a seated position, before the cool down.”
The fifth most-booked class at 3%, bootcamp is perhaps the most strenuous of exercises we have featured. You can expect military-style group challenges using a variety of equipment and routines conducted by a hands-on trainer. Bootcamp is a full-body workout, so get ready for short bursts of intensive cardio and rigorous training which helps reduce body weight, improve endurance, and increase muscle mass.
Nahid has a couple of tricks for an outdoor bootcamp class:
“As well as taking your trainers, water, and layering up for a bootcamp session, be sure to take dry clothes to change into as you are going to sweat and the weather might not be ideal. Listen out for the techniques for each burst of exercise and remember to breathe!”
Charlotte Newton, Senior Manager EMEA Marketing at MINDBODY, is all about trying something new:
“It’s no secret that trying something new for the first time can be daunting, however not only will trying something new spruce up your routine and keep you on your toes, but it will also give you the chance to fall in love with a different kind of workout!
If you’re ever in doubt about what to expect before starting a new class, get in touch with the venue and someone will be able to advise you on what to bring, wear or answer any other questions you may have about attending a new class.”
If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.
To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.
Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you. And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!
The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!
Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.
Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.
Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.
So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.
Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you.
While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.