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Challenge Yourself: The 3 Best Fitness Classes For Families

Let’s face it: We all have days when we just don’t feel motivated to exercise. But if everyone in the family is committed to exercising, then you’ve got motivation to show up at the gym. One way you may not have thought of to work out: Signing your brood up for a small group class. Here, some suggestions from Tilton Fitness (where kids 13 and up are allowed to break a sweat) on their best classes to try:

TRX/SPIN
What it is: In this class, you’ll use TRX straps (the popular suspension equipment designed by Navy Seals) followed by a 30-minute spin routine.
Why it’s great: You’ll get a double shot of cardio and strength training—and the bands will give you a truly great total-body workout. Plus, the exercises are easily modified. Although everyone can be doing the same movement, they can perform it at varying levels of difficulty.

TABATA FIT
What it is: Trainers will use the High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) method—which is a short burst of physical activity followed by a rest period—to build muscle and boost strength.
Why it’s great: Since you go as hard as you can, you’ll rev your metabolism and burn calories long after you leave the gym. But like the TRK/SPIN class, you can easily dial down the intensity.

COMBAT BOOT CAMP
What it is: With its mixture of plyometrics, calisthenics and weight training, the popularity of boot camp classes shows no signs of slowing down. The activity is part cardio, part-strength training, and a lot of fun.
Why it’s great: You’ll build strength and hone your flexibility, but the best part of the class might come from performing the kicks, jabs, and punches themselves—how’s that for a confidence booster?


Challenge Yourself: 10 Ways to Burn More Calories Today

Walking

We tapped the experts at Tilton Fitness for easy ways to keep your metabolism running at top speed.

  1. Park on the opposite side of the parking lot. The farther you are from your destination, the more steps you’ll have to take. Commuting via train or bus? Get off a stop early and walk.
  2. Do some sit-ups in the a.m. Turn on the shower and do the exercises as the water is warming up. You’ll wake up faster and be stronger.
  3. Knock out some push-ups on the sink. The bathroom workout continues.
  4. Go for a walk on your lunch break. You’ll log extra cardio, but the time spent outside can help you feel reenergized too.
  5. Take the stairs. The elevator is convenient, but there’s a reason the Stairmaster is so popular.
  6. Swap your office chair for a Fitness ball. Doing so engages your core muscles.
  7. Take a stretching break. It’ll keep you moving. Plus being sedentary all day increases your risk for heart disease and being hunched over a desk can hurt your posture.
  8. Stand on one leg while cooking. You’ll strengthen your quads and hamstrings—but just be careful!
  9. Do a few sets of squats while watching TV. Stand in front of the couch, lower your hips until your butt grazes the seat and then return to standing. Repeat during the commercials.
  10. Walk the kids to school. It’s an easy way to log extra exercise for the whole family—plus, you get to spend more time with them!

What’s your favorite way to sneak in exercise? Tell us in the comments below.


Peggy, Week 11: What To Know On Your First Day At A New Gym

tilton fitness

We just joined Tilton Fitness and our first two days there have been very promising. The gym assigned two trainers to our family: Ann Erik is training me and my husband. TJ Loos is training Michael and Amanda. Ann is willing to push us each according to our own limits. She is aware of Peter’s diabetes and knee injury, and she has tailored his exercise routine accordingly. She also recognizes that I have been a couch potato, so we are starting out slow. At least she thinks it is slow. My arms and legs would say otherwise! TJ is young, so he speaks the same language as the kids. Amanda and Michael both like him.

Yesterday, Peter and I met with Ann for an hour. We began our session with the elliptical, to warm up, followed by the ropes–it seems every gym likes the giant’s shoelaces. Weights, resistance bands, stairs and more cardio rounded out our first session.

Michael and Amanda met us for Bodypump. This class is a series of weight bearing exercises put to music. We all worked to our own level. Personally, I found the music made the time go faster. Everyone liked the class, so I think it will become a family activity.

I am off this week, so Peter and I are going to try Spin class in the morning, if we can still move!

The most important thing to remember on your first day is: it is your first day! Do not expect miracles. This is your starting point—and there are great things to come.

What do you remember about your first day at the gym? Post a comment and tell me!