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Transforming exercise from a chore to a choice

When I first took interest in exercise during my freshman year of college, I learned how to use an elliptical and would spend 45 minutes a day on the machine. The elliptical did help me to lose a couple of pounds since my physical activity level was little to non-existent before college.  However, I found the elliptical to be far from fun, and it made me think of exercise as a chore rather than a healthy and enjoyable activity. I felt like I had to burn X number of calories per day and stay on the elliptical for at least 45 minutes; if I didn’t, I felt guilty. I did not have a healthy relationship with exercise and I dreaded it!

Luckily, my view on exercise has completely changed thanks to my love for group exercise classes. There are so many different and fun classes where I live in New York City that I no longer feel the need to stay on one machine every day. I now look forward to working out and actually count down the hours until my favorite fitness class!

Below are just three classes that I take on a regular basis that are great for people of all ages and fitness levels.

IntenSati: This mind/body workout combines spoken positive affirmations with interval training, kickboxing, martial arts, dance, and yoga.  You will leave class feeling stronger, uplifted and inspired. I discovered this class two years ago and have been hooked ever since. I may go into the class feeling tired and negative but feel a complete mood shift and full of positive energy every time I leave. It is an amazing cardio workout and extremely fun and uplifting. I now teach intenSati since I feel like as many people as possible should have the opportunity to experience this wonderful class.

Refine Method:  This one hour class is designed as a circuit style workout that moves between strength training and cardio moves using the exclusive Refine equipment system. The equipment is a pulley-like system that uses bands to add various amounts of resistance to the exercises. We all need a little more strength training in our lives and this class makes it fun and enjoyable. No two classes are ever the same and the mix between strength and cardio intervals leave me feeling sweaty and amazing at the end of every class. I’ve already started to see more definition in my muscles just from taking this class twice a week.

Zumba: This is an exhilarating, effective, easy-to-follow, Latin-inspired, calorie-burning dance fitness party. I do not consider myself a good dancer at all but the moves in Zumba are easy enough for anyone to follow. I never feel like I am actually exercising in a Zumba class yet I always leave very sweaty and sore. The music is fun and the routines will make you let loose and feel sexy.

Imagine the conversation in your head changing from, “I don’t feel like working out today and I have no time!” to “I can’t wait for my intenSati class tonight! I am going to be really upset if I have to miss it!” I honestly feel upset now when I have to miss one of my favorite fitness classes because they have become such an integral part of my day.

While your gym or fitness studio might not have the same classes I love, I encourage you to try out the group exercise classes they offer (like spinning, Pilates or kickboxing) and find something you enjoy! Give a couple of classes a try and figure out your favorite fitness style. I guarantee that you will never feel the need to walk on a “dreadmill” again — if you don’t want to, that is!

You just might find a new love for fitness,  see results faster and never complain about going to the gym again.

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Lauren Stewart
By: Lauren Stewart

Lauren Stewart is a freelancer writer from Michigan. She enjoys writing about beauty, health and fitness! She is passionate about learning new ways to take control of her health and wellness and is a makeup and skincare junkie! You can contact her by emailing