5 Workouts That Will Help You Ease Into an Exercise Habit
Chihan Alpgiray/Cosmopolitan Turkey
I love the idea of working out—I really do. I like throwing my barely scuffed Nikes into my gym bag and walking perkily down the street in my cute gym attire, and I even usually enjoy the warm-up section of any workout. After that point, however, a nagging feeling grows and grows, until I’m huffing and red in the face and it dawns on me that there is literally anything in the world I would rather be doing than holding this plank position for any longer. Thoughts like Am I masochist?! and I regret everything race through my mind, and I question why I ever agreed to this 8 a.m. torture session in the first place. (Oh, right, it was because I ate my body weight in pizza last night.) Sure, after the workout is over, the feeling of pride returns and my body does feel amazing, but clearly, working out does not come naturally to me. In fact, I might even go as far to say as I completely loathe it, which would explain why I haven’t had much of an exercise regimen since elementary school when P.E. was a required subject (dark days). But you can only write so many articles about health and fitness before you start realizing you should probably practice what you preach—or at least, you know, try. Thus, I’ve joined ClassPass with the full intention of using it—but choosing a workout can be daunting for beginners. Certain workouts (cough, cough, Orangetheory) are notoriously hard, but others are not so clear about whether they’ll make beginners want to curl up in fetal position and die within the first 10 minutes. Assuming there are other newbies out there who are interested in starting an exercise regimen but might not know where to start, I polled my more fitness-minded co-workers and asked them to share some of the workouts they would classify as “beginner friendly.” Keep scrolling to see them, along with some of my own favorites!
Courtesy of PlateFit
The Workout: PlateFit
What It Is: PlateFit is the workout that has the potential to be the next SoulCycle, without the repetition and the life-affirming mantras. It uses something called a Power Plate, which is basically exactly what it sounds like: a giant plate with a patented vibration technology that literally shakes you up as you work out. An instructor will lead you in a series of moves, from planks and jumping jacks to lunges and yoga moves on this vibrating plate, which has the power to spur 900 muscle contractions in just 30 seconds—in other words, it promises amplified results. The classes have a variety of themes, from yoga to cellulite-busting, and the best part is they’re only 27 minutes long. I tried this workout and got through the whole thing without questioning my sanity or mentally swearing off working out forever—and was as sweat-drenched afterward as I was after my first Pop Physique class. I can’t recommend this class more, and look forward to going back.
The Workout: Hatha yoga
What It Is: If you’re not quite ready for scorpion pose (or tree pose, for that matter), ease yourself into the yogi life with Hatha yoga before diving into Vinyasa. I go to yoga classes at the Iyengar Institute of Los Angeles, which place more of an emphasis on detail, precision, and alignment when holding postures, rather than flowing from one pose into another. It’s perfect for yoga newbies, anyone who may be recovering from an injury, or someone with a condition like arthritis. Sure, the majority of people in most of my classes are on the older end of the spectrum (fine, many of them are straight up elderly), but even the beginner classes still challenge me when it comes to strength and balance, and I leave every class feeling refreshed and zen.
The Workout: Pilates
What It Is: This suggestion comes from my co-workers, who suggested Pop Pilates at 24 Hour Fitness—created by vlogger extraordinaire Cassey Ho—specifically as an easy yet effective workout for beginners. For the unschooled, pilates emphasizes your body’s core and helps develop strength, flexibility, muscle endurance, and more. You’ll be engaged with your body the whole time, and many of the movements are repetitive. However, you’ll switch things up constantly so you won’t get bored. (You can also watch Ho’s peppy videos on her channel blogilates.)
The Bar Method
The workout: Barre *
*The asterisk is there because some barre classes are good for beginners, while others are a bit more advanced. Byrdie’s beauty director Deven happens to be a barre enthusiast, and she recommends The Bar Method as a barre class for workout newbies; Cardio Barre is another one (I can attest). Once you get the hang of it (and start getting used to the fact that your legs will shake uncontrollably as you hold poses as well as for several hours post-class), you can graduate onto more intense barre classes, like Physique 57 and Pop Physique—both of which I have tried and somehow managed to survive, albeit barely (I’m a wimp, I know).
The Workout: TRX
What It Is: This is another suggestion from Deven, who describes this workout as “body weight training.” Upon further investigation, I’ve found that it involves using two suspended straps to build muscle while combining cardio and strength traning—oh, and was created by a Navy SEAL. Supposedly, it’s great for both beginners and fitness junkies, and offers a total-body workout center on your core and reliant on your own body weight. I have to say, I’m intrigued.
Any I missed? What’s your favorite workout? Sound off below!