Any type of exercise that gets you moving, raises your heart rate and generally makes you puff and pant is effective for burning calories and losing weight. If you're not too sure about planning your own training regimen or working out alone, a group fitness class can be a good way to get started on your plan. A total body fitness class will typically involve a mixture of strength training and cardiovascular exercises, performed in a circuit fashion.
General Calorie Burn
The first factor to consider when working out how many calories you burn at your class is the general calorie burn for different activities. According to the Harvard Medical School, half an hour of high-impact aerobics burns between 210 and 311 calories depending on your body weight, while the same amount of weightlifting burns 180 to 266. It's impossible to accurately guess how many calories you burn, but these figures give you a good guide.
Benefits of Total Body Workouts
Total body workouts are far superior to working just one or two body parts at a time when it comes to burning calories and getting lean. Total body workouts involve more muscle groups, so they yield a higher calorie burn, claims Rachel Cosgrove, strength coach and co-founder of Results Fitness in California. Circuit training also burns up to 30 percent more calories than standard weight training or steady-state cardio sessions, according to Liz Neporent of "Fitness" magazine.
EPOC stands for excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption. After you finish a workout, your body goes into overdrive to repair your damaged muscles and increase oxygen delivery around the body. This results in a boost in your metabolism, which leads to an increased calorie burn even while you're at rest that can potentially last for up to 48 hours, according to Dr. Len Kravitz of University of New Mexico. The harder you work in your class, the bigger the EPOC effect.
While you can't count exactly how many calories you burn in your total body class, it's a safe bet to say that this type of training will burn more calories than strength-training sessions with long rests between sets, or low-intensity cardio. The key is to put your all into every session and aim to progress a little each time by using heavier weights, reducing your rest periods or increasing the reps. If you feel the class is too easy, speak to the instructor about how you can make it more challenging. For best results, combine your classes with a calorie-controlled diet.
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.