Let's face it: sometimes exercise is boring. There's more to a full-body workout than slaving away on the treadmill and logging a half -hour in the weight room. When you combine cardio and strength training into one workout, you reap the benefits of both while moving at a fast pace.
Boot camp classes are a lot like gym class from your elementary-school days. Whether you do them indoors or outdoors, boot camp classes combine calisthenic exercise (think jumping jacks and jumping rope) with strength training. Increasingly popular boot-camp variant CrossFit uses drills such as lunges, squats and rope-climbing to get your heart pumping while using your body weight for strength-training resistance.
Look no further than your nearest gym for a Latin dance or belly-dance fitness class. Both work your arms, legs and core to provide a full-body workout. According to "Shape" magazine, one Latin dance class can burn 500 calories or more while giving you a killer ab workout. All that twisting and turning develops your obliques. The distraction power of a dance workout is one of its major pluses -- doing the samba is arguably more fun than doing sit-ups.
If you think of yoga as gentle stretching, you've never been to a power yoga class. This style of yoga goes by many names, such as Vinyasa, Flow and Ashtanga. Ashtanga usually involves a heavy meditation component, and it can be difficult to find a true Ashtanga shala outside large cities. However, many gyms offer Vinyasa or Power yoga classes, and you're guaranteed to feel the moves all over. You'll use your body weight for resistance and work muscles you didn't even know you had.
There's no question that circuit training, in which you alternate cardio moves with weight training, tones you all over while torching calories. This is how the U.S. Military trains soldiers, so you know it's serious. A military circuit-training workout involves moving quickly through a set of weighted or body-weight exercises, a burst of cardio and a repeat the circuit. Circuit-training classes at your gym may use aerobic equipment such as steps in combination with barbell or dumbbell exercises.
S.R. Becker is a certified yoga teacher based in Queens, N.Y. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing and has worked as a writer and editor for more than 15 years. Becker often writes for "Yoga in Astoria," a newsletter about studios throughout New York City.