Exercise Tips from Jim Cotta

Group Exercise Tips by Jim Cotta

Now that summer is here, many people are hitting the gym in the hope of losing a few pounds before the annual family beach trip. You walk inside a health club with your head held high and look around the room: rows of treadmills, complicated machinery, and various free weights.

Where do you even start?

The good news is that we have all been here before. And while exercising alone works for some people, the majority of us need a more structured setting like a group class to achieve desired results.

Group exercise classes are a great way to receive proper instruction, gain motivation from others and step out of your comfort zone. With so many choices, it can be overwhelming to identify the right class to reach your fitness goals. Here’s a look at four of the most popular types of workouts.

Zumba: This South American-inspired aerobic dance class boasts an estimated 4 million enthusiasts and 25,000 instructors in 40 countries. Zumba classes provide a social and upbeat environment for participants looking to lose weight and improve coordination and balance. An average person can burn up to 370 calories in one class.

Yoga: As one of the world’s oldest forms of exercise, yoga offers many benefits, including increased flexibility and strength, muscular endurance, better posture, and mental focus. Many of our tennis players and golfers at The Grove regularly participate in our yoga classes to improve their flexibility, which significantly enhances their game. There are different types of yoga classes available:

Hatha: Slow-paced with basic poses

Vinyasa: Often referred to as flow yoga and features a lot of movement

Hot Yoga: The classroom temperature is set very high, which allows for deeper stretches

Restorative: A meditative practice where poses are held for greater lengths of time

TRX: TRX suspension is a portable training device that can be attached to any anchor point on a wall or door. This total body training system uses your body weight for resistance and is great for all fitness levels. Most of the training exercises are done in the standing position, which burns more calories and keeps your core constantly engaged. TRX suspension is my favorite workout device due to the range of motion and fitness goals you can accomplish.

Water Exercise/Aerobics: Water aerobics is an alternative form of training and exercise that is ideal for individuals with injuries, muscle and joint pain. Water lessens the gravitational pull on the body so that a person can exercise longer in water without the extra stress on muscles or joints. As the strength and conditioning coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, I used water training with my injured players. They were able to stay in cardiovascular shape and often came back to the court healthier once their injuries had fully healed. At The Grove, we have two beautiful pools where we offer water conditioning classes for members to train at a high level while also enjoying the outdoors.

The examples above represent only a small portion of the types of classes available at many gyms across the country. This month, I encourage you to take advantage of the group classes available at your own fitness facility or a nearby yoga or Zumba studio. Just remember to talk to your trainer, a doctor or gym personnel if you are unsure about a particular type of class.

Jim Cotta is a certified strength and conditioning specialist with the NSCA and a certified golf fitness instructor with Titleist Performance Institute. He was the head strength coach for the Los Angeles Lakers through 2004. Jim is now the fitness director at The Grove, a residential community in Williamson County.

Read the article in the Williamson Herald