Fitness Trail: Fused group fitness class formats |

Fitness Trail: Fused group fitness class formats

What is a fused group fitness class format? It is choosing a foundational class format, such as dance, step, cycling or boxing/kickboxing and fusing components of different class or exercise program formats into that specific foundational class format. For example, you may combine a boxing class format, performing three “rounds” of intense boxing intervals with three muscular strength training circuit interval segments featuring the TRX Suspension System, creating a fantastic fused class format (i.e. “Boxing Plus”).

Why fuse formats? It is time efficient, when properly designed, effectively provides cross training benefits and it is fun! There are, however, a few essentials that need to be addressed in order to create a smooth, safe and solid fused group fitness class format. Therefore, this week those essentials of programming a fused format are highlighted enabling you to implement this concept into your exercise program repertoire. As always, prior to beginning any exercise program, please consult your physician.

Fused Group Fitness Class Format Essentials

-Fusing does not imply that you are muscular strength training while you are cycling. Therefore, avoid attempting to economize your time by performing one component with another. Keep your components separate and pure. Performing muscular strength training with resistive tubing, dumbbells, or kettlebells, while you are cycling, stepping, dancing or boxing is counterproductive. Your cycling and muscular strength training performance will diminish due to distraction from the central purpose.

-However, combining formats into interval segments works very well as long as the intervals are clear, concise, that equipment is easily accessible (i.e. not in the way during the foundational format of the class/workout), and that you understand completely what is expected during each interval.

-Additionally, if choosing a dance, boxing or step foundational class format, keep the choreography simple enough so that it may be learned in a short period of time, mastered and then performed effectively. If the movements are too complex, the intensity may decrease and the effectiveness of the class format will suffer.

-Transitioning seamlessly from one segment to the next to sustain the intensity level for that specific segment is tantamount. For example, in a step interval class format, the step/cardio intervals may be 3-5 minutes in duration, followed immediately by 1-2 minute muscular strength training intervals with the equipment easily accessible and the muscular strength training exercises achievable within the 1-2 minute intervals. Then, return to the step for the next step/cardio interval.

-A well-designed fused group fitness class format interval program may include all five components of physical fitness (i.e. cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength/endurance, flexibility and body composition). You may take 45-50 minutes of a 60-minute class format and dedicate it to cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength/endurance work followed by additional concentrated muscular strength training work (i.e. choosing what was not practical during the primary segment), then perform the flexibility segment.

-Another option, of dozens, is to design larger interval blocks such as five-six minute high intensity power-focused intervals (HIIT) on the bike followed by 15-minute muscular strength training intervals off the bike, repeating this sequence three-four times. The muscular strength training intervals might include core and pushup/pull up stations as well as compound exercises, including the upper/lower body working simultaneously and perhaps a weight bearing cardio station that focuses upon aerobic power skills/drills improving agility, coordination, timing and fun.

Jackie Wright is the owner/manager of Mountain Life Fitness, LLC located in Granby. She may be reached at her website at or email at

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