I Tried a New Group Workout Class Every Week in January—Here’s What I Learned

I’m always up to try something new. There’s so much beauty in novelty, and sometimes, the unknown can really surprise us. Plus, I’m often attracted to people who fall into one of two categories. First, they’re so dialed and passionate about something that they can offer up every fact on the subject. Or second, they have such a robust repertoire of things they’ve seen or experienced, that they always contribute unique and interesting insights. Both types fascinate me, and I tend to fall in the latter group. (Though after watching a season of Hard Knocks with the Miami Dolphins, I have found my new deep-dive into the world of the NFL.) But, I digress.

Featured image from our interview with Kate Waitzkin.

Camille Styles doing yoga.

The Best Group Fitness Classes to Try in 2024

Back to trying new things. I’ve been feeling in a bit of an exercise rut, leaning on my go-to trail walking to keep me moving. I love it, but wanted to challenge and move my body in new ways. So, I took one week to try a handful of new-to-me workouts. The goal was to add some variety and fun into the mix and reconnect with my body in a new way. Plus, I love discovering the best group fitness classes to revisit with friends.

This wasn’t about seeing results—after all, it was just one week. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how my confidence and mindset shifted in such a short period. It’s true that trying something new, no matter the outcome can help you feel all the more empowered to keep experimenting. Here’s what I tried during my week of new workouts.

Note: To help you connect with the best workout for your schedule, fitness goals, and preferences, I also reviewed a few not-so-new-to-me classes I love. And I enlisted the help of our Managing Editor, Isabelle, who was happy to share her two go-to fitness classes at the moment. Without further ado, keep reading for my honest reviews.

Y7 Yoga class.

Y7 Yoga

Founder Sarah Larson Levey finally brought Y7 Yoga to Austin, and everyone has been thrilled, including me. I’ve long known about Y7 from my New York friends, and when Sarah moved to Austin, I had a feeling an opening was on the horizon.

This isn’t your traditional yoga class. All studios are heated to 80-90 degrees using infrared technology in a dark, candlelit room. And the music? Some of the best playlists I’ve ever heard. There’s something about doing yoga to Rhianna that makes the class even more enjoyable. What I loved about the class was the dark room. I could go at my own pace and take a child’s pose if I needed without worrying what anyone else thought. The next day, I was sore in the best way possible. And though other heated studios get too hot, the temps challenged me and helped me get deeper into the postures. They also offer classes online if you’re not in a city with a studio.

  • Virtual and In-Studio
  • Prices Vary Per Studio // New Client Specials Available
Evlo Fitness workout.

Evlo Fitness

I first learned about Evlo Fitness a few years ago from my sister. Her physical therapist recommended the online workouts as the founder, Shannon Ritchey, is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), and her approach is rooted in gentle strength training for long-term results.

Evlo is the antithesis to group bootcamp-style workouts (i.e., movements that tend to cause injury). Instead, Evlo takes a scientific and educational approach to training, helping you understand how certain movements impact your muscles. Where other bootcamp classes left me sore, Evlo left me strong, energized, and excited to take on other forms of movement.

Shannon also has a podcast, Fit Body, Happy Joints which provides an educational lens into the fitness industry. Episodes debunk many fitness myths, shedding light on the full picture marketing tends to leave out. I love that she always takes such a sound and scientific approach to health. For even more of Shannon’s insights, listen to her interview on The Skinny Confidential. Evlo is an online platform, but Shannon recently moved to Austin so I’m holding out hope for in-person training soon. 

  • Virtual Only
  • $55.99 Monthly or $559 Annually // Free Trial Available
Forward space workout.


If you love dance, this one is for you. And even if you don’t love dance, you may be surprised by how much you connect with this class. I’m biased as I know the founder, Kristin Sudeikis, but this class injects a level of fun into my life that I didn’t know was missing.

Kristin leverages her professional dance background and intentionally designs her classes to fit every level. I was looking forward to taking the class in person at the NYC studio, but at the last minute had to cancel. Thankfully, Forward Space has a 7-day virtual free trial, letting you take the classes at home. If I’m ever having a bad day, I’m just going to dance it off. With live and on-demand classes, there’s something for everyone. I left feeling like I got a good workout and truly had fun. 

  • Virtual and In-Studio
  • One Class for $38, Class Packages Available // 7-Day Virtual Free Trial
Peloton Outdoor Class

Peloton Outdoor Class

Because I hit the trail almost every day, I thought I’d shake it up and try a guided class. Insert Peloton’s Outdoor Series. As a former Peloton bike owner, I already knew they’d have a plethora of options. And I was right—almost to the point where I was overwhelmed with the number of workouts. Think walking meditations, recovery runs, power walking, HIIT, and more.

I chose “Beginner Workout” and did a 30-minute Interval Run with Oliva Amato. It’s been a good 6-7 months since I went for a run, and this was a perfect way to jump back in. I took it at my own pace, as encouraged by the instructor, but also pushed myself more than I would’ve had I set out to do this on my own. I love the ease of being able to do this from the road, even if I’m stuck inside a hotel gym vs. outdoors.

  • Virtual Only
  • Memberships Starting at $12.99 monthly // Free Classes Available
The Sculpt Society

The Sculpt Society

When my trip to NYC got canceled and ultimately wiped all the new classes I was going to try, I needed something quick and virtual that I could do at home as I was on a time crunch. I’ve been following Megan Roup on social media for a bit and was familiar with the The Sculpt Society. Megan is a former dancer for the New York Knicks and incorporates dance and sculpt into her workouts. I had dance already covered from Forward Space, so I took a Sculpt class. Thankfully, the gym at my place had equipment but Megan also sells props online. Without lifting heavy weights, this class was absolutely a burner. Megan brings a lot of fun energy to the table and I was sweating in no time. Bonus points for having a 7-day free trial so you can give it a shot risk-free.

  • Virtual Only
  • $19.99 Monthly or $179.99 Annually // 7-Day Free Trial Available
SoulCycle class.


No stranger to SoulCycle, I was thrilled when they finally opened their first Austin studio eight years ago. This is perfect for the high intensity cardio that I don’t always get from my trail walks and certainly not in Pilates or yoga. If I’m feeling a little off cardio-wise, I’ll book a bike in the back of the dimly-lit room and let the loud music wake my body up. And when I’m feeling really adventurous and like I can stay on beat, you can usually find me in the front row. If any of you have tried a SoulCycle class, you know that arm section is not for the faint of heart—who knew that two-pound weights could burn so good? If you’re in Austin (or have a SoulCycle bike at home), take Chris Chandler’s classes. He brings such incredible energy to every workout.

  • Virtual and In-Studio
  • In-Studio: $20 for Your First Class // Virtual: $39.99 Monthly for Unlimited Classes
Barry's Bootcamp class

Barry’s Bootcamp

When I lived in LA 15 years ago, I lived right next door to Barry’s first location in West Hollywood. After one friend told me they threw up during their first class, I resolved never to try it. (I never did check my source to see if they were hungover or if it was really that hard… ) However, the class format has shifted in the last 15 years, and can truly say, it IS a tough workout. But as with any class—go at your own pace.

I love a Barry’s as most places I travel for work have enough studios for me to choose from. Most traditional classes are a treadmill/weight-training hybrid. You can choose if you’d like to start with tread (running), floor (weights), or double floor (no tread, double the weight portion). I listen to my body to determine what I need, but my all-time favorite class is Barry’s Weights. Smaller room, zero treadmill or running, all weight training. I used to be super intimidated by lifting and even more intimidated to do a treadmill class, but I’m playing for the class—so I have no fear in taking what I need and leaving what I don’t.

  • Virtual and In-Studio
  • In-Studio: $43 for 3 Classes (New Clients Only) // Virtual: 30-Day Free Trial, then $39.99 Monthly for Unlimited Classes
DOGPOUND workout


This comes with a disclaimer: I was gifted a private group session to try it out. And yet, I LOVED it. I’m sure you’ve heard this is where most of Victoria’s Secret angels work out, not to mention a host of celebrities who come for private training. While I didn’t walk out an angel, I had the most fun. DOGPOUND is predominantly private personal training, unless you book a group session, and I did everything from box jumps to flipping a tire, to ball slams and more. For our session, it was more functional movement, which I really appreciate as the typical gym and group fitness class can often get a little stale. I only wish I lived in LA or NYC for this as I know half my paycheck would go to private training. There’s something about a program designed specifically for me that makes me feel more invested and attached to both the program and the process. 

  • In-Studio (Virtual Training Options Available By Contacting DOGPOUND Directly)
  • Pricing Options Vary, Starting at $50/Class for Group Classes
sami clarke form


If you’re at all interested in health and wellness on social media, you’ve likely come across FORM. (It’s not just the good marketing—everyone’s talking about the workout.) Co-founded by best friends Sami Clarke and Sami Bernstein Spalter, FORM is all about effective, intuitive movement that you can do efficiently at home. Think: Pilates and strength-based routines that can be done with or without props. The movements are often small, but spicy. Sami C. is the motivating best friend you’ve always wanted to work out with and who will cheer you on even through the toughest postures. Weekly workout schedules are curated for you, giving you exactly what you need to balance a healthy burn with intentional rest. I love that all I have to do is find that day’s workout and press play. (Oh—and their recipe library is gold!) — Isabelle

  • Virtual Only
  • $28 Monthly or $119.99 Annually // 7-Day Free Trial Available
Barre3 workout


Let me introduce you to the workout that helped me *actually* fall in love with fitness. I’ve been doing barre3 both online and at my local Chicago studio for the past six years. (Barre3 has over 175 studio locations across the country and in Canada.) The classes are challenging but designed so that the movements feel good and juicy in your body. I’m a 6 a.m. regular, and I always say that it’s my favorite way to wake up. And while the name might lead you to think that this is classic barre, the workout is so much more. It combines strength conditioning, cardio, and mindfulness to give you a dynamic, full-body workout. Each class draws inspiration from Pilates and yoga, helping strengthen your body to prevent injury and build endurance. My favorite part? All classes end with guided breathwork, helping regulate your nervous system and wind down from an energy-boosting workout. — Isabelle

  • Virtual and In-Studio
  • In-Studio Prices Vary By Studio // $29.99 Monthly or $239.88 Annually, 14-Day Free Trial Available
Women doing yoga outside.

The Takeaway 

This month of trying the best group fitness classes proved to be fun and challenging. Yes, I was sore but also found myself craving more movement. I thought I’d leave this experiment declaring a favorite workout, but instead found a few group fitness classes I can rely on for whatever I need. Whether that’s an extra push, a shift in mindset, or a gentle, grounding day.

Y7 will be great during my cycle. Forward Space is perfect before a presentation (jamming out helps me get out of my head), and Peloton is great when I need someone to push me. Evlo is solid for helping me build strength safely and effectively—seriously, everyone should try it. Finally, The Sculpt Society is the perfect burner when I’m in a pinch. And with more options in the mix, I’m excited to switch things up week to week.

I had so much fun and encourage you to try new things as much as possible—fitness-related or not. 

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top