Mashup fitness classes, or workouts that combine two disciplines in one session, are all over the place. Barre and HIIT, yoga and boxing, running and weightlifting — you name the combo, a workout class with that pairing most likely exists.
While there’s a certain novelty to these two-for-one-type classes, there are actually real benefits to the mashup setup. “So many mashup classes are popping up because they have the most bang for your buck,” says Astrid Swan, celebrity trainer and instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp, which combines treadmill running with strength training. “With only 24 hours in a day and the responsibilities of everyday life, long workouts aren’t feasible anymore.”
She has a point. Most people don’t have time to run and strength train, so you might as well get both done at once, right?
In some cases, a mashup can even provide a better workout than one activity on its own. “Alternating between intervals of cardio, such as rowing, with intervals of strength training, using weights or bodyweight, has been proven to be the most effective fat- and calorie-burning method,” says Annie Mulgrew, program director at CITYROW, which combines rowing with strength training. “It is efficient and effective, which is why it is extremely popular. It not only maximizes your potential to create significant body composition change, but it also keeps you focused and prevents you from getting bored!
So the benefits are real, but it might seem a little strange to switch between two very different workouts for an entire class. With a little preparation, however, you can make the most of any mashup workout. Here’s what instructors who teach these classes recommend for maximizing the benefits.
HAVE AN OPEN MIND
Going into the class with a positive attitude makes it more likely to be a win. “Flexibility is key,” says Mayra Carrasco, an instructor at Box + Flow, which combines boxing and yoga. “Let go of what your typical class looks like and feels like, and open up to something new.”
“Make sure you’ve had a snack that contains some carbohydrates and protein a half hour before class, as well as plenty of water,” Mulgrew suggests. This is particularly true for any class that includes high-intensity cardio movements. “You want your body and your mind to be alert and prepared to crush your workout!”
DON’T BE SHY
Though it might be tempting to step into the background when you’re trying a class for the first time, you’re more likely to get the movements down if you position yourself centrally. “During the workout, try to position yourself in the middle so you can get a good view of the instructor and form,” Swan recommends. “Don’t hide in the back corner!”
TREAT BOTH PARTS EQUALLY
“Give your same focus to both parts,” Carrasco advises. “Don’t just show up because you like one workout more. It’s a mashup class; commit from start to finish. There’s magic if you stay and see things through.” And remember, the exercise styles were paired because they complement each other, so you might as well give each one your all.
REMEMBER TO BREATHE
“A big way to maximize your benefits from both boxing and yoga is breath,” Carrasco says. In fact, breathing is an important part of pretty much every type of workout, and when things get tough, it’s natural to forget about taking deep, relaxed inhales and exhales. “If you choose to hold your breath, the class is going to be a struggle. Let your breath keep you up and in the game.”
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY
“In any class you take, you want to feel challenged without feeling strained,” Mulgrew notes. “You should never be in pain! Make sure that the class makes sense to your body and makes your body feel good. A well-programmed class that pairs complementary exercises should do just that.” If the mashup class you take doesn’t seem like a good fit for you and your body? No big deal. On to the next!