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How to Choose the Right Workout for You

Is your workout really working? Here's how to choose the right routine to help you reach your fitness goals.
woman on a spin bike Goal: Lose Weight

Level: Intermediate to Advanced

Try: Spinning

Whereas the fun and instructional approaches often found in Zumba make sense for newbie gym goers hoping to burn calories, some experts believe that spinning requires people to be in solid cardiovascular condition before hopping on the bike. A study sponsored by the American Council on Exercise (ACE) using perceived exertion as a measure of effectiveness found that exercisers in one class reported an exertion level in the high teens, based on a scale from 0 to 20.

More concretely, a 1997 study conducted by the exercise physiology laboratory at California State University, Northridge, found that after entering five participants of various fitness levels into a 30-minute spin class the heart rates of each of the subjects was between 75 percent and 96 percent their max. Their conclusion was that spinning was intense and not conducive for beginners. But current exercise pros like Jade Alexis, NASM trainer for Reebok Sports Club/NY and FITNESS advisory board member, feels otherwise. "Everyone adjusts the resistance in a spin class according to their own ability, so any level can take it," she says.

*One hour of spinning burns roughly 700 calories based on a 140-pound woman.