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6 Group Fitness Classes That Are Perfect for Competitive People

  • Equinox

    The Pursuit

    Dubbed by Equinox as "one wild ride," The Pursuit is an immersive studio cycling experience that encourages riders to push their limits with high-intensity gaming. Once locked in, you're connected to a large leaderboard in the front of the room, represented by a circle with your bike number in the middle. Then, you're invited to participate in a variety of individual and group challenges — you could be racing to beat your last class score in one, and working with your dedicated team to build a digitized pyramid in the next — all while having to face your progress (or lack thereof) on the big screen.

    Start competing: Equinox.com; free with gym membership

  • Crunch

    SweatShed

    Crunch launched SweatShed this past spring in order to offer a small group training experience that differentiated itself from the many others in the fitness space. Each intimate class (they max out at 16 members) features cool lighting, heart-pumping music, and a range of equipment — from rowing machines to battle ropes —and the workouts are designed to strengthen and empower. While certainly competitive (there's a big-screen TV where you can track your achievements during team and partner challenges), it's known for being extremely collaborative, with members often motivating other teammates in order to be their best collective selves.

    Start competing: SweatShed.com; $25/class (first timers get 2 classes and a free 2-week Crunch gym membership for $25)

  • Flywheel

    Flywheel

    Some go to Flywheel Sports for the party (once the lights dim, the state-of-the-art stadium quickly pulsates with the latest beats). Others are there purely for the competition. Riders can hook up to a TorqBoard to track their own progress and race against their classmates, with the instructor cheering them on and hosting various challenges along the way. Regardless of whether you opt in, performance data will be recorded in your online account or on Flywheel's iOS app (now complete with medals) to track your own progress and set new goals.

    Start Competing: FlywheelSports.com; $34/class (try your first for $15)

  • Orange Theory

    Orange Theory

    Each of Orange Theory Fitness' group training workouts incorporate endurance, strength, and power elements, while leveraging a variety of equipment (think treadmills, rowing machines, TRX® suspension training, and free weights). What makes them so unique, however, is that they use heart rate monitors to help you stay within a special target zone that is said to stimulate metabolism during each 60-minute session and long after (for up to 36 hours). Oh yeah, and everyone is connected to TV screens throughout the studio to help keep those heart rate zones in check. (Here are 8 reasons to monitor your heart rate.)

    Start competing: OrangeTheoryFitness.com; $59/month with four classes (try your first class free)

  • Peloton

    Peloton

    This high-tech cycling company features a real-time leaderboard that allows you to not only compete with others in your class, but also across the nation (sometimes upward of 1,500 people). Those who don't have access to the physical studio can purchase their own bikes, then connect to others during 14 live rides that are led by NYC instructors and streamed daily. Oh, and did we mention there are up to 6,000 classes available on-demand, too? Between that and the special badges that are awarded for completing certain milestones (like beating a PR), you're pretty much looking at a competitive dream.

    Start Competing: Studio.PelotonCycle.com; $32/class (try your first for $20) or $1,995 to purchase your own bike

  • Kor180

    Kor180

    Named for having the best pilates studio, best pilates instructor, and best cycling instructor for the last 5 years by Austin Fit Magazine, Kor180's interval-based classes are designed to motivate you to compete with yourself. While cycling, instructors encourage you to ride with rhythm and power, meaning to the beat of songs while meeting suggested power guidelines. (Bikes also track individual RPMs, watts, and calories burned.) Kor180 also offers a more athletic version of Pilates known as Reform, which mixes those of varying strength levels and encourages you to achieve your maximum burn (some have burned as many as 1,100 calories).

    Start Competing: Kor180.com; $99/month with four classes (your first week is free)