A few months ago, I felt like I’d gotten into a rut at the gym. I'd spend my time zoning out on the elliptical with a magazine, so, not surprisingly, my workouts seemed to drag on and on. And when it came to strength training, forget about it! I'd wander aimlessly around the gym, doing a few sets here and there, but I didn't feel motivated to seek out a weight-lifting routine and ask for help.

One of my goals for my Lose the Dough challenge was to incorporate more strength training into my workouts. I don't love strength training, but I know that it changes my body for the better. So when my husband and I moved to a new neighborhood near a gym that offered Body Pump classes, I knew it was just what I needed to achieve my strength training (and my weight loss) goals.

In just a couple of months, I've already seen significant changes in my body. I've lost a few pounds and reduced my body fat. But the best part? I even beat my personal record in a recent 5K race because of my stronger body. It's pretty awesome what consistent strength training can do!

Need another reason to try a group strength training class? Here are four.

Strength in numbers. Since I wasn't great about strength training on my own, the camaraderie and support of a class setting really helped me stick with my fitness goals. Body Pump is all about challenging yourself on each muscle group. As the lactic acid builds in my muscles, it's almost comforting to see others also struggle to pump out those last few reps. I feel like if they can do it, so can I. Plus, I don't want to be the person who stops and rests!

Quick and dirty. Body Pump is a mix of aerobic exercise and strength training, so you kill two birds with one stone. I'm not spending a ton of time strength training and then doing cardio. I get both workouts in just 60 minutes—and I work really hard during that hour. I'm usually dripping with sweat by the end of the class!


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Ultimate push. I find I get a tougher workout at Body Pump than when strength training on my own. The instructors motivate me to push myself to improve by yelling out encouraging words. And the upbeat, rocking music inspires me to really focus and work even harder. Body Pump has actually helped me move past a plateau too. I'm lifting heavier weights, my body is stronger all over, and I have lost a little bit of weight.

Happy hour. It's been easy for me to attend two or three Body Pump classes per week because my husband and two of our good friends go to the classes too. Exercising with our little group keeps me on track. Plus, having someone to take the class with makes it feel like a social event more than a workout. We all chat before and after the workout, and sometimes we even refuel with a healthy brunch after a weekend class. I actually look forward to Body Pump even more now because I know that I can catch up with my friends.

What workout helped you move past a fitness plateau?

Read Tina's daily food and fitness blog, Carrots 'N' Cake.