I Took All the Free Fitness Classes in Lafayette So You Don’t Have To

On some level, I love exercising. I hate the feeling a few minutes in when you’re too hot and can’t catch your breath and your heart is pounding and you start thinking, “There’s no way I’m going to live through this.” But I love that next moment when you break an all-over sweat and your adrenaline really starts pumping. I’d like to say I’m always chasing that high, but the thing is, I have a major motivation problem. My biggest obstacle on the road to having a big round beautiful juicy butt is my big round beautiful juicy brain. Logically I know that during and after a workout I’m always happy I went through with it, but my brain will do ANYTHING to keep me from starting.

This is why the moment I had the idea for this post I immediately emailed the boss ladies here at The Lafayette Mom and told them I was going to write it, thereby forcing me to actually go through with it. The night before each of these classes I FULLY regretted that decision as my brain started making suggestions like “What if instead of going we just leave town and change our name?” But now I’m so glad I did it. Every single one of these classes was an absolute blast in addition to kicking my (unfortunately still neither big nor juicy) butt.


This IS a boxing class, but don’t worry, no one will be swinging at you. You spend the first half of the class at the bags, doing various combinations of punches and kicks. This class is perfect if you’re feeling on edge around the holidays (or any time). It feels great to just kick and punch it all out of your system. The second half of the class is circuit training: you move around to different stations and do the assigned move in each for the designated amount of time. Some have weights or benches or other equipment. Every single one of the ladies in my class was STRONG. It was only a little embarrassing when, more than once, the instructor saw me struggling with the weights available and kindly brought me much, much smaller weights to use instead. While you’ll definitely burn plenty of calories, this class is the best option of the four if your main fitness goal is gaining strength. I like to be a little sore after a workout to feel like I’ve really done something and I was definitely most sore after this one.


When you hear “barre” you might think ballet (a “barre” is the long wooden bar bracketed to the wall and used for warming up, strength training, and technique work in a ballet class). While there isn’t any dancing in this class, it is the best choice if you’re hoping for the long, lean muscles of a ballerina. While the other fitness studios offer your first class for free, this is the only one that offers a free class specifically for beginners, so if being the only newbie in class seems daunting this is a great option for you. In this introductory class, they go over the basics of barre workouts including correct body placement and alignment. You’ll spend some time using light weights, some time doing lower bodywork while holding the barre for balance, and some time on the floor doing abdominal work. You’ll get lots of hands-on help and adjustments from the instructors. While this is not a cardio-loaded class, you’re likely to break a sweat and your muscles will definitely burn and shake and, if you’re like me, continue to shake for the rest of the day so you can tremble violently while reaching for a gallon of almond milk at Target.


Imagining a cycling class, it was hard for me to fathom how anyone could make riding a stationary bike for 45 minutes interesting. Not only does CycleBar keep it interesting, but you may also even feel uplifted. If you’re looking for hardcore cardio, this is your best bet. To get you started, you’ll borrow a pair of cycling shoes. A staff member will show you how to attach them to the pedals of your bike and assist you in adjusting the bike to your liking and understanding the attached monitor. During class, there is changing lighting, a curated playlist blasting, and the instructor is fully participating on his or her own bike at the front of the class. They wear a microphone to cue your next move but also to provide commentary and motivation. The uplifting music, lights, and speeches made it feel almost like working out at a megachurch, which was kind of fun! The next day your lower body will definitely feel it but the main thing I have to warn you about is that, unless you’re riding a bike regularly, the bones in your butt will feel bruised for days. If you’ve got padded shorts or even period underwear, consider wearing them to your first class for a little extra cushioning.


This class is a mix of cardio (running, jogging, or power walking on a treadmill; I went with power walking), more circuit training, and rowing on a rowing machine. You’re given a heart-rate monitor at the start of class that displays your stats, along with everyone else’s, on big screens around the room. If you’ve got a competitive streak (me too, no judgment), you’re going to love it. There are five color-coded heart rate “zones”: grey, blue, green, orange, and red. Orange and red are the “zones” where your heart rate is high and you’re feeling uncomfortable. For each minute you spend in the orange and red zones you earn a point. The instructor said at the beginning of class that the goal is to reach 12 points. By the end of class I had more than doubled that, maybe because I’m the best around… but probably (actually) because I’m not in great shape and it doesn’t take much to get me “uncomfortable” when doing cardio. This class was the biggest calorie burner of the four and the workout changes every day so you’ll never take the same class twice.

As we approach the new year with fresh goals, many of us will be reevaluating our fitness habits. Each of these fitness studios is located right here in Lafayette and offers a free class for first-timers. I’m a little shy myself, but even I never once felt intimidated or unwelcome at any of these classes. Everyone I met in this process was exceptionally kind, courteous, and helpful. After your first class, membership options at all four studios start at $69/month, and all of them offer several tiers of membership to meet your goals and needs. Whether you’re hoping to drop pounds, build muscle, tone up, or just improve overall fitness, Lafayette has the perfect class for you.

Libby Judice-Smith
Libby was born and raised in Baton Rouge. She is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy, where she studied theatre and film performance in their dual campus program in both New York and Los Angeles. She then spent many years traveling the world as a character performer with Disney Cruise Lines, and later as a lounge musician along with her husband, Garrett, for Celebrity Cruises. After returning home to plant roots and have their son, Crosby, Libby and Garrett decided to make the move to Lafayette to be closer to family, and they couldn’t be happier with their decision. Libby now satisfies her wanderlust by exploring all that her new beloved hometown has to offer, and still loves to occasionally play music with her husband as Sugar and Honey, their acoustic pop duo.


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