By Susan Koeppen

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – If you are looking to kick your fitness routine into gear this year, consider trying out group fitness classes.

They are No. 2 on the list of the top ten fitness trends for 2018. Research shows that working out with a friend or in a group gives you better results and keeps you motivated.

KDKA’s Kristine Sorensen and Susan Koeppen decided to give two new fitness classes a try at Mecka Fitness in Mount Lebanon. First, they gave “ROW FIT” a try. It is just as the name implies – a fitness class that revolves around rowing.

Their coach for the day was Richard Butler, who has been in the fitness industry for 36 years. He first teaches his students the proper technique. Rowing is all about using your legs to give you a boost of power.

“Bring your whole body forward and drive it all back,” says Butler as he encouraged Sorensen and Koeppen to give it their all on the rowing machine called the Concept 2.

Rowing is hard work, but it’s low impact and anyone can learn to use a rowing machine. It gives you a full body workout.

“You’re working over 90 percent of all muscles. I think it works everything except your eyebrows,” jokes Butler.

He wasn’t joking when he got the anchors moving even more with another hot trend in fitness — boxing.

Box N’ Beats is a popular class at Mecka Fitness where students use gloves to punch bags filled with water.

“The water really helps minimize the impact when you hit the bag. When I hit the bag, all my power is actually going through the water,” says Butler.

The class is fast-paced, set to music and students move around the room punching numerous bags that hang from the ceiling. With specialty lighting, it almost looks like a discotheque inside the boxing room. And since Sorensen was a dancer, she had no problem getting into the groove and landing perfect punches.

“I think I was a little too uncoordinated,” says Koeppen. Butler agreed, but added, “Guess what? Welcome to world of learning how to box.”

Not all students will figure out perfect form on their first try at boxing. At Mecka, they encourage students to just do their best with no judgement.

In the end, Sorensen and Koeppen were exhausted but smiling.

Maybe they were happy about all the calories they were burning – more than 700 calories for 60 minutes of boxing and you can burn 300 calories in just 30 minutes of rowing.

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