Monday, November 18, 2013

Take the "Work" Out of Your Workout: Alternative Exercises to Make Working Out Fun Again

Nicole Brown, Marketing Intern Coordinator

Crunches, push-ups, running, repeat. Not only does a workout routine get old quickly, it also loses effectiveness overtime. While repeating the same workout will help you maintain your health, you need to continuously challenge yourself and change up your workout in order to constantly improve your body. Plus, it’s easier to make yourself keep up with a workout if it doesn’t get boring! I need a workout that’s fun while also getting me into great shape! I started investigating alternative fitness methods this past summer and have since become much stronger and healthier, and now actually look forward to my workouts.

Work Out at the Studio
With Groupon, Living Social and other group buying sites, plus the many studios that offer a free or discounted first class, it’s easy to explore your exercise options. Start with some of the alternative fitness options I’ve explored in Lexington:

*Note that, though some of these workouts may be more commonly utilized by women, men are welcome at all of the studios mentioned in this post.

Aerial Silks
The easiest way to imagine aerial silks is to think of Cirque du Soleil or the circus. Those giant ribbons that hang from the ceiling that people climb, hang from, wrap themselves in and more? Those are aerial silks. Learn to fly on the silks at Bella Forza Fitness. Silks is not only fun, but gives you the opportunity to progress quickly and build your strength. Just 15 minutes from campus, Bella Forza currently practices inside Premiere Athletics in Hamburg. Check the schedule and then register for an Intro to Silks course to learn the basics and see what you think. You’ll be upside-down (though very securely and only inches from a mat) on the first day of class! A drop-in class is $20, but the unlimited student membership, which includes fitness and flexibility classes in addition to open silks and silks instruction, is only $59 per month with a valid student ID.

Jessica Johnson, owner of Bella Forza Fitness, demonstrates some aerial silks moves:


Samantha Stein, Marketing Intern, and I show off some of the moves we've learned in just a few classes:


Fitness Pole Dancing
If pole dancing automatically makes you think of strippers, then think again. Watch this video of a pole art competition and you’ll see the strength and beauty in the sport. Pole dancing, with the proper technique, is an excellent workout! It takes a lot of strength and control, but the small classes at Defiance Studios will help you find yours! Located near the intersection of New Circle and Richmond Road, the studio is about 10 minutes from campus. Beginner classes start at the Curious and Adventurous levels, and your feet won’t leave the ground until you’re ready! Take a drop-in class for $24, or get a membership to save money. In addition to pole instruction classes, Defiance also offers conditioning, flexibility, cardio and dance-based classes, plus various hula hoop fitness classes, aerial silk and lyra private lessons and Burlesque classes.

Natasha Nova, pole instructor at Defiance Studios, demonstrates some advanced pole fitness moves: 

Watch her freestyle a routine here: http://ow.ly/rAToM

Madalena Pierangelino, Marketing Intern, and I practice some of the pole moves we've learned:


Barre
Barre is isometric-movement and stretching based combination that utilizes the ballet barre for balance and support. It’s designed to tone your arms, legs, butt and abs while increasing focus and clearing the mind. After taking BarreAmped classes, I have to say that Barre feels more like a workout than most of the options on this list, but you adjust to it quickly. I still find it much better than going to the gym and I feel very accomplished afterwards. The instructor guides you through everything and helps you stay motivated, while also making sure that your form is correct! There are two studios very close to campus in the Chevy Chase area: one that offers BarreAmped and one that offers Pure Barre, two variations of a very similar workout. Both studios offer a free first class, so it’s no-risk to give both a shot!

BarreAmped at Elle Fitness offers drop-in classes for $18 or various discount class packages including an unlimited month. In addition to two levels of BarreAmped classes, Elle Fitness offers Extreme Cardio and Sculpt and Tone Abs classes. Find the class schedule and register here.

Pure Barre Lexington has a drop-in rate of $20 per class after the first free class, but the studio also offers various discount packages. In addition to Pure Barre classes, they also offer Pure Barre Lite. Find the class schedule and register here, or learn more about the technique here.

Kickboxing
The Lexington location of Title Boxing Club offers boxing, kickboxing and “power hour” cardio combination classes that are sure to get your heart pumping and adrenaline rushing with a workout that can burn up to 1,000 calories in an hour! Located near Kroger on Nicholasville Road, Title Boxing is about 10 minutes from campus. Stop by the club to buy a membership, which includes unlimited classes as well as access to the club’s gym equipment during normal business hours. Try it before you buy it: fill out this form online and your first class is free, just bring an ID so you can borrow gloves and $5 for hand wraps. Decide you love it? They’ll talk pricing and membership options with you after your first class.

Surfing
“Surf” on dry land with SurfSet Fitness. Special balance surfboards simulate actual surfing while engaging the core and stabilizer muscles. You paddle out to catch a wave, pop up and ride the wave and even incorporate yoga moves into the workout. Located on East Main Street downtown, SurfSet Fitness is a few minute drive or roughly twenty-minute walk from campus. One SurfSet session at the student rate is $18, and SurfSet Fitness also offers multi-class packages at a discount. Choose your package and schedule here.

Alternative Dance
The usual ballet and jazz classes work for some people, but for a new workout, try Mecca Live Studio and Gallery, which offers tons of different classes, including belly dance, hula dance, flamenco and breakdance. The studio is only about 5 minutes from campus, on Manchester Street. Most drop-in classes are only $10! Find a class that you love and you just might forget that you’re working out.

All-in-One Boutiques
For those that don’t want to commit to the same class week after week, even if it is fun, FIT Lexington might be your perfect fit. The studio offers ten different types of classes, including cycling, HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), PiYo (a Pilates and yoga combo) and Barre, plus personal training. Located on Romany Road, FIT Lexington is about 5 minutes from campus. Your first class is free and after that the student drop-in rate is $12 per class, or you can buy unlimited and multi-class packages. Right now, FIT Lexington is running a special: two weeks of free classes with this flyer. See the schedule and register here.

Work Out At Home
Even if the workouts are fun, sometimes it’s hard to make it to a studio for classes. When your schedule’s too hectic or your budget is too limited to dedicate yourself to learning a new sport, try the following exercises that you can do at home in relatively little time!

This one move can improve your balance and tone your entire body, especially your arms and abs. Plus, it has the benefit of rushing blood to your brain, making you more alert and focused! At first, try handstands against a wall and for only a few seconds at a time, then slowly build up to freestanding handstands that you hold for 1-2 minutes.

Stretching is a great way to get active while watching your favorite TV show, or at least during the commercials! Even light stretching can help improve circulation, alleviate stress and increase range of motion and flexibility. Set a goal for yourself, like a flat split, and stretch five days a week to progress towards that goal. Just be sure to warm up first, like with some jumping jacks.

Hula Hoop
Besides being a favorite at sock hops, hula hooping is great exercise. It combines cardio and toning thanks to all of the core effort it takes to spin the hoop! Start by mastering the basics, then move on to more advanced tricks. Hoopnotica is an excellent source for hoops and equipment and instructional videos!

Jump Rope
Jumping rope gets your heart pumping and tones your entire body, while improving your bone strength and coordination. Teach yourself some new tricks and bring back this childhood favorite! Start with this basics video and move on from there.

For me, the path to having fun while working out all started with a Living Social deal for Defiance Studios. I still take pole fitness classes there, but have since also started taking BarreAmped classes at Elle Fitness and aerial silks classes at Bella Forza Fitness. I plan on trying kickboxing and SurfSet soon, and am open to exploring new fitness options as they arise!


Start your journey to finding a workout that you enjoy today with these suggestions.

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