“Shelby, don’t say that, that’s a bad word and forbidden in my household,” my mother told me as a child. As I grew up, like all of us (well, most of us) do, I was taught what words were universally “bad.” However, as an adult, I realized there were additional words and phrases that would be added to my “Don’t You Dare Say That Dictionary.” Number one in that book? “Working Out.” I hate working out. Plagued with exercise-induced asthma, a bad back, rickety knees and a hatred for running, I have no desire to hit the gym in my brand new Lulu Lemon ensemble to burn off that poppy-seed bagel with cream cheese I ferociously devoured for breakfast (my kind of exercise).
To be fair, I was a dancer my entire life. I trained in ballet, contemporary, tap, jazz and lyrical and performed as a child, throughout college and with a company in NYC post-college. I never really considered dance exercise since it transported me to another world, a world where all my problems, stresses and worries disappeared as my body melted with the music. I suppose it was this that kept me in shape. However, 2 years ago during a very long rehearsal I felt a strange sensation invade my leg as my body flew through the air, mid-leap. When my toes landed on the ground, I knew something was wrong. I tried to walk but, instead, collapsed. I was carried out of rehearsal like a child, wrapped in the arms of my very strong choreographer. I was carefully placed in a fellow dancer’s car and once back home, had to have my husband carry me up to our apartment. Ryan thought I was being dramatic (as he always does). He told me to sleep on it and if in the morning I was still in pain, to get it checked out. Well, for once, Ryan was wrong. I was not being dramatic, I was injured with a torn calf. I spent months in a boot, on crutches and in physical therapy before I could walk on my own two feet again.
Ever since, I’ve been terrified to get back in the studio, though I’m slowly regaining my courage. I have tried going to the gym, but I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to lifting weights and circuit training. And I refuse to spend money that could be well spent on a fabulous pair of shoes on a personal trainer. Every now and then I’ll take a SoulCycle class (I actually don’t mind spinning), but seriously, who can afford to go there everyday?
While Ryan dutifully goes to the gym at least 5 days a week, I have become soft around the edges… and a little bit in the middle. So, I’ve compiled a list of fitness classes, for both the body and mind, that are unique enough to perhaps trick my brain into believing that I am not working out, but instead, having fun.
When I think of exercising in a pool, I automatically imagine senior citizens practicing water aerobics at the YMCA. Well, I love being in the water, and this new pool-workout appears to be a far cry from the Silver Sneakers program. Aqua Studio NYC offers “aqua cycling,” an underwater spin class in which you pedal against water-resistance. A single workout burns up to 800 calories, enhances blood flow, and combats cellulite. Works for me! Test it out before buying a multi-class package by taking an Intro Class for $35.
AERIAL ARTS & YOGA
Om Factory seems to have it all. From aerial yoga to aerial circus arts, you’ll be exercising with your feet off the ground. As an aerial yoga beginner, you will learn how to balance using the fabric as support and flip in the air. Get your circus on at Om Factory with their SKYBOX Aerial Circus class! They offer a range of circus-style classes including Silks, Lyra, Rope, Straps & Static Trapeze. If you’re not convinced yet, you can add some bounce to your workout. Introducing Bungee, an aerial art form that will give you the opportunity to both defy gravity and experience weightlessness. In this class you will manipulate the tension provided by the bungee cords against the floor to create beautiful, floating, and flowing movements in the air. But, don’t be fooled, I hear it’s a killer cardio workout!
Fan of This Is Us? Who Isn’t? I had never heard of Pound until I watched Chrissy Metz’s character, Kate, slamming sticks together at a weight-loss camp. I actually thought the show made this workout up. Clearly I was wrong. Pound is becoming a popular fitness routine, a cardio jam session inspired by playing the drums. Using Ripstix (lightly weighted exercise drumsticks) will get your heart pounding and your back dripping in sweat while becoming the music in this full-body workout. It combines cardio, conditioning, and strength training with yoga and pilates-inspired movements. If Kate can do it, I can too!
AKT IN MOTION
Workout like the stars. AKT is a favorite to celebrities Kelly Ripa, Shakira, and Karlie Kloss, and serves more than 800 clients a week. Okay, but what is it? AKT is a dance-based interval class that combines circuit training, HIIT, strength, toning, Pilates, and yoga. One of my favorite things about AKT, at least according to their website, there is no intimidation. They profess, “If you like getting hollered at, then there are plenty of places for you—but this one probably isn’t it. While AKT’s teachers are professional dancers, you’re not expected to have any prior experience—or even coordination!—to enjoy and excel at AKT. Move at your own pace while being challenged.” I hate feeling like I’m not keeping up with the others, so the fact that I can move at my own pace without feeling mental pressure definitely appeals to me!
FloatFit classes are offered worldwide and at TMPL Gym in New York City. Using “The Aquabase,” the first ever floating exercise mat, the class offers a low impact, cross training, full body workout in a dimly lit saltwater pool. The environment may seem relaxing, but this class is no swim in the shallow end. Expect to do burpees, lunges, squats, mountain climbers, and the plank…. all on water. This one seems the most intimidating to me. For some reason I can easily see myself falling into the pool on more than one occasion (and quite possibly on purpose). I suppose there’s only one way to find out… I’ll definitely be trying FloatFit this summer.
What are some of your favorite fit ness routines? I’m clearly suggestions!