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I’ll be the first to admit: I hate working out. Don’t get me wrong, I work out often, and I love feeling accomplished afterwards—but I never seem to find grueling workouts particularly fun in the moment (ya feel me?). That’s why I’m always looking for ways to burn calories without burning my spirit.
Luckily, fitness is getting a heck of a lot more fun. There are tons of classes out there that are so enjoyable, you don’t even notice the pain, but still get the gains. Check them out:
If you’re looking for more of a rockout than a workout, this class will be music to your ears. Pound® is a cardio and strength class inspired by playing the drums. In the class, you use lightly weighted drumsticks—called Ripstix®—for a full-body workout (and full-body jam session) that shifts your focus from reps to rhythm. If rocking out to sweet tunes doesn’t sell you, you’ll burn up to 900+ calories per hour while drumming your way to a leaner physique.
Remember the days of jumping on a trampoline as a kid? Great news, it’s still socially acceptable to bounce over the age of 12. Even greater news, it’s actually good for you. Trampoline (also known as rebounder) fitness is a high-intensity workout with cardio levels equivalent to running, but has a lower impact and is easier on your joints. Group trampoline classes channel your inner-child and still give you a great workout, and they are springing up all over. These classes work every muscle in your body and raise your heart rate, but don’t make you feel like you’re exerting as much energy. Now that’s something to jump for joy about.
Throw your preconceived notions out the window—pole dancing has emerged as a mainstream form of fitness. As a sport that requires incredible strength and training, pole dancing uses the body as resistance and incorporates dance and gymnastic-based moves. If you’re looking for a way to increase core strength, tone your body and boost your confidence, try a beginner’s class near you.
Given the choice between spending time on a treadmill in the gym or dancing the night away with my friends, I’m going to pick the latter every time. If you can relate to that, it’s time to give dance classes a try. From hip hop to salsa to twerking, cardio dance classes are popular as a fun way to shake off some calories. You may even get some new moves to bust out next time you hit the dance floor with your friends.
If you’ve ever wanted to feel like a merperson, now’s your chance. From aqua aerobics to aqua cycling, more and more classes are taking it below the surface. These classes take advantage of the higher resistance that builds naturally underwater, making you stronger and the workout more effective. Water classes are a lot easier on the joints, too. The buoyancy of the water takes off some of the impact that our bodies face during land workouts, which is especially good if you’re recovering from an injury or have a condition that limits you. Plus, these classes are great on a hot day—so you can be cool in more ways than one.
You don’t have to quit your day job to run away to the circus, take a class instead. Combining fun and focus, circus-inspired workouts are flying in as a thrilling way to get fit. If you find yourself in a fitness rut, raise the stakes with acrobatics, aerial arts, trapeze, tightropes and more. These classes help you build full-body strength, as well as courage to let go and say yes to new things.
Well, here we are—a couple of months into 2021. A year that we all (still) hope will be much better than the last. This past year was nothing short of a dumpster fire—between the pandemic, ongoing racial injustice, and the most dramatic election ever, 2020 was riddled with anxiety, grief, anger, and was just downright exhausting.
Heck—if somebody even dared to ask me how I was doing last year, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and say, “Omg I can’t even.” I mean, what other year can you think of that became its own expression? When something would go horribly awry, we would literally blame it on the year by saying, “2020, am I right?” complete with a sheepish chuckle —and eventually some tears when you realized just how many times you’ve said those words. Seriously, I lost count a long time ago. It was not healthy.
Sorry, tangent—where was I? Ah yes, 2021. The good news is there’s still hope that this year won’t make us want to roll into a tiny little ball on the floor and cry. Well, at least not as much as its predecessor—I’m not a miracle worker, you guys. However, I do have some wellness tips to help you stay just a little bit cooler, calmer, and collected-er this year.
If there’s one thing we learned last year, it’s that wellness is always here for us. Maybe at this time last year, your goal of going to Pilates five days a week came to a screeching halt as fitness studios were required to shut down to protect the community. For a time, we were all frazzled because our usual workouts and wellness routines were turned upside practically overnight. I think I speak for us all when I say that our favorite fitness class, and the community that comes with it, plays a huge role in our overall happiness. The good news is the wellness industry has come a long way in just under a year.
While it is true that some areas still aren’t allowing the in-studio experience for their workout classes due to the pandemic, we have more options to practice wellness safely than ever before. Right now, some studios are allowed to operate with in-person, socially distanced classes—and pretty much every studio broke into the virtual space to provide fitness classes you could participate in from the comfort of your own home. Not to mention, at-home virtual options are typically cheaper and allow you to try our studios from all over the country. With online gym memberships like Mindbody Flex, you can have access to thousands of live stream classes at your fingertips for less than $5 per class.
Look, 2020 was scary. After a year like that, it’s can be hard to tap into a positive mindset. But it’s more important now than ever before to let go of assumptions and focus on the good that 2021 can bring. This shift to acceptance will ultimately help you put your best foot forward in any situation that arises.
Take a step back and try to focus on the things we can be grateful for in this moment. Like what? Well, for starters more and more people are receiving the COVID-19 vaccination, which means things are slowly, but surely, getting back to normal. I, for one, am grateful that my at-risk family members have already received their first rounds of vaccinations and are on the path of staying healthy since they are protected from the coronavirus.
The best thing we can do right now for our mental health is to learn to give ourselves some grace through practicing self-care. And this can look different for everyone. Maybe your version of self-care comes in the form of daily journaling, getting a workout session in, curling up with a good book, or having that glass of wine while taking a bubble bath. Whatever makes YOU feel good—keep doing it.
To keep my mental health in check, something that I’ve started incorporating into my daily self-care routine is practicing mindfulness. Some days that means I focus on my breathwork practice—other days I may scroll through the Mindbody app to find a virtual meditation class or Yoga Nidra class. I’ve also embraced the motto there’s an app for that. Right now, I’m really loving the Headway app because it helps me set daily intentions from the moment I wake up with a morning survey and then checks in with me at the end of the day with an evening survey. Having the ability to write down my goals and hold myself accountable for them has really taken my self-care routine to the next level.
Some days we fall a little short of our goals—and guess what? THAT’S OKAY. Honestly, I think we should all just focus on being okay for the rest of the year. The past year caused us to be tough on ourselves and I encourage you to make this year kinder. Any new goals you set that involve changing habits or overhauling your lifestyle will likely have some setbacks. So, when that happens, remember to be compassionate with yourself.
If there’s anything I want you to take away from this blog post is to let go of the illusion that perfection is always the end goal. When in doubt I always remind myself of something my favorite spin instructor (hey Steph!) says: “If you look for perfection, you'll never be content. Just focus on your growth.” Allow that to sink in and make it a goal to remind yourself of this every single day.
And remember: You don’t have to—and really shouldn’t—give up hope that things will get better this year, even if you feel overwhelmed now. Having a positive mindset is never a silly thing. In fact, it is actually quite admirable; you’re an admirable badass.