Ahh summer. Just saying the word makes me smile. Beach days full of body surfing, bomb fires, BBQ’s, bikinis and laughing with close friends comes to mind. As the showers dissipate at the tail end of Spring it dawns on you…”I want to feel good prancing around the sand dunes in my bikini! Must get back in shape.”
In an ideal world you would have maintained a fit physique through the last three seasons, but for some reason or another you’re not in peak form. No worries. Today is the first day of your new life. Forget the past and focus on your fabulous future. Whether you are just beginning your climb towards vibrant health, or wanting to mix up your current regime, here are some of the most ingenious new techniques for sculpting the body of your dreams.
I broke the list up into spanking new classes offered through a few nationwide gyms and rounded it out with some other fun activities I’ve had a blast trying recently.
Mind Body Disciplines: Yoga and Pilates have paved the way for other mind body techniques to infiltrate the Western world. Find mental clarity, build your awareness and presence, all while toning and aligning the body with these new forms.
Anti-Gravity Yoga: Yes you read that correctly! For all you die hard yogi’s out there who want to take a break from the spiritual side of the work and just have fun and increase flexibility, this is the class to try. Stretch further and hold challenging postures longer using a flowing fabric hammock as your only prop. With the fabric as a soft trapeze, you’ll learn simple suspension techniques to move into seemingly impossible inverted poses to relieve compressed joints and align the body from head to toe.
Qi Gong: I was first introduced to this traditional Chinese energy technique in my various holistic health classes in college. Incredible energy work you must feel to believe. This still and moving meditation helps you feel your energy, increase its amount, regulate its flow and heal imbalances. Learn easy techniques to help alleviate many common ailments, including fatigue, headaches, arthritis, high blood pressure, insomnia, constipation, depression and anxiety.
Where you can find it: Google Qi Gong classes in your neck of the woods and see what you can find. I know back in San Francisco there were retreats and classes offered all over. Over here in Australia being so close to the East it’s much more readily available. Equinox Fitness also offers a class at select locals.
Budokon: Take your yoga practice to the next level with this playful and challenging blend of Martial Arts and Yoga. Fusing Vinyasa flow elements with punching, kicking and Brazilian Jujitsu will give you the sweat of a life-time. No martial arts experience necessary, basic yoga recommended.
Naptime and or Meditation: This cracks me up! Crunch and Equinox both offer a naptime class. Blankets and pillows are actually handed out. I guess it makes sense if you are far from home and just need a good sleep in the middle of your work day. I think the Spaniards have the right idea…everyone heads home for a siesta mid afternoon!
Beyond the Naptime trend, Meditation classes are becoming more and more popular. Yay for meditation! Sometimes it’s nice to be lead through a meditation versus plugging away on your own. I would take this class if I belonged to a gym. And no meditation is not napping! Haha.
Dance: Long gone are the days of thong leotard step aerobics! This Summer look for a variety of dance forms at your local gym. Cultural dance forms from around the globe are making their mark on your weekly gym class calendar. The most sweat inducing popular rhythms classes I found included:
African dance– West African in particular really gets the heart going. A dear friend of mine is a professional West African dancer. Definitely something everyone must try in life. Fast paced with challenging rhythms. This is a video of one of the best West African dance companies in the US directed by Ron Brown.
Masala Bhangra– A traditional Indian dance workout set to hip-hop, disco, salsa, techno, house and rap music. Think Bollywood! You know you’ve always wanted to be a back up Bollywood dancer.
Tribal Belly Dancing– Tone and tighten your torso as you move and groove to African inspired music. Learning to isolate the body like belly dancers is a unique why to build the mind body connection.
Hip Hop and Ballet Barre– Hip hop will forever be a fun way to get in shape quickly, but nothing beats a ballet barre class to sculpt long lean muscles. Try both of these more Western forms to mix it up.
Capoeira– This Brazilian martial arts form is keeping it’s foot hold in the gym scene. I used to dance for an Afro-Brazilian modern company that used Capoeira movement. It’s coordination and strength building can’t be beat, just watch your knees! It improves your speed, balance, timing, flexibility, and power. Develop both your body and mind as you learn skill, technique, strategy, and grace in this challenging game.”
Pole Dancing– The dancer’s pole isn’t just for professionals anymore. This challenging and sexy class combines intense upper body and core strength, coordination, and balance to turn even the shyest performers into toned and sultry vixens. See what I had to say about pole Pilates here.
Where to find these forms: Crunch and Equinox both offer a few of these classes, but I recommend you google a neighborhood dance studio and get it from the source!
Stability And Strength: Archaic weight lifting has long been replaced with stimulating stability techniques. Here are a few of the most demanding, body transforming methods.
TRX Suspension System: Dare to be a spider! Hang from the durable TRX system ropes to push, pull, lift and lower your body through Spiderman moves for a total body suspension workout that also super-strengthens your core. I suggest you take a few classes and then buy your own. It’s seriously like a gym in a bag. A personal trainer buddy of mine who trains Navy Seals swears by it.
Where you can find it: The TRX system has taken the nation by storm so you probably have a class at your gym already. And of course you can always check out their website for DVD’s and what not.
Surfboarding: Get ready to hit the waves. Using the BOSU Balance Trainer and Gliding Discs, a multitude of surfing skills will be introduced, practiced, and perfected leaving your body toned and ready for the athlete in you to spring into action.
Where you can find it: Crunch fitness is the only gym offering this class at the moment, but all I gotta say is take a few classes, steal the moves and then cancel your membership. I know that’s horrible, but we are in hard economic times people!
With all of these wonderful classes and techniques at your finger tips what are you waiting for? Get your sweat on and radiate energy and confidence this season.
Note: I in no way, shape or form am getting paid to endorse any of these techniques, Equinox or Crunch gyms. I merely love the innovative ideas that come out of these companies.
Have any fun fitness classes you want to share? If you do belong to a gym, what is your favorite class and why? I’d also love to hear about any classes you take outside of a gym setting. Like dance, pilates, martial arts or yoga classes. I personally just started getting into Ashtanga and Anasara yoga!