Unconventional Ways To Stay Fit If You Hate The Gym
Swap your weights routine for parkour, calisthenics or aerial workouts to freshen up your old routine, and start hitting your 2018 goals in style.
It is the promise we make to ourselves at the turn of every year – to get fit and get in shape. If the rapid decline in gym attendance post-February and under utilised gym memberships from the years’ past are any indication, the desire to spend your time grinding away on the treadmill is little to nil.
This year, try your best foot at realising your new year resolution by stepping away from the conventional gyms and in to one of these fun workouts. With things like tumbling, outdoor classes and super charged Pilates to look forward to, it is guaranteed there will be a new found drive to get off the couch and into your sneakers.
Don’t be disillusioned in to thinking you need ribbons and a leotard to join in on a calisthenics class. The Australian skew of dance-style calisthenics is vastly different to the calisthenics that is practiced world over.
Traditionally an outdoor street style work out, the practice of calisthenics uses the just the weight of the body to build strength. There is a whole lot of pushing, pulling, squatting, bending and balancing involved; but absolutely no fancy machines. Using just rings and bars, calisthenics workouts focus on performing scalable movements to help you achieve high-level skills like muscle ups, levers and flags.
Calisthenics classes are run across Australia at gyms like Movement Co (WA), Melbourne Calisthenics (VIC) and Maximum Potential Calisthenics (NSW). Being a ‘street style’ work out, sessions can be taken almost anywhere that there are parallel bars and chin-up bars – outdoors included. Most states have freestyle calisthenics work out groups too, hosting outdoor ‘cali jams’ that anyone can pop down and join in on, regardless of skill level.
Get your sweat on and channel your inner Cirque Du Soliel performer while twisting, climbing, bending and hanging your way through an aerials class.
The last 5 years have seen aerial studios popping up all over Australia; and for good reason – they are incredibly fun. Who doesn’t want to hang about on an impressive looking apparatus, learning even more impressive tricks to perform on them? Classes range from gentler aerial yoga type classes to circus level trapeze, tissu and lyra.
If the idea of getting upside down is a little nerve wracking to begin with, ease yourself in with an aerial yoga class at Bend and Fly in Brisbane, AirSpace in Perth or SkyLab in Sydney. The soft, stretchy closed sling offers a little more support than tissu or trapeze, and the class format is a little lighter on the upside down moves. Or, throw yourself right in to the circus skills with a lyra class at The Circus Studio in Tasmania, or a trapeze class at Sydney Trapeze school.
It is never too late to learn how to balance and tumble! Trade the treadmill and rowing machine in for crash mats and mini tramps, and relearn all the skills that you used to play around with as a child.
Although cleverly hidden beneath the novelty factor of tumbling and tricking, adult gymnastic classes teach you the fundamentals of mobility, strength and stability. Unsurprisingly, it also challenges the mind and builds confidence too. Expect to work on rolls, cartwheels and conditioning in class, before moving on to higher level skills like saults, round offs and free-standing handstands.
There are plenty of circus schools around Australia that offer adult gymnastics and tumbling classes, including Circus Oz (Vic), Circus WA (WA) or NICA (VIC). Classes can also be found at movement gyms and gymnastic centers.
While most of us haven’t the slightest idea what it is, Sofia Vergara and Michelle Obama swear by the Lagree workout.
The exercise program coined by Sebastien Lagree is a fusion of traditional Pilates and body building; all performed on what looks like an oversized Pilates reformer. The patented machine is not only bigger than the traditional reformer, but it has many more functions too. The extra resistance, pulleys and handles on the machine allow for greater variation in movement and scalability; but make no mistake – you will be leaving shaking and sweating from head to toe!
Instructor qualifications and lagree licenses are quite limited, so there are only 7 studios around Australia offering the classes at the moment. LAFit holds the license over in the west, while K-Kore has Melbourne covered and Studio 45 in Brisbane. Physiocore also has a few studios across NSW.
Originating in France, the military obstacle inspired discipline of parkour rose to popularity in the 2000s thanks to film features and ads. Said to be the art of flight, it fuses running, jumping, vaulting, swinging, rolling and quadrupedal movement into one form of physical training. It looks pretty spectacular too!
A lesson in agility and strength, parkour makes you look at and maneuver through a space in a different way – over, under, across and around to be exact! Starting out with some classes will help to develop the basic skills and movements required to get through obstacles safely, as well as build cardio and strength. Once the basics have been mastered, you can move on to some more difficult urban obstacles.
Classes can be found at Ninja Academy in Perth, Brisbane Parkour Association or the South Australian Parkour Association. Classes are run both indoors and outdoors, with frequent get-togethers for all levels posted on association pages.
Published 16 January, 2018