Get Fit, Have Fun

By Chera Prideaux

As a fitness junkie and a former fitness professional, I love trying out the latest trends. As fads come and go, I usually end up faithfully returning to my spinning bike. Recently, I decided to discover what’s new on the Eastside in hopes of finding the best cure for a little extra post-baby weight. I rated them on a difficulty level of 1 to 5, with 5 being the most difficult. Here’s what I found.

1.TRX SUSPENSION
TRX is a set of hanging, handled straps that allow you to leverage your body weight for a total-body workout. I call myself a fitness junkie, but even I wouldn’t call many workouts “fun.” TRX is fun and it’s a great workout. TRX’s functional-training claims to improve performance in all kinds of sports, from golf to motocross. It was developed by a Navy SEAL and may have real staying power. Fitness Forward has knowledgeable teachers that incorporate variety into each class.

To try
Fitness Forward, Bellevue

Difficulty level
Physical: 5
Mental: 4

2. THE BAR METHOD
This studio won two awards in last year’s “Best of 425” issue. I was intrigued. Could it really be possible to get the body most women only dream of without lifting heavy weights and enduring marathon-long cardio sessions? The Bar Method’s long and lean followers are proof that it works. A hybrid of pilates, ballet and yoga, most of the movements are small, concentrated and intense. These small moves may not look difficult, but they caused my muscles to quiver. We started in the center of the room, moved to the bars for legwork and onto the floor for some heavy-duty core exercises. At the end of class I heard someone in the back exclaim, “That was fantastic!” I agreed. I walked out of class holding myself straighter and taller. I wanted to go back soon. But it would take a few days for my sore muscles to forgive me. The Bar Method has a top-notch staff and highly trained instructors.

To try
The Bar Method, Redmond Town Center. You may also like The Pure Barre Technique, which is similar and also available on the Eastside.

Difficulty level
Physical: 5
Mental: 4

3. WILLPOWER AND GRACE
Chances are, if you’re like most Americans, you are guilty of neglecting your feet. The willPower Method was developed more than 10 years ago by Reiki master Stacey Lei Krauss. A leader in the barefoot movement, Krauss worked with Nike to develop the barefoot Nike Free line. According to her theory, a well-aligned body begins with your feet and continues through your ankles, knees, hips and lower back. The workout is sort of a plyometric yoga class performed barefoot. Repetition is a huge part of the routine, so it’s not for the easily bored.

To try
24-Hour-Fitness, Kirkland and other locations

Difficulty level
Physical: 3
Mental: 3

4. BURLESQUE
I wasn’t sure if my Midwest upbringing would lend itself to this type of class. Meghan, our instructor, described the class as “sexy jazz” and it was actually pretty tame. Her infectious enthusiasm warmed up the room and I was enjoying myself before I knew it. I did, however, stay in the back of the class as to not risk catching a glimpse of how I looked in the mirror. I’m sure it wasn’t pretty, but my version of the choreography would only get better with practice.

To try
Pro Sports Club, Bellevue

Difficulty level
Physical: 4
Mental: 4

5. UGI BALL
The Ugi Ball is a large, weighted, pillow-like ball. Mine was so cute and pink that I wanted to just curl up and lay my head on it. Our instructor, Traci, had other ideas. The Ugi Ball trend was started by three women in Vancouver, B.C. I headed to a Kirkland boutique-style studio (another trend?) for a class called Flycycle Ugi Bootcamp. The first 30 minutes of cycling on the top-of-the-line bikes were followed by a 30-minute bootcamp-style strength workout using the Ugi Ball as a prop. We did one-minute intervals such as jumping jacks (lifting the Ugi above our heads) weight-lifting (using the Ugi for balance) and core work (balancing on the Ugi to increase the challenge). The Fly Fitness studio does a great job of incorporating a real sense of camaraderie into their workouts.

To try
Fly Fitness, Kirkland

Difficulty level

Physical: 5
Mental: 2

6. STAND-UP PADDLEBOARDING YOGA
SUP Yoga or Flo Yo (floating yoga) is a perfect example of the fusion of multiple sports that is so hot right now. For me, it was all about conquering my fear of tumbling off the board into Lake Washington on that cold morning. Andrea, our no-nonsense instructor, told us to “relax and understand there are things you cannot control.” It’s true. SUP yoga pushes you to the next level of balance, concentration and relaxation. The class started with a paddle around the Kirkland Marina and then we clipped our boards onto a tow-line in waist-deep water. After some initial wobbling, I was eventually able to move confidently through a series of sun salutations. As class ended, I gazed out on the glassy water in Savatsana and felt a huge sense of accomplishment.

To try
Northwest Paddle Surfers, Kirkland (available spring-fall)

Difficulty level
Physical: 5
Mental: 2

7. AIROBICS
Dozens of large trampolines make up the floor (and walls) at Sky High Sports in Bellevue. A few times a week, they offer a class called Airobics. Our instructor, who looked like he had just jumped out of an Evo catalog, lead us through a series of different types of jumps, partner ball tosses and leaps from trampoline to trampoline. If TRX was fun, Airobics was super-duper-duper fun. I was exhausted after a just a few minutes of jumping on the trampoline, but I couldn’t stop. I was digging the adrenaline rush.

To try
Sky High Sports, Bellevue

Difficulty level
Physical: 5
Mental: 2

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