Do you hate running, but still wish you could get your share of cardiovascular activities into your day? I have great news! There are plenty of dance + workout classes or activities you can partake in. In honor of the new season of Dancing With the Stars—which debuted March 17th—let’s talk dance.
If you haven’t heard of Zumba, you must be living under a rock. Zumba has been around since the 90s, but there has been an upsurge in interest in the past few years. And why not? Zumba is fun, healthy, and an easy way to lose weight without realizing you are losing weight. Set to salsa and hip-hop dance tones, Zumba combines aerobics and rhythm. And fun, obviously. Fun fact: some of the celebrities that love Zumba are Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, and Jordin Sparks.
By Margo Donohue (aka, Brooklyn Fit Chick)
Pole dancing has grown from a few cool, off-the-beaten-track studios in LA to an increasing popular classes that can be found all over the country. And it’s no wonder why when you see the insanely fit, strong and lithe bodies of pole dance instructors and their devoted clientele. Sure, we make jokes about not wanting our daughters “on the pole” but when from a fitness-perspective this type of dance deserves a lot of respect—pole dancing can burn fat and build muscle as well as, or better than, most gym-based workouts!
Back in 2012, dancers Kyra Johannesen and Lian Tal Lebret decided to give NYC a go and launched Body & Pole after renting a space from a yoga studio to teach ten pole dancing classes per week. Over the next year and a half the demand for their classes has increased to the point that now they have a store front space right in the center of the busy Chelsea district taking up several floors, offering over 140 classes per week with some of the most gorgeous and fit instructors you will ever see in your life!
Working out can really bite sometimes. Am I right? It’s repetitive, boring, and takes forever, or at least it feels like it does. However, tight jeans and a climbing scale bite, too. Is there a remedy? Is there a happy place where working out doesn’t irritate AND you aren’t resigned to a life in your “fat jeans?” It’s possible, if you’re willing to go off the grid a bit and find some activities that might not look like exercise at first. There are plenty of non-traditional fitness routines that might just be where your happy place resides.
Pole dancing, roller derby, and Capoeira are really just the tip of the alternative workout iceberg. There are lots of ways to stay fit without having to just run on a machine that goes nowhere. Active living can be rewritten; it no longer has to stay in the gym. Find your happy place, do something you love, enjoy your workout, and get in those skinny jeans!
If you are looking for fun and different ways to get your body swimsuit ready as well as meet a great community of new friends , we’ve found some great options. We have our top five picks of the best dance classes that will have you moving to the groove and slimming down with friends in no time!
Zumba classes feature exotic rhythms set to high-energy Latin and international beat. It is the only Latin-inspired dance-fitness program that blends international music, created by Grammy Award-winning producers, and contagious steps to form a “fitness-party” that is downright addictive and fun.
Since its inception in 2001, the Zumba program has rapidy become the world’s largest – and most successful – dance-fitness program with more than 12 million people of all shapes, sizes and ages taking weekly Zumba classes in over 110,000 locations across more than 125 countries.
It’s also easy to feel part of a community when you continuously attend the classes, not to mention fun and exhilarating!
2. Turbo Kick
Turbo Kick classes, created by Chalene Johnson, is a fat-blasting, ab cardio workout that can have you burning up to 1,000 calories an hour! The class is a mix of kickboxing and simple dance moves set to fast paced dance music that is guaranteed to have you feeling the results. It’s a great way to feel energized and empowered and you’ll never leave a class feeling bored. (more…)
Lisa Johnson is a fitness blogger at LisaJohnsonFitness.com. She has been teaching Pilates since 1998 and owns Modern Pilates in Brookline, MA. She can frequently be found on Twitter @LisaJohnson.
I’m standing between an adorable blonde wearing red, sparkly boy shorts and a lanky brunette with a gorgeous, flowing ponytail and a tank top that says “Survivor.” I’m feeling the very awkward duckling.
I grab the tall, shiny pole with my hand and yank my t-shirt sleeve up over my shoulder so I can show more skin. This isn’t to be sexy; skin is stickier than cotton and it will help me to stay up longer. I take two big steps, my other hand grabs the pole, feet go in the air, and I whiz around once, twice, and then land my two feet almost gracefully. Success! I give out a little squeal because I finally did it on the tenth try.
“Good,” smiles Star, my instructor/torturer, as she nods approvingly. “Next time, step bigger.”
I’m bruised, I’m sweaty, my hands hurt from gripping the pole so hard, and I know my shoulders and legs are going to feel it tomorrow. And I’m only halfway through my first Pole Fitness class not sure I’m going to make it.
We’ve all seen it, the little girl (let’s say she’s four) clomping around the house in her mother’s high heels. For some women, an obsession with shoes starts young and for others, it doesn’t emerge until the teen years, if ever. Personally, I always saw my mother in her high heels and the clicking sound they made as she walked across the floor made me think she was the most beautiful and powerful woman in the world. I love that sound even now and regardless of how irrational it seems to you, it makes me feel gorgeous.
When I first heard about high heeled workouts, my initial reaction was “heck yes!” and then reality set in. The fact is, working out in high heels adds an entirely new level of possible injuries to your regimen. Consistently struttin’ your stuff in heels has been linked to weak muscles in the calves and ankles. Back and knee injuries also seem to be more common in women who regularly wear heels. Besides the more complicated physiological dangers, something as simple as your balance can be compromised when raised up on high heels. So then why the sudden surge in heel-based exercise classes?
While I’m not religious in a conventional sense, I consider myself spiritual in that I am a seeker of “the meaning of life.” That said, I think maybe even I’m offended by this story… Christian pole dancing?
Women in Spring, Texas, just outside of Houston, have taken the popular fitness trend of pole dancing and put their own twist on it.
The idea is called “Pole Fitness for Jesus,” and if that doesn’t get your attention, I’m not sure you have a pulse. The program was started by Crystal Deans, owner and class instructor of Best Shape of Your Life.
I presume it’s her real name, but Crystal also happens to be an ex-strip, I mean, dancer. It’s something that she gave up years ago. (more…)
Weight-bearing activities that work against gravity — aerobic activities like walking, running, cross-country skiing, dancing, skating and stair-climbing — use proportionately more calories at a given level of effort than swimming, cycling or water aerobics.
The more muscle groups involved in your activities, the more calories you are likely to burn. That is why working out against gravity uses more calories than non-weight-bearing activities. On the other hand, because activities like swimming put less stress on weight-bearing joints, many people can do them for longer periods, making up for the lower caloric burn.
If your workout includes hills (real ones or on exercise equipment), you will use more calories per minute than doing the same activity on level ground. But if you engage in resistance exercises — working out with weights or on machines that strengthen various muscle groups — you may gain several pounds of muscle that partly offset the loss of body fat.
In other words, you may lose fewer pounds than if you expended the same number of calories on an aerobic activity (cardio) like brisk walking or swimming, but you will be stronger and better toned. With greater muscle mass, your basic metabolic rate will rise and you will burn more calories all day and night. And since muscle holds less water and takes up less room than the equivalent weight of fat, by shedding fat and gaining muscle you can lose inches and sizes without losing actual pounds on the scale.
Keep in mind, though, that the time spent doing resistance exercise burns fewer calories than if the same time were spent on aerobic activities (cardio).
If you have a fitness question, send them to Matt!