Mix Up Your Workout with Exciting New Trends
Now in demand: fitness classes that add challenges and fun to your exercise routine.
photo by joe del tufo
Zina DiTonno (left) and Sarah Young demonstrate aerial yoga.
Fitness funk got you down? You’re not alone. It happens to everyone. “It’s important to change up your workout to avoid a plateau or maintenance phase,” says Marty White, the senior health and wellness director at Bear-Glasgow YMCA. “When you start an exercise program, it’s likely you’ll lose weight, tone up and feel like it’s paying off. However, after a period of time, your body will get used to the program and burn less calories, which leads to less results, frustration and boredom.” White recommends trying different activities and challenges to get the best outcome. “This variety could give your body an opportunity to burn more calories, keep things interesting and get the results you’re looking for,” he says. We checked out three trendy fitness routines to get you started. Give them a try, and soon you will have earned that spiced pumpkin latte.
Get a Jump
Trampolining has reached its jumping-off point in Delaware: The state already boasts two indoor parks, Wilmington’s Stratosphere and Newark’s Launch. Alina Carr and husband Eric of Middletown are about to add a third. Carr says her idea to open up a SkyZone in Delaware (It has 18 sites across the U.S. and Canada, with plans to expand to Mexico and Australia) came to her almost instantaneously when she took her family to another franchise location. “It was just this unbelievable ‘wow’ factor,” she recalls. “I looked around and just saw so much laughter and smiling. When I left, all I could think of was how much fun we had. It completely met my three Fs: family, fitness and fun.”
SkyZone Newark, set to open in Dec-ember, is a 23,000 square-foot facility on Executive Drive. That’s a lot of space to jump, but there’s more. Carr says volleyball and dodgeball leagues will find a home at SkyZone, as well as fitness classes, like SkyFit, which incorporates elements of ballet, barre, Pilates and yoga. And all the acrobatics pays off—to the tune of 1,000 calories in about an hour for leisure jumping. Hardcore jumpers can raise the count. “There are high- or low-impact options,” Carr says, “so it’s really what you make of it.” If you’re between the ages of 4 and 80 and have healthy knees, trampolining is for you. And, bonus, you can even wear street clothes. Exercise attire isn’t mandatory. “We really hope to jump right into the hearts of everyone,” Carr says.
Trampolining can burn 1,000 calories an hour.
Step into Hockessin Aerial Fun & Fitness studio and feel the Zen. Tranquil music plays, students leisurely stretch, and, the big payoff, gorgeous fabric hammocks in royal blues and purples flow downward. But don’t be fooled; it’s tough work. Just watching instructor Zina DiTonno demo an inverted pose—hanging by her feet, each ankle swathed in a luxe loop of fabric—is enough to make one break a sweat. Think Cirque de Solei light. “Upper body strength, core, flexibility, lower body, toning, increased fluidity—this workout does it all,” DiTonno says.
Downstate, beach babes and bros can get air at Rehoboth’s Kaya Wellness, which is where DiTonno trained in VaihAyasa style, Sanskrit for “being or moving in the air, suspended in the air, sky-dwellers.” Both facilities have weekly aerial classes. For the uninitiated, the hammocks, which support up to 1,000 pounds, are anchored to the ceiling. DiTonno says the range of motion can be increased or decreased simply by having the hammock hang closer or farther away from the floor. “It is so fun,” DiTonno says. “How many workouts do you know where you can flip in a hammock hanging from the ceiling?”
Her classes, which blend Pilates-based core moves, aerial challenges, strength training, balance and posture work, work for many people. “I have one student, she’s in her 70s, and went to physical therapy and everything else to ease some ailments. Nothing worked,” she says. “But since aerial, she’s had vast improvements in strength, mobility, balance. It’s amazing.” There’s a learning curve at first. “It’s about trusting the fabric: Will this hold me?” She assures her students that it will, and soon enough, they’re hanging from the ceiling like pros. “I do have a first-time class requirement, so the basics will be covered before students move on to more challenging aerial work.”
Barre improves core strength and posture.
Barre is a surefire way to discover muscles you didn’t know you had—and feel the burn for days. Just ask Yekaterina Syomash, a Russian professional dancer and choreographer who teaches barre at Kaya in Rehoboth Beach, privately at her Lewes home and soon, at Midway Fitness Center, also in Rehoboth. “The benefits of barre are endless,” Syomash says. “Hard on muscles, kind on joints. The small, super-controlled movements reduce pressure on your joints, tendons, ligaments and spine. By doing barre regularly, you’ll also notice a remarkable improvement in your core strength and posture. While a tight core will give you a taller appearance, it will also keep you safe from injuries.” Syomash, who has been pirouetting since age 6, infuses a blend of dance and cardio into her classes. “It may look like ballet, butit’s not,” she says. “Barre fitness classes are simply ballet-inspired, incorporating a ballet barre and maybe some pliés and pirouettes.
Essentially, barre classes mix elements of Pilates, dance, yoga and functional training, and the moves are choreographed to motivating music. And for my classes—I have a strong cardio part, which may challenge a lot of people.” Instructor Danielle Waugh Stock is putting her own spin on barre in North Wilmington. “Your muscles will shake and convulse to exhaustion, but embrace the shake,” says Stock, who has trademarked her routine as SkinnyBarre. Light hand weights are also used. “You walk in and assume that 1- and 2-pound weights will be a complete joke, but much to people’s surprise, after 15 minutes of reps, they get extremely heavy.”
She describes SkinnyBarre as “isometric holds and one-inch movements to shape and define the muscles, reaching all of the traditional problem areas—thighs, seat, abs, waistline and arms—in one class.” SkinnyBarre classes are offered at Pure Yoga in Trolley Square, FIT Studio in Wilmington and Delaware Swim and Fitness in Pike Creek. Stock also likes the sense of empowerment that the predominately female students gain. “[They] love the sense of camaraderie ... it becomes a social hour, where women can just escape from the daily grind.