In search of a better workout? Here are trendy -- and old-school -- ones

It's 2011-- the year you do it. You're snipping the price tags off that fabulous Lululemon workout outfit and promising to break a sweat in it.

But the treadmill is so daunting, the elliptical has never seemed so boring, and Pilates -- that's so 2010.

If you've resolved to get fit in 2011, you might as well do it in style. Continue that resolve, jump into your spandex and try one of the trendiest workouts of the new year.

Self defense

Get fit and learn to defend yourself. There's a variety of methods, from the classic, ever-intense kickboxing, to specialized forms of martial arts. Peak Performance, with locations in North Richland Hills, Decatur and Keller, offers muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts. Hay-ya!

Health and fitness benefits: Self-defense classes are great for the whole body -- you'll get your heart rate up, increase flexibility and target upper- and lower-body muscle groups when working on jabs and kicks.

Equipment: None

Average monthly cost: Kickboxing is a pretty standard class offering at gyms, so it is likely included in your monthly membership. A month of the more specialized martial-arts classes at a gym like Peak Performance can range from $100 to $150.

Where to find it in Tarrant County: There are many karate studios, dojos and gyms in our area. Look for one near you or try Peak Performance, 817-614-9325 or

Barre classes

Don't worry -- a tutu is not required. The latest trend in the world of exercise is barre fitness -- a workout that uses a ballet barre mixed with light weights to stretch and tone your muscles. The high-energy workouts are therapeutic, but worthwhile. We promise, you'll feel it in the morning.

Health and fitness benefits: The yogalates-style workouts are great for upping flexibility, as well as for working on your core. The weight exercises are meant for upper-body strength, while the barre work targets your thighs and glutes.

Equipment: The class should provide all the equipment you'll need.

Average monthly cost: Urban Yoga in Fort Worth is one of the first locals in Tarrant County to offer barre classes. Try one for $15, or sign up for a month of classes, including Urban Barre, for $125.

Where to find it in Tarrant County: Urban Yoga, 1706 Eighth Ave., Fort Worth. 817-908-3569;

Retro fitness

It's 2011, but you might as well make it feel like you're a senior in high school again. This year, fitness experts are challenging exercise fanatics to recall their varsity days. Dust off your tennis racket, swim goggles or basketball and get back into the sport you loved in high school. You liked it -- and were at least a little good at it back then -- so, what's stopping you from doing it now?

Health and fitness benefits: The benefits will vary by sport, but in general, if you're up and moving, you're set.

Equipment: Varies. If you're not too far from those school days, you're almost certain to have all you need in the garage -- a pair of goggles if you lettered in swimming or a racket for those who were stars on the tennis court.

Average monthly cost: You can find an outlet for most high school sports at a local gym or YMCA. Gym and Y memberships can range from $30 for individuals to upward of $200 for families.

Where to find it in Tarrant County: You can find just about any court, gym, pool or track you'll need at the YMCA, a local fitness club or community recreation center. Look for sign-ups for basketball and softball leagues, if team sports were your forte. Visit your city's website for recreation center information, or visit

Ballroom dancing

Instead of sitting on your couch watching the stars shake it, get up and move with them. Dancing lessons have never been more chic. Make it a date, so instead of cramming calories at dinner, you'll be sweating them off as you learn to tango.

Health and fitness benefits: Christine Moranetz, associate dean of academic affairs at the University of North Texas Health Science Center and a fitness expert, said the benefits of ballroom dancing are multifaceted. All at once, you're working cardio, flexibility, stamina and muscular strength.

Equipment: You only need yourself -- and a pair of dancing shoes.

Average monthly cost: A startup lesson at Arthur Murray Dance Studio is $25. From there you can pick a package that fulfills your dancing desires.

Where to find it in Tarrant County: Arthur Murray Dance Studio, 4949 Bryant Irvin Road N., Fort Worth. 817-732-3111; The downtown YMCA also offers free group classes for its members, as well as private instruction for a fee.


Check your inhibitions at the door. To really benefit from Latin dance-inspired zumba, you have to be ready to shimmy and shake. It may make you feel saucy, or it may make you feel foolish, but either way, you're sure to feel the burn.

Health and fitness benefits: Most instructors want you to get your heart rate up and keep it there, which makes zumba a great cardio workout. The different dance moves, all set to fun and rhythmic music, will target different muscles, from your calves all the way up to your shoulders.

Equipment: None needed -- unless you want to dress the part and don a coin-adorned belly dancing skirt, which makes shaking it all the more fun.

Average monthly cost: Zumba classes are becoming a mainstay at gyms, so it should be included in your monthly membership. 24 Hour Fitness, the YMCA and Curves offer zumba classes.

Where to find it in Tarrant County: For locations, visit, or

Interval training

Interval training is all the rage -- largely because of the high-calorie burn count. The variety of high-intensity activities ensures that your workout will never be mundane. But be warned, interval training is not for gym newbies. Going too hard, too fast can lead to injury, so make sure you are stretched and ready.

Health and fitness benefits: The idea behind interval training is change -- in a typical workout, you will do a variety of activities for short periods of time, quickly switching among them. Moranetz said interval training has gained steam because of its high caloric burn, which can be good for the metabolism, as well as for weight loss.

Equipment: The equipment will change with the workout -- you may need everything from light weights to a tension band or a treadmill or elliptical.

Average monthly cost: You can talk with a physical trainer to build a personalized interval-training workout, or you can pick from hundreds found online for free. To simply mix up your morning walk, resolve to up the tempo for two minutes and then resume your regular pace for the next two.

Where to find it in Tarrant County: Find a workout online and try it at home or at your gym.

Jogging/running groups

The concept is ancient, but it's still around for a reason. Social jogging or running is a great way to hold yourself accountable -- you can't ditch your friends at 6 a.m. You can make your own jogging group of friends of a similar pace, or if you're up to speed, you can join a local run club.

Health and fitness benefits: Walking, jogging or running should be a staple in any fitness diet. The cardio is good for your heart, plus it's a great way to work out your legs and burn calories.

Equipment: A good pair of running shoes.

Average monthly cost: Free

Where to find in Tarrant County: Start a club with neighbors, or find a group in almost every Tarrant County city through Luke's Locker. Visit for locations. Luke's Locker and Fort Worth Running Co. also regularly offer running clubs specifically targeted for training for an event, like the Cowtown Marathon, or that have goals, like increasing your speed. Fees vary. Fort Worth Running Co. is at