We’re 15 days into 2015. How’s your New Year’s resolution to get fit and healthy coming along?
If you’re still feeling scared of the gym, there are plenty of new options. Gone are the days when starting a new workout routine was likely to mean buying a membership at a daunting big-box facility and taking on a sea of crowded treadmills and intimidating racks of bulky free weights.
That’s still an option, but boutique fitness studios are continuing a trend of diversity in routines. In the past year alone, several new options have arrived in town, each offering expert instruction in creative formats.
So grab your water bottle and begin perusing the workouts, from Pilates contortions and beefed-up ballet to virtual cycling or adult recess. No excuses allowed.
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Heart rate-monitored cardio
A stylish new fitness craze has exercise enthusiasts going orange.
Orangetheory Fitness, based out of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., offers 60-minute total-body workout classes that incorporate strength and conditioning along with heart rate-based interval training to stimulate the metabolism for hours and even days after completion. Tarrant County’s first location opened in Colleyville last spring, and a Keller Town Center location will open by March.
Equipment used includes TRX suspension workout trainers, Bosu balls, free weights, treadmills and rowing machines. But what pushes participants into the “orange zone,” or the specific heart-rate zone where they can really boost metabolism, are the heart-rate monitors they wear.
That’s because large TV screens display each participant’s name and his or her heart-rate level, serving as the ultimate motivator.
“Your heart rate gives it away,” says Kris Elwood, Colleyville Orangetheory studio manager, who will also manage the Keller location. “It’s so much more motivating than doing an individual session with a personal trainer or working out on your own.”
But coaches want participants to stay in the orange zone for only 12 to 20 minutes cumulatively for the entire class. If they do, “they’re going to burn 300-500 calories over the next 24 to 36 hours,” says Elwood. “And that’s on top of how much they already burned in class.”
Classes range from $7 to $18 depending on the membership option selected.
— 101 Town Center Lane, Keller (scheduled for March opening); 4709 Colleyville Blvd., Suite 500, Colleyville, 817-840-3400, www.orangetheoryfitness.com
Pilates, a system of exercises named for its late German inventor, Joseph Pilates, is commonly mistaken as only stretching and ab work performed on a mat. But there is another realm to the practice that incorporates spring-loaded machines that use pulleys, straps and bars to provide for hundreds of customizable exercises geared toward building core strength and balance, improving flexibility and mobility, and promoting symmetry in the body.
“I think a lot of people still don’t know what it is,” says Stephanie Daulton Perry, owner of D Method, her brand name of progressive fitness concepts that encompass equipment Pilates, barre and trampoline-based classes. “People think of Pilates and only think of mat work.”
After teaching several formats around Fort Worth for nearly 13 years, Perry opened her own studio in November on the near south side. The 4,800-square-foot space feels like a modern art gallery with crisp white walls, floor-to-ceiling glass doors and a mix of natural and artistic lighting.
Perry considers equipment Pilates work to be “moving art,” and her intention in designing the space was to showcase the challenging yet upbeat format as such.
“Pilates is great for flexibility and for toning,” says Perry. “If someone doesn’t want to do traditional weight lifting, they can get all of the weight-bearing exercises they need from Pilates, which helps with bone density, preventing osteoporosis and so much more.”
While most participants will break a small sweat on the Pilates equipment, those looking for a bigger calorie burn can find it with Perry’s version of barre, called D Barre, which provides one hour of bun-lifting, arm-toning moves mixed with cardio work and ab exercises using bands, balls and small weights.
There’s also D Bounce, Perry’s trampoline classes, which use sleek bellicon rebounders to burn fat and even detoxify and energize the lymphatic system and improve circulation through light jumping. No workout is ever the same, and all are set to beat-thumping music.
“Don’t expect classical music,” says Perry. “You’ve got to have fun when you’re working out. And if you work out in a beautiful place, it makes you want to keep coming.”
Classes start at $20, and packages begin at $300 for 20 sessions. D Method also offers nutritional services, including meal planning.
— 1289 Hemphill St., Fort Worth, 817-810-9850, www.dmethod.com
Touted as Hollywood’s premier barre workout, CardioBarre is a California-based concept that combines ballet-inspired barre work with light weights for toning and resistance exercises.
“You get your cardio in as well as your toning,” says Shannon Moore, who in June opened CardioBarre in Southlake, the only location in Texas. “It’s a high-energy, no-impact class. We’re lengthening and strengthening our muscles the entire time.”
With traditional, often slower-paced barre formats, participants might have to look elsewhere for cardio conditioning, Moore says.
“We know how busy women and men are and they don’t have time to go do several different workouts,” she says. “This is a fast-paced class. If you think you can’t do any more of one thing, we’re already moving on to something different.”
Celebs like Ashlee Simpson, Dakota Fanning, Stacy Dash and even KISS’ Paul Stanley are among the many fans of the format. Motivation by highly trained instructors, who must hold at least four years of classical ballet training and undergo three weeks of rigorous tests and teaching in California, contributes to participant praise for the program.
“There are only about 80 trainers in the country,” says Moore. “But you don’t have to have any dance experience to take a class. And the way you feel when you walk out of a class is unexplainable. Our instructors are extremely motivating. Every time I take a class, those are my most productive days.”
Classes are $18. The first CardioBarre class is free.
— 2757 E. Southlake Blvd., Southlake, 817-912-1441, http://cardiobarre.com
At South Carolina-based 9Round boxing clubs, which recently opened locations in Fort Worth and Arlington, participants can jab, hook, kick and uppercut their way to total-body fitness in only 30 minutes.
“It’s fast-paced. You’re in and out in 30 minutes,” says Fort Worth 9Round owner David Luffey, who holds a black belt in tae kwon do. “And you can come and go on your schedule because we don’t have any class times.”
And that’s one of 9Round’s biggest selling points. Members can jump right in to start round one without waiting for a class to begin. Participants work through nine three-minute rounds led by a trainer, spending rounds one through three focusing on cardio and strength, rounds four through seven punching and kicking a heavy bag, round eight working on a speed bag, and round nine doing abdominal exercises.
Trainers provide active recovery exercises like jumping jacks, sit-ups or push-ups for the last 30 seconds of each round while explaining what’s coming for the next round.
“There are always one or two trainers in there. They motivate you and show you what to work on,” Luffey says. “It’s detail-oriented, and the workout changes every day. You don’t get tired of the same old routine. We like to get people’s heart rates up, burn a lot of calories and work up a good sweat. At the end of it, they’ve gotten in their convenient workout for the day.”
Memberships begin at $39.99 a month for unlimited workouts. Gloves and hand wraps purchase required. New participants can try their first class free.
— 3049 Greene Ave., Fort Worth, 817-921-0502, and 5801 Interstate 20 W., Arlington, 817-483-9500; www.9round.com. Locations coming soon to Keller, Hurst and west Fort Worth.
“If you’re not enjoying your workout, you’re not going to come back,” says Kevin Richardson, regional director of Camp Gladiator, an outdoor fitness boot camp that encompasses endurance training, functional training, high intensity interval training and metabolic conditioning.
“Every workout is done at your own pace,” he says. “It’s for all fitness levels. You can always push yourself and get an incredible workout, but we’re going to make sure you have fun. We want you to have your recess hour back.”
Richardson and his team of trainers offer morning and evening classes, rain or shine, all over the DFW area. Participants, often 20 or 30 at a time, perform sprint and agility drills, body weight strength drills, cardio drills and more for a total body workout. Richardson describes Camp Gladiator as a community, with participants often attending social gatherings together after workouts, or embarking on hiking, biking and even camping trips together.
“It’s a community of people with positive energy,” he says.
Camp Gladiator classes are offered across the country, and packages range from four weeks to 12 months for unlimited classes. Newbies can use coupon code NEWYEARS85 for a four-week package rate of $85.
— To find the location nearest you, visit http://campgladiator.com
Pedals Cycling Studio
Even in the dead of winter, cyclists can ride through the picturesque terrain of Colorado, Lake Tahoe and even Ethiopia at Pedals Cycling Studio, new in Keller from owner Marlissa Kraft, who fell in love with indoor cycling while living in frigid Wisconsin. But the studio’s 3-D visual system and spacious, stadium-style layout aren’t the only features that set it apart from other spin venues.
“We have power meters on our bikes that are connected to computers,” says Kraft, who lost 90 pounds by way of indoor cycling. “You can see your progress. Our system allows you to store and track that information. Instead of guessing your progress based on how you feel, you actually see numbers. Maybe you started at 90 watts of power and now you’re at 120 watts.”
Kraft’s SpinPower Blade ION bikes inspire riders to push a little harder based on wattage required to climb a hill or race to the finish. Speaking of hills, Kraft’s virtual ride program allows her to add those on a whim, if she desires.
“I can manually add a hill and you’ll see the hill coming up,” she says. “Every time you ride, it’s not the same. And if everybody looks like they’re dying, I can exit quickly.”
Class types range from intro sessions for beginners to 90-minute endurance rides, and start at $17. There are monthly and yearly packages available starting at $99, and the first ride is free.
— 201 Town Center Lane, Keller, 817-710-4179, www.pedalscyclingstudio.com