If you're looking for a way to spice up your exercise routine this summer, there are lots of new options to help you get fit. From competitive spinning to high-energy dance classes to workouts that focus on strength and flexibility, these exercise regimens make a great compliment to or replacement for your regular workouts. Try one or try them all and get ready to take your fitness to the next level.
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Orangetheory Fitness is a franchise of gyms located across the country. Unlike traditional gyms where you workout independently from your fellow gym-goers, Orangetheory hosts classes in which you complete workouts at your own pace, but along with other exercisers.
Each instructor brings their own vibe to the classes, but every Orangetheory class is comprised of some combination of cardio on the treadmill and the rowing machine plus strength training. And what makes it truly unique is that every participant wears a heart rate monitor with results that are displayed on a screen for all to see. (You can see the screen to the side of the treadmills in the pic above.)
The theory behind Orangetheory is that you should get your heart rate into Zone 4, or the orange zone, for 12-20 minutes of your workout because that's where the magic happens when it comes to calorie burning. Any higher or lower and you're not really getting everything you can out of your workout — or yourself.
If you're looking to get strong and sculpted, BootyBarre might be just the class for you. It uses a barre, similar to the ones that ballet dancers use, but don't worry, you don't need any dance experience to join. BootyBarre classes are low-impact, but you can expect to work up a good sweat thanks to the combination of strength and flexibility moves.
While instructors are certified to teach BootyBarre classes, they have a lot of flexibility to change up the moves, reps, and music, as long as they stick to the basic framework of the class. Expect to lift some light weights while focusing on intentional movements that work to improve flexibility and build strength.
If grassroots fitness is your thing, you need to find your way to a November Project class this summer. November Project has an awesome and simple backstory: Two guys from Boston wanted to stay fit over the winter so they made a promise to meet to work out every morning for the month of November.
There are now over 40 November Project branches throughout the world where organizers lead exercisers through a series of cardio and strength training moves which feel more like adult recess than set workouts. While there's no standard format to a November Project workout, two things are found at every session, whether it's held in Amsterdam or Austin, Texas: They are always outdoors regardless of the weather, and they're always free.
Remember how those TRX contraptions changed the name of the game in fitness a few years ago? That's the idea behind Fitwall. The moves are familiar — think squats, planks, pull-ups and burpees — but you perform them in unique ways using a machine that's part rungs on a ladder, part attached bungees, and part medieval torture device. The moves can be modified from beginner level to beast mode by moving your hands up or down on the rungs or stepping closer or further away from the wall. Fitwall gyms can be found in Arizona, California, Colorado and Michigan.
Gyrotonics is unique exercise that looks a lot like some combination of t'ai chi, ballet, swimming and Pilates. Most of the movements are performed on a Gyrotonic Expansion System (or GXS) which is a wooden machine with pulleys and rotational discs that allow you to use lots of flowy circular motions in the workouts.
Gyrokinesis workouts use similar principles but the movements are performed on the floor or on a stool and not with the GRX machine. Unlike a lot of exercises that keep the movements in one plane of motion, Gyrotonics and Gyrokinesis focus on three-dimensional range of motion moves that work to open up the joints, stimulate acupressure points and build strength.
Love to dance? UJam is the workout for you. These high-energy dance classes are less traditional gym workout and more late-night rave. UJam sessions lead you through the latest dance moves while you work up a good sweat. And don't worry, you don't have to be a good dancer to get started. With the theme of "United We Jam," UJam classes aim to be welcoming, uplifting, and most of all, fun.
If you're a fan of SoulCycle and other spinning classes but also have a competitive streak, you may be interested in trying a Flywheel class. The setup for Flywheel is very similar to your standard spin class — the room is dark, the music is loud and proud, and the circuits take you through a range of hill work, sprints and pedaling with resistance that can be adjusted by a knob on your bike. The difference is, at most spin classes, your torque — or the amount of energy created by your resistance level and cadence — is only displayed on your bike. But at Flywheel classes, a screen above the instructor's head displays the torque for every bike. "Flyers" might compete during short 30-second sprints or 45-second hill climbs, and at the end of the class, bikes (and flyers) are ranked according to the torque generated.