25 Ways to Get In Shape, Get Outdoors and Slim Down in St. Louis this Summer.
From hiking trails to running groups to early morning bootcamps, St. Louis has a slew of ways to getand stayactive. All it takes is a little motivation and know-how on where to go and what to do. And whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or fitness newbie, there’s a workout or race out there for you. Check out our list of ways to get movingwithout getting bored.
You wouldnt just jump in the car and head out on that cross-country roadtrip without looking at a map or peeking under the hood, right? The same logic applies to your fitness routine. Setting a fitness goal is a necessity to stay motivated and committed. Maybe its weight loss or running a race or just spending a set amount of time every week on your physique. If you need help getting started, Go! St. Louis offers beginner training programs for runners, and the YMCA of St. Louis has entry-level fitness counseling. And most area gyms will do a fitness assessment for you to see where you should begin and what goals you should set your sights on.
Get a Coach
Bring your game, whatever it is, to the next level by getting an expert in your training corner. Fleet Feet Sports sponsors the Fleet Feet Training Team that offers coaching for all levels of runners. And coaching resources are a mouse click away at trainingbiblecoaching.com. They have science-based training programs for sports, ranging from running to kayaking, and resources like webinars and e-clinics. Personal coaching and “athletic enhancement” services are available at Enhanced Performance and Excel Sports Physical Therapy. Dont just spin your wheels and go nowhere; get some expert input and improve.
Tri a New Challenge
Triathlons are no longer just for Ironmen. This combo of swimming, cycling and running has a variety of distances for all ages and fitness levels. According to Kevin Jokisch, race director for the Big Shark New Town Triathlon, tris are a great way for athletes from other disciplines to cross-train. If you decide to take the triathlon challenge and need some help training, Tri-Smart Training Systems offers coaching services for triathletes at all levels, and the St. Louis Triathlon Club sponsors group training events and gives lots of support to members. And once youre ready to compete, there are plenty of races happening in the area, like the Big Shark New Town Triathlon in St. Charles, and The Tour De Kirkwood Sprint Triathlon. Go to trifind.com to find more area coaches and triathlons.
Get off the bench and into the game. Theres no better way to get your competitive juices flowing and stay motivated than joining an area sports team. For those who prefer contact sports, try rugby The Missouri Rugby Football Union has info on all of the area teams. If you prefer your sports with a little less contact, the St. Louis Kickball Association (skarocks.org) has a variety of divisions, Wave Taco sponsors beach volleyball play, or try your hand at flying disc action with the St. Louis Ultimate Association. St. Louis Sports & Social Club has coed leagues for wiffleball, flag football and bowling, among others.
With the arrival of summer comes easy solutions to get outdoors. There are lots of classes around town that take full advantage of the warm weather. Like the water? The St. Louis Rowing Club has adult learn-to-row classes held on Creve Coeur Lake, and the Alpine Shop has tutorials on kayaking and all types of paddling that take place at Simpson Lake in Valley Park and Creve Coeur Lake. If youd like to stay on dry land, Sleek Bootcamp hosts outdoor fitness classes in St. Louis and Belleville, IL.
From the contestants on “Dancing With The Stars” to the cast of “Sex and the City,” pilates has helped celebs get red-carpet worthy bodies for years. Get your core in order at one of the many pilates studios around town. The Pilates & Yoga Center of St. Louis and Wellbridge Athletic Club and Spa feature mat pilates classes. St. Louis City Fitness specializes in Stott Pilates with mat, ladder barrel and stability chair. Or check out the pilates classes at your local gym.
Set a Date
If youre serious about achieving a certain fitness or athletic goal, put it on the calendar. Nothing will keep you going back to the gym or putting in the miles like having an event to work toward. Cyclists can plan on the Moonlight Ramble, August 21, or the Missouri State Criterium Championship, August 1 in Jefferson City. Racewalkers can set their sights on the Summer Racewalk Series at the Pattonville High School track, courtesy of the Racewalkers Club of St. Louis. Thinking about a triathlon? Try the Beginner Indoor Triathlon, August 1 at the Chesterfield Family YMCA. The St. Louis Track Club and stlbiking.com keep extensive calendars of whats happening all over the metro area, and shops like Big Shark and Ghisallo also have lists of events they sponsor. Just dont stand yourself up.
Work Out On a Dime
Who doesnt love a bargain? Its not necessary to fork over mad dough to get a great workout. Cross Fit has free trial classes, and so does Zumba Fitness St. Louis. Some gyms have free classes once you join up; Power House Gym has no-cost classes like spinning, boxing and yoga for members. The Lab offers a free fitness consultation to help you get started. Gymticket.com has free guest passes available for a multitude of local gyms and fitness centers. And there are pages of fitness-related groups at meetup.com that offer classes, many of which are low or no cost. Theres no reason to let lack of funds keep you from staying fit.
Hit the Hills
Theres nothing better for mind and body than heading for the hills for some hiking. Plan your hike online at trails.com and localhikes.comthey have lists of trails in Missouri and Illinois with maps, photos and trail reviews. The Missouri Department of Conservation is also a great resource for trail info and if you feel like running for the hills, literally, Stltrailrunning.com has info on local areas to run off-road if youd like to pick up the pace on the trail.
Take the road less traveled. Way less traveled. Mountain biking is the perfect way to combine your love of cycling with your passion for the great outdoors. Plan a trail ride with singletrack.com or trails.mtbr.com, both of which have trail reviews along with maps and photos so you know exactly what youre getting into. Explore parks like the 17 miles of trails at Castlewood State Park or find one that fits your fancy at Gateway Off-Road Cyclists.
Almost everything is more fun if you do it with someone elseand having someone to hold you to your workout is an added benefit. Take tennis lessons or just hit the courts at the Dwight Davis Tennis Center in Forest Park. If four-wall action is more your style, try racquetball at Vetta Sports, or the St. Louis Jewish Community Center. Or get hands-on with a game of handball at the Forest Park Handball Club, one of the oldest handball clubs in the country.
Get Motivated by Giving Back
Get active and give back through local nonprofits that help you train for a big race while fundraising for a cause. Team In Training, can help you train for a marathon, half-marathon, triathlon, 100-mile bike ride or hiking event, all
while benefitting leukemia and lymphoma research. Team Challenge helps you train for cycling and running events while supporting colitis and Crohns Disease research. If youre just looking for a single race, try the St. Louis to Peoria Run August 6 and 7 to benefit St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital. If shorter distances are more your style, try the Hope For Haiti 5K, July 10 at Frontier Park in St. Charles, or the Multiple Sclerosis 10K sponsored by Ghisallo Running July 3 at St. Louis Community College at Meramec in Kirkwood. Cyclists can get in on the action too with the MS 150 to benefit the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation, with a two-day, 150-mile ride September 11 & 12.
Leave the asphalt jungle behind and take to the countryside. Theres an abundance of bike trails all over the metro area just waiting for you. The Katy Trail, Castlewood State Park and the Chubb Trail, provide miles of scenic riding. On the east side, Madison County Transit boasts 80-plus miles of bike trails. And if you decide to stay city-bound, Forest Park has a newly revamped series of paved bike paths that will take you past all of the parks attractions. For more ideas, stlbiking.com can give you a rundown of all of the cycling opportunities literally right outside your door.
Join a Group
Learn the ropes and stay motivated in whatever activity you choose by joining a group of like-minded individuals. Fleet Feet Sports, Big River Running Company, Belleville Running Club, the St. Louis Track Club and Metro Milers all sponsor runners groups for beginners and experts alike. Decided on cycling? The Hub Bicycle Company, Mesa Cycling and Big Shark Bicycles all have riding groups. Another resource to find fellow fitness enthusiasts is Meetup St. Louis, where you can hook up with groups of folks participating in everything from bootcamps to bellydancing.
Try Something new
Bust out of that rut and shake things up. St. Louis has all sorts of options that provide unique workout opportunities that will put the spark back into your fitness routine. How about dodgeball or aerobics classes on trampolines? Thats what Skyzone Recreational Center in Chesterfield is all about. Or get airborne with a trapeze class at Bumbershoot Aerial Arts Studio or just explore a new class that you never considered before, like poolside core conditioning at Sant at the Chase.
Sure, a bootcamp or 25-mile ride will kick your butt into gear, but the ultimate way to challenge yourself is through hard-core Lara Croft-style classes. Learn fighting moves that keep you fit with boxing and kickboxing classes at Sweat, St. Louis Workout or St. Louis Self Defense and Fitness. St. Charles Brazillian Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts and Finneys MMA have jiu jitsu and mixed martial arts classes Finneys also has a fighter development program that will train you to get in the ring and fight for real.
Join the Bootcamp Craze
Get in on the bootcamp phenomena and get fit military-style, without the mandatory haircut. Theres a bevy of bootcamps available in STL; Cross Fit St. Louis and Sant at the Chase both have bootcamp classes for various fitness levels. St. Louis Fitness Results has sessions specifically for the ladies. Some classes are held outside for that real basic training feel, like the Tower Grove Co-Ed Bootcamp in Tower Grove Park, where youll focus on strength training and endurance from head to toe during the one hour meet-ups.
Pump It Up
Nobody says a workout is supposed to be easyjust ask the Navy SEALs. You can train like one at the TRX Hard Core class at Rock Gym or push yourself with a kettlebell class at St. Louis Self Defense, Cross Fit or Sweat. Heat up your yoga routine with Bikram-style yoga sessions at Yoga St. Louis or get off that run-of-the-mill exercise bike and take to the virtual hills for a for real workout with a spinning class at Bally Total Fitness.
The sky really is the limit when it comes to climbing workouts. For a true aerial adventure, Upper Limits Rock Climbing Gym has an indoor rock climbing wall and offers outdoor classes as well. The Center of Clayton has a climbing wall that can be used with or without ropes, while REI in Brentwood has a climbing wall right in the store and offers instruction, as well as a full selection of gear should you get the itch to hit the rocks for real.
Feel the Beat
Be it Lady Gaga or Metallica, music can help motivate you and make your workout a lot more fun. But dont just hit shuffle on your iPod and go, craft a playlist thats right for the activity youre doing. Inthegym.net has user-submitted playlists that are categorized by musical genre and workout. For some really eclectic music to include on your list, go to bestplaylists.com. or try askthetrainer.com, which has playlists and advice on how to make your own workout mix.
Feed Your Mind and Body
Increase your physical, mental and spiritual flexibility with yoga. Studios like Southtown Yoga and St. Louis Yoga Source have a range of classes for all levels. Once you have your body tuned up, make sure youre filling it up with the right fuel. Hammer Bodies Custom Fitness and Nutriformance Fitness, Therapy and Performance offer nutrition counseling to ensure youre putting what you need into your body to get the most out of your workout.
Dance Your Butt Off
Who needs machines and weights? Sometimes all thats required for fitness is you, a partner and a little bit of rhythm. Try your hand at tripping the light fantastic and take a dance class. Club Viva St. Louis, Casa Loma Ballroom, The Studio Inc., and The Dance Co-op St. Louis can teach you everything from salsa to waltzes, foxtrot to swing. Back at the gym, Club Fitness has hip-hop aerobics. And if you want classes in a less-formal setting, Atomic Cowboy in the Grove sponsors swing dance classes every Thursday.
If your idea of roller skating involves disco balls and satin short-shorts, think again. Skating is a good way to stay active, and the St. Louis area has plenty of rinks. Take a class or participate in an open skate at St. Nicholas Roller Skating Rink or Rollercade Roller Skating Rink. If youre interested in any type of skating, especially inline, check out SpeedskateSTL, where youll find an avid local skating community and lots of info. Want to put your wheel skills to the test? Think about inline hockey; All American Inline Hockey has lessons and leagues once your skills are up to snuff.
Think Outside the Box
Gone are the days of P.E. class push-ups and sit-ups. A key to sticking to any workout is to mix it up and have fun. Get sexy with your workout and take a zumba, strip cardio or chair striptease class at The Fitness Studio, or hit the pole at the Michelle Mynx Academy of Pole Dance. The Arch Rival Rollergirls roller derby league periodically takes on new recruits as needed to mix it up on the track.
Explore the 17 miles of trails at Castlewood State Park.
Bumbershoot Aerial Arts Studio
Bumbershoot Aerial Arts Studio
Arch Rival Rollergirls
Photo credit: Photos courtesy of James Arnott Photography, Audrey Sharp, Big Shark, Bumbershoot, Bob Dunnell and Arch Rival Rollergirls