Self: The New Workout Plan

 In Culture, Feature

Today’s workout repertoire has come a long way since the monotonous days of Jazzercise and step aerobics. Today, it’s all about fitness with a twist, so there’s no excuse for getting stuck in a workout rut. Sick of the gym? Try Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Want to tone while getting flexible? Get off the ground with aerial arts. These trendy routines will get you fit-and keep you entertained-whether you’re shaking your butt in Zumba or getting it kicked in boot camp.


Be Hard Core Jennifer Aniston and other toned-up female celebs have proven that muscles aren’t just for men. But the look is not for the faint of heart. That all-over tone and definition only comes from being hard core à la boot camps and other rigorous full-body workouts fit for the militant and athletic-minded. If neither apply, proceed with caution, but know the payoff is oh-so-worth-it.

7 Places to Go All Out
Think you’re up for the same grueling routine performed by the Israeli Defense Force? Put your bod to the test at Xtreme Krav Maga & Fitness, which teaches the form of self-defense that Israeli soldiers are trained in. The program is sure to kick your butt into gear and give you the skills to put a world of hurt on someone, should you find yourself in a spot of trouble. Fenton, 636.577.1226.

Punching and kicking your way to a better physique is also a great way to relieve stress. At Sweat Pound 4 Pound, you can unleash your inner fighter—and get rock-hard—with boxing and kickboxing classes, as well as resistance and core training. Hit it like a pro with the Boxer’s Workout or burn up to 1,000 calories per hour at Thai Kickboxing. Clayton, 314.725.2714.

Another form of self-defense that doesn’t require kicking and punching is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, a martial art-based system that’s as strenuous as it is controlled. Learn from one of the best—UFC fighter Kyle Watson, who offers classes at various gyms around town., 260.255.4785.

Boot camps have been topping the hard-core, get-fit list for some time, and for good reason. Leave it to the pros at Ellipse Fitness to push you to your limit with their four-, six- and 12-week camps. The 12-week AMP’D program combines muscle-toning resistance training, fat-burning cardio, interval workouts and nutritional coaching in the proven boot camp environment. South County, 314.846.0003.

If you’re not up for a collective butt-kicking—and one-on-one is more your thing—The Fitness Edge offers unmatched personal training in
hard-core fashion. Designed by Michael Jaudes, a two-time honoree on the “Men’s Health” Top 100 Personal Trainers list, these sessions are sure to test your willpower and get you into top condition. Creve Coeur, 314.993.3343.

For a different type of intense, look no further than CrossFit, a no-nonsense regimen that’ll have you working out Police Academy style, using the same get-fit moves trusted by Olympic trainees and pro athletes. Try it at CrossFit St. Louis. Brentwood, 314.323.8233.

The newest method to hit the hard-core lineup is High Oxygen Training, and you can find it locally at Illuminate. The new turbo approach turns resistance weight lifting into an aerobic exercise, which does double duty on your body and kicks traditional anaerobic resistance training up a serious notch. Chesterfield, 303.399.1355.

Just Dance Everyone knows the best workouts are the ones where you don’t even feel like you’re working out. Hitting the dance floor is one of the sneakiest and most satisfying ways to work every muscle in your body, melt fat and incinerate calories. Opt for graceful ballet or racy burlesque; an hour of either can easily burn 1,000 calories—and make you work up a serious sweat.

5 Ways to Shake It
Dancers and ballerina wannabes are flocking in droves to try The Bar Method. With a focus on stretching and toning, this workout provides similar benefits to the dance form itself. But don’t expect an easy workout. These routines will sculpt your body by working muscles you didn’t even know you had. Town & Country, 636.527.9797.

If ballet isn’t your bag, maybe you’re more at home with the saucier gals showing off their fancy footwork at Fit Chix Fitness Studio, a trendy go-to for burlesque and pole dancing. If you’re not quite ready for the pole, try their hip-hop classes. Creve Coeur and Clayton,

Zumba has been muy caliente and shows no signs of cooling. Mixing fast footwork with Latin flair, Zumba gets your heart rate up with hip movements and hot beats. Literally meaning “to move fast and have fun,” Zumba is great for the joie-de-vivre set who like to dance and sweat. “Shake your bon bon” at Xtreme Zumba Fitness. Fenton, 636.577.1226.

Belly Dancing is a sexy way to learn an old art form while having fun and losing weight. The core-enhancing routine produces flexibility, rhythm and gentle muscle tone—and who doesn’t love bare midriff outfits that jingle? Find classes at Lotus Arts Studio. Benton Park, 618.530.5416.

Nothing is more reminiscent of childhood summer fun than hula hooping. The classes popping up around town, courtesy of STL Hoop Club, promise to maximize waist-whittling results. Whether you want to hula like a pro or just have a laugh while working up a sweat, classes are a ton of fat-burning fun. Around town,

Become a Yogi There’s nothing more legit than a fitness format that’s been around for thousands of years. And what better way to enjoy the undeniable physical and mental benefits of yoga than to try it with a few twists? These modern interpretations of the fitness classic are as great for beginners as they are for pros looking to rejuvenate their tried and true routines. So the next time you grab your mat, think yoga…plus.

6 Ways to Plus it Up
Certain things just go together, like bare feet and yoga mats. When masterfully paired, pilates and yoga are a match made in heaven. Purists may resist Yogalates, but for those who love strengthening and stretching, this fitness fusion is one to try. Find it at The Center for Mind, Body & Spirit. Clayton, 314.725.6767.

Liberal yogis are cashing in on an unlikely combo—yoga plus spinning. Tone and burn on the bike, then stretch and relax on your mat during a unique hybrid class offered by St. Louis’ Original Spinning. Yoga-spin enthusiasts will tell you there’s no better way to wind down from an intense cycling session than with the relaxation of yoga. Brentwood, 314.645.7746.

A love-it-or-hate-it brand of yoga, Bikram has a cult-like following, and the 105 degrees of heat (believe it or not) can become highly addictive. But this yoga-plus isn’t for the faint of heart. While the heat helps you get deeper into poses, it’s important to come properly hydrated lest you leave feeling woozy. Try it at Bikram Yoga St. Louis. Clayton and Chesterfield,

If you’re more of a traditionalist looking for some extra “oomph,” look no further than Power Yoga, a format based on a series of movements and breathing exercises that increases concentration and builds heat and energy in the body while helping you release stress and develop strength, focus, balance and flexibility. The Pilates and Yoga Center of St. Louis offers private instruction in power yoga and a variety of other techniques, so you can tap into your inner yogi one-on-one with an experienced trainer. Ladue, 314.569.9400.

Finding the time to exercise with a new baby can be as elusive as a full night’s sleep. Mommy and Me Yoga at Urban Breath helps moms get their pre-baby bodies back—while simultaneously bonding with their little ones. Fitness plus mental well-being sans nanny? Now that’s an equation moms can get used to. Dogtown, 314.421.9642.

For those who really want to get creative with their yoga practice, Marbles Yoga offers Acroyoga, a blend of yoga’s spiritual wisdom, the dynamic power of acrobatics and the therapeutic element of Thai massage. The unmistakable combination will leave you weak in the knees—and coming back for more. Benton Park, 314.225.7701.

Get Up Working out using your own body weight is one of the best kept secrets to building beautiful, lean muscle tone. So it’s only natural that taking your workout up in the air will increase its effectiveness—and put your body’s strength and flexibility to the test in ways you never imagined possible. It’s all about slow, controlled movements mixed with a little adventure. So get ready to soar because these workouts have wings.

4 Places to Get Off the Ground
Channel your inner acrobat with classes in aerial arts. Suspended mid-air by hoops, trapezes and elegant silks, you’ll hone your strength and flexibility while learning a beautiful and impressive skill. Circus pros and clowns welcome at Bumbershoot Aerial Arts. Benton Park, 314.898.3259.

Performed a little closer to Earth, TRX is a fitness model that’s soaring in popularity, and you can get it in full force at Rock Workout. Using suspension and resistance to your advantage, you’ll work your own body weight and use gravity to build strength, balance, coordination and flexibility. Midtown, 314.531.7625.

Commonly misunderstood as a workout that only increases upper body strength, rock climbing gives your legs an equal workout and often transforms into a hobby you can practice around the globe. Start out at Upper Limits, where you can get an outdoor-like climbing experience in the comfort and safety of the indoors. Downtown, 314.241.7625.

Bring out your budding gymnast on the uneven bars, rings and other Olympic favorites with the new Fuzion Fit Camp routines available at The Studio Element. Even if you don’t transform into an Olympic hopeful, you’ll be jumping, spinning and swinging yourself fit with this fun and challenging workout style. Webster Groves, 314.623.9904.



Fresh Workout Plan

Thai Kickboxing at Sweat Pound 4 Pound


Fresh Workout Plan

Marbes Yoga


Fresh Workout Plan

Ballet Workout


Fresh Workout Plan

Marbes Yoga


Fresh Workout Plan

Yoga Workout


Fresh Workout Plan



Photo credit: Photos by Ben Rieder and Shannon Duggan

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