Don’t be fooled into thinking that in order to snatch it back, you have to spend hours on a boring treadmill – which can feel like the equivalent to running on a hamster wheel. You don’t even have to step foot in a gym to get in shape! There are so many options out there that will get you fit while having fun. Here are 7 fitness alternatives that might float your boat and get you out of your workout rut.
1. Pole Dancing
Right out the gate, Jonna? Yep, let’s just get this one out of the way because I know you were thinking of it anyway. First, let me dispel the myth that it’s all about ‘exotic dancing’, aka stripping. Did you know that Pole was practiced by men and women as a part of circus-based acrobatics for centuries, and still is? Think Cirque Du Soleil. Pole Dancing is a form of dance gymnastics that uses a vertical steel dance pole. It builds muscular strength, endurance and flexibility, with emphasis on the arms, shoulders, back and core, for a complete body workout. Granted, most of the pole dancing we see now is geared towards finding your inner sex kitten. But if that’s not for you, just know that there are other options out there to get the same Pole workout. Find a respectable Pole dance fitness studio in your area, and see what classes they have that you feel comfortable trying.
Hands down, Zumba is my personal favorite. If you love to twerk dance, then Zumba is for you. Their tagline is ‘ditch the workout, join the party’ and they are right on point. Zumba is a dance aerobics class that is a fusion of Latin, African, Hip-Hop, and other international styles of dance and dance music. Get your Zumba on for an hour, and before you know it, you’ve burned TONS of calories. You can take group classes, or do it from the comfort of your own home with DVDs and gaming systems. They even have Aqua Zumba, Zumba Step, Zumba Kids, and many other speciality classes, so there is something for everyone.
3. Fitness Boot Camp
A fitness boot camp is a group fitness program designed to build strength and fitness through a variety of intense group intervals reminiscent of military boot camp training. Because this is a group class, you can find motivation from not just the instructor, but others in the group. These boot camps are done at fitness studios, gyms, and sometimes outdoor areas. CrossFit is a really popular boot camp class. Personally, Bootcamp isn’t my thing. But when you see the results people are getting, it makes you think twice about it.
Why be on a treadmill all alone when you can find your local chapter of Black Girls RUN! and team up with some other fit chicks? I mean, unless you want to run alone (which is fine, too). In 2009, Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks created Black Girls RUN! in an effort to tackle the growing obesity epidemic in the African-American community and provide encouragement and resources to both new and veteran runners. Find a Black Girls RUN! group close to you here.
This Afro-Brazilian martial art combines elements of fight, dance, acrobatics, and music. It’s said to improve athleticism, flexibility, and physical strength. What originated as a war dance has turned into one of the newest fitness crazes. Can’t find a Capoeira class in your area? Try finding a combat or kickboxing class for a similar feel. Who doesn’t have a day when you just want to punch something, or at least imagine punching something – or someone. Like Kermit, that’s none of my business. I’m just here to sip my tea and give you fitness alternatives.
Always wanted to be a ballerina? No? Me neither. But have you seen the bodies of professional ballerinas? Enough said. Barre is an hour-long, full-body workout using the ballet barre, concentrating on the areas women struggle with the most: hips, thighs, booty, abs and arms. It is low-impact, protecting your joints by avoiding any bouncing or jumping, so it is great for those who have joint injuries or issues that other forms of exercise can exacerbate. The concentration involved while taking Barre creates mental benefits similar to yoga. A mental AND physical workout? I’m all for it. I’m looking forward to trying Barre out myself!
7. Fitness Apps
Do you prefer to work out solo or exercise from home? Don’t have a gym membership, and don’t want that commitment? Well, I know you have a smart phone. Besides using your phone to take gym selfies, read 4CHairChicks.com, and scroll through the 4CHairChicks Instagram page, you can also find some great fitness apps. Apps like Nike Training Club, Fitbit, BodySpace, FitStar, and so many more give you tons of flexibility to create a workout catered to you and your needs, time, and resources. Did I mention that most are Free99?
See something that interests you? Try it! Whether in the comfort of your own home or in a group class, these fitness alternatives will help you on your fitness journey. Variety is the spice of life, and one thing I know about a successful fitness journey – it’s not about what you do, it’s about doing something. And if you find something you enjoy doing, you will do it.
Share your experience with any of these fitness alternatives, or your favorite activity that wasn’t listed.