Healthy Life

Ahead of the Curve: New ways to stay fit in Southwest Florida

From pole dancing to arctic workouts, there are some cool new ways to stay in shape.

BY October 28, 2015

The new trends in fitness are a far cry from the days of Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons. Some recent approaches, like P90X or CrossFit, have succeeded in turning fat into fit. Others have produced dubious results: Remember the Shake-Shake Belt? That was the “whole-body vibration” contraption that promised to shake the weight off your hips. If only it were that easy.

The hot new thing is small, boutique fitness centers—and they are sprouting up all over Southwest Florida, challenging the classic gym concept with targeted, “movement”-based exercise programs. These facilities promise to increase your strength and burn more calories than a typical gym workout.

Here’s a look at some of the choices you have to freshen up your workouts.

Pole and Aerial Fitness

Pole dancing is a workout that comes with a reputation. But forget whatever you previously assumed; it is a fun and challenging exercise any woman can enjoy, regardless of fitness level. The Pole and Aerial Fitness studio in Bonita Springs is designed for women—no men allowed (sorry, but camera and video are also not allowed). The owner, Mikal Mount, claims pole and aerial exercise is more than a trendy new workout. She believes she can help women “not only build their outer strength and beauty but also empower them to feel sexy; it is so enjoyable, it takes the ‘work’ out of ‘working out.’”  

It’s hard not to feel you are in a nightclub when you stand in the Pole and Aerial Fitness studio with eight poles surrounded by mirrored walls. But once you get going, it’s not about the glitz. And within one hour, Mikal amazingly gets all her students spinning around the pole in 3-inch stilettos. If you don’t have 3-inch heels in your closet, Mikal can supply them. Though any fashion statement is acceptable for pole dancing, shorts are preferable, as they allow your legs to better grip the pole. This is one swinging workout. 

Pole and Aerial Fitness: 28380 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, 410-4105. Reservations required.

Arctic Fitness

If you are looking for cool and different, you must give this sub-zero workout a try. Arctic Fitness offers a no-sweat, cryogenic exercise program. The actual workout takes place inside of a cooler set to—would you believe?—a chilling 18 degrees below zero. According to Arctic Fitness, it is possible to burn four times the calories in a frigid workout as in the same workout performed at room temperature. It is also possible to get frostbite.

 You do this one-on-one with a certified trainer. A session begins with a short stretch and a heavy-weight/low-repetition workout, followed by aerobic exercise in the cryogenic cooler. Once inside the cooler, participants run through a series of exercises tailored to their specific physical ability. For maximum exposure to the cold, it’s best to wear as little clothing as possible. Thrills and chills guaranteed.

Arctic Fitness: 3811 Airport-Pulling Road N., Naples, 595-6659. Reservations required.

Core to Core Fitness

Core to Core Fitness offers a variety of classes, including the new TRX Suspension Trainer. The Suspension Trainer looks like a contraption from Cirque du Soleil; it is a durable, industrial-grade nylon band suspended from the ceiling with a loop at the bottom that can be used as a handhold or a foot cradle. The Suspension Trainers are designed to displace the body’s center of gravity. As you move, the displacement increases the resistance.

The TRX exercises can be easy or challenging based on each individual’s ability. This low-sweat workout is appropriate for all levels of fitness, from beginners to diehard gym rats. It’s also helpful to those nursing an injury, as the TRX technique allows you to manage joint stress by lessening the resistance on the Suspension Trainer.

Core to Core also offers Pilates mat, Pilates reformer and barre classes. All told, your core will be the happy beneficiary here.

Core to Core Fitness: 5002 Tamiami Trail N., Suite 100, Naples, 649-5002. Reservations recommended.

TITLE Boxing Club

 Had a bad day and just want to punch something? TITLE Boxing Club offers a vigorous, one-hour, total-body boxing and kickboxing workout in a group setting. There are 50 boxing bags suspended from the blue ceiling so that each boxer has his or her own bag. The instructor leads the boxers through a series of three-minute combinations, both hitting and kicking the bag. TITLE Boxing Club promises the aerobic exercise will “burn up to 1,000 calories per hour in each group class.” The majority of the members are women, and the minimum required age is 8. Clothing should be comfortable and shoes are optional. You will sweat and work off a lot of aggression.

TITLE Boxing Club: 2349 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Suite 500, Naples, 963-8585. Walk-ins welcome.

Orangetheory Fitness

Peer motivation plays a big role here. The 60-minute, high-intensity interval workout burns an estimated 500 to 1,000 calories per class, with members rotating among rowing machines, treadmills and weight-bearing exercises. Each member gets a heart rate monitor that uploads the data. Then, the peer motivation part: Your heart rate and calories burned are projected on a screen so you can compare results with other members.

The workout is designed to push you into the “orange zone,” one of five color-coded zones defined by heart rate. For example, if you are working at your maximum heart rate, you are in the red zone. According to Orangetheory, working out in the orange zone produces an “after-burn effect” or “Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption” (EPOC). Orangetheory promises this increases your metabolic rate and burns calories for 24 to 36 hours after the workout. Heart rate monitors are provided with membership, and you’re not required to wear orange.

Orangetheory Fitness: 7935 Airport-Pulling Road, Unit 1, Naples, 599-5650; 11600 Gladiolus Drive, Fort Myers, 243-0730; 8001 Dani Drive, Fort Myers, 292-5826. Reservations required.

Iron Tribe Fitness

This is a high-intensity, interval training program—with a certain “tribe” vibe that bonds the members (this gym is a great place to make friends). The Iron Tribe Fitness studio has every exercise tool imaginable, from standard-weight bars to gymnastic rings suspended from the ceiling.

If you don’t like to sweat, this is not your fitness destination. The highly trained instructors lead the class through a series of exercises in 12- to 20-minute intervals, with two coaches and a maximum of 20 students per class. Approximately 60 percent of members are women. (This is a great destination for single men.)

Iron Tribe Fitness: 6291 Naples Blvd., Naples, 513-9005. Reservations required.

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