Best Of

Top 10 Workouts in Southwest Florida

Everything from Krav Maga to Pure Barre

BY May 29, 2016

Tired of the treadmill? Bored with the bike? We don’t blame you. It can be uninspiring to do the same routine over and over. Try these workouts to kick, punch, crunch and downward-dog your way to a slimmer, stronger and healthier you.

Krav Maga

If you’re looking to step it up a notch, try Krav Maga. “You’re going to be pushed in that class,” says New World Defense and Fitness co-owner Alexis Acosta. Krav Maga—Hebrew for contact combat—is a self-defense system developed for the Israeli military. Krav Maga fitness classes have been popping up around the world, combining self-defense with a good workout. You’ll learn to punch, kick and even get out of certain types of holds and attacks. It’s not advised that you become a crime-fighter after this, but you will learn how to defend yourself, just in case. “It’s really empowering,” Acosta says. “At the end, you’ll have a lot more confidence.”

BENEFITS: Krav Maga is a total-body workout that includes cardio exercises and strength building.

New World Defense and Fitness
13790 Treeline Ave. S., Suite 4, Fort Myers.


A CrossFit gym can be intimidating. In fact, they don’t even call it a gym. It’s a box. And, the box is usually humid and filled with the sounds of weights dropping and the grunts and groans of those mid-workout. CrossFit is intense. But if you’re up to the challenge, it can be a great fit. Not all CrossFit classes are the same. Some routines may differ depending on the coach and the experience level of the student. Trainer Matt Torres sees all ages in his North Naples CrossFit. Coaches there pride themselves on an individual touch with each athlete, even spending the first week one on one to find a tailored routine. “It’s not a cookie-cutter workout,” Torres says.

BENEFITS: The high-intensity workout is a mix of weightlifting, rowing, running, gymnastics and more.

CrossFit is taught throughout Southwest Florida. Find affiliate locations on

Orangetheory Fitness

The goal is to get into the Orange Zone. Orangetheory Fitness is based on getting your heart rate up through a variety of interval training exercises (rowing, running and weightlifting). The Orange Zone is when your heart rate is 84 to 91 percent of its maximum. If you’re there for close to 20 minutes of your hourlong workout, you’re going to see a boost in metabolism post-workout. Trainer Lea Burkey knows the benefits of Orangetheory firsthand. The routine helped her lose 100 pounds before she signed on to be a coach. What sold her on it was the specific instruction from the trainers and the benefit of seeing immediate results based on her heart rate monitor.

BENEFITS: If you’re doing it right, you’ll experience excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (or afterburn), which burns calories after you’re done working out.

Naples and Fort Myers.

Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Think of it like cross-country skiing. Just on water. And in a swimsuit instead of a heavy coat. It can be a leisure activity, but paddleboarding can be quite the workout. Suncoast Paddle & Fitness teaches boot camps. It’s like a traditional workout, just balanced on the board. You’ll do things like crunches and burpees then get your heart pumping with paddling sprints. “It’s a great alternative to get a full-body workout,” says Suncoast trainer Anna Noble. Plus, you’ll probably discover muscles you never knew you had just trying to stay balanced on the board.

BENEFITS: Proper form dictates that you’re using not just your shoulders and arms but also your core. You can go for hours and not really notice because you’re using your core. 

Suncoast teaches throughout Southwest Florida. 239-223-3303.

Green Monkey Yoga

Expand the definition of fitness to beyond just your body. That’s the goal of yoga. Mental fitness is just as important. Yoga can reduce stress and anxiety, in addition to helping with balance, strength and range of motion. Debi Grilo of Green Monkey Yoga says yoga is also a great complement to a more high-impact workout routine. It’s “working the body in ways it not usually worked.” Green Monkey has partnered with the University of Miami to find specific health benefits for yoga, including studies on how it affects people with Parkinson’s disease or with balance issues.

BENEFITS: Green Monkey offers a variety of classes, including power yoga, which is geared more toward physical fitness.

Studio at 6200 Trail Blvd., Naples.

Pure Barre

Don’t think you have to be a ballerina to try this workout. No dance experience is required. Pure Barre looks like a ballet class, to a degree. The ballet barre is integral for the class. Many of the routines incorporate it to help balance the participants. But, really, Pure Barre is an isometric workout—small, focused movements designed to help the arms, legs, glutes, core and back. “It’s one of the fastest ways to change your body,” says Jennifer Hissam, co-owner of the Fort Myers Pure Barre.

BENEFITS: Pure Barre is a low-impact workout to help you tone and tighten. To get that heart pumping a bit more, try the Pure Barre Platform workout.

Studios in Fort Myers, Estero and Naples.

Aqua Zumba

Zumba has been all the rage in recent years. The workout is high-energy and set to music, so it seems more like a dance party than a day at the gym. Fort Myers Zumba puts a Florida spin on the workout craze by putting it in the water. It’s just like a regular Zumba routine—just underwater. It’s a lot cooler than a stuffy gym, and the water adds extra resistance to make it all the more challenging. “It’s low-impact, but it’s double-duty,” says Paula Raphael of Fort Myers Zumba.

BENEFITS: Aqua Zumba is a good cardio workout and can help tone your body. If mobility is an issue, the water is a good place to stage a workout.

Classes are taught in Fort Myers. 239-691-1349.


Think you’re ready to go nine rounds? Title Boxing Club will get you ready for the ring. Well, maybe not ready for a heavyweight bout. But, while you’re busy working on your jabs and uppercuts, you’re also getting in shape. Title Boxing Club’s classes are structured workouts that teach you basic boxing moves, along with getting fit. You’ll get experience working the bags like pro boxers. “Instead of just lifting weights or something like that, you’ll actually have a little fun doing this,” says general manager Derek Duffy.

BENEFITS: Get a boost in strength, coordination and agility. Plus, it’ll serve as a good cardio workout.

Title Boxing Club
2349 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Suite 500, Naples.

Time Trial Cycle

This isn’t a leisurely bike ride on a Sunday afternoon. The interval cycling classes are held in a darkened room, music pumping and a coach varying the routine. You’ll be sitting, standing and leaning in different positions all while pedaling. Don’t be surprised if you feel it in your glutes afterward. But it’s worth it. “You will feel 110 times better when you leave,” says owner Charla Goodnight. And, you’ll be able to track yourself after you leave, too. Time Trial emails your workout info afterward.

BENEFITS: The low-impact cardio workout can burn calories and help tone your legs and abs.

Time Trial Cycle
3080 Tamiami Trail N., Naples.

House of Flyte

Yoga doesn’t have to be so grounded. Take your next class up in the air. House of Flyte draws inspiration from Antigravity Fitness, a routine that’s part workout, part Cirque du Soleil. You’ll be suspended mid-air from a silk hammock, preforming a routine of positions. Don’t be surprised if you end up hanging upside down at some point. Classes are tailored to skill level, so don’t feel intimated. Owner Candice Kochenour says aerial yoga can help you get fit and reduce stress—and it can be a lot of fun in the process.

BENEFITS: Aerial yoga can help build upper-body, core and grip strength. Like other yoga classes, it can do wonders for reducing your stress level.

House of Flyte
The Shoppes at Vanderbilt, 2359 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Suite 402.


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