Innovative Exercise Classes to Start Your New Year

Renew your enthusiasm for fitness with these top pick exercise classes.
Emma and Denise Strenger, Tracy Jost and Tonya DeGregorio-Witzel partake in rope burn.

A new year is at hand. If you’ve munched the remnant crumbs from the cookie exchange platter and will soon be shopping for a new spring break swimsuit, it may be time to revisit your fitness goals and get that mid-winter conditioning back on track. Sometimes the best way to reinvigorate a worn resolution is to try something new. Check out this preview of 10 local exercise options sure to pique a renewed interest in fitness.

Hot Yoga

Hot yoga is Corepower’s signature workout experience. It involves a series of strengthening and balance movements in a well-heated studio. The added warmth is said to help release toxins and add an increased cardiovascular element.

The idea of exercising in Corepower’s peaceful and spa-like environment while enjoying tropical temperatures in the middle of winter was extremely appealing to this freeze baby. So I sampled a beginner’s class. The heat certainly made my muscles feel more elastic. And Corepower’s dimly-lit studio and meditative tone makes a group class seem more personal then those frenzied hip shaker style workouts.

Near the end, all that sultriness did bring on a slight wave of woozy. So be sure to properly hydrate before attempting hot yoga. And bring a towel to swab the sweat from your de-stressed brow. Overall, I found hot yoga to be a pleasant exercise experience.

Corepower offers heated and non-heated yoga at all fitness levels. For those looking for an extra challenge, manager Jamie Nelson recommends Corepower’s yoga sculpt, a higher energy class with weights. Single class and membership package rates are available after a free week of yoga.

Core Power Yoga
8160 Coller Way


Pilates incorporates exercises focused on flexibility and muscle strength with an emphasis on developing a strong core. Longtime fitness trainer Lisa Hein owns the Pilates Body. Her studio offers one-on-one and group Pilates classes in an environment similar to individualized personal training.

Hein’s approach is professional and individual. In fact, she wouldn’t let me attempt her group Pilates class without first receiving personal instruction regarding the proper way to perform the exercises. This is understandable since most Pilates movements are done on a device called a reformer, an intimidating apparatus of pulleys, springs, straps and bars that resembles a torture device from Game of Thrones.

Not to worry! I witnessed a class of smiling Pilates participants who agreed the spine stretching exercises felt like massage, not torture.

Paula Barjesteh was encouraged by her physical therapist to try Pilates to help relieve chronic hip pain. Barjesteh appreciates Pilates’ non-impact core strengthening and Hein’s close attention to proper alignment. A class at the Pilates Body seems perfectly suited to anyone looking to increase joint mobility and work all muscle groups with expert instruction from the knowledgeable and plucky Hein. Package rates for private and group sessions are available after a complimentary introductory session.

The Pilates Body
9900 Valley Creek Drive

Great Balls of Fun

Ways to Wellness at Woodwinds Health Campus offers customized wellness sessions, 24/7 workout facilities and a handful of challenging exercise classes. Health and wellness coaches guide clients toward personalized, holistic fitness and nutrition goals in a mid-sized, state-of-the-art environment with private bathrooms and semi-private gym spaces. But I mostly wanted to try great balls of fun: a group fitness class intended to target the core using medicine balls, Bosu balls, stability balls and balance balls.

Certified personal trainer Beth Dierkhising keeps the class lighthearted while she cheerfully guides participants through a demanding series of ball balance exercises targeting abs, glutes, back and arms. I never imagined a room full of colorful, bouncy balls could bring my muscles to trembling fatigue. And yet… I must admit I’m not fit enough to dismount from plank position off an exercise ball with any semblance of ladylike elegance. Worth it.

Ways to Wellness offers free information sessions and tours twice a month, or call for a free 30-minute consultation. Services include personal training, nutrition consultation and wellness coaching to manage stress, work/life balance and weight loss. Memberships are offered for fitness center access and classes like great balls of fun. Or purchase packages of services.

HealthEast Ways to Wellness
1825 Woodwinds Drive, Oak Center, Suite 300
651-232-1926 click classes & wellness

Rope Burn

Denise Strenger, fitness instructor at Delmonico Dance, began experiencing the long-term effects of high impact routines and realized she needed a work out that would be more gentle on her joints. But Strenger is a cardio junkie who craves the elevated heart rate and pulse-pounding music of more upbeat exercise classes. So Strenger developed rope burn, a fitness class that combines Pilates principals with a low impact cardio workout. The combo is achieved in a warehouse style studio with a barre and dozens of elastic resistance bands hanging from the ceiling.

The loops at the ends of the bands provide the necessary support to engage the core and activate muscle groups. I envisioned training for Cirque du Soleil but found rope burn to be an accessible series of upper and lower body exercises. The bands are easy enough to maneuver and definitely add a resistance element to the workout. Staying balanced can be tricky if you’re tempted, as I was, to rely on the bands to hold you up and steady. And the exercises done while lying on a mat with my feet threaded through the ceiling bands worked my abdominal endurance.

Rope Burn provides more pep and popular music than a typical Pilates class and is especially appealing to those who want a low impact class with a high energy vibe. The first class is free and 10 class punch cards ($80 for non-members) are available with a $49/month membership. Drop-in classes are $10.

DelMonico Dance
670 Commerce Drive, Suite 120

Additional exercise options to help get your New Year rear in gear:

Studio Cycle at Life Time Fitness: An exhilarating indoor cycle journey built on the foundational principles of outdoor cycling and set to motivating music. No outdoor cycling experience is necessary. A Life Time Fitness Club membership is required or attend as a guest of a member.

Life Time Fitness
675 Commons Drive

Fitness on Demand at UpLift Guided Fitness: UpLift has doubled its group fitness space and added a 10-foot screen for on-demand video access to a variety of workout classes for women. They’ve also added instructor-led Insanity fitness classes. Insanity incorporates bursts of maximum intensity exercises designed to give you insane results.

UpLift Guided Fitness
257 Rivertown Drive

Aqua Zumba at YMCA: Known as the Zumba pool party, this shallow water class combines Zumba dance with traditional aqua fitness in a safe, challenging, water-based workout that is cardio-conditioning, body toning and exhilarating.  Membership is required and includes access to all classes and workout facilities.

2175 Radio Drive

Small Group Training at Premier Fitness: Semi-private personal training classes with a certified personal trainer. These energetic sessions incorporate free weights, cables, bodyweight exercises, boxing fitness, plyometrics and more. One-hour classes meet twice a week for 8 to 12 week sessions offered quarterly.

Premier Fitness
3100 Woodbury Drive