Nine Indy Workout Hotspots
Editor’s Note: Jump, flip, and paddle for joy—we’ve found nine calorie-burns fit for fun summer living, plus tips on motivation from the Hoosier star of Bravo’s Toned Up. Ready for Zumba in the pool and spinning to Poison? Shake it to the right. (See all Health & Fitness stories here.)
Difficulty: Easy (upper arms, core)
The entrance to Cirque Indy, located amid warehouses just off Mass Ave, would be nearly impossible to find if the owner hadn’t painted the door with vertical red and white stripes. And when you do spot the place, it feels like you need a password to get in. But just swing the door open to uncover a cavernous space with five lengths of shimmery fabric, a hoop, and a trapeze hanging from the ceiling. The AERIAL SILKS INTRO/BEGINNER of just a few people starts out with stretching and some Pilates, and then moves on to what you’re really there for: the circus stuff. You’ll get your own silk (actually a super-strong nylon-cotton blend) and learn to weave it artfully around your arms, all the better for lifting yourself into various positions, like “legs straight out in front of you” or “legs bent like a dancer’s.” Then owner/instructor Mary Brumbaugh, who opened her studio in 2012, will knot your silk so you can stand on it, sit, or do cool poses. Moves like the Coffin—lying down, back straight as a plank, stretching the silk as wide as possible—involve wrapping parts of your body with the silk to help maintain balance. But don’t worry; you’re never more than a few feet off of the mat-covered floor, at least in the intro class. You will, however, notice slightly throbbing triceps for the next few days. $20 per class. 617 N. Fulton St., 317-509-0086, cirqueindy.com
What To Wear: Something close-fitting, so it doesn’t get caught in the silks as you wind them around your body.
Good to Know: Arrive in your workout gear—there’s just a single bathroom for changing.
Take Home: Adorable Cirque Indy tees for sale.
Also Get Aerial At: Pole Harmony (5135 S. Emerson Ave., Ste. J, 317-759-2589) and Mindful Movement Studio (1475 W. 86th St., 317-257-6463).
Difficulty: Intense (legs, butt, core)
To isolate hard-to-work hips and thighs, give roller-skating a try—again. Scooting around on eight wheels is harder now than it was in seventh grade, but after wobbling through one session of DERBY LITE, a 12-week class of roller-derby techniques, you’ll be steady enough to handle the non-contact drills. And here’s the good news: You’re supposed to fall. Standing back up works your glutes and legs like squats. Beginners spend their initial sessions—geared up like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the required pads and helmet—learning how to hit the deck safely, stop, and regain balance in “skater stance,” which means crouching slightly and leaning forward. Then, a typical aerobic class might include cruising around the gym and falling on command, weaving from the back of a “pace line” to the front in a crouched position, and skating suicides. All of this happens at your own speed and with music, and it’s a hoot—for the first half-hour. By the end of the 90-minute session, especially one that includes the drill 12 Minutes of Hell, you’ve put in enough work that intense soreness will last for a couple of days. The friendly, low-pressure class of 10 or so draws a few retired roller-derby vets as well as middle-aged women with no competitive aspirations, and the instructor won’t give you so much as a side-eye for stopping at the wall to rest or clench your lower back. Nicknames (Bone Jett, Hot Lips Hooligan) are encouraged. Laughing, after all, burns calories. Next session begins in September. $457 for 12 weeks, including purchase of pads and skates (rent-to-own option available for skates). Krannert Park Family Center, 605 S. High School Rd., 317-327-7375, wp.derbylite.net
Good to Know: If you catch Derby Lite fever, you can upgrade your gear (with zingy colored wheels, for instance) at Vital Skates in Fountain Square.
Before You Commit: In lieu of drop-ins, Derby Lite offers an occasional observers’ class. The next one is July 30 at the Forum in Fishers.
What to Wear: Inexpensive leggings or form-fitting capris that you don’t mind getting dirty. Fishnets, knee socks, and stretchy mini skirts aren’t out of place, either.
Fear Factor: Beginners are most afraid of falling, but fret not—you’ll learn the proper technique without skates. Once you know it won’t hurt, flinging yourself to the ground isn’t scary.
REPORT FOR BOOTY
Difficulty: Punishing (legs, arms, shoulders, core)
The sign on the bathroom door—the gist of which is “vomit at your leisure, but the class must go on”—should be a clue that GYM41 BOOT CAMP will kick your butt. To be precise, trainer Lindsay Bevilaqua will do the honors. Lindsay—sometimes joined by her wife and co-owner, former Indiana Fever player Tully Bevilaqua—puts her charges through a grind of intense three-to-five-minute sessions at stations set up around a deep, high-ceilinged workout room. Campers break into small groups and brave the tasks together as Lindsay patrols the scene and offers encouragement or advice, or checks in with students. One station harbors medicine balls to make burpees even more grueling; another finds workout-mates donning boxing gloves to go all Rocky Balboa (or Hilary Swank; take your pick) on a bag. Still another is prop-less, with participants running, kick-walking, high-stepping, and bear-crawling their way through the longest three minutes of their day. It’s a truly rigorous 50 minutes, exactly what the 16 to 20 adults—male and female, 20s to 50s, all fairly sleek specimens already—come for. The soundtrack of current pop-dance tracks and the Bevilaquas’ talent for motivating fitness junkies takes the edge off—you find yourself yearning to impress the teachers as they come around and check up on each student. “What do you think of the class so far?” Lindsay asked a first-timer. “It’s sufficiently booty,” he gasped. First session free; $15 drop-in; $120 for 10 sessions; $200 for 20. 5315 W. 86th St., 317-508-5625, gym41.com
Kids In Play: You can do this boot camp family-style, too. Anyone age 7 and up is allowed, which could make for a fun alternative to otherwise boring and/or discipline-saddled family meetings.
Punch It Up: Gym41 also leads cardio boxing classes—and based on the boxing portion of boot camp, they’re not kidding when they say it’ll pound out your daily stress.
Don’t Try This If: You have lingering concerns about a recent or recurring injury.
Share and Care: Rookies, arrive to your first class 15 minutes early to fill out a waiver. The Bevilaquas quickly review it and ask about your workout habits and health. That attention to detail makes one feel the personal-attention love right away.
KICKSTART MY HEART
Difficulty: Intense (legs, arms, core)
Your quads are burning, sweat drips down your face, and you can’t possibly propel your legs any further. Then Jon Bon Jovi starts wailing about being “Halfway There,” subconsciously giving your gams the boost they need. The music is half the draw at the ’80s HAIR BAND RIDE, a spin class set to a guilty-pleasure soundtrack of cheesy throwback hits. Since launching six months ago at InCycle (formerly Spin Cycle), the Friday-night rides have attracted men and women of all ages and fitness levels. An hour-long session launches quickly into intense periods of cycling that alternate between sitting, standing, leaning over, and hovering just above your seat for quick spurts under deeper tension. A few songs focus on arms with biceps, triceps, and shoulder exercises (performed with provided weights), all while you continue to pedal. With abs “switched on” the entire time, your core gets in crop-top shape, too. It all combines for a full-body workout, the intensity of which is under your control. Need more or less resistance? Simply turn the easy-to-reach knob. Arms had enough? Just put down your weights. Before long, you’ll be glad towels are provided on each bike. Welcome to the jungle, indeed. $20 drop-in rate or $35 for two weeks of unlimited rides. Carmel City Center, 736 Hanover Pl., 317-805-1867, incycleindy.com
Theme Spirit: Previous classes have blasted disco, one-hit wonders, Beyonce and Jay-Z, and even music from a live DJ complete with a blacked-out room and strobe lights. Some nights include music videos, including a Michael Jackson tribute.
Good to Know: Registration is recommended a week before class to ensure you get one of the 30 bikes.
Treat, Don’t Cheat: InCycle sells bottles of Simplicity Holistic Health’s all-natural pressed juices (try the piña colada) as well as the Carmel company’s deliciously addictive Betty Bars, a raw energy snack made with oats, honey, skinny coconut oil, and chocolate.
HOP TO A GOOD TIME
Difficulty: Punishing (calves, core)
Imagine doing aerobics with a tiny trampoline strapped to each foot. That’s KANGOO POWER. Even the name is fun to say. After you’ve checked out the YouTube videos of exuberant Kangoo-ers bouncing in place to Lady Gaga, you may be tempted to spring into a high-energy class at the far-northside Cesar’s Group Fitness (the only local gym to offer Kangoo with music) and dance away an hour in specialized boots that resemble inline skates on springs. Just know that you will be jumping nonstop for 50 minutes, and the springs don’t cut you any slack—they just propel you higher, which is indeed exhilarating. With every landing, you use your core and quads to stabilize yourself. The choreography includes aerobics standbys such as grapevines and mambos, and to visualize the benefits, just look at instructor Michelle Davis, whose toned calves could be mistaken for implants. Another instructor leads a 20-minute calisthenics-cardio mix and encourages the class to jump, jump, jump, do sit-ups; jump, jump, jump, do push-ups; and so on. Did we mention there’s a lot of jumping? Most participants seem like old pros, but someone who isn’t in peak condition might wonder halfway through if they’ll be able to finish the class. If you need a break, sit down on exercise equipment (because even standing in the boots is demanding). First class free; $10 drop-in rate or $39.95 per month, plus $5 for Kangoo rental. 9546 Allisonville Rd., 317-601-1415, cesarsstudio.com
Good to Know: BYO water bottle. There’s no fountain in the studio, and you won’t want to hop down the hall to look for one.
What to Wear: Your preferred workout gear, plus tall socks to don with the rental boots.
Remember To: Arrive a few minutes early to sign in and strap on your Kangoo boots.
JOIN A POOL PARTY
Difficulty: Easy (general conditioning)
Though it sounds like something that happens at 8 a.m. on the lido deck, aqua zumba might be the best fitness trend you’re slightly embarrassed to try. But at the end of a class, nothing aches, you’re barely out of breath, and your hips are still swaying. Did I really just work out? you think as you twerk over to a ladder and climb out of the pool, wondering if certified instructor Rhonda Pines was right, and you’d managed to burn a few hundred calories sweat-free. (“Everything’s easier in the water,” she might explain.) But soon you’ll feel ravenous and spent, confirming that an hour’s worth of dancing in the shallow end amounted to worthwhile exercise. A class (Pines teaches at the JCC, Krannert Park, the Monon Community Center, the Riviera Club, and the IU Natatorium) bops through some simple, low-impact salsa and hip-hop choreography set to high-energy pop music and classic Zumba tunes, thrusting arms and legs through the water as Pines mimes the moves from the pool’s edge. The water provides gentle resistance for toning and conditioning, and it also hides any spicy JLo moments you might have during the rhythmic sets—as well as any blunders. Only Pines and a lifeguard will see whether you’re in a groove or out of step. Either way, time flies, and your joints will thank you. $3–$10 drop-in rate, depending on location; facebook.com/AquaZumbaWithRhonda
Ideal For: Couch potatoes, and fit people sore from an earlier workout.
Best At: A pool with a concrete floor, like the Monon Center’s—it’s easier to grip than a tiled bottom, making turns smoother.
Don’t Try This If: You’re under 5 feet tall. You’ll have a hard time staying flat-footed and moving quickly.
What to Wear: A supportive one-piece (shop for aqua-fitness suits at Kast-A-Way Swimwear in Nora) and a $16 floral cap from Swim ’n’ Sport in The Fashion Mall.
Fear Factor: Feeling self-conscious? Wear a cover-up and remove it poolside, minimizing exposure to about 20 seconds.
GET ON BOARD
Difficulty: Easy (arms, core)
If you’ve been to the beach lately, you’ve seen—and probably tried—stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP. The sport has grown to the point of having its own magazine and competitions, but in its purest form it’s still mainly a joyride on the water with the sneaky benefits of exercise. Balancing on a board a little longer than a surfer’s works the core, and paddling tones arms. Lacking an undercurrent, Eagle Creek on a calm day makes for better paddleboarding than does the choppy ocean, as second-generation boat-maker Anna Greeley found out when she built her own SUP to haul supplies to a vessel she was fixing up. Then she started paddling to her class at Eagle Creek’s waterfront yoga center. It was too much fun to keep to herself, so she crafted a fleet of seven boards (prettier than any you’ll rent at a hotel, with palm-print fabric decoupaged to the nose and a no-slip pad) and began leading PADDLEBOARD TOURS on Saturdays. A two-hour cruise starts at the Rick’s Boatyard launch and heads north, past the causeway, hugging the treeline for shade in high summer. It’s a workout but not a fitness class, so the group tends to take it easy and soak up the scenery. Ducks approach the boards, and it’s common to spot heron and turtles. Bungee cords on each ride will hold a cooler and a bag (for a camera and towel, perhaps)—and still leave plenty of room to lie down at times and simply float along through nature’s gym. $40. Paddleboard Yogaworks, 317-281-8760, launch at 4050 Dandy Trail, paddleboardyogaworks.com
Tip: Feeling wobbly? Squat, kneel, or sit while you paddle—it’s easier to balance with a low center of gravity.
Don’t Try This If: You can’t swim. Lifejackets are provided, and chances are you won’t fall in, but your fear might overshadow the fun.
What to Wear: Quick-drying clothes, and a swimsuit underneath if you want to take a dip.
Strike a Pose: Greeley also offers paddleboard yoga on Thursday and Saturday evenings.
MIGHT AS WELL JUMP. JUMP!
Difficulty: Intense (legs, abs, arms)
It’s hard not to grin when you see the plethora of bouncy squares inside the Fishers location of Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park, located in a warehouse-like space at the end of a plain office strip. (Look for the minivans.) Then the hour-long, mostly female SKYROBICS class starts, and the smile vanishes. Wait, you think, as instructor Lora Smith begins leading you through jumping jacks and side leaps in your own personal square, your breath quickly elevating to a full-on pant. I thought the trampoline would do most of the work for me! Ha! But a few minutes in, you get your sea legs, and the real fun begins. You’ll run “snakes,” hopping like bunnies back and forth across the grid and laughing when you wipe out—and you will wipe out at least once—with Smith taking special care to show newbies cool techniques for “turning” by ricocheting off of the trampolined wall. Lunges, mountain-climbers, suicides, and burpees make appearances, as do yoga stretches and plenty of rest breaks. And imagine doing ab work on a waterbed—lying down here, you’ll use muscles you haven’t felt in years working to balance during side crunches and bicycle kicks. The result a day later? A low full-body burn, with intense soreness in the arms, abs, and quads. Everything feels a little tighter; Smith estimates Skyrobics burns between 500 and 1,000 calories, depending on how fit you are. For shorter versions of these exercises, take the beginners’ class. $12 drop-in rate or $99 for 10 classes. Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park, 10080 E. 121st St., Ste. 182, Fishers, 317-572-2999; 851 S. Columbia Rd., Plainfield, 317-268-3200; skyzone.com
Caveat: Watch out for tripping on the barriers between trampolines—they’re the real danger.
What to Wear: Regular workout duds—and flip-flops. In place of shoes, you’ll wear Sky Zone’s treaded socks (which are replacing those awful issued high-tops).
Don’t Try This If: Your scale says 300 or more. There’s a weight limit on the trampolines.
First-timers Should: Arrive early. You’ll have to fill out a liability waiver that washes Sky Zone’s hands of any bumps, bruises, or breaks that may come your way.
GO BACK TO BASICS
Difficulty: Intense (cardio, full-body strength training)
Beware when INDY ADVENTURE BOOT CAMP co-owner Jessica Wright wears her workout pants that say “hardcore” on the fanny. That means she’s going to amp up the intensity of her ever-changing routines even more than the usual “tight-tushie Tuesdays” and “thigh-burning Thursdays.” For such a challenging workout, these boot camps (outdoors in Carmel, Fishers, and Zionsville through October, then indoors) have garnered a huge community of women thanks to the variety and creative twists. Some days they’re flipping monster-truck tires or pushing a Ford F-150 pickup truck with other campers; the next they’re running through the woods at Cool Creek Park with a weighted backpack, playing Wright’s version of The Amazing Race. Long-timers report that it never gets easier. (“It doesn’t,” Wright confirms, “but you get better.”) Still, they love the unpredictability as well as the camaraderie that forms over the course of the four-week rain-or-shine camps. Even last-picked-for-kickball types feel like part of the exhausted team. $189 for three days per week (12 classes); $234 for four days per week (16 classes); $279 for five days per week (20 classes). 317-658-6731, indyadventurebootcamp.com
Don’t Try This If: You don’t like to run or sweat profusely. Also, if you have bad knees or back problems, sign up for the Fit Light class in Carmel.
Tale Of The Tape: The owners want to take your body measurements at the beginning and end of a camp to highlight your progress. But it’s not required.
Don’t Forget: Bug spray and sunscreen.
Fear Factor: Neither Jessica Wright nor her husband, Jason, who runs the Fishers camp, bark like drill sergeants. They’re tough yet compassionate, which means lots of positive encouragement and focusing on what you can do rather than on what you can’t.
This article appeared in the July 2014 issue.