North Shore Fitness Classes
Defying gravity at North Shore Pole Fitness in Andover
Stay active even as the weather cools this season with one of these unique indoor fitness offerings on the North Shore.
When the air turns cold and the comfort food cravings start calling, it’s all the more important to find new and interesting reasons to get off the couch and get moving. But are you up to date on what’s happening in the fitness world, or at least on the North Shore? Whether you’re bored by your regular workout routine, coming back to exercise after an extended hiatus, or looking to keep your weight (and motivation!) in check through the upcoming holiday season, this list is for you. Use it to navigate the latest fitness trends and find the right one for you— then grab a friend and get moving.
Bounce Away Pounds
Celebrating its 100th anniversary, the JCC of the North Shore in Marblehead has long been offering members and guests a large variety of cutting-edge fitness classes, including Piloxing, Turbo-Kick, BodyPump, and Aquaerobics. New this year is Urban Rebounding, a low- impact cardio class that lets you shake up your regular workout routine with something playful and fun. Taught entirely on small trampolines and set to high-energy music, a rebounding workout gets your heart rate up and pushes your muscles to fatigue—but has a low risk of injury because the bounce of the trampoline helps absorb the impact on your knees and joints. Don’t say we didn’t warn you: After an hour of jumping and bouncing your way slim, the walk to your car will feel a bit strange—and a lot less fun than class. jccns.org.
Get Sexy (and Sweaty)
A favorite saying at North Shore Pole Fitness in Andover is "Never trashy, always classy, but a little nasty!" which should give you an idea of the spirit and sauciness you’ll find here. Taught by classically trained professional dancers, classes start off with a 15-minute warm-up before you take to the pole to attempt basic spins, climbing techniques, and sultry dance transitions, all set to slow, jazzy hip-hop music (and the requisite sounds of your classmates giggling and cheering each other on, of course!). The studio, the first of its kind on the North Shore, prides itself on being very beginner-friendly but offers advanced classes, chair dance, flexibility training, and even a super-fun Sexy Stiletto workout for women; private and bachelorette party- style group sessions are also available. Hint: Wear shorts, bring a yoga mat, and leave the jewelry (especially rings) at home. You’ll leave a little less shy, a lot more toned, and definitely ready for a repeat visit. northshorepolefitness.com.
Join the (Fitness) Troops
Never underestimate the power of a dedicated, motivated group of people, especially when it comes to losing weight. At Millions of Muscles Bootcamp in Revere and now Peabody, founder Jodi Reath is helping men and women with pounds to lose gain a fresh start, a healthy perspective on exercise and food, and most importantly, new friends. What started as a low-key summer beach bootcamp in her hometown has evolved into a year-round, full-fledged fitness community with two locations. Clients use Millions of Muscles’s Facebook pageto share recipes, applaud others’ successes, and urge one other to attend Reath’s bootcamp-style sessions, offered multiple times daily and held indoors from October through April. "The best part about it is the nonstop support," says Reath, who employs a handful of trainers and offers one-on-one goal-setting, nutrition guidance, fitness-themed events, contests, and even social outings for her clients. "It really is a fitness family." millionsofmuscles.com.
Hit the Barre
If you’ve heard of the ballet barre fitness craze sweeping LA and NYC but didn’t think you could find it on the North Shore, think again. After years of professional dancing and teaching, Danvers resident and former New England Patriots cheerleader Tanya Croteau launched her own unique take on the trend, known as barre n9ne, in 2010. Borrowing elements of dance, Pilates, and light resistance training, barre n9ne helps tone and slim your body by targeting smaller, lesser-used muscles in the arms, legs (upper-inner thigh toning leg series, anyone?), backside, and abs, helping sculpt the long, lean body of a ballerina. Classes are small and have an intimate feel, and they’re taught by trim, toned, and upbeat instructors who bust out the latest pop music to keep participants moving. Have a wedding or special event in your future? The studio offers 60-day group challenges, which include nutrition guidance, weigh-ins, before and after pictures, and more; you can also take advantage of monthly Zumba parties and the new "baby barre" class for new mommies. Locations in Danvers and Andover. barren9ne.com.
Play Like a Kid Again
Chances are that at some point in your youth, you played with a hula hoop—that simple but highly addictive ring that became wildly popular in the 1950s. But these days at the Cape Ann YMCA in Gloucester, Hooping class has members of all ages winding and grinding their way to a better body using hoops that are a bit bigger and heavier than the kid-sized version, but just as fun. Besides being a great fat-burning, sweat-inducing cardiovascular exercise, hooping helps strengthen your core and works the arms, neck, hands, and legs, as you move the spinning hoop around your body under the direction of instructor Blake Cala. "It’s all done to the beat of the music," says Cala, who has been hoop dancing for 12 years, "so you’ll improve your coordination, plus learn a really unique skill!" Beyond hooping, the YMCA offers tribal belly dancing, family Zumba, and more. northshoreymca.org.
Get Coached Like an Athlete
Perfect for people who want a little extra push, CrossFit Full Potential in Newburyport is a constantly varied, high-intensity workout that helps clients get fit, learn weight-lifting skills, and track their own progress under the watchful eye of a seasoned coach. Owner Dan Vadala treats his clients like athletes in training as he (or one of his coaches) helps them build endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, balance, and power through one-on-one training or team-style group sessions. "We’ve trained every imaginable age and demographic, from middle school to elderly, from professional athlete to morbidly obese," says Vadala. "We can work with anyone who walks in the door." For men and women in all shapes and sizes, this pick’s a winner. crossfitfullpotential.com.
"Hang" Out, and Get Fit
Developed by U.S. Navy SEALs, TRX Suspension Training is a unique way to strengthen and tighten your muscles using gravity and your own body’s weight. If it sounds extreme or intense, don’t be intimidated: "TRX" stands for "Total Body Resistance Exercise" and describes a simple apparatus of two nylon straps with handles and foot cradles, used to perform basic movements that use many joints and muscles at once—just as most of our everyday movements (think about bending over to pick up your keys) use multiple body parts at the same time. Most exercises are done standing up, helping improve core strength and posture, and all can be tailored to any fitness level by altering the distance between the exerciser and the anchor point of the TRX. At Yoga Satki in Salem, choose anything from beginner TRX to high-intensity training—or one of more than 30 different yoga classes, a unique yoga wall workout, and more. yogasatki.com.
Feel the Beat
Are you one who likes to march to the beat of your own drum? Then Drums Alive or Disco Drums, both offered at boutique fitness club Everyday Fitness for Everyday Women in Peabody, are for you. Both workouts use drumsticks and exercise balls and combine rhythmic movement with a core and lower-body component, set to pulsating, upbeat music. "It’s ideal for every fitness level because it’s easy to learn, and it’s fun," says co-owners and instructors Jill Martin and Diane Moore, who aim to "dispel the myth that exercise has to be a chore." That’s why their small (10 to 15 people) class sizes allow for plenty of individual instruction and a stress-free, welcoming atmosphere. efpeabody.com.
Join a Zumba Party
If you’ve ever gone out dancing all night with friends, you’re no stranger to the exhilarating rush provided by this much- loved fitness phenomenon that’s sweeping the globe. Known as the "exercise in disguise," Zumba is simply a Latin-inspired dance class that lets students shake, pump, shimmy, and strut their way through easy-to-follow, repetitive combinations for an hour or longer of calorie-blasting fun. "I know many people get scared off thinking that it’s a ‘dance’ class, but the choreography is actually very minimal, and it’s truly a party," says Stefanie Sweeney, who’s earned a loyal North Shore following due to her high-energy demeanor and varied music choices—think merengue, Bollywood, Reggaeton, and even country dance—during every class. "It’s the only class I’ve ever taken or taught where people are truly bummed out when the hour ends!" Available at multiple fitness facilities. stefaniesweeney.zumba.com.
Sweat It Out
Stressed, sluggish, or just plain need a break? Revitalize your body and refresh your soul with a class at Bikram Yoga Danvers, where you’ll perform a series of 26 Hatha Yoga postures and two breathing exercises in a heated room for 90 minutes. If you’ve tried Bikram before, you’ll appreciate this facility’s clean, airy feel and its serene, skillful instruc- tors, led by director and founder Shannon Engelhardt. If you’re new to Bikram, be sure to bring a towel and plenty of water and know that you’ll be drenched in sweat – but feeling lighter, brighter, and plenty accomplished upon leaving the room. Here, there’s no such thing as a bad workout. (Plus, new students get a 10-day unlimited class pass for $20.) bikramyogadanvers.com.