(Note: Our Workout Wednesday series is brought to you by OrthoCarolina who reminds you – avoid sitting at your desk for more than 20-30 minutes at a time. Get up, move around and strengthen key muscles.)
I enjoy running because it’s free and quick. As long as I have a change of clothes and some running shoes with me, I can pretty much lace up and find somewhere to run nearby, without having to drive to a gym. As much as I love hitting the roads and trails, though, sometimes I need some cross training. Running is a very high impact activity and I can tell when my body needs a change.
The Charlotte fitness scene is booming – from pop-up yoga classes to boot camp classes to brewery runs, there’s really no excuse to not finding some way to stay active. Here are five non-running workouts I’m enjoying.
OrangeTheory (OT) is a non-stop, energetic class based on your heart rate. They do have some running incorporated into these workouts but it’s mostly sprints and only for a few seconds. You’re not doing the same thing for more than 1-2 minutes at a time. You’ll move from the treadmill to the rowing machine, back and forth, for half of the class, and then you’ll spend the other half of the class in the weight training blocks, using free weights and resistance bands, and doing core work.
You don’t have to think about anything – the teacher/trainer will lead you through it, count down for you and tell you exactly what to do. It’s based on the notion that you’ll have a longer afterburn (burn more calories for a longer time after the workout) the higher your heart rate gets.
They send you a little summary after class, and having a heart rate monitor on you that tracks your HR on a screen in real time. You can see what “zone” you’re in (based on color and exertion), and it motivates you to keep up or work harder.
Prices: Your first class is free. You can buy packages ranging from 4 classes per month ($59), to an unlimited monthly membership for $159.
(2) Core Revolution
Core Revolution is a great spinning workout. I’m not big into spinning (or at least I didn’t think I was), so I wouldn’t normally have picked this class, but I went as part of Yelp Fit Club. Again, you’ll find the instructor is very motivating and positive. The phrase of the class was, “You only have one life – don’t skip on your physical fitness.” How can you turn in a subpar workout with that motivation?
There are huge screens where you can virtually see yourself biking up a mountain and “racing” against everyone else – it’s like you’re competing in Super Mario Kart. It also shows your RPM and heart rate. I liked the mixture of standing and sitting, increasing the resistance for uphills, and the upbeat music playing throughout the class.
Prices: First class is free. After that, the price is $18/class, or you can buy 5, 10, 20 class packages, or sign up for the unlimited monthly package ($129/month).
(3) HSM | CORE
You wouldn’t think this would be a cardio class but it definitely gets your heart rate up. You spend the entire 40 minute class on the “megaformer,” the platform machine that has everything you need for the workout. It’s made to target core muscles and get your heart rate up without putting pressure on your joints. It has stationary platforms, springs and pulleys that allow you to move back and forth.
The class itself is a small and intimate atmosphere. There are only 10 machines available, so you don’t have to worry about an overcrowded class where you won’t get individual attention. The instructor will count down the time left in each pose and cheer you on throughout.
Aside from tons of planks and other core work, you’ll do lots of squats and some arm work too. When it comes to core, I need someone telling me what to do, counting the time, motivating me, and cheering me on, and this is the perfect class for that. Beware – your abs and legs will be sore for days!
Prices: They offer a new client special, 3 classes for $35. Otherwise, it’s $31 per single class. They offer a monthly unlimited membership ($320), or you can buy packages of 3, 5, 10 or 20.
(4) Rock Climbing at Inner Peaks
Though this isn’t necessarily a class, rock climbing has quickly become a new favorite hobby. You can cater your climb to how challenging you want it to be – the routes are marked with numbers of difficulty, so you can stick to the lower difficulty levels until you’re ready to move up. It sculpts your entire body, from your fingers and forearms, abs and core, down to your glutes, quads and hamstrings.
Prices: They have climbing centers in both South End and off Monroe Road. You can sign up for monthly memberships ($69) or pay for day passes ($18.00). They offer college and military discounts as well.
(5) Xtend Barre
Can I be honest? I’ve been intimidated by the thought of barre for the longest time. I am extremely uncoordinated and far from graceful, which is why I stick to running. But this class was not what I expected.
We did lots of squats, pulses and core work. And even if you proclaim yourself to be uncoordinated and not into ballet, there’s a place for you here and it will challenge you. The instructors are so uplifting and the moves are choreographed to upbeat music in the background, which is always a plus. Bonus: the studio is in the Metropolitan, so you’re already well positioned to get dinner or a drink somewhere after class.
Prices: You can start with two weeks of unlimited classes for $49. After that, there are different monthly membership packages, ranging from $79 to $169 per month. You can also buy 5 or 10 class packages, or pay per class ($25 per drop in).