I try to do some form of exercise every day, except Sundays (my cheat day). I’m not the type of person who genuinely loves to workout — I’ve just grown more immune to frequent and painful workouts thanks to cross country and track. For me, running is the best way to get an intense workout because it involves a high level of cardio. However, running is also a workout that can easily become repetitive. In an attempt to find a workout that matches the intensity, yet surpasses the negative fun-level of running, I’ve tried out some of the lesser-known workout classes in KC.
My usual workout routine consists of the occasional guilt-induced crunches after eating too many chocolate chip cookies and running up to the fifth floor in a futile attempt to beat the bell before seminar starts every Thursday. Needless to say, exercise and I don’t often get together.
In an attempt to find a form of fitness that doesn’t make me want to cry, I’ve tried cycling, cross country and barre. Each time I found myself dying of exhaustion and/or boredom mid-workout. This time I was hoping jumping on trampolines or swinging on trapezes would provide me with enough childhood nostalgia to sustain me through the workout.
I’m going to be honest, a fifteen minute run around Porter Park can spike my heart rate, so the mere thought of an hour-long aerobics class on trampolines exhausts me. However, for the SkyFit class at Sky Zone, I walked out with no signs of sweat.
The concept of having a workout class on a trampoline seems like an enjoyable way to get cardio in — Sky Zone just executed the cardio aspect of this concept poorly. We never did more than 10 repetitions of any movement, and I never started feeling winded until the 10th repetition.
For the “peak” part of our workout, our instructor had us do jumps back and forth on the rows of trampolines with 10 mountain climbers at the end of each set. Even after this, I still didn’t feel winded. Typically, mountain climbers would kill me, but the trampolines caused the movements to slow down — I felt like I was dragging my feet in wet cement. And no, that didn’t provide much of a leg workout, considering I was able to use the trampoline to spring off of.
If I got anything out of the workout class, it would be a minimal core workout. Trying to do bridges on a trampoline were harder than I anticipated because I had to use my core to stabilize myself on the bouncy surface. However, my core wasn’t sore the next day because we never did a substantial amount of repetitions.
Ultimately, I feel like I get more of a cardio workout in by just going to the open jump at Sky Zone. Sure, it was fun to experience a workout class on trampolines, but in the end, I walked out knowing that I burned nowhere near the 1,000 calories that their website promised.
When my feet first pressed off the bouncy surface, I knew Skyfit was going to be different from classes I had taken in the past. For one, the class was small, just seven people. Secondly, the whole class, with the exception of a brief lunging session, took place on trampolines.
On their website, Skyzone advertises their Skyfit classes as burning up to 1,000 calories, which is kind of like brussel sprouts advertising themselves as delicious. Sure, it might be true for some, but for a majority of people — it’s just false advertising.
I did feel a little winded after we jumped laps around the trampoline court, but I quickly caught my breath as we moved into planks and sit-ups. I tend to take the easy way out when it comes to exercise, and even I felt that we weren’t doing enough reps. Our instructor told us to do 5, 10 or 15 of each, whatever we wanted. She didn’t want to push us, she said. Granted, this was only the second Skyfit class she had taught, but isn’t being pushed the purpose of an exercise class?
At only $10 a class, Skyfit is less than half the price of most fitness classes and will leave you a lot less sore. The trampolines make the workout low impact, so it might be perfect if you are recovering from an injury or just beginning the process of getting into shape. It’s also cheaper than just going to Skyzone for free jump and avoids the crowds of children that normally swarm the trampoline gym.
Maybe it was the nostalgia, the endorphins, the limited effort or a combination of all three, but I did have fun at the class. Being on a trampoline made everything from crunches to jumping jacks much more exciting. A few times I almost forgot I was exercising — almost.
My knuckles go pale from my grip around the hanging bar, and my face turns pink from the blood rushing to my head. To add to my discomfort, the crevices of my knees are burning and my neck is awkwardly tensed up.
Going into the trapeze class at Lucia Aerial Performing Arts in Town Center, I thought it would just be an hour of swinging around on trapeze bars. However, this class required more strength than I anticipated and prohibited me from raising my arms past my elbows the next day.
For our warm up, our instructor had us hold the trapeze bar and shrug our shoulders 10 times. Unlike the SkyFit class, 10 repetitions here were enough for me to feel a burning sensation in my armpits.
Throughout the class, we learned specific techniques that were the basis of advanced trapeze stunts. Instead of being able to just monkey my legs around the trapeze bar and pull myself up, I had to extend my legs, slide my arms back and then throw myself forward. I was nowhere near mastering the elegance that accompanies this move, yet I still felt my core and arms unconsciously clench as I tried them. Hopefully I wasn’t doing the exercises wrong, and this was a sign of strengthening some of my lesser-worked muscles.
Since a portion of this class was filled with watching the other two class members attempt tricks too, I wouldn’t consider this a super labor-intensive class. My heart rate never shot up, and the most pain I experienced was from my callouses when I gripped the bar too tight.
For a unique way to incorporate strength training into my day, I’d take another trapeze class. In the future though, I’d probably choose to save my $25 and go back to running.
After taking one trapeze class, I would definitely not consider myself qualified to join the circus, but I do think the post-class soreness should have qualified me for a deep tissue massage.
The class opened with stretches, pushups, planks and other moves similar to the ones done in a barre class – exercises that ended up being harder than the anything on the trapeze. Once our muscles were warmed up, we were ready to take on the trapeze.
One of our first trapeze moves was lifting our legs while hanging from the apparatus — think jack-knives but without the ground to rest on. Our instructor easily lifted her legs to a perfect 45º angle, meanwhile I could barely lift mine more than an inch off the ground and even then I could feel my abdominal muscles straining.
As we progressed into more difficult moves, the instructor gracefully flipped herself off the ground and hung upside down from the trapeze. I did a similar move on the monkey bars all the time in elementary school, so it couldn’t be that hard right?
It took several attempts for my noodle-ish arms to flip my body up and over the trapeze. I eventually got myself to the upside-down position, before quickly flipping, slipping and tripping back to the safety of the ground. My confidence on the trapeze grew as the class went on, and I’m sure that after a few more I would have gained some grace too.
Trapeze was one of the most fun fitness classes I have taken probably because it requires no cardio and plenty of time to recuperate while watching classmates take a swing at one of the two trapezes in the studio. Despite the down time, I do think it is an effective strength building class. However, commitment-phobes beware: the studio is designed for people looking to develop skills in aerial over time, not someone looking for a quick tone-up before spring break.