By Yuki Hayashi
Having difficulty getting psyched about your same-old, same-old fitness routine? “If you’re looking to get out of a workout rut, trying a new exercise program will increase motivation, vary your workout intensity and could very well get you excited about working out again,” says Daniela Freitas, a conditioning specialist at Toronto’s Shape Health & Wellness Centre. It can also challenge muscles that aren’t being taxed by your usual workout. “Many people hit a plateau by doing the same routine repeatedly, which causes the body to become more efficient in performing the same movements over and over. The body conserves its energy by teaching itself to be more efficient,” says Freitas. Translation: you stop seeing results.
So mix it up. But remember, even gym bunnies should use common sense when starting a new routine, says Freitas. Start slowly and if unsure, consult a professional trainer. For new moms, or those new to working out, get your doctor’s okay before heading to the gym or studio, and then book a dozen one-on-one sessions with a certified personal trainer first, says Freitas.
Ready for something new? Here are three new ways to help you get healthier, fitter and, well, hot, mama.
THE SCOOP Combine the fat-blasting, cardio benefits of cycling with the mind-mellowing harmony of yoga. A one-hour class kicks off with an intense workout on the stationary bike, moving at the halfway point to the mat for Vinyasa yoga, which focuses on movement and breathing as you flow through a series of poses.
WHERE YOU DO IT Take a class at Toronto’s Spynga, where partners Sari Nisker and Casey Soer created the workout. Or, outside of T-Dot, chart your own course with a five-minute warm-up, 25 minutes of spinning and a half hour of yoga.
AVERAGE COST Classes at Spynga are $17 per class, lower when you buy multi-class passes.
SQUEEZE A LITTLE SPYNGA INTO YOUR DAY BY… riding bikes to the park with your kids, doing some downward dogs while they hit the playground.
THE SCOOP Improve your balance, flexibility and muscle strength while working out on specialized machines that look not unlike medieval torture devices, with all their pulleys and tension cords. Although Gyrotonic’s out-there machines and pricey fee make it unlikely to become “the new yoga,” dancers swear by it. Also known as Gyrotonic Expansion System or GSX, it borrows movements from dance, swimming, tai chi, yoga and gymnastics.
WHERE YOU DO IT The specialized equipment necessitates one-on-one sessions with a certified Gyrotonic instructor. Go to gyrotonic.com for a listing of studios across Canada.
AVERAGE COST $80-$100 per one-hour session.
SQUEEZE A LITTLE GYROTONIC INTO YOUR DAY BY… working out to a Gyrokinesis DVD at home. Invented by Juliu Horvath, the former dancer behind Gyrotonic, Gyrokinesis is done on mats, not machines.
THE SCOOP Using the patented Fluidity bar, plus your body weight for resistance, you stretch your way to litheness and strength. Moves include both standing and seated positions (the bar comes with an exercise mat). Unlike traditional weight training or Pilates, muscle groups aren’t isolated; rather, a “whole body” approach is employed to attain even, proportionate lean-muscle gain. Mo’ muscle means mo’ fat burn; however, Fluidity lacks cardio benefits, so supplement it with activities that’ll get your heart rate up.
WHERE YOU DO IT At home using the Fluidity bar, Fluidity DVDs to learn the moves, and a full-length mirror to check out your form.
AVERAGE COST $240 US, plus shipping and handling for the bar, beginner DVD and a diet guide, or a 30-day trial is available for $40 plus shipping. Promotional offers can net you a Fluidity ball and pump, plus advanced DVDs at no extra cost.
WORK A LITTLE FLUIDITY INTO YOUR DAY BY… pulling the collapsible bar out from under your sofa, and just doing it.
Between regular gym visits, Yuki Hayashi works up a sweat carting her walking-averse six-year-old down the street.