Spring’s arrival is usually timed to coincide with us starting to fret about how inactive we have been over the winter months. As the weather starts to warm up, take some inspiration from these fun and trendy fitness ideas that Verve has rounded up from studios around Auckland to help whip you back into shape in both mind and body for the summer.
For the past couple of years barre has certainly been one of the trendiest fitness regimes around, and not without reason; it’s a full-body workout that targets muscle groups you didn’t even know existed through a series of low-impact, high-repetition exercises inspired by dancers’ training. Its focus on isometric strength training promotes small muscle contractions that isolate those hard-to-work muscles to improve overall definition, flexibility and balance.
Studios such as Barrefigure in Ponsonby operated by ex-dancer Marysa Dalton cater to different levels of expertise and fitness from beginner to advanced, as well as different variations of barre such as yoga, HIIT or cardio-infused classes to keep the workout varied and challenging. A standard class follows a 60-minute format divided up into sections which focus on different parts of the body such as the upper body, thighs and glutes, and core conditioning. Much of the class takes place not at the barre itself but on floor mats using hand weights and exercise balls to help engage the body’s own resistance. It’s a great way to figure out which parts of your body need some extra strengthening as you emerge from winter hibernation.
Although forms of yoga now number into the hundreds, the yin side of yoga practice especially provides a welcome relief from our busy lives. Rather than the dynamic and active movements of yang practice which characterise many contemporary styles, yin’s focus lies within slow-paced and meditative asanas (poses) aimed at applying pressure on tendons and ligaments to increase circulation and aid recovery from fatigue. The very challenge of yin lies within its slow pace and long holds of up to five minutes, which makes it both a great companion to the more high-intensity elements of your exercise regime and a valuable space to relax and reflect in Auckland’s fast-paced urban environment. Yin practice like those offered by CBD-based Studio Red are great for beginners to yoga by running classes at room temperature with ambient lighting and a sound-proofed space. So close your eyes, breathe deep, and get in touch with your inner self.
Hot yoga has been moving around fitness circles for a long time, but hot pilates is a new and challenging twist to the discipline by combining a conventional class format with a turning up of the heat. If you have tried Bikram yoga and found the 40-degree heat not to your liking, don’t write it off too quickly; rather than the heavy, sauna-style atmosphere that haunts many experiences, Parnell studio RISE Yoga & Pilates heats its studio at a much more manageable 27 degrees with a low-humidity system that keeps the atmosphere light and fresh. The positives of regular pilates practice are well-known in boosting flexibility, blood flow and core stability, so the added heat creates a faster route to relaxing the muscles. As you partake in a smooth and dynamic workout consisting of low squats, sit-ups, roll-downs and ‘magic circle’ exercises to get those core muscles working hard, you will be feeling ready for the new reason in no time!
Be ready to sweat, and hard! HIIT stands for high intensity interval training, a fitness regimen which alternates intense anaerobic exercise with short rest periods to turn your routine up a notch. This is a full-body workout designed for maximum efficiency; if you are someone whose worst nightmare is slogging it out of a treadmill for an hour, this is the class for you. Although these workouts can be done independently, they are a stellar test of motivation; attending a class like those at District Fitness will ensure that you will be giving it your all right into the buzzer goes by focusing on smaller class sizes with enthusiastic instructors who will ensure that your motivation will remain high. The format is a strict 45 minutes and incorporates multiple circuits of 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off exercises that we love to hate; think burpees, jumping jacks and planks that really ensures that your heartrate will be pumping for the whole duration.