5 Fun Ways to Get Fit

There’s no secret to getting fit, but three tips can help — set attainable goals, have fun and exercise daily. Kick-start your fitness routine with these alternatives to the typical gym.

Aerial Evolution

If the thought of escaping adulthood to join the circus has ever tempted you, Aerial Evolution might be the next best thing. There, students perform stunning tricks on the silks, hoops and trapezes suspended in the air.

Aerial Evolution’s instructors come from varied backgrounds including gymnastics, rock climbing, yoga and dance, but say you don’t have to be an athlete to learn the aerial arts at one of their classes in West Sac, Natomas or Midtown.

Beginning classes focus on building core and upper-body strength with a heavy emphasis on safety. Owner Matt Wright, a certified personal trainer, compares the workouts to high-intensity interval training; there are short periods of intense anaerobic exercise followed by less-intense recovery periods. Workouts will wear you out, but the instructors promise they are never boring.

“I never teach the same class twice,” said instructor Alice Karrasch. “It’s a good workout for people with ADD.”

Plus, the skills make for great pictures at the end of class. 916.245.0284, SacAerialEvolution.com

American River CrossFit

The Arden Way warehouse used by American River CrossFit isn’t much to look at, but it’s a step up from the original location in owner Christian Norgaard’s garage. While there are now more than a dozen franchises in town, in 2008, Norgaard’s garage facility for his neighbors and wife’s “soccer mom friends” was only the second.

Today his gym sees an even mix of men and women, ranging from teens to seniors. Most come four to five days a week for the varied, high-intensity workouts that combine weight lifting, gymnastics, plyometrics and calisthenics. Using weights, kettlebells, gymnastics rings and even giant tires, everyone does the same workout, but scaled to ability.

“This is a family-friendly place,” says Norgaard, who greets each member by name and offers a space for children to play. “Everyone is welcome. We clown around, cheer each other on. It’s about bringing out the best in each other.”

Still, Norgaard warns the dedication CrossFit requires isn’t for all. He offers a free introductory class to ensure the right fit. 916.335.6414, 

Step 1 Dance & Fitness

Just think of Step 1 Dance & Fitness as a one stop shop for all ages, says renowned choreographer Pepper Von, who has co-owned the Midtown studio with Mary Wright for 28 years. Step 1 offers everything from ballet to boot camp and is the birthplace of Fierce Funk.

Inspired by the movements of 90s hip-hop artists like MC Hammer and Kid ‘n Play, Von says he designed Fierce Funk as a science-based workout with that old school party feel.

“It’s a good way to get all generations to work together out and party together,” Von says.

Fierce Funk takes everyday movements — reaching, bending, twisting — and puts them to music millennials and baby boomers alike can groove to. Unlike Zumba, which relies on mimicry, Fierce Funk exercises the brain by teaching the movements as building blocks to full routines. It also uses “vocalography” — shout out cues to help dancers remember the steps.

While Fierce Funk is a program for all, Step 1 prides itself on offering an array of adult classes, including tap, jazz and contemporary fusion. 916.448.7837, Step1DanceAndFitness.com

Purely Pilates & Body Basics

At Purely Pilates & Body Basics, fitness starts in utero. The Arden-Arcade studio offers pre-natal exercises for pregnant mothers, workouts for child-and-parent teams and training for adults of all abilities.

Pilates is sometimes referred to as yoga with machines, but that’s an oversimplification. While yoga focuses on uniting mind and body through movement and meditation, Pilates strengthens and shapes the body in low-impact, medium-intensity workouts on the machine or on the mat.

“Pilates and yoga are two different animals that complement each other,” says Purely Pilates Owner Kelly Morgan-Sassman.

Inside Morgan-Sassman’s recently remodeled 1,000 square foot facility, the emphasis is on core and posture, but the workout doesn’t stop there. Stationary bikes and treadmills provide cardio exercise. Because proper form and breathing technique are paramount in Pilates, the studio offers individual instruction with tiered price-points for private sessions, duo lessons and small groups of three to four.

“Times are changing, so we try to accommodate a variety of schedules and make services affordable to everybody,” Morgan-Sassman explains. 916.803.5500, BodyBasicsStudio.com

H.I.I.T. Fitness

All workouts release endorphins, but channeling the day’s anger and stress into a punching bag provides a special kind of therapy. At H.I.I.T. Fitness in East Sac, athletes learn how to kick butt from the experts.

Gym owner Michael Ortega is known around town as a former pro boxer and mixed martial artist, but he’s been a teacher since about age 15. While an amateur teen boxer, he paid his gym dues with the money earned as an assistant trainer.

“Teaching has always been there for me,” he says.

Drawing from his combined teaching and competing experience, Ortega structured the intensity of H.I.I.T.’s boxing and kickboxing workouts to suit each individual’s abilities and goals. Benefits from the tailored workouts include improved strength, coordination, endurance, cardiovascular health and fat loss.

H.I.I.T. Fitness also offers high-intensity interval training, strength and conditioning and a program for teens and acknowledges the mental and physical toughness boxing demands can be challenging.

“You get back exactly what you put in,” says Ortega. 916.456.4448, JustDoHIIT.com