Photos by Hillary Ehlen
These Fargo winters aren’t easy. It’s not hard to slip into a lazy routine and put on a few pounds that you think will be hidden well under a large parka. I especially know the struggle of not wanting to work out. On my daily morning phone-check, the sight of a below-freezing number from my weather app taunts me. In this situation, I barely want to emerge from my flannel sheets, much less go out and exercise. To be honest, I barely want to hit the gym when it’s 75 and sunny!
Fitness and taking care of your body are important though. Just because the weather is sickening doesn’t mean your body should take a hit as well. As someone who is not an avid gym-goer, I’ve decided to test out a few alternative workouts throughout town.
If I can do it, so can you. Get out there and have fun with it! Staying fit doesn’t always mean having to spend an hour on the stair stepper. Here are some fun, adventurous workouts that will make you look forward to breaking a sweat this winter.
CrossFit Icehouse: Flux
Starting your fitness journey is never easy. If you want to land somewhere in-between the intensity of CrossFit and the relaxation of yoga, CrossFit Icehouse‘s FLUX course is for you. While Icehouse is based on its CrossFit classes, their FLUX classes have picked up steam and offer something for everyone. In more official terms:
FLUX combines three proven fitness disciplines – yoga, strength training and conditioning in the most unexpected and refreshing way. We focus on gaining lean muscle and burning body fat. Our group class begins with a yoga-inspired warmup, a 5-15 min workout and it ends with a yoga flow to cool down and re-center.
I have to admit that I arrived to this class late and had the embarrassing task of popping in as everyone was already acquainted and set up. Luckily, co-owner Courtney Shoemaker was in the class with me and helped fill me in on what I missed. She told me, “We try to make it super personal in the beginning. We go through everyone’s names and try and make it a little bit more of a back and forth versus just not talking and being super quiet the whole time.” While I missed out on the initial introductions, I still felt the warmth of the environment. “You feel comfortable enough to ask questions if you have questions and the instructors try and approach and help you move well the whole time,” said Courtney.
Icehouse is all about the community. Gyms oftentimes have the reputation of being intense clubs only for the big and buff…or at least that’s what I envision in my mind. Courtney disproved this thought of mine, “The community piece is really what we love about the CrossFit side [of the gym] and that’s something we try to pull into this FLUX space as well.” When I stumbled into class, scrawny arms and all, I was greeted with smiles. I was still nervous to be doing anything associated with the name “CrossFit,” but my fears started to be eased.
Let’s break the class down some. We started with our teacher, Emily Monson, giving us an overview of what we would be working on that night. Terms like “thruster” and “pistol” mean nothing to me in the context of fitness, but Emily gave us a walk-through of the movements that would be used in the class. Part of my fear of going into fitness classes is that I know that I’m clueless and I hate not knowing what to do. The quick rundown at the beginning resolved this.
After an intro, we began with a warmup of yoga to get us limber and start our hearts going. Next we transitioned to our HIIT portion where, on this night, we focused on arms. During this Emily came to me and helped my form on a medicine ball clean, a move I never had much experience with. Before I reached my point of “Oh gosh when will this be done?” the HITT portion wrapped up and it was time for yoga. I was breathing heavy and my muscles were starting to let me down, but it didn’t push me further than what I was capable of. “This can really be a kick-your-butt class, cause it’s not easy, but if you want to take the workout, you can take it at your own pace and slow it down,” said Courtney.
The last 20 minutes of the class was dedicated to an upbeat and energy-infused yoga session. Panic! At The Disco was still playing over the speakers and the poses felt energetic and empowering, in contrast to the stereotype that yoga is sleepy and slow.
I learned that FLUX is a meet-in-the-middle type of class. By blending yoga with HIIT (high-intensity interval training) you get a good workout with a built-in stretch session. If you’re not sold yet, here’s what won me over: the CrossFit workout portion of the class is only 5-15 minutes long. I think we all are capable of dedicating about 10 minutes to a high intensity, killer workout.
“The idea is that wherever you’re at in your fitness journey, it’s a good fit. It’s great to be able to get in and get in a quick 50-minute workout and check all the boxes and feel great and refreshed,” said Courtney.
I can’t think of a better way to summarize my experience with this class than a sentence I overheard one of my classmates say to the teacher at the end of the class, “that wasn’t that bad!” She was right. It was hard work and I felt the burn, but the moves were all modifiable and I completed it feeling empowered.
What to Wear
Come in knowing that you’ll be sweating and getting into some deep stretches. Anything you’d feel comfortable working out in while getting a full range of motion will be just right for this class.
What You’ll Feel the Next Day
FLUX alternates workouts daily. Sometimes you’ll have a leg day focus and other days you might have an arm workout. Attending multiple days a week will allow for a full-body workout and therefore some full-body soreness. On my arm day, I felt the pain in my shoulders, the front of my chest and in my core.
Other Class Offerings
- Icehouse Challenge
- Nutrition Coaching
- Olympic Lifting
- Yoga for Athletes
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