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.
Zero Gravity Alternative Fitness: Aerial Silk
As the name implies, Zero Gravity Alternative Fitness is anything but your average gym experience. I gave their Aerial Silk Fitness class a try, a class their website describes as:
“An expressive and playful workout using ‘silk’ hammocks. Elevate your heart rate and deepen your body connection through dynamic movement, tricks and conditioning. Develop arm and core strength, coordination and grace. All fitness levels are welcome, there is no prerequisite for this class.”
I’ve been to a Cirque du Soleil show before, so I wasn’t completely buying the idea that this class was for “all fitness levels.” Flipping upside down with only a bright pink silky hammock keeping me from smashing into the concrete floor was a bit intimidating.
Before the class began, I spoke with co-owner Gina Bushey. I expressed to her that I was nervous and she must have picked up on my feelings of awkwardness as she said, “There’s always so much awkwardness when you first start because everyone is really self-conscious. It takes a little bit of time before you realize that nobody’s looking at you or watching you. Everyone is worried about themselves and there’s a lot of camaraderie in that. There’s a lot of support that comes along with starting at the bottom and growing together.” And starting at the bottom I was. I was fully ready for everyone in the class to be watching my every, baby-giraffe-level-of-awkward move.
But Gina was right. The class is capped at a maximum capacity of seven students, so no one participating feels lost in a sea. The class instructor, co-owner Misty Tomchuk, came over and corrected my posture and even helped lift me into positions the right way throughout the class. My fear was that everyone would be gracefully in an in-air pretzel and I would still be struggling to get on the hammock correctly, but we were all in this together.
The class began with some simple stretching so that our muscles were warm and ready to go. After we got loose, we began with some stretching that incorporated the silk hammocks. After the stretching, we began to get more ambitious. Soon, I found myself floating in the air in a plank position with only the hammock supporting my pelvis. After I hit this milestone, we moved onto more formidable poses, including an inverted butterfly and one-legged king pigeon pose.
The progression of events felt natural and we were eased into each step. By the time we got to the part where we would be dangling upside down, I was already feeling confident. The idea of doing such a thing no longer felt like an impossible task, but rather a fun challenge that I knew I could overcome. It was like a dare that I was excited to execute. The more we did, the more daring I felt. When it was announced that it was time to wrap up with a floating savasana cool-down, I wasn’t ready to quit just yet. I was ready for more!
In closing, Gina noted, “You really need to come in and experience it. A lot of people have misconceptions about what we do here, but we are very fitness based. Our goal when we opened the studio was to take some of the things that were important to us, pole fitness, aerial fitness and yoga, and make them more mainstream and accessible so that people didn’t feel like they had to be intimidated or have unanswered questions.”
What to Wear
I made the mistake of wearing a loose crop-top to this class. While I felt confident and cute when walking into the class, I ended up feeling exposed when I flipped upside down and suddenly the hem of the shirt was up to my nose. Tighter fitting garments work best here.
What You’ll Feel the Next Day
I was surprised by my inner thighs hurting the next day. The muscles that were aching were ones that I had never felt hurting before! In addition to the inner thigh pain, I also felt a bit in my abs and core.
- Pole Fundamentals I, II, III
- Aerial Pole I, II, III
- Advanced Pole I, II, III
- Elite Pole
- XaBeat Dance Cardio
- Aerial Yoga
- ZG Stretch, ZG Strength
- Various Supplemental Pole Classes
Zero Gravity Alternative Fitness
3350 35th Ave. S., Fargo
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