Workout: 6 tips for an added twist

Health
Photography by Gabor Jurina

Health
Photography by Gabor Jurina

Can’t face another blah session on the elliptical? From trapeze to monkey movements, we offer six ways to spice up your routine.

1. TAKE IT TO THE ZOO
Spend an hour at Aeküus in Montreal (aekuus.com) and your body will have a light-bulb moment. You’ll find yourself bounding from one corner to the next like a monkey, with one hand on the ground and the other overhead, or crawling inches from the floor like Spider-Man scaling a building. The exercises originate from basic calisthenics and expand into endless variations, many of which are animal-inspired quadrupedal motions. You’ll start with posture, breathing and fundamental movements (walking, falling, sitting), then increase the intensity and incorporate elements such as martial arts, J-Kae band work and jump rope. “After a year and a half with us, you’re basically capable of training by yourself,” says co-founder Julien Karl. Demonstrating an advanced technique, he grabs the outer edge of a staircase, each hand on a different step, and lifts his legs parallel to the floor. Sold.

2. JOIN THE CIRCUS
Jukari Fit To Fly has finally made its way to Toronto from its hometown of Montreal: Kingwest Fitness (kingwestfitness.com) is the first studio outside Quebec to offer this class, which is the love child of Cirque du Soleil and Reebok. Jukari involves circus-like moves that utilize your body weight and gravity via the trapeze-inspired FlySet affixed to the ceiling—you’ll be challenged to support yourself as you swing and leap in circles while holding on to the weighted bar, or wield the bar for a baton-twirling shoulder workout. Channel your inner trapéziste and spin, twirl and fly.

3. WORK OUT, PRAY, LOVE
Intensati is based on ‘inten,’ which stands for intention, and ‘sati,’ a Sanskrit word that means mindfulness or awareness,” says personal trainer Aliza Blair, the only instructor in Canada certified to teach it (satilife.com). Developed by New Yorker Patricia Moreno, the program blends yoga, martial arts, dance and a dash of self-help-style emoting. “Every move has an affirmation attached to it,” says Blair. While you’re in a deep plié, you hold your hands in a heart shape pulsating over your chest (the real-life version of a cartoon character falling in love at first sight) and say aloud: “Yes, I want it. I really, really want it.”

Health
Photography by Gabor Jurina

4. TURN-TABLE TRICKS
Don’t expect to see bikes or drill sergeants at Spin Toronto (toronto.spingalactic.com)—it’s a 12,000-square-foot table-tennis playhouse, the first Canadian outpost of the chain co-owned by Susan Sarandon. You can take a swing while balancing a martini, but the Olympic sport burns 200 calories per hour and requires skill—if you don’t know your sidespin from your topspin, Spin offers lessons with a pro.

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5. KEEP TRACK
As if you didn’t already have enough to tweet about, the Nike+ SportWatch GPS powered by TomTom ($250, nike.com) tracks your route as you run and calculates your speed, calories burned and distance travelled. But there’s no need to brag about your progress yourself: Plug the tech-y timepiece into your computer and your stats will be uploaded and shared with Facebook and the Twitterverse, as well as Nike+ members via nikeplus.com.

6. HAPPY DANCE
The quest for a dancer’s body continues apace, especially in Vancouver, where there’s a slew of new ballet fitness studios: Barre Fitness (barrefitness.com), The Dailey Method (thedaileymethod.com) and California-based The Bar Method (vancouver.barmethod.com), which is beloved by Drew Barrymore and Zooey Deschanel. While Black Swan let us all know that the life of a dancer is gruelling and sometimes insane, Barre Fitness claims to give you “a dancer’s body, without dancing.” Co-founder Ella Jotie calls the program “pilates on steroids.”