If you’re guilty of putting off exercising because you think going to the gym is boring, here are six new sports that let you keep fit and have fun at the same time. CHERYL LEONG tests them out.
• Stand Up Paddling by Stand Up Paddling School
$80 an hour for a private class; equipment provided. Tanjong Beach, Sentosa, tel: 9638-5565. Open daily, sunrise to sunset. Meeting point: the Singapore Paddle Club (SPC) sheds; www.supschool.com.sg Fast gaining ground as a water sport, stand up paddling (SUP) gives a total body workout – you use your shoulders and torso to steer, arms to paddle and core muscles to balance on the board.
A typical class starts with a 15-minute on-land theory lesson – how to get on your board in the water, paddle out to sea on your knees, and stand up on the board.
Once you’re standing, you’ll spend half an hour practising paddling and manoeuvring, before doing balancing exercises – walking and jumping backwards and forwards. I could stand on my first attempt; the challenge is maintaining balance while paddling. Changing directions is trickier because your weight shifts. SUP is great for destressing – the feeling of walking on water is amazing. Group classes for up to eight are available; bad weather may result in a class being cancelled.
• Adult Gymnastics by Gymkraft
$255 (members) and $300 (non-members) for eight lessons; membership is optional at $80; a trial class costs $40. 100 Guillemard Road, tel: 9128-4644. Open Mon-Fri, 2-10pm; Sat, 10am-10pm; Sun, 10am-5pm. www.gymkraft.com Live your childhood dreams of being a gymnast while keeping fit. This 90-minute class focuses on floor exercises and trampoline work.
After a 15-minute warmup, you do sets of assisted handstands – holding them for up to 30 seconds – to tone and strengthen your arms. The floor exercises – forward and backward rolls, cartwheels, jumps and front tucks – last about half an hour and are a good cardio workout. On the trampoline, you’ll learn to do jumps and control their height and intensity, in order to land perfectly on your feet on the gymnastics blocks. The last 20 minutes are devoted to fitness drills – sit-ups, squats and more handstand practice. The pace is brisk and some moves may seem daunting, but you’re guaranteed a fun and challenging workout that boosts your strength, stamina and flexibility.
• Piloxing by Fitness Fun
$120 for eight classes; $20 for a trial class. For updates on class venues, visit www.facebook.com/ FitnessFunSG or call 6875-6115. Classes are held every Fri, 7-8pm. This new workout is highoctane interval training that combines boxing, pilates and dance.
After putting on weighted gloves to work the arm muscles more, you’ll do warm-ups. The first part focuses on punching and footwork. Without warning, the instructor throws in dance moves – chest isolation and booty-popping – to break the monotony of the workout. The toughest part is the standing pilates poses, one of which involves leg lifts that will test your core, balance and leg muscles.
It’s pilates matwork next to tone problem areas like glutes (butt mucles) and obliques (sides of your stomach). By the end of the workout, I was aching in all these hidden places.
• Aqua Spinning by Aqua Spin
$440 for a three-month term (weekly classes); $20 for a trial class. Private and group sessions available for booking. Classes are held at various venues; visit www. aquaspin.sg for their schedule. Originally created for physiotherapy, aqua spinning delivers a total-body workout, but is low-impact and won’t leave you aching the next day.
The class kicks off with a five-minute warm-up before spinning. Most of the one-hour session is interval training – working up from 50 per cent, to 70 per cent and finally 100 per cent of your cycling pace. You do it sitting, half-sitting (with your butt just above the seat) and standing.
Expect a demanding workout for your hamstrings, quadriceps and knees – the water resistance forces your muscles to work harder. The session also includes exercises to tone your arm muscles – bicep and tricep dips – and you’ll do sit-ups on the bike. Kids can join the class too, if they are above 1.45m tall.
• Xtend Barre by Upside Motion
$345 for 10 classes; $40 for a single class. #02-03, 36 Armenian Street, tel: 6636-6859. Open MonFri, 8am-9pm; Sat 8am-4pm. Visit www.upsidemotion.com for the full class schedule. This ballet-inspired workout sculpts and tones your muscles; it’s a vigorous conditioning session – especially tough on areas like the glutes, abs and thighs. And it uses exercise equipment – a resistance band, mini fitness ball and the barre – during the one-hour class.
After five minutes of warmup, you work on a series of biceps and triceps lifts with a pair of dumbbells ( 1kg each). Next up are intervals of bodyweight resistance exercises – push-ups, planks and sitting squats – while squeezing a mini fitness ball with your knees to train the inner thighs. Then, with your hands on the barre, you get into a plie position – feet turned out and placed hip-width apart – to perform squats, heel lifts and balance exercises.
The class ends with some abs conditioning and stretches.
• Zuu by Virgin Active Fitness Club
For members only; visit www.virginactive.com.sg for the rates. Level 6, One Rafes Place (Tower 2), tel: 6908-7878. Open Mon-Fri, 6.30am-10.30pm; Sat, 8am-5pm; Sun and public holidays, 10am-5pm. Zuu (pronounced “zoo”) is a unique workout that mimics animal movements.
The class starts with five minutes of warm-up, followed by body-weight resistance conditioning like push-ups and squats to pump up the heart rate. Instructors then demonstrate the moves.
You will feel a bit unnatural doing them at first. But some, like gorilla jumps (get on all fours and propel yourself forward with your arms), are easier to master. Others, like snake planks (do a normal plank but shift your body up, down and sideways like a snake), are quite hard-core.
All fitness levels are welcome, but you should ideally be moderately fit to attempt Zuu. I’d been warned to expect intense strength and endurance training, and I was utterly spent by the end of my 45-minute session.
Stand Up Paddling