A couple weeks ago, I wrote about my experiences trying various fitness classes. Most of those classes were high-intensity cardio workouts, so I felt it necessary to write about classes that may be more approachable for newbies. So here’s round two of exercise classes that I can personally attest to trying out.
- SUP Yoga starts with you getting on a paddle board and paddling out into the ocean. When you get to a calm spot, you drop an anchor to keep your board from drifting during the class. I was so curious to see how yoga was going to translate to such a narrow, precarious environment, and how many poses I would actually be able to hold while floating. I found that most poses had to be modified for me to keep my balance on the board. And speaking of balance, watch out for any boats or motorized vessels whizzing by – even the smallest of swells will knock you into the water if you’re upside down in downward dog (*note: my instructor did not emphasize this very well… yes, I fell in). Because of all the modifications, I didn’t find the class to be a very strenuous workout, but it was a beautiful environment to start my morning. There are several surf schools that teach SUP Yoga classes – I tried Paddle Board Bliss in Mission Bay, but there are others like Mission Bay Aquatic Center, Pacific Beach Sports and Floating Yogis in Carlsbad.
- Barre classes are WAY harder than they look. They incorporate a ballet barre, as well as other equipment like resistance bands, balls, dumbbells, and floor mats. The classes are all about small isometric movements that are done in high repetition. It’s all about toning the butt and thighs in barre class, but you also do arm exercises with weights, and plenty of abs. A move specific to barre workouts is the “tuck,” where you tuck your hip under and thrust the air. Sounds crazy, but it will WORK you. Originally I tried barre because as a former dancer, I thought it would be nice to go back to the ballet barre again. Yeah, there’s not really any similarity between the two classes except that there’s a barre nailed to the wall in both. I’ve continued to take barre classes, though, because I can always feel the burn the next day. There are several barre studios in town and I’ve tried ’em all. Studio Barre in Mission Hills is by far my favorite, but I’ve also gone to Pure Barre in Hillcrest, The Dailey Method downtown, The Bar Method in Point Loma, Barre3 in UTC (I even wrote about it), Barre 59 in La Jolla, and Pop Physique in North Park.
- Pilates Reformer classes are a completely different experience than mat pilates. I love the Reformer machines because they take your workout to the next level and give your body an amazing stretch. Classes often incorporate other equipment such as foam rollers, dumbbells, mats, EXO chairs, springboards, stamina boxes and poles, and Pilates rings. My body always feels really stretched and aligned after a class, and my core always gets a good workout. This is another class that’s harder than it looks. There are several Pilates studios in town, but my favorite is Club Pilates in Bankers Hill. I’ve also been to Chakra Pilates and Pilates Room.
- Core 40 is like Pilates class on crack. It uses the Reformer machine (they call it the “Megaformer”), but you’re also jumping off of it, doing lunges off of it, and doing quick footwork around it. In general, I’d say Core 40 is more cardio focused than a normal Pilates class. It’s only a 40-minute workout, but you work the whole body. Core 40 has studios in Little Italy, Solana Beach and Carmel Valley.
- Because it has such a huge following, I also tried a CrossFit class. There are a ton of CrossFit gyms throughout San Diego, and each seems to be a tight-knit community of people who love working out together. I think if I were a male, I would’ve liked the class better… I was intimidated just looking at the gym in all its minimalistic, dirty, testosterone-filled glory under the haze of heavy metal music. I couldn’t do a pull-up if my life depended on it, but the other (very few) women there were handling the bar like a boss. The day I was there we did a partner workout, which involved rowing machines, burpees, pull-up bars and gymnastics rings. Although I liked the group aspect of the workout, overall I didn’t really feel like it was a good fit for me.
For a delicious post-workout meal without any guilt, head to Cafe Gratitude in Little Italy. The 100% organic plant-based menu has healthy options like salads, sandwiches, wraps and bowls. The menu is meant to offer diners a daily affirmation by ordering with the phrase “I am…” followed by their selection that could be named devoted, present, thriving, gracious, grateful, humble or giving, etc. They also have pressed juices, wellness shots and smoothies. The servers are extremely attentive to any dietary restrictions or allergies, and also offer customers a daily question to contemplate during their visit. My favorite meal is the “I am whole” macrobiotic bowl that comes with butternut squash, adzuki beans, sea vegetables, sautéed greens, kimchi, black sesame seed gomashio, garlic-tahini sauce, teriyaki almonds, sunflower sprouts, and brown rice or quinoa. I also like the hot sauce they make in-house. #Grateful!