By Megan Looney / Photos by Paul Body
After signing a safety waiver, stashing my stuff in a cubby and slipping into bright orange socks, I dodge oodles of bouncing children at Chula Vista's Sky Zone trampoline park as I walk to the area where I'll be getting my workout on.
"Jim and I took the kids to jump at a trampoline park three years ago and he got this glazed look in his eye like a kid in a candy store," says Real Housewives of Orange County star Alexis Bellino, who owns the facility with her husband, Jim. "The kids and I didn't see him again until we were ready to leave."
Jim, it turns out, wasn't playing around on trampolines; he was researching the business. Five months later, the couple owned franchise rights for San Diego and Orange County. Today, the couple owns Sky Zones in Anaheim, Chula Vista and San Marcos - the last of which just opened in February.
Sky Zone offers a variety of activities including SkyRobics, SkyBall (trampoline basketball), dodgeball, SkyBoarding (snowboarding on trampolines), foam-pit jousting, Cage Ball and volleyball.
Dressed for SkyRobics, I'm ready to jump in.
"Okay, everyone find a square - we're going to start with a warm-up," says fit and bubbly 20-year-old SkyRobics instructor James Brantley.
Each member of our class of about 15 people, who range from teens to forty-somethings, claims a square on the three-by-six trampoline grid that's to be our gym for the next hour.
After the stretching and gentle warm-up jumps, I'm thinking this class is going to be child's play. Brantley puts that thought to rest as he shows the class how to do a burpee on a trampoline.
"You can't knock it 'til you try it out," he says. "It might sound really easy, really simple to just go over here and bounce on a trampoline for an hour, but it's much more involved than that."
Halfway through our bounce session, I'm already glistening.
"You're all giving up too early," Brantley yells. "We still have 30 seconds."
Alexis says she thinks first-timers underestimate how challenging a SkyRobics workout can be.
"It's something your body is not used to doing," she says. "I love that I'm sore after the next day, because that means you didn't just have fun, but you got a great workout, too."
Having completed 60 minutes of full-body cardio and strength training components, I was definitely sore the next day - and no longer skeptical of Sky Zone's claim that SkyRobics can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour.
Feeling like a kid at heart while boosting cardiovascular health and torching calories? Yes, please.