This is the time of year when many of us think about exercise, whether it’s to start a workout regimen or add some variety to our ClassPass. So to help navigate San Diego’s many fitness options, the PACIFIC staff decided to try some new (to us) workouts. From high-tech yoga to a 50-year-old aerobics favorite, here’s what we found:
As a self-declared fitness enthusiast, I was skeptical to try a Jazzercise class because I didn’t think it would be much of a workout. But our 2020 team resolution was to try a new fitness class so “new year, new me” was in full effect.
For those who don’t know about Jazzercise (no, it’s not a new millennial trend), it’s a high-energy workout class that combines cardio and strength set to pop music. I went to the 9 a.m. class at Jazzercise San Diego College Area on El Cajon Boulevard. Our instructor, Monica, was a high-spirited young woman who cracked jokes while jamming out to the song lyrics.
As the class started, I was definitely aware that I had basically no idea what I was doing compared to my fellow Jazzercisers. About 30 minutes into the class, however, I was pleasantly surprised with my dance moves.
If you’re worried about not being able to dance, have no fear. I have no coordination whatsoever and I was able to learn the steps easily. It’s basically a repetition of the same movements, varying as the songs change, and they go along perfectly to every beat. As a fan of pop music and Top 40, I enjoyed the selection of mood-lifting songs by artists like Lizzo and Snoop Dogg.
In terms of intensity, I would say medium, but depending on your fitness level it could be higher or lower. I think all ages would enjoy Jazzercise. It’s a great alternative to running or other cardio, and definitely a class I’d attend every once in a while.
Details: Single classes are $20, monthly memberships start at $59. jazzercise.com
I’m not a “group activities” person. I like working out alone, at my own pace, without a condescending instructor trying to fix my form or encouraging me with empty enthusiasm. I’m also not into the idea of competing with a bunch of sweaty strangers.
However, when I noticed that a new fitness studio opened up in my neighborhood, I was intrigued. Row House recently opened in Hillcrest, in addition to its other locations in La Costa and Solana Beach (a Little Italy one is coming soon). A group rowing class seemed like an interesting concept, and since I have zero upper body strength and love sitting down, I figured it might be a good way to expand my fitness horizon.
My first class was what they refer to as Launch, which is the equivalent of a beginner class. In a Launch class, you get a taste of everything they offer because it’s a blend of form, technique, rowing and floor exercises. Other classes offered include House (floor exercises between rowing), Body (weights in between rowing), Full Row (just rowing), Power (aerobic interval training in between rowing), Restore (dynamic stretching in between row sessions) and Stroke (focusing on proper rowing form and technique).
Richard, the location’s manager, helpfully showed me the ropes before my class, including how to strap my feet into the erg machine (aka, indoor rowing machine), how to change the resistance level and how to properly place the handle in the “catch” (resting position).
Even though you’re seated during rowing sessions, you’re also kicking your legs and pushing your body back and forth on the sliding seat, so rowing delivers a low-impact, full-body cardio workout.
The class itself is similar to a spin class, with lights and music that properly amp up the rowers. Everyone’s bike has a small screen that monitors things like time, strokes, split time, distance, etc. There’s also a larger screen that tallies everyone’s numbers together for a class average.
All in all, I really enjoyed my first rowing class. It felt very approachable to me, and I’m eager to try out different levels. Because Row House is on ClassPass, I plan to go more frequently.
Let’s be real: I’ll probably never row in an actual boat, so this is a nice way to stay dry while experiencing the physical benefits of rowing and (hopefully) getting Michelle Obama arms in the process.
Details: $29 for single classes, memberships and packages available. therowhouse.com
I’ve always heard that if you find an activity you love, it won’t feel like exercise. Well, I’ve tried just about everything - Jazzercise, spin, hot yoga, barre, 5Ks - and those all still felt like exercise.
Then I signed up for a beginning tap class through San Diego Civic Dance Arts (SDCDA). I’m a dance mom, so I already knew about the city-run program that offers hundreds of classes for kids and adults. So, after years of watching my own kids dance, I finally decided to give it a try.
The best thing about SDCDA is that there’s nothing intimidating about it, everyone wears legging and t-shirts. Because it’s priced low, it attracts all ages, sizes and fitness levels.
My teacher, Leslie Padilla, is fun and welcoming, but really focuses on technique and learning the steps correctly before moving on. As you learn the basic steps, though, you’re not getting a lot of cardio. But after a few weeks, you’ll be cramp rolling, hop-shuffle-stepping and buffaloing enough to work up a sweat.
I’m definitely going back for the next session, we may even do a recital. And guess what? It doesn’t feel like exercise at all.
Details: About $40 for a 10-week session. SDCDA’s spring session begins the second week of January. civicdancearts.org
OK, I admit it, I’m a non-exerciser. The extent of my athletic abilities is a yoga class once or twice a week (on a good week), so I decided to stick with what I know but kick it up a notch with vibration yoga.
VibeFlow Yoga, which recently opened at One Paseo, offers techy yoga classes using vibration plates, meant to increase muscle contractions for better strength and balance. Classes range from Levels 1 to 3 with frequencies from 20 to 60 hertz.
I opted for a morning Level 1 class at 30 hertz. (For those who want more of a challenge, I’d try a Level 3 class at 60 hertz.)
I placed my mat on a vibration plate in a windowless and mirrorless room, then put on semi-noise cancelling headphones to hear the instructor’s voice and background music. Both the plate frequency and headphone volume can be adjusted throughout the class.
We began with a relatively easy yoga flow on solid ground, and the vibration plates started rumbling 20 minutes in. Surprisingly, the vibration didn’t throw off my flow – it just felt like I was working out at a higher level, without really trying any harder.
It was a little difficult getting used to the weight of the headphones while moving my body through some of the poses. However, as someone who has trouble tuning out my own thoughts during yoga classes, they definitely helped me “return to my intention.”
Overall, I’d say the class was a pleasant workout for an out-of-shape person like me. Rather than feeling exhausted or sweaty, I left calm, energized and ready to take on the day, without my mandatory cup of coffee.
Details: $30 per class, membership options available. vibeflowyoga.com
I work out three to five times a week and decided to try Orangetheory Fitness because my routine was getting boring.
Orangetheory is full-body workout, focused on high intensity intervals that blend cardiovascular and strength training. A certified coach leads the class to prevent you from over- or under-training. They gave me a heart rate monitor to show my real-time results versus everyone else in the class, and our stats were displayed on large screens throughout the studio.
I found myself getting competitive and had a very effective workout with a mixture of treadmill cardio, water rower, and power strength training using weights.
I loved the class, and will definitely be back for more!
Details: first class free, memberships available. orangetheoryfitness.com