Home / Diet & Fitness / Beyond the everyday gym: Five ways to pump up your sweat equity – Updated

Beyond the everyday gym: Five ways to pump up your sweat equity – Updated

Frank Fowler leads a Capoeira class in southwest Calgary March 20, 2018. Capoeira classes combine Brazilian martial arts and dance into a fitness class. Jim Wells/Postmedia

Jim Wells Jim Wells / Jim Wells/Postmedia

We’re a quarter of the way through 2018 and chances are you’re already ho-hum with your vow to move your body more or hit the gym regularly. Treadmill. Pump. Stretch. Repeat. Yawn. That’s the kind of rut many of us can fall into, so maybe it’s time to pull on the stretchy pants for something entirely different.Here are five beyond-the-everyday-gym ways to fire up your endorphins. Each of these can be used to complement to your usual workouts, or maybe one will become your new go-to.

Frank Fowler demonstrates with Damarys Zampini during a Capoeira class in Calgary. Capoeira combines Brazilian martial arts and dance into a fitness class. Jim Wells/Postmedia

Jim Wells Jim Wells /

Jim Wells/Postmedia

Capoeira — Brazilian martial artCulture meets choreography and martial arts in this traditional Afro-Brazilian “dance fight.” Capoeira (capo-where-a) has its roots in the 400-year-old traditional martial art with a fascinating history. The Calgary group, with highly trained capoeiristas as instructors, teach the authentic series of movements set to rhythmic Brazilian music in a small-group setting. You might even learn a little Portuguese and a traditional musical instrument in this head-to-toe workout that will tune up your agility, balance and strength. Beginners learn the basic moves, including the ginga (to sway) and a series of round kicks, eventually putting them together in a choreographed sequence. To get you limbered up for the moves, the classes begin with some basic callisthenics.Who will like it: It’ll take a few times to feel comfortable with the moves, so be patient. Classes tend to attract 18- to 30-year olds. There are also classes for kids ages six and up. You’ll enjoy this if you’re interested in learning cultural traditions, a non-contact martial art and earning belts along the way.Gear: Comfortable gym clothing. You can go barefoot or wear running shoes.Find out more: Classes are held several times a week at various locations around the city. http://www.camaracalgary.com/

Crush Camp’s unique curved treadmill. Courtesy, Crush Camp


Crush CampDon’t be intimidated by the name. Owner Emily Slaneff describes her ever-changing workouts as a “plateau buster.” It becomes obvious the minute you start your 55-minute workout. If you’re guilty of doing the same old thing every time you hit the gym this will shake up your routine. With only one studio in Calgary, Crush Camp caters to those who want to push themselves with a boot camp-style, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) session in a smaller setting. Classes are capped at around 16 participants. I loved trying out the “Skill Mill,” a non-motorized (you-powered), innovation on the average treadmill, with lots of versatility. Because of its design, with a curved rubber track, and curved handlebars, it allows for a variety of exercises that target quads, hamstrings and glutes, using the 1-10-level (lightest to heaviest) resistance. The Skill Mill is a big part of the interval training, which also includes ever-changing exercises to get a total body workout that will leave you feeling like you didn’t slack off.Who would like it: Those who like a smaller class setting, a really good sweat and trying new exercises and innovative gear.Gear: Typical workout wear.Find out more: There are a variety of times available each day of the week. https://www.crushcamp.com/

People work out in orange-coloured light at Orange Theory. Courtesy, Orange Theory


Orangetheory FitnessThere are a few game-changing aspects to these one-hour high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. One is that no two workouts are ever the same. The company’s fitness trainers are always devising new workout templates. (All clubs use the same template on the same day.) The heart-rate-based training sessions can focus on endurance or strength one day, or all cardio, or a mix of everything on another day.I like that you get a visual of your workout with the heart rate monitor wristband you wear as you’re doing your workout. A big screen on the wall shows your heart rate and the calories you’re burning (and those of your fellow workout mates). Every OTF space is set up with 12 treadmills, 12 H20 water-resistant rowing machines and a workout area with benches, Bosu balls, rubber bands and hand weights. Participants are split up into groups by the coach and everyone rotates through in an allotted amount of time. Within minutes of leaving the gym, you receive your “performance summary,” showing your personalized information, including your average heart rate and calories burned which is tallied into weekly, monthly and yearly totals.Who would like it? Anyone who gets bored quickly with their workouts, doesn’t like to think about what they need to do for an hour in the gym, likes to compete with others, or themselves.Gear: Whatever you’d wear to the gym. You’ll receive a heart-monitor band when you arrive. Find out more: There are seven locations in Calgary. https://www.orangetheoryfitness.com/ 

Clients work out during a fitness class at Barre Belle in Auburn Bay. Gavin Young/Postmedia

Gavin Young Gavin Young /


BarreYou may think you’re doing a more graceful and slower paced workout, but guaranteed you’ll be shvitzing and your thigh muscles will be twitching while doing a ballet barre class. Combining ballet, Pilates and yoga, barre classes have exploded over the past few years, taking a page from diligent ballet dancers who have the gams to show for their dedication. I took a class at the Auburn Bay Barre Belle studio, a lovely, naturally lit mirrored studio and equipped with the de rigueur barre which is used for many of the exercises that isolate specific muscle groups. And you will use it for balance or to grab on to just when you think you can’t do one more plié or squat (sometimes with the added challenge of a medicine ball squeezed between your thighs). After a couple of classes, you’ll feel you’re well on your way to a firmer derriere, thighs and calves. The upper half of your body isn’t forgotten in the hour-long workouts. There’s also ab work, hand weights for triceps and biceps and shoulders. You will feel like you’ve worked just about every muscle in your body when you’re done.Who would like it: Anyone looking to sculpt their booty in an anti-gym setting. For those girls who never took a ballet class, but always wanted to. Anyone who’s new to working out, this is a non-intimidating and approachable way to get fit. Gear: Toe socks are mandatory. Tights or bodysuits are common.Find out more: There are a number of barre fitness studios in Calgary including Barre Body Studio, Barre West and Barre & Beats among others. There are four Barre Belle locations. http://www.barrebelle.ca/

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