Two years ago, Geneva resident Kelly Kalinka was bored with her health club-based fitness routine and looking for something new.
She reconnected with her old love for ballet and discovered a new way to exercise through an Xtend Barre class at V Fusion Studio in Geneva.
“Xtend Barre was completely different from what my gym offered,” she says. “I liked the combination of Pilates and ballet, which I used to do, along with cardio and weights. I just fell in love with it.”
By following a healthy diet and working out almost every day, Kalinka lost more than 15 pounds and dropped two dress sizes.
“I was back to my high school weight,” she says.
Now in the sixth month of pregnancy, Kalinka still attends class three days a week, though she has had to modify many of the Xtend Barre moves, such as using an exercise ball for sit-ups to support her lower back.
“I’ve had no back pain, and my doctor has told me that I’m in great shape for how far along I am,” Kalinka says.
If the start of a new year has you looking for new fitness ideas beyond the treadmill, Kane County has plenty of options. Whether your goal is weight loss, stress loss or getting in touch with the kid inside, check out one of these great new — and maybe slightly unconventional — exercise options.
A fitness instructor with a dance background, Vicky Waterman turned to Pilates to help her regain movement after surgery.
“Pilates is very safe and has been around for 100 years, but it’s really made an impact in the last 15 years,” she says. “Everything is based on having long, lean muscles like a dancer. That really resonated with me.”
Two years ago, she opened V Fusion Studio to offer a selection of Pilates-based exercises.
“Everything we do here uses Pilates as a cornerstone,” she says.
Xtend Barre is a combination of Pilates, ballet and yoga. It is a way to achieve the grace of a dancer along with the stretching and flexibility of yoga, and it’s core-centric like Pilates. It centers on posture and small, controlled movement.
The workouts are performed to contemporary music using hand-weights, small exercise balls and resistance bands. Classes run 60 to 75 minutes.
“It’s a fast-paced workout that accomplishes a lot in a short time,” Waterman says.
The studio also offers Piloxing, a high-energy, interval workout performed to music that alternates boxing moves with Pilates.
“The boxing gets your heart rate up, and because we’re wearing weighted gloves, it’s great for toning arms and shoulders,” Waterman says. “Then Pilates brings your heart rate back down and tones your core, abs and glutes.”
Both Xtend Barre and Piloxing work to flatten the stomach, lift the derriere and tone arms and thighs. They also encourage flexibility and can be done by people at any fitness level.
Though most of her students are women, Waterman says men could benefit as well.
“They need flexibility just as much as women,” she says.
For more information, visit www.vfusionstudio.com.
Bounce away the blues
Who says kids are the only ones who can play on a trampoline?
South Elgin’s Epic Air is 30,000 square feet of bouncy fun, and while kids love it, adults are welcome, too.
“When parents come in with their kids, I always ask if they’re jumping,” says Jill Rempert, owner of the club, which opened in December 2011. “If they say no, I encourage them to try it for half an hour. Anyone who does, thanks me.”
The facility offers floor and wall trampolines and even a foam pit. Age designated areas keep the fun safe. There is a dodge ball area, basketball court and, for those who want a structured workout, airobics classes.
Known as “rebound exercise,” airobics works the legs, thighs and buttocks and provides a great cardio workout. It also boosts a person’s mood by releasing adrenalin, Rempert says.
“When you come down from a bounce, there’s a little thrill you feel in your stomach, almost like being on a roller coaster,” she says.
By starting with gentle low bounces and working up to more vigorous exercise, it is a low impact activity that anyone can do.
“It’s something parents can do with their kids and something adults can do to stay active,” Rempert says. “We keep it cool in here for the jumpers because once you start, you’ll be sweating in five minutes.”
For hours, class schedules and cost, visit www.epicairpark.com or call 847-608-0600.
Hooping for health
Hula hooping combined with fitness and well being is the central concept behind Hoopnotica, a class available at the Geneva Park District.
“It keeps you moving, and the workouts range from high energy routines to set dance music, to contemplative and gentle routines set to classical music,” says Hoopnotica instructor Stephanie Ascencio. “It’s different things to different people.”
Classes last about an hour and begin with basic hula hoop instruction and “on-body” moves that work the waist, hips and back. The class then transitions to more advanced off-body skills.
“We hoop on the arms, hands and even toes,” Ascencio says. “You keep moving, center on the hoop and get into a meditative state.”
Hoopnotica is performed with weighted hoops of various sizes, and hoop enthusiasts often purchase their own hoops to decorate.
Ascencio discovered the class through an article in a fitness magazine.
“I’d been doing the usual things and was looking for new ways to stay in shape,” she says. “As soon as I saw it, I decided I had to try it.”
The core-centric exercise also works the back, arms, legs and glutes and can be performed in a group setting or individually at home.
Ascencio has been hooping for two years, has been an instructor for one year and is part of an 80-member hooping group that meets periodically.
“It’s definitely growing, and I’m happy to see it,” she says.
To learn more, visit www.genevaparks.org. kc