5 Alternatives To Your Gym Workout

When spin class feels like just spinning your wheels, try one of these courses instead

Going to the gym isn’t for everyone, but fitness should be. Here are five alternatives to keep you in shape without having to dread the treadmill every week.

Pole Dancing

Forget pull-ups and learn to pole down! Any stigma attached to this once adults-only activity has faded since the 90s, which means you can benefit from toned muscles and a healthier heart without worrying about what the neighbors might think. Strut Fitness offers a range of classes from beginner to advanced pole dancing, drop-in classes, burlesque training and even private lessons if you prefer one-on-one time.

Strut Fitness, 11, 126 16 Ave. N.E., 403-999-0847 strutfitness.ca

Aerial Dancing

If you’ve ever scoffed at Cirque du Soleil and thought “I can do that, easy!” time to put your money where your mouth is with a class in aerial circus arts. Using an aerial hoop, trapeze or large silk ribbons, learn to suspend yourself mid-air to climb, wrap and swing your way through the skies and into better shape. The Flip Factory offers courses in aerial acrobatics for all age groups and skill levels, as well as regular acrobatics and trampoline classes if you’d rather spend a little more time on the ground.

Flip Factory, Bay 1, 4500-5th Street N.E., 403-265-2656, flip-factory.com

Contortion Classes

Why bend over backwards to accommodate a fitness regimen when you bend over backwards as a workout instead? Contortion classes will teach you to fold (and, eventually, unfold) your body in ways that will amaze your friends and scare your fancy dinner guests. Calgary Circus Studio offers classes on how to twist your body into a pretzel, as well as a variety of other circus related skills including prop manipulation and acrobalance, which combines handstands with partnered acrobatics.

Calgary Circus Studio, 1401 10 Avenue S.E., 403-800-5972 calgarycircusstudio.com,

Hoop Dancing

Your hips were made for hoopin’, and that’s just what they’ll do when you sign up for hoop dancing class. Far from just the simple back and forth hip motions you practiced as a kid, hoop dancing teaches full body movements and off-body tricks like spinning with your limbs all while toning muscle and getting your cardio done. Kelly Jane of Hoop Di Do offers classes in eight week installments for kids, beginners and experienced hoopers of all stripes.

Hoop Di Do, 5003 16 Ave. N.W., 403-0807-3363, hoop-di-do.com


Originally developed by the French military in the 1980s as a way to find the most efficient methods of getting through an environment, parkour has since grown in popularity, with people vaulting, spinning and tumbling through gyms and over rooftops. Breathe Parkour in Calgary holds classes for every age group and anyone brave enough to flip off a wall, no matter your fitness level.

Breathe Parkour, 8, 401 33 Street N.E. 403-273-2245, breathepk.com

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