AntiGravity fitness, the brainchild of gymnast and Broadway dancer, Christopher Harrison, originated all the way back in 1991, but this is the year it comes to Calgary. Bridgeland’s Fit Republic just opened its doors and is the first facility in Calgary licensed to offer this intriguing inverted fitness trend that uses a hammock-like apparatus to work you out.
Fit Republic’s owner and certified AntiGravity instructor, Jane Tallick, gives us the scoop on everything you need to know before taking your workout off the ground.
As much fun as it can be, there is a certain level of knowledge and awareness one needs to acquire in order to fly freely (and safely). To that end, Fit Republic has a mandatory three-class fundamentals package limited to six newbies at a time. The prerequisite starter package is $60. After you’ve nailed the basics you can attend at a drop-in rate ($20), or as part of a membership. In other parts of the world AntiGravity classes run from $30 to $80 per class, so thankfully Calgary’s very first studio is keeping the pricing at the client-friendly end of the spectrum.
It’s not just for yogis
It’s a common misconception that these slings are simply about working on one’s yoga moves. While it’s true that there is a great AntiGravity yoga program, this rig also offers the potential for high-intensity fitness, restorative mobility work and everything in between. Fit Republic offers AntiGravity fundamentals, yoga, restorative, pilates, fitness, kids and air barre classes. Once you’ve nailed the fundamentals the sky’s the limit on what direction you want to take your training.
Runners and cyclists, this one’s for you
Though running and cycling are great for the physical appearance of the body, they can cause some wonky situations on the mechanical side. Even the most disciplined stretchers find themselves with muscle imbalances and limited ranges of motions in areas like the hip flexors and hamstrings. “The support of the hammock allows for deeper poses and stretches than without, allowing the less flexible-aka the runners and cyclists among us-to achieve a much deeper stretch and opening than is usually available to them,” Tallick explains. “Every session the stretches become deeper and easier. Depending on the class attended, flexibility, mobility, back pain, core strength, balance can all be improved drastically.” All of that makes AntiGravity work the ultimate cross-training option.
If it’s good enough for Gwyneth
After Harrison discovered that the AntiGravity Hammock (it really does look like a cross between a Cirque du Soleil silk and a Mexican hammock) had health and fitness benefits to be reaped by the general public as an exercise device, not just as part of the stage shows he worked on on Broadway, he created the AntiGravity Yoga & Fitness training models. His trademarked techniques (Tallick had to travel to NYC and Vancouver to complete the 80 hours of training required for the Antigravity certification) are now being taught in gyms and studios in over 30 countries including Madonna’s Hard Candy Fitness and in Richard Branson’s Virgin Active. Good old Gwyneth Paltrow has even claimed that AntiGravity is the secret to her health and fitness-well that explains who’s paying $80 a class.
“That thing can’t hold me,” is a pretty common sentiment expressed by first-timers. It is a pretty acrobatic-looking activity, there’s no way around that, so their trepidation is understandable. There’s just no way to break these babies, though. “Every portion of the Harrison AntiGravity Hammock is tested for well over 2,000 lbs. The points in the ceiling in an AG Fitness approved center have been placed by a professional contractor and certified by an engineer and are rated to hold at least 1,000 lbs,” Tallick says. “The difference between fear and excitement in the body is relaxation. So the sooner we can get people to realize there’s no way these things are coming down, the sooner the fun begins.”
Fit Republic, 989 McPherson Rd. N.E., 403-991-6468, fitrepublic.ca