Let's be real: Same old, same old at the gym is boring. "Novelty is an underrated aspect of staying mentally engaged in your fitness pursuits," says fitness expert Jen Sinkler, co-owner of The Movement Minneapolis. Plus, getting stuck in a fitness rut can lead to less effective workouts. "It's important to keep a high level in variety in your workouts to keep things challenging, interesting and to avoid hitting a plateau," says Brian Gallagher, founder of Throwback Fitness in New York City. So why not mix it up? We picked our favorite new workouts guaranteed to get you out of your comfort zone and back to enjoying your sweat sessions.
1. Like Yoga? Try Paddleboard Yoga
While no one is really sure exactly where paddleboard yoga came from, Gillian Gibree, owner of Paddle Into Fitness in San Diego, has a pretty good idea. "I think a bunch of standup paddleboard yogis just started experimenting," she says. The class — which, yes, is done on the water — focuses on the core muscles, since those are the ones you'll be using to paddle out and stabilize the board during poses. It may sound intimidating, but Gibree says plenty of the poses can be done from a seated position, and you can focus on floating, meditating and moving slowly through the routine. There is an added challenge to doing yoga on an unstable board; not only does it force concentration, but even the simplest of yoga poses becomes a full-body experience.
2. Like Functional Fitness? Try MovNat
MovNat is a fitness method that focuses on the full range of natural movements, including (but not limited to) crawling, walking, running, balancing, jumping, running, climbing, lifting, carrying, and throwing and catching. "We don't create fancy exercises using fancy equipment. Instead we trust the nature in us and replace modern human movement with original, natural movement behavior," says MovNat founder Erwan Le Corre. "We have them move the way they're supposed to, while teaching them techniques for movement efficiency." You won't just be able to move easier, you'll also be stronger at movements that matter in real life: carrying and lifting things, crouching, and balancing, to name a few. Find a MovNat trainer or sign up for a two-day workshop at movnat.com.
3. Like Indoor Cycling? Try Aqua Cycling
If you're an avid Spinning fan, but you're looking for something a little different, consider an underwater cycling class. The bikes are placed in waist-high water and you pedal against the water resistance; you can burn up to 800 calories in an hour at the AQUA Studio in New York. Plus, the workout is impact-free. Classes at AQUA Studio include interval, power, restorative — and even one where you work out to classical music. Check your local pool or YMCA for aqua cycling classes.
4. Like Team Sports? Try Throwback Fitness
Try to think about the last time you really enjoyed your workout. Was it a pickup game with your friends on the quad or playing on your high school's basketball team? New York City's Throwback Fitness is a workout designed to harken back to your glory days with team and competition-based workouts. The bulk of the workout is strength and cardiovascular training, but the classes all include a section called "Recess." Recess time means capture the flag, cornhole and dodgeball. "Making the workouts fun helps people coming back," says co-founder Brian Gallegar. Plus, the team-based focus of the workouts means you're bound to meet some new buddies. Join the fun at throwbackfit.com.
5. Like CrossFit? Try F45
With locations nationwide, F45 is a team-based, high-intensity interval workout that can burn up to 1,100 calories per session. "There was an emergence of functional-based training and a huge need for community-based fitness," says founder Robert Deutsch. "We sit in between those that never attend a normal gym, and those that pay ridiculous amounts for personal training." The 45-minute classes are always different and include everything from a surfing-inspired workout to sled sprints and battle ropes. Enter if you dare. Learn more at f45training.com.
6. Like Weightlifting? Try Original Strength
If you're looking to hit "reset" on your entire workout, Original Strength will take you back to the basics. Co-founder Tim Anderson found inspiration in child developmental movements and focused his workout on what he calls the "Big Five." "The Big Five are focused on proper breathing, developing head control, rolling, rocking, and then ultimately, crawling and other [similar] movement patterns," says Danielle Almeyda, co-owner of Original Strength. "Crawling is the foundation of your gait pattern. It helps us get our body parts working better together, increases coordination, and provides a gentle strength training option that yields powerful results." Find an Original Strength coach at originalstrength.net.
7. Like Zumba? Try Bokwa
Bokwa is a dance-based fitness class based on the South African roots of founder Paul Mavi. Instead of the traditional eight-count choreography, Bokwa dancers draw numbers and letters with their feet to the rhythm of pop songs. (Imagine stepping in an L shape on the floor, for example.) The class sizes can be large, but they focus on enjoying a beginner-friendly cardio workout that Mavi says can burn up to 1,200 calories per session. Search for a class near you at bokwafitness.com.
8. Like Gymnastics? Try a Circus Fitness Class
Did you push aside your dreams of being a high-flying performer in favor of a more traditional workout? Now you can do both with beginner-friendly circus classes with a fitness focus. At Circus Arts Fitness in Atlanta, for example, classes include trapeze, circus rings, aerial silks, tightwire, hand-balancing and juggling. It might feel like you're just clowning around, but the workouts will challenge your strength, flexibility and coordination. Learn more at circusartsinstitute.com.
What Do YOU Think?
What's your favorite fitness class? What's the strangest workout you've ever tried? Is there a workout you'd like to try but haven't checked out yet? Tell us about your favorite new activity in the comments.