From aerial arts to fit jump and the ‘Megaformer’... it's time to shake up your workout
Exercising should be fun. Don’t believe us? It’s probably because you haven’t found your niche. From trampolining to aerial arts and even military-style courses, there’s more to keeping fit than treadmills and weights. We’ve rounded up some of our favourites…
Admittedly, I thought Love Lagree might be a fad before going along. Six weeks later, I’m still eating my words. So what is it? Well it’s a high intensity, low impact, full body workout - on a machine called the ‘Megaformer’. Sounds badass…and it is. You’ll do moves such as squats and lunges while moving as slowly as you can, using your own weight and resistance bands. I found it a great mix of strength, endurance, cardiovascular fitness, balance and flexibility. Within six sessions I could see a huge difference to the muscles around my shoulders and upper arms, and even my abs have started to twitch into action after a mysterious absence. Prices start from £12 per class if you buy the introductory package.
Unit 3, The Gateway West, East St, Leeds LS9 8DZ
After reviewing Leeds Aerial Arts Studio, I had to include here because it’s such a fun and challenging way to work out. The studio teaches three aerial skills - hoops, silks and yoga - and you can attend individual classes or courses that last for a few weeks, challenging yourself with new moves each time. This is a particularly great workout for the core (you’ll need to engage a lot to maintain your balance) and a playful way to improve strength and flexibility. Classes start from as low as £11 when you buy a bundle of 10.
Studio 2, Cross York St, Leeds LS2 7EE
If you’re looking to build a yoga practice that really gets results, Bikram is the one for you. You work with the same series of 26 Hatha Yoga postures in each class, which is great for noticing where your body is at week on week, while the heat (a balmy 40 degrees) encourages muscles and ligaments to relax; allowing for deeper stretching. With its focus on breath, I also found Bikram helped with my sleep and overall wellbeing. Bikram Yoga Leeds does a 30 day intro for beginners for just £30. Thereafter, prices start from just £5.30 if you go for a package and attend regularly.
Level 2, The Core, The Headrow, Leeds LS1 6JD
What could be more fun than bouncing your way to fitness? Not only does Jump Arena offer a welcome escape from adulthood, it’s also a full body cardio workout - with the added benefit of laugher. The jump arena is made up of a series of trampolines, all connected by soft pathways, and even the walls are covered. You’ll work your core, get your heart rate up and maybe even master a few of the tricks you tried as a kid. Fit Jump also offers dodgeball and freestyle sessions, perfect if you want to do something active with your friends. Prices start from £6 a session.
Redcote Lane, Leeds LS4 2AL
The fun thing about climbing is that the fitness is secondary to solving a puzzle. You have to work out how to conquer a route, and then apply your body to make it happen, which is much more fun than simply pumping weights. Routes are marked in different colours, so you can work your way up to the harder ones, and there are training areas for working on strength and technique. The Climbing Lab also offers various coaching options, adult intros and shoes for hire. If all that isn’t enough, your membership card will get you some cracking discounts at shops and bars around the city. Prices start from £7 a session.
Kirkstall industrial Park, 14 & 15, Leeds LS4 2AZ
British Military Fitness have a few venues in the city, both indoor and outdoor, but Roundhay park is my personal favourite. Worried you’re not fit enough to attend? You needn’t be. On your first visit you’ll chat to the team about your goals and your current fitness, and members are split into groups to suit their needs. You’ll make use of the landscape (plenty of running and hills to tackle) as well as military kit, medicine balls and logs to ensure a full body workout. Coaches will push you to your limits, and they plan some pretty cracking socials too. You can book your first session for free, and unlimited membership is £37 a month.
Roundhay Park, Leeds LS8 2EP
Short attention span? Pole dancing might be the ticket, as it always offers new moves to work towards, while building core body strenth to boot. Contrary to popular belief, it dosen’t have to be sexy but it is empowering and a great way to work on confidence; particularly at Aerial Empire, where the atmosphere is welcoming and the instuctors fun and friendly. The venue also offers handstand, stretch and flex classes and prices start from £8 when you buy a bundle of 8.
Mabgate mills, Mill 3, Leeds LS9 7DZ