Hit the gym for these bang-on-trend workout regimes
Dance workouts are popular additions to gym programmes. Dancing is a great workout for the whole body, burning calories as you learn dance moves to upbeat music. It often doesn't feel like a workout but a fun dance party for sociable participants.
JJ Sweeney and the Celebrity Fitness Dance Team created Dance N' Attitude, or DNA, as an all-new dance concept, exclusive to the gym chain's portfolio. The dance class was introduced to Malaysia's Celebrity Fitness gyms in 2012, joining their portfolio of dance classes such as Zumba. The largest fitness centre chain in Malaysia, Celebrity Fitness has 21 clubs throughout the country.
“Dancing enhances your life in so many ways, giving you health and confidence as a means of fun and social self-expression,” says Sunny Cheong, Senior Group Fitness Manager at Celebrity Fitness and a DNA instructor. He has had more than 10 years experience in the fitness industry covering DNA Raw, Core Ex, Fastfit and TRX.
Dancing, says Cheong, improves the cardiovascular system, increases muscle tone and burns calories. It also helps to increase flexibility, strength and coordination. “With the DNA classes, one can burn from 300-500 calories in an hour, depending on how big the movements are,” he says.
DNA has four classes, each with specific moves and music. DNA Seduce combines flirty and sexy moves in a series of dance styles such as jazz, contemporary modern, street and funky style. DNA Raw features a variety of energetic choreographies, including Hip Hop, RnB, House and Funk. DNA Insanity combines a variety of dance moves into one, from contemporary to pop modern styles. Finally, DNA Flavour combines different Latin styles and movements such as salsa, tango, flamenco, merengue and more.
“Every dance has an attitude. Similarly, everyone has his or her own DNA, and participants bring their own feeling into the dance. Participants take a class depending on what suits them and their mood,” explains Cheong.
In each 60-minute class, participants learn a dance routine that they get to perform at the end of the class. “We will break down the steps with background music so that participants get to feel the moves with the beat of the music. In the last 10 minutes of the class, participants will have the chance to perform the full routine. This is a chance for participants to demonstrate their talent and what they have accomplished during the class,” says Cheong.
DNA dance classes differ from Celebrity Fitness’ other dance offering, Zumba, because of their varied dance moves and styles. “With Zumba, it’s very basic choreography and you have to follow a certain timing. For example, when there are turns, you have to do it as there are no options,” says Cheong. “With DNA, we can push them further to give them more options to explore their inner talents.”
Parkour was developed in France as a training discipline using movement. Its purpose is to get from one point to another in the fastest and most efficient way, regardless of obstacles.
Julien Vigroux, a French native and Parkour practitioner, saw the potential in introducing Asia Parkour in Bangkok, the first indoor Parkour facility in Thailand. “Asia Parkour offers authentic Parkour training and a unique, natural and holistic training method. Our classes are suitable for anyone willing to learn to live more actively and move freely,” he says.
Equipped with a variety of obstacles, the gym offers a safe place to practise running, swinging, vaulting, jumping, rolling and quadrupedal movement under the watchful eye of experienced trainers.
Parkour's benefits are holistic, affecting mind, body and spirit, says Vigroux. “It offers various physical and mental benefits that can be applied to your everyday life, such as having a better understanding of your body, fear management, risk management, gaining confidence and overcoming obstacles. Both your body and mind will work simultaneously for a better symbiosis and help you to be a better version of yourself in your everyday life.”
Surfset is a gym workout created by Mike Hartwick, a former professional hockey player. Realising the physical potential of surfing, he invented the world's first total-body surf training, using a machine and a unique workout programme to simulate the demands of surfing without the water.
“Surfset is a unique workout, combining elements of aerobic fat burning, lean muscle build, balance, and core training into one fitness session, all performed on top of a custom-made unstable surfboard,” says Yu Shuyi, Surfset Singapore's owner and instructor.
The workout routines are designed to engage the core and stabiliser muscles, challenging the body in new ways. “Exercising on top of a unstable surfboard really forces you to train three aspects in your physical fitness – cardio, core and balance,” says Yu.
“Cardio comes into play because things get sweaty very quickly on the board – basic slow movements like push ups and leg raises are exponentially more difficult and engages your body more thoroughly, making you work harder. The core is constantly hard at work on the board because of the need to constantly stabilise your body to compensate for any movements. And balance, naturally, is a critical component to keep yourself standing or sitting on the board without flailing around or falling off!”
Get to the barre
Aspire to the fit form of a dancer with Xtend Barre, an intensive workout designed to strengthen, lengthen and sculpt your body.
“Xtend Barre is a fun ballet-inspired workout, combining the elements of Pilates, dance and functional training, choreographed to motivating music,” says Beh Hwee Sze, the founder of Upside Motion, the first to introduce the barre programme in Singapore.
Traditional ballet techniques such as first position, tendu and passe are taught at this class, but typically with props such as weights, straps and resistance bands. “The small, controlled movements that we do during class reduce pressure on your joints, tendons, ligaments and spine, while improving your core strength and posture. One can also expect an improved range of motions through improving your flexibility,” says Beh.
“By coming to class two to four times weekly, you will typically notice changes in as little as one month. Changes may include an improved posture, thinner thighs, chiseled arms, a sculpted back, flat abs and a lifted seat,” says Beh.
The workout can be challenging, but Beh assures that no ballet experience is required. “The beauty of our Xtend Barre classes is that everyone works with small movements, and we are able to limit or expand their range of motions to suit their specific needs.”