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Keep Those New Year’s Resolutions with a New Workout Routine


A Konga Jungle Body Class at NuAge Fitness

There’s nothing like two months of holiday overeating to motivate Pittsburghers’ newfound commitment to getting in shape in the new year. Part of that promise to do better usually involves a visit to the local gym.


If the thought of running on a treadmill (and getting nowhere fast) sounds less than inspiring, there are other unique fitness options in the Pittsburgh region that make exercising fun again. Some of these classes might even stave off the urge to give up on New Year’s resolutions to get healthier after just three weeks.


Kicking it with Konga



One such offering is the Konga Jungle Body Class offered at NuAge Fitness in Gibsonia. Class instructor Rosemary Rautenbach said Konga is an Australian-based fitness program that has all the variety of dancing, boxing, and toning in one convenient workout. Plus, it’s a lot of fun, so class participants never get bored.


NuAge offers the only Konga class in Pennsylvania. In total, only five certified Konga instructors offer classes in the U.S.


“It’s appropriate for all fitness levels and abilities,” said Rautenbach. “Someone who is eight months pregnant can do the same workout as someone who is not. If they’re having fun and moving, that’s all that matters.”


Describing it as appropriate for all fitness levels wasn’t just lip service. One of the class participants is Jenna Pershing of Gibsonia, who happened to be sporting an 8-month pregnant belly during a November Konga class.


Pershing said she’s been taking the Konga class for nearly two years and had no plans to stop just because she was pregnant. “It’s a lot of fun. You get a lot of steps in and it’s a good way to sweat.” It also doesn’t hurt that Rautenbach pairs the moves in the Konga routines with some entertaining musical selections.


The only time Pershing feels compelled to modify any of the moves in the Konga routine because of her pregnancy is when class participants get in a belly-down position. “I can still keep up but lying on my belly isn’t possible right now. Rosemary doesn’t do too many moves like that, so I’m usually okay,” she said.


Lisa Cuzzo, co-owner of NuAge Fitness, said that it’s her goal to bring as many unique fitness classes to the gym as possible. “We’re pretty open. We ask our instructors if they have any ideas, and we always ask our clients what they like or want to see.” The goal is to change things up so their members don’t get bored and abandon their exercise goals, she added.


One of their upcoming offerings is a Boogie Bounce class using mini trampolines (with handles). Rautenbach is certified in the class, which she said is appropriate for all fitness levels. “That’s what I love about the classes I teach,” she added. “They’re for everyone.”


Learn more about other unique classes at NuAge at http://www.nuagefitnesscenter.com.


Pole Dancing for Fitness and Fun


Looking for something even more exotic? How about pole dancing your way to better health in 2023?


“There’s always a stigma with pole dancing, and we continually work to overcome that,” said Jill Schaefer, owner of Fitness With a Twist 2.0 in Pittsburgh. “Some people want to learn the exotic and sexy moves. There are others who think of it as gymnastics on a bar. It offers a bit of something for everybody.”


Schaefer’s studio offers pole dancing for fitness and fun. It’s perfect for people who want to try something different to stay in shape in the new year.


“A lot of people just don’t like going to the gym,” said Schaefer. “This is a different way to get yourself in shape that’s fun. People in these classes are very supportive of each other’s fitness goals.”


While most class participants are women, Schaefer said that she does offer co-ed classes so men can join in.


Public classes are offered at the studio every day of the week except Fridays. Signing up in advance is required because classes are popular and fill up quickly.


“There’s one we have on Monday evenings that’s for pole newbies only,” Schaefer said. “People are really hard on themselves. They seem terrified to step foot in the pole class for some reason. We’ve found that the newbies class evens the score because you know going in that everyone is at the same point.”


Fitness with a Twist 2.0 also offers a class that teaches pole dancing exercises designed to improve strength and conditioning. Another option is the pole and chair dance combination class on Tuesdays and a separate class where the poles are set to spin mode which makes moves more fluid and pleasing to the eye. “Spin mode requires greater body awareness and even more control than when you use a static pole,” said Schaefer.


On Wednesdays and Saturdays, guests can stop by the all-levels class that combines all skill levels of pole dancing. “We also do private lessons if someone is shy or wants to work on a particular skill,” said Schaefer.


Pole dancing newbies can buy a four-class pass for $49. After that, if they decide to keep coming, membership options are available in six-month and 12-month options that include unlimited classes and other discounts.


“It’s full-body exercise,” said Schaefer of why people should give it a try. “There’s a lot of focus on upper body strength, but you do use your entire body, including your core. You need to have a lot of control to spin yourself around and do some of the moves.”


Schedule your pole dancing class by visiting https://www.fitnesswithatwistpgh.com.


Achieve Balance through Ballet


Like the idea of dancing your way to fitness but not sure about doing it on a pole? The Pittsburgh Ballet Theater offers another possibility with its PBT Dance and Wellness program, designed for dancers aged 14 and up.


“Most of our clients are adults living out their childhood dreams, those who want to learn new ways to move their bodies, or those who used to do ballet in childhood and want to get back into it,” said Marcella Day, PBT’s Dance and Wellness program manager. “A lot of the people who come to us say they want to move their bodies, but the gym is not for them.”


PBT’s ballet classes are separated into Ballet 101, an 8-week course; Beginning Ballet, Intermediate Ballet and Advanced Ballet. “We try not to combine levels so we can truly focus on those who are beginners,” said Day. They also offer a 90-minute “try before you buy” option for Ballet 101. The next one is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023.


“Ballet brings balance and flexibility, and can lengthen and strengthen your muscles without lifting weights,” said Day. “It’s also a really good brain exercise.”


Signing up for the classes is easy using the Mindbody app, Day said. Go to https://www.pbt.org/mindbody-login/ to access the account. Anyone who is uncomfortable signing up online can stop by the theater’s front desk and sign up in person.


“You don’t have to be a dancer to come to the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater,” Day said. “Our focus isn’t to make you the most fit person in the room. We focus on helping people move their bodies and have fun while doing it.”


With the Greatest of Ease…


Those who prefer something daring but want to skip the dance moves might find the Pittsburgh Circus Center more to their liking. The Ben Avon studio offers aerial skills classes that can feel like performing with Cirque de Soleil.


Watching an aerial silks performer at Cirque de Soleil was the driving force for Holly Kirby to bring the unique sport to Pittsburgh. The classes are great for improving fitness levels and learning a new skill, she said.


While the center occasionally offers single “try it” aerial silks classes, Kirby said she recommends the four-week course option that gives participants the full experience. “We call it first-time flyers. You learn a lot and it’s scaffolded in a way that makes sense. By that fourth week, you’re going to be so surprised what you can do in that silk. It’s very encouraging and empowering.”


Strength isn’t a prerequisite for taking the aerial silks classes. Kirby said that most people develop at their own pace, building strength and conditioning as they go.


It’s an excellent way to keep in shape, she added, because it conditions you in a different way. “No one says, ‘Oh, I’m going to go climb a silk today,’” she laughed. “But my hope is that people will come try it because they’re going to love it.”


One thing that’s missing from Kirby’s center is the competitiveness that comes with other sports and athletic activities. “There is no competition among students,” she said. “We won’t have it. It’s just not our mojo.”


To register for a class at the center, visit https://www.pittsburghaerialsilks.com.


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