Priyanka Gupta starts to laugh as she counts the number of workout styles she’s tried — plain training at the gym, pilates, power yoga, Iyengar yoga, salsa and belly dance... “After a point, they all become repetitive and that makes me want to stop doing them,” says the 31-year-old Mumbai homemaker and fitness enthusiast.
Then, eight months ago, she tried a new combination workout that a local fitness studio was offering — aerial silks and anti-gravity yoga. And she says she’s still as pumped about it as she was on Day 1.
Welcome to the world of fusion fitness and combination workouts that are all the rage this summer — think pilates with boxing or piloxing, aqua tango, aerial yoga, aura pilates, or quirky routines that combine TRX suspension and training on the inflated rubber hemispheric Bosu ball.
“Aerial yoga involves asanas done while wrapped in a silk sling suspended from the ceiling. Yoga is usually practised very seriously but this workout ensures we are all having fun even while doing it,” says Gupta. “It works as a combination of cardio, stretching, yoga and aerial acrobatics, so it’s helping me improve my flexibility, strengthen my core muscles and build inner body strength all at the same time.”
Mumbai-based fitness studio Way of Life introduced piloxing this summer as well.
“Pilates score on strengthening and boxing is about toning your body. Combined, they make for a high-intensity, calorie-burning workout,” says Way of Life founder and zumba instructor Swetha Jairam.
Quirk for quick results
One big USP of these high-intensity workouts is that their results are visible after just a few classes.
College student Mohinish Nair, 18, for instance, says he has been losing weight rapidly since he began attending Bollyfit classes at Mumbai’s The Integral Space two months ago. “It’s a high-intensity Bollywood workout that incorporates yoga, aerobics and mixed martial arts (MMA) like kickboxing,” says the studio’s founder and instructor Dhanashree Mehta, 27.
Nair, who weighed 103 kg when he signed up, says he found the class better than a gym. “There’s no repetition. It helped shape my body and gave me a lot of confidence,” he says.
In Delhi, 24-year-old corporate lawyer and fitness junkie Arshia Dhingra’s current hot favourite is a Bosu-TRX workout routine.
At the capital’s Fitness Solution, Dhingra uses Bosu for balance training and the TRX suspenders help her in toning her muscles using her body weight.
“This combination is ten times more challenging. When fused, the two exercise routines complement each other and help people lose weight from specific areas of the body. One can lose upto 700 calories in just one hour,” says Fitness Solution founder Kiran Sawhney.
“Different workout regimens weed out boredom, allow me to have fun while I work out, and the results are simply amazing,” adds Dhingra. She has lost close to 12 kg in three months.
Tired of the mind-numbing jogs on treadmills, at the same studio, dance enthusiast Naveen Manchanda, 44, has registered for an aqua tango class.
“Dancing is the best way to workout. I get to move with the music, lose weight and feel rejuvenated at the end of the class,” says Manchanda, a travel agent. “After I realised that I was overweight, I first attended Latin dance classes with my friend and learnt salsa, bachata and kizomba. But aqua tango was a challenge because I had to dance in water.”
But it was worth it. In 18 months, Manchanda has come down from 83 kg to 64 kg.
“Tango is a dance that involves embracing your partner. The movements have to be coordinated and there are some lifts and wraps. It is an enjoyable way to workout. But you lose additional calories while doing it in water because you are dancing against resistance. A person can burn upto 800 calories in one hour,” says Sawhney.
The buoyancy of the water, she adds, ensures that people don’t hurt themselves.
For those who are looking beyond weight loss, there is aura-pilates, something that Delhi-based studio Fitness Fusion offers to promote emotional well-being along with weight loss.
This workout is characterised by breathing rhythmically, focusing on one chakra at a time, visualising colours and listening to music associated with that chakra, while doing repetitive pilates postures.
“Aura Pilates is a form of meditative pilates that enhances the aura (vibrations emitted by the body) to make one feel more positive and healthy,” says Fitness Fusion founder Dr Namita Agarwal, who did a doctorate in organic chemistry before moving to fitness training.
“Pilates is a good way of staying fit. It enhances the core muscles, which in turn helps in keeping the whole body, especially the lower back, healthy. But, combining it with chakra meditation means overall well-being,” adds Dr Agarwal.
Participants, however, need to have a basic knowledge of chakra meditation and pilates before joining this course.
“Many people who come to me for aura pilates are restless, they get distracted and cannot visualise anything. So I suggest that only people who have some prior training sign up. Also, people who are doing pilates for the first time can experience some muscle pain,” reasons Agarwal. “This must not come in the way of visualisation and meditation.”