New Year, New You
One of the most common New Year’s resolutions that people make is to get in shape – and then by January 17 they’re hitting the snooze button and sleeping through their morning workout class. But this year will be different! Especially since we all need it more. Not only is there holiday weight to lose, but there is also the Covid 19 – the pounds we’ve put on while stuck at home during the pandemic. Fortunately, most gyms have reopened and offer in-person and/or virtual classes. Here are a half dozen Gables gyms that will help you get – and stay – in shape.
Photography by Emily Fakhoury
Rukus Cycling Studios
Having just opened in October, Rukus is one of the newest additions to the Gables fitness scene. Located on Giralda Avenue right next to the WeWork building, they offer a variety of high-intensity spin classes. There are three different types: Rukus Prime, a 45-minute class filled with hills, jumps, intervals and upper body toning with resistance bands; Rukus Impulse, a heart rate-based class where the RPMs align with the beat of the music; and Rukus Surge, a 30-minute High Intensity Interval Training class that helps you reach your fitness goal in less time.
We took a Rukus Prime class with Lee, who is nothing short of a ball of energy. He incorporated hills, sprints, tap backs and choreography (don’t worry, if you’re new to spinning, he’ll explain everything). It wasn’t easy, but it was fun. The true test of a good fitness instructor is the music selection, and Lee’s playlist was perfectly curated for the tone of the ride. I would definitely take the class again.
Rukus’ “CycleArena” – the room with the stationary bikes – can typically accommodate over 30 riders, but social distancing keeps it under 20. One of our favorite features of the studio is that if you’re running on Miami time and are late to a class, you can hop on a bike in their “on-demand” room and take a class from there; Rukus members can take previously recorded classes in this room at any time. The first ride with Rukus Cycling is free. Membership rates vary depending on ride packages.
253 Giralda Ave.
If you’re looking for a workout that will kick your butt and also teach you how to kick someone else’s butt, Tapout Fitness is the gym for you. They offer half a dozen different kinds of classes, including Tapout Strike, a high-intensity kickboxing class. It begins with a cardio warmup of jumping jacks, squats, high knees, etc., followed by several rounds of boxing and kickboxing. I consider myself in shape and I was still dripping sweat after just a few rounds.
Tapout Strike definitely takes some coordination. At first the rounds are just simple cross, jab and uppercut moves. But the routine quickly becomes more complex, adding in hooks and various kicks. Despite the challenge, roundhouse kicking a lifeless punching bag is both empowering and therapeutic. You’ll need boxing gloves for the class, which they sell at the gym if you don’t have a pair.
The only downside is that maintaining social distancing is sort of difficult during the class. There are stickers on the floor in front of each punching bag, marking six feet of distance. However, between all the kicking and jabbing, you don’t stay on the sticker for a majority of the class.
Other classes include Tapout Strong, an interval-based workout that incorporates dumbbells, TRX and medicine balls; Tapout Fit, a high-intensity, circuit-training workout; and Tapout Fusion, which, as the name describes, is a fusion of all the different types of Tapout classes. The first class is free; membership rates vary based on classes per week.
475 Biltmore Way
Just north of the Shops at Merrick Park on Altara Avenue, Pure Barre is in its own category of fitness classes. Combining ballet, Pilates, cardio and weight training, Pure Barre is a low-impact, full-body workout. There are three different types of classes: Classic, Empower and Reform.
The Classic class begins with a warmup, then goes straight into arms using a light set of weights and then abs, including a 90-second plank. The next portion of class focuses on the lower body, working your thighs, glutes, abductors and adductors. Most of the lower body work is done at the barre (like a ballet barre). Then it’s mat work for the remainder of class, doing more abs and glute exercises. Don’t let the low-impact nature of the exercises fool you; just because your heart rate doesn’t go through the roof doesn’t mean it’s not a good workout. Who knew tiny movements could make such a big difference?
But if you do want cardio, Empower is the class for you. Mixing barre with interval training, this class moves at a faster pace while still strengthening and toning the aforementioned muscle groups. There is also Pure Reform, which is mostly resistance training.
I am a Pure Barre regular and have taken all three types of classes with a variety of instructors and can attest that you can’t go wrong with any instructor or type of class. The intro class is free for first timers. After that you can purchase the Pure Start membership for $169 per month, which is a three-month agreement and includes unlimited classes. Or the Pure Lifestyle membership for $159 per month, a 12-month agreement with unlimited classes. You can also buy a 10 class package for $240.
205 Altara Ave.
Burn Boot Camp
I know what you’re thinking: Boot camp sounds intense. I’m not going to lie; even I was a little intimidated going in. But the gym is very welcoming and the instructor Laura explained everything in depth. The entire class was 45 minutes and was broken up into a warm up, four different stations, cardio and a cool down. Every class is different, but ours focused on the upper body.
Since this class was all about the arms, the warm up consisted of push-ups and bird dogs. You spend five minutes at each of the four different stations and they all consist of two different workouts. While you’re doing one, your partner is doing the other. The stations included exercises like bicep curls, shoulder presses and lateral raises. Breaking up your workout into five-minute intervals really makes it go by quicker. The cardio section alternated between jumping jacks and burpees. You’ll definitely be sore the next day.
Burn Boot Camp has a dozen classes you can take every day (except Sundays) both in-person and virtually, with the first at 5:30 a.m. and the last at 7:30 p.m. They offer a seven-day trial that includes unlimited classes, one-on-one focus meetings and access to virtual content. They have memberships for one month, six months, 12 months or 18 months that comes with unlimited classes at all of their locations. If you don’t want a membership, you can also purchase a Camp Pack for five or eight months, or a Fit Card for 10 or 20 classes. Prices available upon request.
2320 Galiano St.
Body & Brain
This is not your typical yoga studio. Whereas “traditional” yoga is from the Indian culture, Body & Brain teaches Korean yoga. Founded by Ilchi Lee in 1985, this practice, known as Dahn Yoga, focuses on physical vibrations, flexibility and meditation. Having practiced Iyengar and Vinyasa Yoga for almost nine years now, Dahn Yoga was definitely a change of pace for me, but in a good way.
Dahn Yoga is less intense than Iyengar or Vinyasa Yoga (there are no inversions or strenuous flow series), but you still get the benefits of any yoga practice. Most of the class was spent doing standing stretches that really warm up the body. Toward the end of class, we laid down on the mat for more passive stretches. The best part of any yoga class, in my opinion, is the very end where you lie in a quiet meditation for a few minutes. You’ll leave class feeling restored physically and mentally.
Body & Brain offers a variety of yoga classes, plus tai chi and meditation. They reopened for in-person classes in November, but they still offer virtual classes as well. In the studio, all yoga mats are placed six feet apart and students wear a mask for the entirety of class. You can either bring your own mat or they will provide a sanitized one for you. At the time of publication, the only in-person classes were the yoga class at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and tai chi at 10 a.m. on Sundays. The first week is just $10 for unlimited classes. One class is $15, a package of five classes is $45 and unlimited classes is $99 monthly.
1911 Ponce de Leon Blvd.
There are two types of Pilates: Mat Pilates and Reformer Pilates. This studio teaches the latter, meaning that the majority of the class is spent on a Reformer machine. Club Pilates offers a multitude of classes from Level 1 Foundation to Level 2.5 Mastery. Level 1 is for beginners to build a solid Pilates foundation, focusing on form and alignment. Level 2.5 is the most advanced class for those who are familiar with the proper Pilates techniques and know their way around the Reformer. The studio requires experience at each level before moving on to the next.
Having done Reformer Pilates before, I was allowed to join a Level 1.5 Progression class. We started out lying on our backs on the Reformer with our feet on the foot bar at the base of the machine. Our instructor Nicole told us which springs to use depending on the difficulty level we wanted. Pushing off of the bar with our feet in varying positions worked our hamstrings, calves and inner thighs. Then we stepped off the Reformer to a pull down bar that targeted our biceps and triceps. The most difficult part – at least for me – was the end, which involved lots of planking. I was happy about the low-impact nature of the class; I wanted a good workout but didn’t have a lot of energy.
One thing I noticed was the age range of the students. From your 20s to your 70s, Club Pilates really is a workout studio for everyone. The first class is free and memberships range from four to eight to unlimited classes per month. They also offer a passport membership, which allows you to work out at any Club Pilates location in the U.S. Prices available upon request.
77 Miracle Mile
Coming in 2021…
Coming to Coral Gables this year is Life Time. Life Time isn’t just a gym, it’s really more of an athletic resort. Not only will it have the standard equipment, but it will also have six group fitness studios for Pilates, yoga, spin and barre classes. All of the locker rooms will have a sauna, steam room and hot tub. Additionally, like all Life Time locations, there will be an outdoor pool and a full service café and spa – not to mention a chiropractor and physical therapist on-site. “We want to make it easier for people to live a healthy lifestyle,” says Gino Santia, Village Director of Life Time Living Coral Gables.
For the families, Life Time Athletic also has a Kids Academy, where children will be supervised while you get in a workout. Or the whole family can work out at the same time, as they have fitness programs for children from three months to 12 years. “If mom and dad are taking a yoga class, the kids can be in a yoga class,” says Santia.
Life Time Athletic is a part of the Life Time Coral Gables development on U.S. 1 and Ponce de Leon Boulevard, which includes Life Time Living (luxury residences) and Life Time Work (shared workspace). The nearly 70,000-square foot athletic center is slated to open in early 2021. The only membership that will be available is their diamond level membership for $199 a month, which grants you access to all Life Time gyms in the country. Membership is included for residents of Life Time Living.