Midsummer is here, and the temperatures show no mercy. An outdoor yoga classes feels less than zen, and even seasoned runners dread a suffocating jog through the humidity.
But beating the heat doesn’t have to mean hitting the elliptical or Netflixing your way through a treadmill session. Here are six workouts that will help you keep your cool and up your game.
1. The Bar Method
Twenty women stand parallel to a ballet barre in a second-floor studio in South Miami. They squat to feel a burn in their thighs, and half the women start to tremble.
“Yes! Look at that shake!” says the instructor, Angie Parker, who paces around the room.
The Bar Method, a ballet-inspired workout franchise, is based on the principle of working the muscles to fatigue just before stretching and lengthening them to achieve a toned look. Shaking muscles are a good sign, Parker said, and signify the “toxins leaving the body.”
The Bar Method was founded in 2001 in San Francisco with input from physical therapists. The technique intends to efficiently target muscles without impacting joints, studio owner Sherri DiMarco said.
The class starts with 15 minutes of exercise away from the barre. The carpeted floor is cushioned with a one-inch gymnastics mat to ensure joint health. The women use two- or three-pound weights and go through a range of small resistance movements until the weights feel more like 20 to 30 pounds.
The rest of the 45-minute class is spent at the barre, where the women continue to use small movements that grow harder with each repetition.
The room is mirrored so participants can self correct their posture and form, but Parker often catches them first. Instructors at The Bar Method are trained to see errors quickly, and call out each woman by name to give tips and tricks.
The studio offers a range of classes, including its signature “Mixed Level” class, which caters to students of all levels and a “Bar Express” class that lasts just 45 minutes.
New students can sign up with The Bar Method app or call 305-668-7738 for an unlimited 30-day membership for $100.
2. Vixen Workout
The workout begins backstage. Women sit in their studio chairs, touching up their make-up one last time before strutting off to dance.
Ever wanted to dance in music video? Vixen Workout will make you feel like you’re opening for the VMAs. The intense hip-hop dance fitness format uses easy-to-learn combinations to burn 400 to more than 1,000 calories, founder Janet Jones said.
“When you’re on the day to day, you have so many messages you can’t disconnect. ‘I’m too big.’ ‘I’m too this, I’m too that.’ But when you dance, all of that is out the window,” she said.
Vixen Workout opened in Wynwood in May, and the grand opening is scheduled for Aug. 4. The class utilizes high-intensity interval training disguised by clever choreography for a full-body workout. Coupled with the stage lighting and atmosphere, the music brings out the performer in everyone.
“I started Vixen Workout as a way to help women feel alive,” the Miami native and former Miami Heat dancer said.
Just as in a live show, Vixen Workout classes start with a five-minute “pre-show” and an introduction to the Vixen Workout signature moves. Then the performance starts — 50 minutes of unadulterated choreographed fun. The final act is a five-minute cool down. Dancers watch their bodies and the instructor in the mirror until they catch onto the steps. Then the instructor slides back into the row of performers to become a part of the show.
For those unable to attend studio classes,Vixen Workout TV has options to rent, buy or subscribe to monthly routines and workouts.
“Vixen is for absolutely everyone. If you give us a chance, one class, you’ll be hooked for life,” Jones said.
Janet Jones will lead a master class July 29; class is $25 for members and $30 for others. New students can attend a free Vixen 101 class at 9:30 a.m. Saturdays.
3. South Beach Boxing
To the thump of the bass, three students pound their fists and slam their feet into their personal 150-pound boxing bag.
One class may have just three students — another may have 15 — but no matter the size, South Beach Boxing students train like Muhammad Ali.
Founded in 1998 by Jolie Glassman, a former schoolteacher, and her then-husband, the South Beach gym takes the same training done by professional boxers and customizes the workouts for all fitness levels, Glassman said.
“The issue is, people try to be teach boxing and turn it it a boxer boutique. We teach you the real way to box — to generate power from your whole body,” she said.
Trainers guide students through each hour-long class, where they can burn up to 1,000 calories and get a full-body workout.
The best part? Getting punched is optional.
Students don’t have to participate in contact sports, like Muay Thai and MMA, unless they choose to sign up for it. In the 40 classes offered a week, there’s even an anti-bullying and self-defense class for kids.
“Everybody’s nervous to start,” Glassman said. “All you have to do is put gloves on and touch a bag.’’
With a $139 membership, students can attend eight classes a month. Unlimited classes cost $179 a month. A package of 10 classes is $280.
4. Stardust Fitness
At Stardust Fitness, though, aerial yoga teaches students to practice inversions and techniques that take strain off muscles and ease the mind. The Doral studio is aglow with black lights and soothing shades of blue. Calming music plays softly, and incense burns in the corner of the room.
“This is not just cool flips and tricks,” owner Johanna Eckardt said. “It’s a lifestyle.”
Eckardt, who wears a “Soul on Fleek” graphic T-shirt, said the clientele are a cross between yogis and strength trainers, and often use the class to unwind their bodies and minds as well as increase flexibility. The classes combine influences from ballet, yoga and Pilates.
“It’s the people who are want more mobility,” said Eckardt, who opened the studio earlier this year. “It’s the in-between crowd that are finding themselves here.”
Classes range from aerial yoga to Pilates, all of which use suspension to alleviate joint pain and build strength.
The first class for new students is $12 or five classes for $75.
Music and exercise often go hand in hand, but one class takes it a beat further and it keeps women like Stella Cebeda returning to UFC Gym Kendall week after week.
Cebeda, 49, steps onto a treadmill ahead of her Pound class with instructor Andrea Ceballos. The class uses weighted drumsticks called Ripstix in place of dumbbells or other fitness equipment. Cebeda said it’s one of few workouts that keeps her enthusiastic.
“It’s the only way I can do exercise. If you leave me alone with a machine, I never do anything,” she said.
Ceballos, her shaggy blonde-streaked hair a hint at her rock-star potential, arrived and handed out the .75-pound Ribstix.
Like most workout classes, Pound begins with a warm-up. What’s different? The playlist, which opened with the upbeat “Believer” by Imagine Dragons, and the lime green drumsticks Ceballos and her class whacked.
Two musicians created Pound in 2011. It has gained popularity in California, but in Miami, there are only four facilities that offer the class. UFC group fitness manager Charles Paternina Jr., 46, said clients tell him the class is one of the gym’s most intense.
“The reason they like is it looks simple, but the minute you get those sticks in your hands, you realize ‘Wait a minute. This ain’t that easy,’” Paternina said.
Pound classes are generally 45 minutes and promise as many as 15,000 reps. There is no counting down, just constant movement. In Ceballos’ class, the group attempted to match her energy, but it’s hard. During a leg segment, Ceballos was glistening with sweat and swinging her hair to the Foo Fighters.
“I’ve always been into rock ’n’ roll growing up,” she said.
The class is available at Pinecrest Community Center, UFC Gym Kendall, South Dade YMCA Family Center and the Fitness Center at the Alper Jewish Community Center. Check poundfit.com for schedules.
6. SUP The Workout
The essentials for a morning paddleboarding on Biscayne Bay: Sunscreen, a hat, comfortable clothing that can get wet and a bathing suit. The last one’s optional, said Melina Cherry, 43, founder of SUP The Workout.
Stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, is an exercise class that takes advantage of Miami’s natural landscape. But it’s not a rental company, Cherry said. She developed SUP The Workout in 2013 after a car wreck left her with a serious neck injury that required her to alter her exercise routine.
The original concept was to use paddleboard simulators indoors. That didn’t resonate with clients.
“People would contact me and say ‘Why are you doing it inside?’” Cherry said. “The indoor thing was a niche market, I guess you can say. The main reason that didn’t work in Miami is we have this beautiful outdoors.”
On a Sunday in July, one group of first-time paddlers returned to the dock at the U.S. Sailing Center in Coconut Grove. A more experienced group prepared to take to the water.
The first group was in great spirits. Frankie Ruiz was on the edge of the dock rinsing off his new paddleboard. He said being in Miami “makes it inviting to be fit.”
SUP The Workout offers outdoor yoga, Pilates and incorporates push-ups, squats and other exercises in addition to paddling. Cherry said many people think paddling is an upper body workout when it really engages the core and legs.
An added benefit is the marine life sightings. Ruiz said he interacts with manatees nearly every time he exercises on a paddleboard. But that also comes with a heightened responsibility to the environment, Ruiz said.
“The garbage is a reminder that, ‘Ah, man, we’re messing with things here,’” he said. “You see the bottles, chip bags at the bottom of the bay.’’
Meanwhile, Claudia Estrada, 47, bent over the dock to attach a strap to her ankle before slipping her board into the water.
“It’s very important to do it correctly so you don’t hurt yourself. And then you push off,” Estrada said.
Then she paddled away.
Classes cost $20 for those who have a paddleboard, and $35 for those who don’t. For information, call 561-644-6873 or go to www.suptheworkout.com.