If the idea of another round at the gym circuit has you crying into your double-thick milkshake, and you’re falling asleep on the stationary bicycle, we have something you may be interested. Believe it or not, fitness CAN be fun, and finding an exciting workout to try out can be just what your motivation needs.
I am constantly on the lookout for new and unique ways to get my ass moving. I am very much a Gilmore girl in the sense that exercise is and always has been a foreign language to me. Except I can’t eat for 5 and stay slim, sassy, and sarcastic (although I usually uphold 2 out of those three traits).
So to make sure I stay as active as I can, while not hating every moment, I go in search of fun ways to get fit and see which work best for me. This list consists of workouts I have tried and loved, or heard of and put on my wish list. Take a look and see if any of these look good to you.
My very first Zumba class was a terrifying experience. I can’t dance, I have no rhythm, my body doesn’t move like others and I’m also pretty shy so not very loose. I constantly went the opposite way to the rest of the class, was almost always at least one step slower, and on top of it was out of breath after 10 minutes.
But it only took one class to get me hooked. Even though I really sucked at the dancing, I loved the class. It was high-energy, tons of fun, and I was so focused on the moves that I didn’t realise how hard I was actually working out. Zumba has become my guilty pleasure, in a way. It’s my favourite Saturday morning class, the best way to end a Monday, and a hobby that I have tried to convince nearly every friend to join me in at least once.
You’re really just dancing in the classes, but the moves are designed to exercise your muscles, and it’s a great cardio workout.
The great thing about Zumba is you don’t need any gear. There are weight sticks that some use, but I’ve never used anything except really good grip shoes (otherwise I end up slipping all over the floor).
You can try out online classes, or find your nearest local group and join them!
My ‘meet-cute’ with rebounding takes place in a Shoe City in Canal Walk, Cape Town. My mother signed us both up for a product launch for new shoes and Lisa Raleigh was attending as their brand ambassador. She brought with her a few tiny trampolines and set them up inside the store, offering quick workouts to everyone. I came perfectly unprepared but was peer-pressured to hop on for a quick routine anyway.
We did about 5 minutes of jump moves, and I was flushed, out of breath, and full of newfound energy. I could tell that this was a real workout – and admittedly a little hooked already. It took me about year before I could afford to try this out for myself, however, since rebound trampolines are quite pricey.
During lockdown, I finally got my hands on a second-hand trampoline for a really good price, and figured that if I could get going with a routine, I would eventually buy a more expensive one. So I have been trying it out for a few weeks, it takes some getting used to – I have no balance so I’m still working on that.
Apparently, it’s best to start with 10 minutes a day, and work your way up. There are plenty of YouTube videos and tutorials, and once you get really serious about it, there are also accessories you can add.
The great thing about this exercise is that you can either set up your own workout space at home, or you can find a local class. I haven’t joined a class yet but am keen to do so soon.
You will need a rebounder trampoline, which will cost between R600 and R3000 brand new.
- TakeAlot offers a budget-friendly option.
- The trampoline queen, Lisa Raleigh, sells rebounders, accessories, and training videos on her site.
- I also found reasonable prices on this store.
This one I haven’t tried – but it’s been on my list for a while. It seems similar to Zumba, only a little more rock and roll. From what I understand, it’s a mix of dance and pilates moves, with drum sticks added in.
You get lightweight sticks and the moves all incorporate punk-rocker drummer moves. Very cool, and high energy. I feel like this hasn’t really taken off in South Africa just yet. But watch this space…
I would suggest taking a look if there are any classes you can attend in your area. If not, take a look at https://poundfit.com/the-label/venue-getting-started/ to help you get started.
This is one that my dear friend Cara got me interested in, although admittedly I haven’t yet tried it myself. The adult hulas can be tricky to find in SA and they’ve been a bit out of budget so far. However, it does look like a really fun way to get in a quick core workout.
You can get simple hoops that are bigger and designed for the adult body, but there are also specialised fitness hoops on the market.
We found this really interesting article about hooping – https://www.liferetreat.co.za/hula-hooping-not-just-childs-play/
All you need to get started with hula hooping for fitness is a hoop.
- We found this foam fitness hoop at Zastra for a good price.
- There are also these custom-made hoops in Cape Town.
- You can get collapsible travel hoops too!
Nicole and I did a month pole class together at the beginning of our ‘let’s get fitter’ phase. It was a Groupon and so we got a bit of a discount – which was great because classes can be pricey. Even with just a month, though, we could feel the difference.
Pole builds upper body strength like nothing I’ve ever tried before. I went from doing no more than 2 pushups to being able to do 20 without breaking a sweat. My thighs toned more than squats had ever allowed, and my balance eve improved. Now, I’m back to the 2-pushup stage, but I learnt how amazing pole class could be.
The classes combined stretches, strength exercises, and learning the many moves on the pole. Yes, they had a sexy element to them – but when you start out, it doesn’t really look (or feel) very sexy. We did two classes a week for 4 weeks and by the end of that, we could climb and sit on the pole. Nicole learnt to invert too – I was a bit of a scaredy-cat, though.
The best option is to find a pole class in your area and learn the basics. After that, you can buy your own pole and set it up at home to workout in your own private space.
To buy your own pole, check out –
There are a few other fun activities you can do that won’t seem like exercise but will definitely burn a few calories:
- Boxfit – also on my wishlist.
- Outdoor yoga – I did yoga at the base of Table Mountain this year, the fresh air and views made the whole thing more amazing.
- Vineyard or beer runs – perhaps not as healthy as others on the list, but being rewarded with wine to beer after a run can really make the KMs seem shorter.
- Virtual cycle – spin class with a virtual element, cycle through Italy or Switzerland without leaving your gym.
Of course, my go-to for fun fitness is always a fun run. If there are medals (and goodie bags are a bonus) along with an energetic crowd and scenic route, I am there. I tried to sign up for virtual fun runs this year, but still haven’t quite caught on to that craze.
What is your favourite workout that doesn’t feel like a workout? Let us know in the comments! Also if you’ve tried any of the workouts above and if/how you enjoyed them?