Beyond Pilates

5 Fresh Ways to Get Fit in Prague

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas Published on 25.05.2011 16:48:17 (updated on 25.05.2011) Reading time: 4 minutes

Changing up your workout routine on a regular basis not only keeps boredom at bay, it can also kickstart weight loss when you’ve hit a plateau. If the daily mad dash to catch your morning tram isn’t quite cutting it in the face of swimsuit season, these five emerging trends, spotted by Prague’s top fitness pros, are a dynamic way to shape up for summer.
    
1. Skipping rope
Hungarian professional rope-skipper Adrienn Banhegyi is an instructor at Jump Plus —she’s also a world championship rope-skipper and currently on tour with the Cirque du Soleil—a Prague training center dedicated to this high-energy sport. “It’s a relatively young sport in Europe but it’s one of the best ways to keep fit. A minute of jumping burns as many calories as 3 minutes of running.” She recommends jumping rope for its cardio and weight loss benefits but also for improving concentration and coordination. “Kids especially benefit from jump rope, I’ve even seen it improve their grades,” adds Banhegyi. Contact Jump Plus for details about workshops and individual training or practice your fancy footwork in a larger class at Rope Skipping Centrum. Or grab a rope and go it on your own with this 10-minute workout.

Banhegyi, in mid-jump

2. Mind-body combos
Jitka Mikolášová is an instructor at Face Czech Academy a school that certifies trainers in the latest fitness crazes. She also runsFitness Face Czech a second branch for regular people who want to try the hottest new workouts. What classes are currently filling up at Face Czech? “Mind-body workouts are really popular right now,” says Mikolášová. While hybrids like Pilox (Pilates and fitboxing) and Cy-Yo (spinning and yoga) haven’t made it to Prague yet, for a fun class that puts the mind-body concept to work Jitka recommends Port de Bras, a fat-burner based on ballet stretching, and her own personal favorite, Bosu. “Bosu focuses on flexibility but also offers a great cardio workout.” Bosu (“Both Sides Utilized”) moves rely on a weighted rubber stability ball, which resembles an exercise ball that’s been sliced in half. “Anyone can do it, so it’s perfect for those who want to slowly begin working out.” There are a variety of Bosu classes to choose from at Fitness Face Czech, including Bosu Yoga Stretch.

3. Sexy dance
Move over Zoomba. Flirt Dance (a sexy, booty-shaking, Beyonce-inspired workout), Bollywood Dance, and Street Dance (an urban/hip-hop mash-up), popular offerings at Centrum Tance, are the new dance classes in town. The most daring dance workout among them is also the one that’s currently the most sought after in Prague: Pole Dance. Depending on just how naughty you want to be, chose from no-holds-barred Pole Dance, Fitness Pole Dance, and Light Pole Dance for, as the Web site politely states, “plump people.” The English-friendly Poledance Praha, in association with Firefly Dance Studio with two locations around Prague, also lists Burlesque and Go-Go Dance on its menu of meow-catching maneuvers.

4. Alpinning
Not all of us are up for getting half-naked and wrapping ourselves around a pole. Thanks goodness for Alpinning, a fairly new Czech invention, that allows for a low-impact aerobic work-out that’s easy on your joints and provides good health across the board—while approximating a Von-Trapp-like hike through the mountains (sans Alpine scenery and yodeling tots, of course.) Andrea Pospíšilová, a Prague-based translator has been Alpinning her way slim for over a year. “I love Alpinning because the pace is slow but the effect is noticeable. I never thought I’d find a better workout than spinning which was starting to cause pain in my crotch. But this is great.” Alpinning, or “Indoor Walking” classes take place on a special Alpitrack that focuses on sculpting the upper and lower body while tracking your heart rate. TryAlpinning Centrum and Wellness Centrum Barrandov.

FEATURED EMPLOYERS

5. Running
There’s nothing new about jogging. But if you’ve been in Prague for awhile you’ve probably noticed that the citywide race circuit has hit the ground, well, running. According to the Prague International Marathon folks, the boom in interest has created a demand for more races including ones in different Czech cities, like the upcoming Olomouc half marathon. The half-marathon, currently the world’s favorite race, gives beginning runners a great excuse to set goals and train in a manageable intervals, and with races popping up all over Central and Eastern Europe, participants get to do some traveling. Amber Stanik, an English teacher from Fort Lee, NJ, recently participated in races in Prague, Bratislava, and Warsaw. “Traveling to races is such a great way to get fit and meet people. I’ve seen a lot of Europe that way, plus there are some terrific perks on race day, like free public transport for runners.”

Tip: Prague gyms that cater to an international clientele will likely offer most of the hot new classes in English. But for some of the quirkier exercises mentioned here, especially ones that are new to the Czech Republic, you might need to go off the beaten path. Taking fitness classes in Czech truly helps with directionals and counting—and chances are if you simply ask the instructor to clarify something in English, she will. Plus it’s usually cheaper.

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