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What's Hot in Group Exercise

Three new group exercise classes can keep your members fit and your fitness program healthy.

Three new group exercise classes are gaining popularity in fitness centers because they have all the right ingredients for success: They're innovative, fun, effective and popular with fitness center members of all ages and genders. The new group workouts are Gliding, Core Motion and Budokon. All three are creating positive buzz and interest in the fitness centers that currently offer them, and their creators are seasoned fitness industry professionals who understand what is necessary to develop a successful, turnkey group exercise class.

Gliding

Mindy Mylrea created Gliding based on a paper plate program she used when teaching aerobics classes. She has been an international fitness presenter for the past two decades, is the 2004 Can Fit Pro International Presenter of the Year, the 1999 International IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year, a National and World Aerobic Champion, and a five-star presenter for IDEA. She is a master trainer for Schwinn Cycling, and on the pro development team for Bosu, Corepole and Body Bar.

Overview. Gliding is a low-impact group exercise class performed on plastic discs. The discs create instability, thereby causing the muscles to be engaged, producing eccentric and concentric muscle loading during the entire range of every movement. Other vital components of fitness, like balance, alignment and core engagement, can be improved by using the discs. Currently, supplementary programs in rehab, post-rehab and sport-specific training are being developed by Mylrea and her master Gliding instructors.

Cost. For a Gliding program, $199 will buy what you need to start, including 25 sets of discs, a storage box, two DVD instructor training videos and one DVD containing marketing materials. There are no upfront or annual licensing fees. "I've created a complete and simple turnkey package. I also recommend using the discs as accessory pieces to other classes, like stability ball workouts or circuit training. I've [also] seen personal trainers use them when training their clients," says Mylrea. Continuing education is offered by certified master instructors (www.glidingpro.com). Master trainer fees are negotiated on an individual basis.

Core Motion

Dana Prietro, group fitness director at Sports Club LA-Beverly Hills, is a fan of Michael Carson's Core Motion class because, "it incorporates all the components of fitness: strength, flexibility, cardiovascular, stability and balance." Carson, a certified personal trainer, began as fitness celebrity Kathy Smith's group exercise director at MezzePlex in West Los Angeles, Calif. Since then, he's become a well-known fitness celebrity himself, staring in numerous exercise TV shows and infomercial campaigns.

Overview. "[Core Motion] is formatted in a creative and fun way, as Michael uses a 1-kg. ball, not dumbbells, tubing or big stability balls, to add continual resistance," says Prietro. Class participants hold the ball throughout the entire low-impact routine, which creates a closed kinetic chain of exercises. Core Motion is a functional, non-stop workout with an emphasis on core muscle recruitment. The balls are small and easy to store.

Cost. Costs for Core Motion include the balls, which are $10 each, with a minimum order of 20. Teacher training is a three-hour workshop that includes a written syllabus. Cost is $750, plus travel expenses, for certified instructors to provide a Core Motion instructor-training seminar at your fitness center. There is a 30-teacher limit for the training. Core Motion hasno annual licensee fees (www.mindbodyseries.com/fitness).

Budokon

Overview. Budokon, which means "the way of the warrior spirit" in Japanese, is the creation of mind/body teacher Cameron Shayne. "The class is a blended and balanced combination of Hatha yoga, martial arts and meditation," says Shayne, who sees this as a union of martial arts and yoga.

Shayne, a black belt martial artist and certified yoga instructor, developed Budokon after hearing complaints from class students and private clients not being able to get their cardio, strength and flexibility workout from one class. "This is how Budokon evolved -- to meet my busy clients' needs," Shayne explains. "I condensed the class format to a 20-minute warm-up of Hatha yoga, focusing on flexibility and core strength, and 40 minutes of martial arts incorporating cardio, agility and balance. Then, I customarily like ending with a two-minute standing meditation as a mindful cool-down."

Cost. Budokon requires no equipment other than yoga mats and blocks. Minimum Budokon-instructor requirements are a certification in yoga instruction and two years of experience in martial arts. (Shayne based his teacher training/Budokon certificationon the Stott Pilates teacher-training method.) Teacher training workshops are one weekend per month for three months ($325 per instructor). Annual fees are $50 for continuing Budokon CEUs (www.budokon.com).

Keeping current

The trend in group exerciseis a blend of class types into one class. Functional training, core movement and mind/body are popular in the fitness industry and, subsequently, in group exercise. Cost, storage, safety, effectiveness and easy-to-set-up programs are elements to consider before choosing a class. While Gliding, Core Motion and Budokon are not the only new group exercise classes from which to choose, they seem to have all the elements for success, and are also said to be loads of fun.
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