Four Local Fitness Programs to Keep Your Commitment to a Healthier Lifestyle on Track
During the ancient era, the Babylonians promised their gods to return borrowed goods at the beginning of each year. Over the course of their republic and empire, the Romans made promises to the god of beginnings, Janus, for whom the first month of the year is now named. During the Medieval era, knights took a “peacock vow” at the end of each year to renew their commitment to the code of chivalry. Today, rounding out the year by making resolutions for the next one remains a vibrant part of our rituals.
While it probably wasn’t an issue for gladiators or crusaders, the most common New Year’s goal, getting back into shape, often bedevils contemporary resolutions for a healthier lifestyle. Gym memberships bought with enthusiasm on the first are often lost in the couch cushions by the 30th. Short days, cold weather and the strains of typical day-to-day life discourage what feels like less pressing commitments. Soon enough, December rolls around and last year’s resolutions become next year’s again. If you’re dedicated to making a fresh start on personal fitness in the new year, it can seem frustrating and fruitless.
There are, however, surefire ways to avoid the harsh pitfalls of January and ensure that fitness goals for 2018 don’t roll over into 2019. Rather than picking up another gym membership and hoping for the best, joining a dynamic, group-centered fitness program can sustain dedication and enthusiasm long after the winter months. Thankfully, the greater Baltimore area is full of the kind of structured programs that foster a healthy lifestyle not only for the coming year but long into the future.
Located at Barehills Racquet and Fitness Club, 1420 Clarkview Road, Baltimore, MD 21209
At first glance, CrossFit looks more akin to a free-for-all than a disciplined exercise regimen. Participants jump on a rowing machine for a minute and suddenly switch to doing deadlifts and pullups a moment later. However, it is the fast-paced nature and diversity of regime that has catapulted the once-fringe fitness movement to the mainstream over the last decade. CrossFit, a combination of calisthenics, aerobic exercise and weightlifting, focuses on fostering general fitness by implementing a wide range of physical activity that wards off fatigue and keeps participants engaged.
Nevermore Crossfit, a program located at the Barehills Racquet and Fitness Club just north of Mount Washington, takes the CrossFit philosophy and adds a strong social element to the formula. According to their website, Nevermore’s program provides the environment that will allow participants to “establish friendships and relationships that will make you want to be better … at whatever you face; where you will never feel too intimidated to expand your boundaries; where you will experience the core values of community, determination, generosity, passion and humility.”
In addition to their traditional CrossFit program, Nevermore also offers personal training, nutrition consulting, youth fitness programs and an additional training regimen with a greater level of intensity, pointedly named “Delirium.” If your goal this new year is simply to get moving, Nevermore CrossFit has the knowledge and support to get you started.
Bikram Yoga Baltimore
Located in Yorktowne Plaza Shopping Center, 40 Cranbrook Road, Cockeysville, MD 21030
While yoga has been around for thousands of years, Bikram yoga, a system of hot yoga composed of 26 hatha yoga postures, was developed by yoga teacher Bikram Choudhury in the 1970s. Since then, it has developed into a regimented program with a nine-week training course for instructors, designated room temperatures (95-108 F) and even an approximate humidity (40 percent). Despite the specificity of program requirements, the classes at Bikram Yoga Baltimore reinforce a sense of flexibility, both figuratively and literally.
Classes at the Cockeysville studio provide a relaxed environment that allows each student to move through the 26 poses at their own speed and comfort level. Instructors provide a complete walk-through of each posture, giving instruction and critiques along the way. The lights are dim, and the atmosphere is relaxing, allowing for mental as well as physical evaluation. Of course, a typical class is not without its challenges. The studio is normally heated to more than 100 degrees F. As a result, perspiration and elevated heart rate enter the equation almost instantly. Instructors, while kind and encouraging, also deal out their fair share of tough love to push students to the next level. Students can expect to leave class feeling both energized and relaxed.
Bikram Baltimore encourages new students to attend three sessions in the first week to allow instructors to learn about students and for students to determine how they’d like to approach the class and acclimate to exercising in high temperatures. Following that, encouraging instructors and the evident benefits are sure to help even the most reluctant student coming back for more.
The Dailey Method Studio
1220 E Joppa Rd, Towson, MD 21286
For those looking to find balance in both mind and body in 2018, heading to Melanie Kozel’s Dailey Method studio in Towson is a good first step. Melanie, who founded the state’s first Dailey Method studio in 2016, provides both cycle classes and ballet-style barre workouts based on the Dailey method for both the beginner and advanced student. Before finding its way to Towson, the Dailey program originated in San Francisco where Jill Dailey McIntosh developed a diverse fitness regimen combining elements of yoga, pilates, ballet barre work and orthopedic exercises that help the body and mind develop a positive sense of well-being.
The typical barre class runs for roughly 60 minutes, beginning with a range of physical warmups, breathing exercises and focusing on goals for both the class and the day ahead. For a majority of the session, students will spend time stretching and toning various muscle groups using both weights and the studio’s barre, two wall-mounted handrails typically positioned at waist and shin height. Following the workout, students stretch and enter a final resting pose that provides time to meditate and clear the mind.