20 Ways To Get Fit in Columbia

Fitness has arguably never been more fun — or more innovative. We practice yoga with goats. We SoulCycle to beats by Beyoncé. We instruct Siri to start, pause and end our workouts. Hotshot companies such as Peloton and Mirror are revolutionizing our exercise equipment (and, for better or worse, going viral), inviting virtual personal trainers to our homes. But all this creativity doesn’t make the simple reality of fitness any easier to swallow: You still have to get off your butt and actually do it.

January is peak time for New Year’s promise-making. Increased exercise, dieting and better nutrition consistently rank among the most common resolutions. Taking up a new workout won’t guarantee you results. But committing to a new class or a new routine can inject your exercise regimen with some much-needed variety.

Thankfully, Columbia isn’t too far behind the big cities when it comes to embracing fitness trends. Below, you’ll find 20 ways to get your blood pumping this year — some new, some classic, all fun. In 2020, make yourself a New Year’s resolution you can keep: This time, you’ll actually enjoy your exercise.

Feel the burn at Pure Barre

Location: 3310 Bluff Creek Drive, Suite 107
Cost: Prices vary; price packages are available to best fit your budget
Website: www.purebarre.com/location/columbia-mo

Don’t be intimidated by the ballet barre lining the walls at Pure Barre. You don’t need a ballerina’s balance — or core strength — to reap the benefits of this full-body workout. In fact, these classes aren’t directed toward dancers at all. This is for anyone and everyone. With low-impact, high-intensity movements at the intersection of Pilates, yoga and ballet, Pure Barre classes can be challenging, but you won’t walk away without your money’s worth: Every muscle will be sore the next day. That challenge can be addicting, especially when shared with other barre fanatics. Commit to a few classes so you can survive the initial body shock, and we practically guarantee you’ll go back wanting more.

Surprise yourself at Columbia Strength and Conditioning

Location: 501 Fay St. No. 02
Cost: One-on-one training starts at $188 per month.
Website: columbiastrengthandconditioning.com

Sometimes we all need an extra push. The staff at Columbia Strength and Conditioning know how to merge pressure and encouragement to provide you a top-notch workout every time. You can invest in one of the experienced team members for one-on-one training and lifestyle coaching, during which your trainer will help you craft a lifestyle plan and exercise regimen. Or you can stop by for a group class! But if classes intimidate you — trust us, we understand — coaching is an excellent place to address individual concerns and coax your body to new capabilities.

Take Body Refinery Gym for a spin

Location: 3400 Broadway Business Park Court, Suite 110
Cost: Free three-day trial; membership packages start at $29.99 per month
Website: www.bodyrefinerygym.com

Climb onto one of the state-of-the-art cycling bikes at Body Refinery Gym, and adjust to your optimized resistance and fit. Take a deep breath — you’re in for an intense, upbeat workout. As music pumps through the speakers, a trainer will lead you through each cycling drill while you try to reach your personal calorie goal. This is a great option for those who seek a challenge but want the option to set their own pace.

Explore the Great Outdoors

If you and your colleagues feel the need to step outside your cubicles for fresh air, you can get a free (and fun) team-building experience with a hike along mid-Missouri’s trails. Breathtaking views are just a quick carpool away at Pinnacles Youth Park, where you’re welcome to bring your dog along for the trip (so long as Fido’s on a leash). Or hitch a ride to Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area and trudge along the Missouri River, where you’ll find ample opportunities for hunting, fishing and birdwatching. And, of course, Rock Bridge Memorial State Park is home to numerous trails, including the path to the Devil’s Icebox cave. Although spelunking tours are currently suspended, it’s still a lovely spot for a quick picnic along your journey.

Get off the ground at CoMo Aerial Arts

Location: 2601 Rangeline St. at Wilson’s Fitness
Cost: $15 per drop-in class. Ten-class punch cards cost $100 through Wilson’s, and class fees are reduced for Wilson’s members.
Website: comoaerialarts.com

Conquer your fear of heights with a gravity-defying lesson from the instructors at CoMo Aerial Arts, offered primarily through Wilson’s Fitness. Using aerial fabric, hoops and hammocks, you’ll climb into the sky and learn basic footlocks, poses and inversions to help you build strength and flexibility, as well as artistry and mindful movement. New students will attend the introductory class before receiving instructor consent to graduate to Level 1, where you’ll practice tougher and tougher movements for a well-earned adrenaline high. Currently, specific classes for the aerial hoop are not offered, but private lessons can be arranged.

Boost your confidence at MUSE Pole Fitness

Location: 3605 S. Providence Rd, Suite 4
Cost: $12-17 per class. Membership packages vary between $60-360. First-time students can purchase their first month of unlimited classes for $99.
Website: musepolefitness.com

Stamping out the stigma around pole dancing, the trainers at Muse Pole Fitness believe everyone deserves empowerment — and they know how to help you feel it. At the studio, you’ll find a community eager to uplift you and challenge you while understanding and respecting your individual comfort level. Get a fantastic core workout as you bend and twist around the pole, or keep your feet planted on the ground during a stretch and flexibility or chair dancing class. Once you’ve found your rhythm around the 45-mm pole, you can even audition to participate in the studio’s annual professional production, Vertical Desires.

Track your tech at Orangetheory

Location: 3103 W. Broadway #115
Cost: First workout is free; price packages are available to best fit your budget
Website: columbia.orangetheoryfitness.com

Test the power of technology with a trip to Orangetheory. Show up 30 minutes early to your first class, and you’ll earn a chat with a trainer, who addresses your individual concerns before setting you up with some tech. The “OTbeat” heart rate monitor keeps track of your pulse in real time as you navigate a room cordoned off into “zones,” where activities such as dumbbell lifting and indoor rowers slide you from one zone — for instance, green, which is “challenging but doable” — to another, such as red, or “all out/sprint effort,” where you’re nearly reaching your heart-rate maximum.

Let it all out at 9Round

Location: 901 E. Nifong Blvd.; 104 S. Providence Road
Cost: First workout is free; price packages are available to best fit your budget
Website: 9round.com

Some days, you just need to hit something. Thankfully, 9Round offers a ready space for such a display of emotion — and you’ll get a good workout in, too. The gym focuses on 30-minute, nine-circuit workouts you can complete in a time crunch. (There are no class times, so you can show up at your convenience.) Each circuit varies in style and intensity, and you don’t need any kickboxing experience to get started. Sometimes you’ll simply jump rope; other times you’ll punch bags. Throughout each round, trainers will be around to cheer, guide and improve your form.

Twist and shout during Zumba at Fit Central

Location: 3410 W Broadway Business Park Ct. #107
Cost: $13 per class
Website: www.fitcentral.studio

If you’re eager to embody the mentality of “Shake It Off,” you’ve found the right class. This energetic, quick-footed dance class trades fancy equipment for the ability of your own body — so you needn’t know how to work any machines — and, best of all, there’s no required experience level. Whether you took jazz and ballet for 15 years or you’ve only ever danced at your middle-school homecoming, Zumba has a pace to make you feel at home. Fit Central’s professional-led Zumba classes typically use several oft-repeated moves, so once you’ve mastered them, you’ll feel in complete control of your dance.

Find your inner warrior at Fit Central

Location: 3410 W Broadway Business Park Ct. #107
Cost: $13 per class.
Website: www.fitcentral.studio/classes/

Take kickboxing up a notch with a Knock Out class at Fit Central. Combining boxing, martial arts and aerobics, the confidence-boosting session will take every ounce of energy you’ve got — but trust us when we say the calorie burn is worth it. Fit Central offers only private classes and personal training, so you won’t be dodging weight machines or crowded ellipticals as you book it to class. Everything is tailored just for you.

Beat the heat at Sumits Hot Yoga

Location: 505 E Nifong Blvd. #103
Cost: $15 per drop-in class. Sumits offers one class every day as a Community Class, which costs $8. Class cards start at $65, and unlimited memberships start at $99 per month. Student discounts are available.
Website: sumitsyogacolumbia.com

Wear clothes you don’t mind sweating through — it’s about to got hot in here. Bring a mat, a towel (a big one — you’ll need it), and plenty of extra water to replenish all you’ll be losing. At Sumits, the heated rooms are set to increase your blood flow, enhance muscle elasticity, and help you sharpen both mind and body. No cell phones are allowed in the room, making Sumits the perfect place to destress after a long week. And if all that sweat makes you feel sticky, bring an extra pair of clothes for after the cooldown.

Find someone to lean on with acro yoga

Location: CoMo Acro teaches out of Yoga Sol, 210 B. Saint James St.
Cost: First class is free; $30 special for new students for two weeks of unlimited classes
Website: www.comoacro.com/classes

You can probably guess from its name that acro yoga lies at the intersection of acrobatics and yoga. But did you know it’s a naturally collaborative sport? In acro yoga, students work together and support one another, balancing and lifting each other’s bodies to create a final pose. If you have no experience, don’t fret — CoMo Acro offers foundations classes to teach newbies the roles of base, flyer and spotter while building trust and communication.

Cover all the bases at CrossFit Fringe

Location: 901 Old 63 N
Cost: $15 per drop-in class, but clients must have completed the basic Elements program for beginners. Other program packages range from $135-150/month.
Website: crossfitfringe.com

If CrossFit culture intimidates you, you’re not alone. But at CrossFit Fringe, there’s no need for nerves: The instructors are ready to tailor every workout to your ability, experience and comfort level. (There are even classes available for seniors and children.) CrossFit is a strength and conditioning workout focused on 10 different fitness “domains,” as defined by CrossFit Fringe, including accuracy, agility, endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, balance and coordination. If you’re uninspired by the same everyday gym exercise, CrossFit Fringe classes provide a quick (under an hour) workout with varied movements and equipment that changes every time you come in.

Capture coastal “cool” at Rho Engine Room

Location: 10 W. Nifong Blvd., Suite 113, in Nifong Square
Cost: “Rookie Rho” introductory class for first-timers is $12.
Website: rhoengineroom.com

After witnessing the popularity of rowing studios in metropolitan coastal cities, local entrepreneur and former owner of Columbia Jazzercise Fitness Center Laura Kitzi took a tour of such studios across the U.S. Finally, she determined Columbia was ready to embrace rowing. She brought the idea home and launched Rho Engine Room on a limited basis in summer 2018, with 2019 marking the facility’s first full year featuring a full schedule and roster of coaches. She describes Rho as “equal parts alpine retreat, play gym and night club,” where an unorthodox mix of rowing, lifting and balancing — using machines such as the WaterRower and Terra-Core balance trainer — will make you feel glamorous even while dripping sweat.

Scale up at The Bouldering Garden

Location: 5400 Saint Charles Road
Cost: $15 per introductory class. Additional options exist, including more advanced classes, as well as day passes and monthly packages.
Website: www.theboulderinggarden.com

Missouri might not boast as many famous peaks as mountain meccas like Colorado and Utah, but that doesn’t mean local climbing enthusiasts have nowhere to turn. Escape to the indoor climbing gym at The Bouldering Garden, where rock walls and obstacle courses provide both an adventure and a workout. Looking for a team-building exercise experience or private party that truly rocks? You’ve come to the right place.

HIIT the Trail

Location: Katy Trail
Cost: Free
Website: www.como.gov

Don’t have the extra cash to shell out on a gym membership? Mother Nature’s built-in playgrounds are free and open to the public. Columbia’s parks and trails offer miles of space for HIIT, or high intensity interval training, a cardio and strength workout where exercises are done in quick bursts with little downtime in between. For example, start with sprints along the Katy Trail, then segway into push-ups against a park bench. You’ll want a water bottle and a sweat towel, but no expensive training or equipment is required.

Dive deep at Wilson’s Fitness

Location: 2902 Forum Blvd.
Cost: $15 (plus tax) for non-member drop-in classes. Most classes are covered by a Wilson’s Fitness membership.
Website: www.wilsonsfitness.com/wilsons-forum/

You haven’t done real aerobics until you’ve done them underwater. At the indoor pool at Wilson’s Fitness on Forum Boulevard (or the outdoor pool at the Missouri Athletic Center in the summer), you’ll tread and splash through several high-intensity exercises designed to elevate your heart rate and boost your body’s endurance. Wilson’s offers eight different aqua classes, including Aqua Blast, Aquacise and even Aqua Kickboxing, for all ages and abilities, more than 13 times a week (and even more often during the summer). Water aerobics is an excellent option for those who want the high calorie burn of running without the body toll; water resistance training is gentler, so you’ll walk away with less joint and muscle pain.

Skate out of town

Location: 711 Kansas St, Jefferson City
Cost: $5.50 adult admission; $4.50 youth admission (plus $3 skate rental)
Website: www.jeffersoncitymo.gov/

When the winter cabin fever sets in, sometimes you need an excuse to hit I-70. Jefferson City’s Washington Park Ice Arena, the only ice arena in central Missouri, is the perfect excuse for excursion and exercise rolled into one. The rink is a charming spot for expert skaters and young families alike, and true devotees can join occasional hockey games — or catch a Mizzou Ice Hockey game, if they’d rather stay in their seats. The arena even offers camps or classes for figure skating, speed skating, hockey and ice theater, where thespians can tackle performance on ice.

Keep it simple with choose-your-own weight lifting

Maybe you’re trying to get toned. Maybe you like the idea of CrossFit or personal training or group classes but, well … you aren’t really ready to commit. Maybe you just want to fill out the oversized shirts Grandma keeps buying you for Christmas. If all you need is a buffet of weight machines, many gyms around town — including several on this list already! — feature price packages for those who want an easy-in, easy-out experience with the leg machine. For a no-frills workout, you can always opt for chains such as Planet Fitness or Anytime Fitness. If you’re a Mizzou alumnus, you can purchase a membership to the Mizzou Rec Center. Fan favorites include Wilson’s Fitness and Body Refinery Gym. Whatever your reason, you can get away from the coaches and classes with a quick membership pass to jump in, do your free weights, and leave without even taking off your headphones.

Go for gold at Tiger Academy of Gymnastics

Location: 3609 Mojave Court, Suite A
Cost: $10 per drop-in class
Website: www.tiger-academy.com/

You might not become the next Simone Biles, but it’s never too late to try, right? Tiger Academy of Gymnastics, LLC offers adult gymnastics, where USAG-trained professionals will guide you from simple warm-ups and stretching to tumbling, strength-building drills and beyond. The balance beams, vault, spring floor, parallel bars, rings, trampoline and in-ground foam pit might look threatening from afar, but as your flexibility and strength improve, you’ll feel ready for a place at the 2020 Olympics (or at least a seat in the stands).

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