Fabulous Ways To Get Fit

With another year comes another resolution to lose those 10 pounds. Columbia, it’s time to get in shape. We found 23 fun ways to get fit that don’t involve endless hours on a treadmill. From rock-climbing to aerial yoga to dog-walking ― you’re bound to find a workout here that will have you shedding excuses and shedding that holiday flab.

Roller Skating

If you really want to get your fitness plan rolling, check out Empire Roller Rink, located at 1305 Business Loop 70 E. Roller skating can be a fun way for the entire family to incorporate an evening of exercise into their weekly routine. On Fridays from 7 to 10 p.m. or Saturdays from 7 to 9 p.m., lace up and join the public skate for $7 per person. Admission includes a quad skate rental (think 1970s roller derby chic), or upgrade to in-line skates for $3 more. Family-friendly tunes are the soundtrack for your retro workout. A 150-pound person who laces up a pair of old-fashioned skates can burn 482 calories with one hour of skating, according to Fitness magazine. In-line skating yields an even better calorie burn of 827 calories an hour.
Find out more about lessons and schedules at http://www.empirerollerrink.com. **UPDATE** After 80 years in business, the Empire Roller Rink will close its doors permanently on  Sunday, Jan. 6 . The “Celebration Last Skate” will be from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.


It started as a simple idea: a club for those who are interested in running in Columbia. That’s what Bill Clark intended when he placed a notice in the Columbia Daily Tribune announcing the first meeting back in 1968. A few decades later, Clark’s Columbia Track Club is running at full speed in Columbia, with dedicated groups that meet Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30 a.m., departing from the Forum entrance of the MKT trail. If a midweek run isn’t your speed, join the Uprise Runners on Saturday mornings at the MKT Trail Stadium entrance.

“What’s great about running is that it’s a solo activity but when you’re running with friends, the camaraderie is great,” says Bill Stolz, president of Columbia Track Club. “The Columbia Track Club is open to everyone, all speeds, all ages. If you’re interested in running, we’re the club for you.”
For more information on weekly runs, check out the Columbia Track Club’s website athttp://www.columbiatrackclub.com.


Swimming is a terrific way to enhance strength and aerobic conditioning; it’s also a skill that could save your life. Since 1967, Macher Swim School has been teaching children and adults in Columbia how to swim. Every age group and experience level is welcome at the school, and there are classes available for children every day of the week. Adults looking to make a splash can take private lessons or participate in an adult group swimming lesson on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 7:30 to 8:15 p.m., or join a water exercise class at the school.
For more information, dive into the school’s website at http://www.MacherSwim.com.

Ice Skating

If ice skating warms your heart, you can make the short trip to Jefferson City and the Washington Park Ice Arena. There are open skate sessions daily at the ice arena located at 711 Kansas St. Adult admission is $4 and youth admission is $3. Rent skates for an additional $2 and lace up for a workout that winter-wonderful. Heavy socks, hats and gloves are helpful for this workout that can burn up to 500 calories in an hour for a 150-pound person.
For information on open skate times, check out the ice arena’s monthly public sessions calendar athttp://www.jeffcitymo.org/parks**UPDATE** Prices for skating have increased. Adult admission is $5.50 and youth admission is $4.50 Skate rental is an additional $2.50.

Commercial Break Conditioning

Put down the remote and pick up a 5-pound dumbbell. Americans watch, on average, five hours of television a day, according to the Nielsen Corp. That’s nearly 90 minutes of commercial time every day when you could be lunging, squatting, doing jumping jacks or pushups. Those basic high school gym class exercises might seem a bit boring, but they’re the perfect exercises for three-minute breaks. Make it a game: 15 crunches for every commercial about fast food, 10 pushups for a big-box retailer, or 20 lunges for anything with a jingle.

Rock Climbing

Take fitness to new heights with some rock climbing at The Bouldering Garden. Indoor, outdoor, beginner, advanced, youth and adult classes are all available at the alternative fitness center, located at 5400 St. Charles Road. The climbing gym features many challenges for the avid or beginning boulderer, including a 45-degree wall, slab walls and two large caves meant for exploring. Crash-landing pads abound in the gym, and novice climbers are encouraged to get back up and try again if they take a tumble (or two) before they get the hang of climbing. If your kids are climbing the walls, introduce them to the Youth that Rock class every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m., designed for climbers ages 5 to 12.
Take the first step toward a new climbing hobby by visiting http://www.theboulderinggarden.com**UPDATE** The Youth That Rock class is no longer offered.

Punch And Kick

Relieve your stress and get out some aggression with kickboxing. Columbia Kickboxing is a gym focused on self-defense, boxing and fitness training for fighters of all skill levels Head instructor Bill Rastorfer, had a 14-year career as a professional boxer and is a two-time national kickboxing champion. The former professional fighter now leads classes with an instructor-to-student ratio no higher than 8 to 1. Leading the gym’s boxing classes is Hank Mark, a four-time national Silver Gloves champion, two-time Junior Olympic champion and three-time Armed Forces champion in boxing.

The pair love teaching classes and seeing their students develop a variety of skills in addition to getting fit. “Students get the added benefit of learning self-defense while getting in shape at the same time,” Rastorfer says.
Consult Columbia Kickboxing’s website at http://www.columbiakickboxing.com for class information. **UPDATE** Columbia Kickboxing is no longer open. To get your kick fix, check out 9Round Fitness at 104 S. Providence Road or 901 E. Nifong Blvd. https://www.9round.com/fitness/kickboxing-classes.


Take the family or some friends on an adventurous kayak ride down the Missouri River.

Kayaking is not limited to the experienced. It’s a feat that anyone with an adventurous spirit can master.

“The Missouri River is a big, wide river with a light current flow, offering at times a chance to coast,” says Brennan VanMatre, store manager at Alpine Shop and certified instructor of the American Canoe Association. “Kayaking also offers more than a gym membership and a workout. There is more of a mind and body connection, giving a mental release that really allows you to enjoy what you are doing.”

Kayaking focuses on some central areas of the body — while working the arms, shoulders and back, movement comes from the core, VanMatre says.
Visit http://www.alpineshop.com for more information on training and gear available.


This dance-inspired fitness phenomenon has been sweeping the nation, and is available at many fitness centers in Columbia. Zumba moves upbeat Latin rhythms and popular hits as you shimmy and shake to choreographed routines.

“You don’t realize what a workout you get because it is so fun,” says Melanie Karrick, owner of Key Largo Fitness and Tanning.

Zumba may look effortless when performed on infomercials by fitness models with abs of iron, but these classes, which keep participants dancing for a full hour, are a serious cardio workout. In addition, Zumba helps build flexibility, balance and core strength, Karrick says. This dance craze generally appeals to women, but is a form of exercise that anyone can do, regardless of skill level, At Key Largo, no membership is required for participation because the facility offers punch cards for the class.
**UPDATE** Key Largo Fitness and Tanning dropped the fitness aspect of their business in 2015 and focus now on tanning. Zumba is available at other locations in Columbia such as the Columbia Activity and Recreation Center. Visit www.como.gov/parksandrec/facilities/activity-recreation-center-arc/ for more information.

Hot Yoga

Hot yoga, which combines specialized yoga poses with a very warm environment, is a workout that guarantees a sweat. In a hot yoga class, the temperature of the room is generally between 100 and 105 degrees. This allows the body to stretch and bend to its full potential, and that leads to greater flexibility. According to Brittany Wills, owner of Sumits Hot Yoga, some of the benefits are “weight loss, sweating out toxins, cardio workout as well as being good for skin and the mindset.”

Sumits Hot Yoga also offers a new-client special, community cash pass classes and alignment clinics on the weekends that are beginner friendly. Don’t sweat it if you’re a yoga newbie. According to Wills, this form of yoga is appropriate for any interested student.
Warm up to the idea of Hot Yoga at http://www.sumitsyogacolumbia.com.

Children’s Workouts

Little ones can work off some of that untamed energy at The Little Gym in the Forum Shopping Center, where children ages 4 months to 12 years can take classes in gymnastics, dance and sport skills. The Little Gym fosters an environment that nurtures the physical and mental development of children, all under the slogan of “serious fun.” According to gym director, Aaron Crews, some of the benefits of taking classes at the gym include increasing physical fitness, developing hand-eye coordination, and improved flexibility and strength. As important side benefits, youngsters also develop decision-making abilities, leadership talents and teamwork skills. The Little Gym offers a variety of classes that meet once a week on a semester basis.
Visit http://www.thelittlegym.com and select the Columbia location for more information on classes. **UPDATE** The Columbia location is no longer in business.


At Studio B Dance Center, young and old are welcome to learn a few steps. Practice your swing, hustle, tango or pirouette in myriad classes or in private lessons. According to Studio B owner and dance instructor Ashley Mayer, dancing is like any sport or hobby: what you put in is what you get out of it. “The dancing can be very beneficial as far as a cardio workout for those who really get into it, consistently,” Mayer says.

Dancing offers many health benefits, as well as character benefits such as developing endurance, discipline and communication. Mayer stresses that while there is a common misconception that ballroom dancing is for the older generation, anyone can participate, regardless of age and skill level.
The Studio B website at http://www.danceatstudiob.com offers course descriptions and schedules.


Yoga is a practice said to relax and purify the mind, body and soul through various poses and the meditation. Owner and head teacher at Yoga Sol, Polly Sweitzer, says that yoga “is more than the physical, mental and spiritual components, but a total body-mind experience.” Some benefits of yoga include a decrease in blood pressure and an increase in flexibility, Sweitzer says.

At Yoga Sol, 2909 Falling Leaf Lane, classes are offered on a drop-in basis with a fee or class packages that never expire and can be shared. Sweitzer says that yoga “meets you where you are, regardless of skill level. A certified teacher will provide modifications to any pose to accommodate all skill levels. Yoga empowers people to grow, breathe, and experience their full potential.”
Learn more about the offerings at Yoga Sol by visiting http://www.yogasol.org.

Aerial Yoga

Aerial Yoga is soaring in popularity and Wilson’s Fitness Centers is the only place in Columbia that offers it. This class is straight out of Cirque du Soleil and adventurous students can do tricks, flips and spins while swinging and conditioning in the air, according to Catina Topash, group fitness manager for Wilson’s.

During this class, students practice yoga poses with the help of a fabric hammock. The fabric is adjusted according to each student’s height, and the class focuses on strength, flexibility, tricks and flips. This workout can be difficult at times, but once students get into the swing of things, they get the hang of it.

“Aerial yoga can be a gentle and restorative class for those who wish to stretch and move at a slow and gentle pace,” Topash says. “This type of yoga is easily adaptable to any fitness level and a perfect place to begin working toward inversions with the gentle support of the fabric.”

People looking for a more advanced yoga course will not be disappointed, as aerial yoga is adaptable to those looking to experiment with more complex poses.

Participants must be at least 14 years old.

“It’s extremely therapeutic,” Topash says. “They get an overall sense of accomplishment and well-being. They have a mind-body connection and bring themselves to peace and quiet.”

Reservations for the class can be arranged up to seven days in advance, and each 90-minute session is limited to 10 students.
Get information on class schedules and pricing at http://www.wilsonsfitness.com.


Jazzercise incorporates many forms of exercise, including jazz dance, Pilates, yoga, kickboxing and even resistance training, and combines them all into a 60-minute total- body workout. Confidence and strength are some of the benefits Jazzercise strives to build through these one-of-a-kind workouts. Laura Kitzi, owner of Jazzercise Columbia Fitness Center, enumerates the benefits participants get from the classes “The use of energy and muscles in a variety of ways leads to a serious calorie burner, while dance cardio improves strength and stretch training.”

Classes move to the fun sounds of today’s most popular, chart-topping hits in country, rock and hip-hop. All ages and sizes can Jazzercise. Classes consist of a warm up, 30-minute cardio section and a strength-and-stretch cool-down segment that incorporates weights. Jazzercise Columbia Fitness Center, 120 E. Nifong Blvd., offers both day passes and three different monthly passes.
Check out pricing and schedule information at jcls.jazzercise.com/facility/jazzercise-columbia-fitness-center.

Stress-Less Fitness

Activities that are relaxing, but still physical, can relieve stress and enhance physical fitness and well-being. Breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, visualization or walking are all relaxing ways to exercise your mind, body and spirit. Show Me Dharma, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the study and practice of Insight Meditation, offers weekly group sittings every Sunday from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Show Me Dharma Center, 2011 Chapel Plaza Court, Suite 9.

“Insight meditation helps in managing stress through relaxing the body and mind,” says Joe McCormack, member of the Show Me Dharma Teachers Council and insight meditation teacher. “With that greater relaxation, we begin to see more clearly the habits of mind that create stress, and find ways of letting those habits go.”

The sitting includes a short period of “mindful movement,” which can be gentle stretching or walking, for example, followed by a 30-minute period of instruction on bringing “balance to heart and mind” through mediation. The sitting ends with a short group discussion on integrating mindfulness into daily routines. There is no cost for the class, and registration is not necessary.
Tap into the potential of meditation with a visit to http://www.showmedharma.org.  **UPDATE** The Show Me Dharma Center has relocated to 1600 W. Broadway adjoining the Unity Center of Columbia.

Martial Arts

Learn self-defense and get in shape with martial arts. Locally owned Hockman’s ATA Martial Arts teaches and encourages confidence, fitness and self-defense in a supportive environment. Co-owner Jeff Hockman says, “Unlike other workout programs, your fellow students and instructors are going to hold you accountable and give you a reason to come back while not allowing you to lose sight of your goals!”

Hockman’s has four Columbia locations and offers a variety of classes for students ranging as young as 3½ years old through adult. There are also classes especially designed for families.

“Kids feel the need to defend themselves or want a chance to do the cool moves they see in the movies.” Hockman says. “Their parents get the fringe benefit of respect, confidence and discipline that comes along with our programs. Adults find the training a great stress relief and workout. Unlike most traditional workouts, adults develop empowering, life-changing skills that keep them wanting more. The self defense aspects are the icing on the cake.”

Classes are held five days a week with afternoon and evening classes available. Beginner programs start at $100 monthly.
Learn more at http://www.hockmansata.com.


Targeting “core” muscles, Pilates aims to strengthen all the muscles that encourage strong posture while increasing flexibility and building overall body strength. Pilates is great for individuals recovering from an injury and is a good accompaniment to physical therapy. Open Studio Pilates, located in the North Village Arts District in downtown Columbia, offers both group classes on the reformer or tower, and private sessions on the reformer, tower, chair and/or ladder barrel. The 50-minute classes include no more than five people.

Created by Joseph Pilates in Germany in the early 20th century, Pilates is a blend of Eastern and Western traditions of mindfulness and fitness, and provides a total body workout. Pilates work on the mat utilizes your body weight, while the reformer adds resistance to body weight at different increments. Both forms of Pilates work to lengthen your spine and trim your waist.

Open Studio owner Laura Detert, explains Pilates is “sort of a combination of gymnastics and yoga, but it’s really neither — it is its own entity.” Detert says Pilates “works you from the inside out” and is great for everyone, male or female, young or old.
Visit http://www.openstudiopilates.com for more information.

Personal Training

For those who shy away from group workouts, a personal trainer is a great way to get fit in the coming year. Personal trainers motivate and push you to the limit without the pressure of group settings. The individualized help also targets what you specifically need to work on and allows you to work on your personal fitness goals at your own pace.

There are three personal trainers on staff at Anytime Fitness. Each client is matched to a trainer based on their goals and availability, according to Melissa Carter, Anytime Fitness assistant manager and personal trainer.

Most sessions are 30 minutes, but hour-long sessions are also available. Trainers usually meet with clients once or twice per week, but scheduling is up to the client. “Some may be up to three times a week, and sometimes people request only once per month,” Carter says. “Meeting more often is more successful because of the accountability and motivation from the personal trainer. They will usually stick with it.”

The program can have life-altering consequences, Carter says. “I have had clients who have completely turned themselves around. I had one who stopped smoking. It can completely change their life.”
Go to http://www.anytimefitness.com and click “Find A Gym” to locate the Anytime Fitness gym that is most convenient for you.

Studio Barre

A new addition to Wilson’s Total Fitness is Studio Barre, a workout in which participants use a ballet barre and small isometric movements along with stretch to shape and tone the body.

 “Students love this class,” says Catina Topash, general manager of the Range Line location and group fitness manager of Wilson’s. “They are surprised at how challenging it is, even though you are only using 1- to 3-pound weights.”

There is no actual dancing involved in the class. Instead, students work on form and posture. These small movements also help them gain strength.

“The cool thing is that it is challenging and can be done by a lot of different people and fitness levels,” Topash says. “You go at your own pace and there is no impact on your joints and you get a great workout.”

Just added in October, this new class is designed for all ages to enjoy. The ages of current students range from teens to age 70. No previous ballet experience is necessary.
Learn more at http://www.wilsonsfitness.com.

Walk A Hound, Lose A Pound

Help make a shelter dog’s day while getting your walk on. Once volunteers at the Central Missouri Humane Society go through advanced training, they have the opportunity to take these pooches out for walks or runs. Bear Creek Trail near the shelter is a great place to take the dogs. It is several miles long and, if your dog has enough endurance, this is a great way to get a relaxing run in during the week. Take multiple dogs out one at a time to maximize your workout and maximize their fun time.

“We get great feedback from the community,” says Erin Carrillo, recreation specialist at Columbia Parks and Recreation. “A few participants have been with us from the very beginning and have come for the past six years.”

Each person is paired with a pooch based on walking speed and requested size.

“It’s a great way to get fitness in as well as help the shelter dogs,” Carrillo says.

New sessions for Walk A Hound, Lose A Pound begin in early April and run through October.
Get the details at http://www.gocolumbiamo.com**UPDATE** The program is no longer offered.

Adult Ballet Classes

For those interested in beginning or continuing practice of ballet, the Perlman-Stoy School of Ballet offers ballet classes for grownups. Both instructors of the studio, Nancy Stoy and Halcyone Perlman, teach the adult class.

Students’ ages range from late 30s to 50s, according to Perlman. Some have ballet background and others do not.

“Students gain physical strength, flexibility and the ability to move easily,” Perlman says. “They also very much enjoy moving to the music.”

Each class begins with barre exercises to strengthen and stretch, and provide good body alignment. Then, students move on to different kinds of movement, both slow and quick.

“We consider age and degree of advancement so the material is not injurious,” Perlman says.
Visit www.perlman-stoyballet.com to learn more about the courses available for all age and skill levels.

Strength Training

Use what you learned in PE class all those years ago in some intense, one-on-one sessions with Columbia Strength and Conditioning trainers.

Using Biosignature Modulation, a scientific approach developed by Charles Poliquin, clients are able to measure body fat and pinpoint where they store the most body fat. This way they can target specific areas and know what to work on.

Starting in January, CSC will have six trainers on staff.

“Our training is based on what the clients want to work toward,” says Scott Schutte, one of the owners and trainers at CSC. “What a lot of people like is the knowledge we bring and the environment. We have up-to-date equipment and privacy.”

Many gyms have nice facilities but are crowded. The one-on-one setting of CSC eliminates the distractions and provides for a great environment that’s easy to focus in and get the best workout possible.
Learn more about the trainers and programs available at the Columbia Strength and Conditioning website,http://www.columbiastrengthandconditioning.com.

Pole Fitness Classes

Take a spin on the wild side at Jefferson City’s Work It, Girl Dance Fitness. In this girls-only setting, women are encouraged to strut their flirtatious skills on the pole, most importantly while wearing heels. Work It, Girl Dance Fitness gives women of all ages and sizes a chance to embrace their sensual sides. You might be skeptical that women can get in shape by dancing on a pole and in heels, but according to group fitness instructor Maria Nesheim, “Pole dancing offers a full body workout, using the upper arms, chest, core, abs and butt, all while dancing in heels.” If the thought of dancing in heels is concerning, be sure to check out some beginner classes where they hone in on technique and good posture … and dancing in heels is only encouraged, Nesheim says. No membership is required, but it does cost to participate, with single classes costing $17.50. Bring your girlfriends and have a memorable girls’ night out.

**UPDATE** Work It, Girl Dance Fitness closed in 2017. Columbians can now take classes closer to home at Muse Pole Fitness, at 3605 S. Providence, #5, which opened in 2015. https://www.musepolefitness.com/

Water Aerobics

A low-impact activity, water aerobics is perfect for those that want to get in shape at their own pace. Improve your flexibility, strength and posture during this class that uses water as gentle resistance. Water aerobic classes are held every weekday morning at the Columbia and Activity Center, located at 1701 W. Ash St, or stop by after work on Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m. Classes cost $4 for an ARC member, or $6 for non-ARC members. Stick around after the class is over to do a couple of laps in ARC’s lap lanes, or try taking a stroll in the pool for a surprisingly challenging aerobic workout. The Lap/Spa/Walk program occurs before or after water aerobics every day and is a great way to round out your water workout.

Rainy-Day Home Exercises

There’s a gym in your house. Well, you might not have an actual gym, but you do have items that can be easily converted into equipment for a full-body workout. For example, kitchen chair workouts can be simple and effective for a rainy day. Personal trainer and author Denise Austin recommends moving forward on the very edge of the seat of your chair and moving your body down toward the floor so that your elbows make a 90-degree angle. Come back up to the edge of the chair and repeat in sets of 10. If chairs are in short supply, find a set of stairs in your home. Jump on the first step and then back down, repeating in sets of 20. And regardless of how “June Cleaver” it sounds, try doing lunges while vacuuming your house. Your floors will be clean and your thighs will get a great workout.

NIKE Personal Trainer on Xbox Kinect

If you have access to an Xbox Kinect and you can make your son part from his Halo 4 or Black Ops 2 game for half an hour, NIKE+ Kinect Training is worth checking out.

The program is designed to get people of all shapes and sizes to achieve their peak fitness potential. It measures your progress from the first workout, and every four weeks it tests strength, endurance and overall fitness.

A trainer on screen pushes you much like a real personal trainer, except the virtual counterpart is much more readily available and flexible — perfect for a workout to fit into a busy schedule.

The Kinect system also tracks your movements to improve form and delivers instant feedback from your workouts. NIKE+ Kinect Training is available at most stores at around $49.99.

NIKE+ running app

Have a smarter workout with your smart phone. This free app is a great companion for any runner, serious or casual. The Nike+ running app has a wide range of features, including maps of the course you run and tracks your progress of time, calories burned and distance run overall.

By synching the app with nikeplus.com, users can view other users course maps and find other routes in their area and set goals.

Runners are also able to see their improvement over time. The app displays daily statistics of distance, pace, time and calories burned on your run, and will let the user know how much better or worse the run was from their last outing. If you use this app on an iPhone with GPS capabilities, a Nike+ sensor or an expensive pair of sneakers are not required. Or, check out the MapMyRun app available for both iPhone and Android. This all-in-one app has a calorie calculator, a workout log and nutrition guide in addition to its basic feature of mapping your run.

Whether you are training for a 10k or just wanting to get in shape, these great apps help every runner or walker monitor progress and improvement.

Pinterest Fitness

In the health and fitness category of Pinterest, there are endless photos of great workout plans, healthy recipes, exercises and the occasional motivational quote to keep on the path of getting fit.

The types of workouts available on Pinterest are diverse. Simple photos of yoga poses, minute-by-minute workouts and diagrams of cardio or weight moves can be found all over the Health & Fitness category.

Several magazines such as Shape and Fitness  use Pinterest as well. Shape has boards including healthy meal ideas, workout tips and exercises that target specific parts of the body to tone and shape. Fitnesshas similar boards, including one comprised completely of equipment-free exercises. For women on the go, these are great because they can be done anywhere from the living room to the office and often in a short amount of time.

Why not create your very own Get Fit board now and repin all your favorite workouts?

Just Dance (Wii)

Just Dance provides great exercise, plus a fun night for the entire family. While not marketed as a fitness game, it can definitely burn calories.

Players mirror dance moves on the television screen using the Wii remote. As the song progresses, fewer instructions are given and the game encourages you to memorize the routines.

Songs are separated based on level of difficulty of the moves and level of exertion. Some editions of the game even include a mode specifically designed as a workout.

Just Dance supports up to four players, making this a fun alternative that will burn more calories depending on how much you groove to the music.

There are many different titles with wide range of songs, from oldies to Top 40, and country to kids, sothere is sure to be a title for your family to enjoy.

The most recent title, Just Dance 4, is available for $39.99 at most local retailers.

Columbia Bike Club

Offering recreational group bicycle ride for all ages, the Columbia Bike Club is a great way for individuals or families to exercise. The Columbia Bike Club is over 100 years old, organizes group rides and produces a monthly publication: Pedalin’ Times. All that is required is a bicycle and helmet and the desire to be around great camaraderie in a noncompetitive atmosphere.

For current bicycle enthusiasts who can’t wait until warmer weather to race, the bike club is hosting its annual Froze Toes race on Feb. 24. Most group rides, like the Monday night ride for Slow and Easy riders (beginner bicyclists) and the Tuesday night ride for Easy riders (intermediate bicyclists) will resume later in the spring. However, when the weather is dry and the temperature is above 40 degrees, the Show and Go Thursday and Sunday night rides (for advanced bicyclists) will happen, with starting places changing each month. Saturday morning Easy Rider rides (intermediate bicyclists) will also resume when the weather is dry and the temperature is above 40 degrees. The club often does fun, destination rides to local wineries or diners, for example.

Vice president of the Columbia Bike Club, Kristen Veum says “cycling is a whole body sport, while you do use your legs quite a bit, you also use your arms, abs and core for an all-around good workout.”

The club welcomes road cycling and off-road bicyclists, and a couple members even have recumbent bicycles and unicycles. Veum says, “Cycling is so much fun that I forget about it being a workout and just enjoy being able to hang out with people who like to cycle as much as I do.” Monthly meetings at Shakespeare’s pizza don’t hurt either. Club members also often volunteers to encourage bicycle safety, educate people on how to maintain their bikes and ride safely on roads and trails.

Basic memberships are $25, while Racer memberships are $60. Both memberships include a subscription to the Raceteam e-mail List, free entry into the Froze Toes Race and Rhett’s Run, and monthly meetings with pizza. The Racer membership also includes one team jersey, race entry reimbursement after entering six races and team purchasing opportunities from industry sponsors.

More information is available at the Columbia Bike Club’s website, http://www.columbiabikeclub.com.

Home Workout Videos

Getting started on a New Year’s fitness resolution in the dead of winter can be difficult. No one wants to go jogging in the cold or hike to the gym in the early morning hours. Finding an excuse to get around that resolution has become more difficult with home workout videos. For those who get nervous working out around others or do not wish to be preoccupied with whether or not their cardio dance moves look ridiculous, can exercise from the safety of their own living room. There’s also the added bonus of working out according your changing schedule.

Video programs like P90X and the Tracy Anderson Method have gained notoriety through celebrity use and endorsement. Offering structured, two- to three-month, programs, P90X and the Tracy Anderson Method both work to confuse muscles by consistently introducing different exercises throughout the program. They also come with nutritional plans. P90X consists of 12, highly intense workouts, spread over a 90-day period and is designed to transform your body with muscle definition and strength. The Base Program is three payments of $39.99 and includes 12 P90X workouts, a 3-phase nutrition plan and a P90X fitness guide.

Tracy Anderson’s latest workout program, Metamorphosis, is specific to your body type and targets every muscle in your body. The program should be done for one hour, six days a week. No prior experience is needed, or fitness level required. There is also no age limit, with modifications offered throughout the series to accommodate age, flexibility and strength. Other programs are available and a nutritional program is recommended. Gwyneth Paltrow is a dedicated fan. Metamorphosis is available for three payments of $29.99 and includes a fitness guide, a nutrition guide, tape measure, nine muscular structure workouts (customized for you, with new workouts arriving with every payment), a dance cardio workout and access to the Tracy Anderson online community.

Home workout videos like P90X and Tracy Anderson’s Metamorphosis are perfect for implementing and completing New Year’s resolutions and offer attainable, time-sensitive goals from the comfort of your own home.

Frequent 5K and 10K races

With a variety of running aces offered throughout the year, you can grab your running shoes and start training. Races are a great way to get in shape because they are perfect for people who prefer to exercise alone or make progress by setting goals and training for them. Dates of races are often posted months in advance, giving prospective racers enough time to prepare. Plus, the only costs of running are a decent pair of running shoes and race entry fees. (Clothing is a good idea, too).

For runners who can’t wait for the ground to thaw to get to racing, the Columbia Track Club (a member of the Missouri Valley Association of USA Track & Field) offers the “Froze Nose” 5K in January in Oakland Park, with the “Nut Race” to follow in February in Reactor Park. In March the Columbia Track Club will also host the “Run with the Eagles” 5K, in Oakland Park, as well as St. Patrick’s Day 5K, which is run throughout downtown and the University of Missouri’s campus. Watch the club’s website for specific dates and times at www.columbiatrackclub.com.

For runners looking to train longer distances, the St. Louis marathon, a 26.2-mile feat, is April 7 and is part of the Go! St. Louis Marathon and Family Fitness Weekend. There are 5K, 10K and relay options available as well. Kids are encouraged to do a fun run, too!

To get you on your way, Active.com offers plenty of training plans and guides to help you set and achieve your 5K, 10K or even marathon goals.


Kick your fitness regimen into gear with cardio kickboxing. This high-intensity workout takes 45 minutes to burn fat, tone arms and legs and improve balance. Key Largo fitness offers a 45-minute program of kickboxing moves conducted at a bag to provide a high-caloric burn in a fun, group atmosphere. Kickboxing is a great workout for people looking to be challenged by their exercise. For those looking to exercise with shadow boxing, Key Largo also offers a “body combat” class. Attendance to each kickboxing class ranges from five to 15 people.

Key Largo owner Melanie Karrick says kickboxing “is great, everyone loves it and there are options for every age, fitness level and ability.” With a “mission to have a fitness option for every level and offer a warm, relaxing atmosphere,” Key Largo welcomes individuals of all fitness levels and experiences. Key Largo members enjoy inclusive classes and class packages are available for nonmembers, one class for $60, five classes for $35 and ten classes for $60.

Cardio Kidz (Wilson’s)

Cardio Kidz at Wilson’s Fitness is perfect for children with too much energy or who are looking for an activity to do with their friends in a friendly environment. Cardio Kidz provides a fun atmosphere filled with fun activities for children. Wilson’s Fitness offers 30-minute classes for kids, ages 2 to 5. Children are invited to “let loose and have fun while working their gross and fine motor skills.” Dawn Stephens, director of Wilson’s Lil’ Tigers Club says of the class program, “we have a couple different teachers who make the classes fun so the kids don’t even realize they’re exercising.” The program feature child-appropriate music and, often, an imaginary adventure that takes place over the course of the class.

Stephens says, “Good health habits start as children and the kids have so much fun while their parents are working out.” Cardio Kidz classes are included in a membership package. Other kid and youth focused classes include a Fit Girls class for girls ages 8-14, which is dance-based and encourages coordination, core-strength, muscle development and self-esteem.

Dance Lessons

Hate gyms? Try exercising in a bar! The Whiskey Wild Saloon offers free dance classes every Friday from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday is also ladies night, which means no cover fee for ladies. Surrounded by exciting music and a group atmosphere, you will learn a new dance and get a cardiovascular workout in a nontraditional fitness atmosphere. Open for three years, the Whiskey Wild Saloon features a 1,200 square-foot dance floor that gets pretty busy on Friday nights. Owner Chad Martin says, “Most everything is covered at some point, from the wobble to the two-step.”

With no gym fees, this fitness alternative is perfect for individuals over 18 years of age (must be 21 or over to order alcoholic drinks) looking to meet new people in a welcoming, noncompetitive atmosphere. “If you’re a beginner and want to learn from the pros, or a pro and want to learn something new, everyone leaves having learned something new,” Martin says. While there is usually one teacher for the entire group, Martin says “everybody teaches each other and makes each other better.” Couples looking to exercise together should consider learning to dance together. Date night will never be the same.

Trail Walks

Family walks and jogs on trails are inexpensive workouts and Columbia offers many trails to explore, including the MKT Trail and Forum Trail. Lakota Coffee Company roast master Lee Eckel says, “The Forum trail offers a great exercise to run or walk for a solid hour with many different options.” Assistant (and sister) to the roast master, Denne Eckel echoes her brother, stating that these trails and even Devil’s Ice Box in Rock Bridge State Park offer fun and really beautiful scenery. Denne also stresses that walking and exercising is “mandatory for everyone … absolutely necessary. Not only does it offer fresh air, but it can immediately elevate your mood.”

Go To The Dog Park

Take the whole family out, including that lovable canine, for exercise at the dog park. Parks such as Twin Lakes and Capen Park offer dog-friendly areas. Local landscaper and dog owner Mike Robins says, “Dog parks are for everyone. It’s a great social place for interactions for both humans and dogs.” There are many avenues for fitness, including throwing the Frisbee or a ball around and then going on a family jog around the park. The humans in the group won’t be the only ones benefiting from the activity. Walking and interacting with your dog stimulates your pup’s immune system. There are other forms of exercise beyond the dog park that Robins likes to do with his dog, including hikes on trails like the MKT, long walks at Rock Bridge State Park, exploring the marshland by Forum Boulevard, and even kayaking on the river while his dog runs along the bank. Your furry friend needs a workout, too.

Silver Sneakers

The ARC offers Silver Sneakers classes, fitness courses geared toward people 50 and older. The Silver Sneakers Fitness Program is a well-known trademarked name and insurance will often cover the cost. Many insurance companies in Missouri cover Silver Sneakers, as well as Medicare carriers.

The cardio circuit class is geared toward increasing cardiovascular and muscular endurance power. Upper body strength is also worked on using weights, elastic tubing and exercise balls. The Muscular Strength and Range of Motion class pairs music with a variety of exercises to also increase muscular strength and activity for daily living skills. The cardio circuit class is the more popular of the two.

“I talked to one older adult who went through personal training with good results,” Brian Higginbotham says, ARC supervisor of operations and programming. “Then he tried the Silver Sneakers program and he said he got more benefit from that than anything he’s ever done.”

According to Higginbotham, MSROM is more of an intro class. It incorporates chair yoga and some people who may be unable to take the cardio class take this instead. The average age of participants is around 70 years old.

“It’s a fun class with a lot of camaraderie,” Higginbotham says. “It’s geared toward older adults. They can use bands, balls and dumbbells. It has a great social atmosphere and they have a lot of fun.”

The class is free with ARC membership, and a daily pass can be purchased for nonmembers. New members are welcome at the ARC at any time.

Tai Chi

For individuals looking for slower and lower impact exercise, Columbia Tai Chi offers “slow, relaxed movements for total self-development” through Tai Chi and Qigong. Owner, Mary Cruise – a resident of Columbia for 28 years, Tai Chi and Qigong instructor for 10 years and licensed massage therapist – says, “Tai Chi is a soft form martial art that utilizes balance and slow, relaxed movement to reduce stress, increase your immune system and provide exercise.” Students do not have to be in shape to begin classes at Columbia Tai Chi or to have done Tai Chi or Qigong before. New students should simply be open to finding balance and relaxation through movement. By “imagining, breathing, moving,” Columbia Tai Chi encourages its students to exercise with concentration and focus. Tai Chi is also wheel chair friendly and offers classes for children, ages 6-15. Columbia Tai Chi also offers massage therapy and Reiki healing — a process of utilizing energy flow to promote wholeness of mind, body and spirit through light touches to various points of the body. Class costs range from $7 to $10 and are available on a group and individual basis.

For more information, visit www.marycruisehealingarts.com or contact Mary Cruise at 573-228-4415.

YouTube Workouts

Search for “fitness workout” on YouTube, and you’ll find upwards of 824,000 free workout videos. In addition to the videos’ easy accessibility, the variety for free, online workouts is endless on the video-sharing website. Powergirl Fitness is taught by 10-year-old competitive dancer Jessy Lipke; the BeFit video channel features new 10-minute workout videos every weekday with celebrity fitness experts such as Jillian Michaels and Jane Fonda. Basic workout videos are plentiful on the website, and most don’t require any equipment (other than a computer) to get you on your feet and moving. A word of warning, though: Make sure your laptop or computer monitor is secure and in a stable location while you are exercising. The only thing you want to break during cardio is a sweat.

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