Whole Woman: Body and Fitness

Five great finds to freshen up your fitness routine.

By Jessica Miga

Pure Barre may be new to Rhode Island, but it’s definitely here to stay. Despite employing a ballet barre in its routine, Pure Barre does not require previous dance experience. This high-intensity, low-impact workout may (read: will) seem daunting at first, but you’re bound to fall in love. Over the course of fifty-five minutes, you’ll work your arms with small weights, tone your toosh and thighs at the ballet barre and squeeze in some ab work. The small, isometric movements central to Pure Barre will make for fatigued muscles and quick results.
2000 Chapel View Blvd., Ste. 125, Cranston, 944-0411; 1000 Division St., Ste. 16, East Greenwich, 885-2714, purebarre.com.

Boot Camp
If you’re willing to rise at dawn to get results, then Adventure Boot Camp is calling. This female-focused program encourages women from all walks of life to realize their full potential in a fun and supportive environment. Over four weeks, participate in an ever-changing routine that includes weight exercises, obstacle courses, hiking and more. Want to go beyond the physical transformation? The Adventure team connects boot campers with a holistic health coach and offers wellness counseling to get your diet, sleep habits and other important factors on track for a complete lifestyle change.
91 Point Judith Rd., Ste. 352, Narragansett, 864-8058, scbootcamp.com.

Pole Dancing
Poles have worked their way out of the clubs and into fitness studios. Prepare to see your confidence soar as you embrace this daring workout, which increases upper body strength. Women of all sizes can feel comfortable using the pole, and no prior experience is required. Providence Pole Fitness lets you design your own plan around your personal skill and comfort level with a variety of unique classes, including one on pole inversions. With only seven participants per class, expect an intimate atmosphere and individual time with your instructor.
836 Admiral St., Providence, 466-4683, Providence, polefitness.com.

Rock Climbing
Rock climbing is a great challenge for all ages and abilities. It provides a full-body workout, and that includes your brain. As you actively problem solve by planning a route to the top, prepare to work your muscles in ways you never imagined. If you’re going solo, try bouldering, which involves scaling smaller obstacles without a harness or rope. Or, grab a partner and train in belaying to learn the proper technique of holding ropes in order to scale taller rock walls. Be sure to check out their Ladies Night every Saturday from 7 p.m. to midnight.
100 Higginson Ave., Lincoln, 727-1704; 1174 Kingstown Rd., South Kingstown, 789-7768, rockspotclimbing.com.

Stand-up paddleboarding has surged in popularity and for good reason. Paddleboards are user-friendly and accessible to beginners. Once you’re up and going, expect to work your core, shoulders and arms while soaking in the beauty of Rhode Island’s waters (but be sure to take a few lessons before venturing off on your own). At Paddle Surf RI, you’ll learn all you need to know: proper stance, foot placement, basic strokes and general safety. Those looking for a challenge — and a bit of inner peace — should also consider their paddleboard yoga classes.
95 Watch Hill Rd., Westerly, 741-5661, paddlesurfri.com.


Home Body

Newport County YMCA health and wellness coordinator Tayler Spurlock and head personal trainer Nicholas Hunt weigh in on how a few simple tools can get you moving at home.

By Michael Colbert

Kettle Bells
In a similar vein as free weights, kettle bells are recommended for athletes and people who have been exercising for a while but are looking for something new. They provide a great full body workout and require a lot of power and dynamic movements.

Free Weights
These are great for working certain muscles and can help you get that minimal essential strain, which is key for strengthening bones. Spurlock and Hunt warn users that in order to achieve the best results with free weights, it’s important to learn proper form.

Kitchen Chair
Everyone has one and it’s good for more than sitting. Kitchen chairs can be used for squats, dips, push-ups and other exercises that use your body weight. “Anybody can use them, but once you start working out and making some gains, body weight will only take you so far,” Hunt says.

Resistance Bands
Providing light resistance, these bands are good to get your blood flowing before your workout. Wrap the band around a stationary object or hold both ends for different workouts and effects. They’re easy to use and are more of a warm-up tool than something that will help you see results.

Yoga Ball
“The possibilities are endless with a yoga ball,” Hunt says. The yoga ball is a great, versatile tool that can be used for abs and leg work. Try doing squats while holding it over your head or doing sit-ups, planks or leg lifts with it. For a real challenge, put the ball between your back and a wall and try some wall sits.


Feed the Burn

Eating your way through a better workout.

By Michael Colbert

With nutrition advice coming from every which way, it can be difficult to discern what’s reliable and what to ignore, especially when it comes to eating around workout time. Matthew Gagliano, Rhode Island-area director of Fitness Together, explains how to use food to get the most out of your workout.

About an hour before you workout, fueling your body with fruits or vegetables — unprocessed carbs — is key. This will energize your body and develop blood sugar to improve workout performance. Try to avoid processed carbs, like pasta or soft drinks. Although they provide a faster release of energy, they can also give the body a glucose spike.

After working out, a mix of carbs and protein is crucial for short-term recovery and long-term growth. Gagliano suggests something like a smoothie with whey protein or some bread or salad with meat and veggies an hour after exercising.

The protein component is important for muscle growth and regeneration while the carbohydrates bring the blood sugar back up after being depleted by heavy activity.
Additionally, it’s important to hold off from eating about an hour after an intense workout. Eating immediately after can interrupt the work of naturally occurring human growth hormone (HGH), which is secreted in the body while exercising. HGH is important for getting leaner and for regenerating and building muscle.

Finally, Gagliano stresses that it’s important to find what’s right for you and your body. For some people, an apple might be enough to get going, but for others, adding some peanut butter might make the perfect fuel.