Early bird tickets for Baltimore’s BEST party on sale now!

With Yogilates, another chance to fake having fun

The Baltimore Sun

There is a sign in the fitness club that I belong to urging members to sign up for something called Yogilates.

"You should sign up," a woman said to me the other day.

I told her I don't sign up for anything I can't pronounce.

"Oh, it'll be fun," she said.

No, it won't.

If there's one thing I've learned in 25 years of going to fitness clubs, it's that this sort of exercise is never fun.

Look, over the years I have watched people work out with free weights, Nautilus machines, circuit-training machines, rowing machines, ab rollers, stationary bikes, elliptical trainers, Stairmasters and treadmills.

I have watched people take aerobics classes, yoga classes, cardio-kickboxing classes, spinning classes and Pilates classes.

I have watched people skip rope, stretch using giant rubber bands and roll around on exercise balls doing crunches, pushups and neck bridges.

None of them ever seemed to be having fun.

Now there is Yogilates.

Whatever it is, it won't be fun, either.

Nevertheless, a few days after the sign went up, I asked the woman working the front desk at my fitness club what Yogilates is.

"It's a combination of yoga and Pilates," she said.


Now we're so sick of the same old exercises and so desperate for something new that we're making up hybrid workouts from the old, boring stuff we used to do.

Soon, I'm sure, there will be something called Spinlates, which will combine spinning and Pilates.

Then there will be Yogaspin, which will combine yoga and spinning, and then Yogaspinlates, which will combine yoga and spinning and ... never mind, it's too depressing to contemplate.

The point is, none of these exercises will be any fun, either. This is the dirty little secret of fitness clubs: None of this stuff is any fun.

In fact, that's how these clubs make money. People pay to join them, then they get sick of doing exercises that aren't any fun, so they quit.

But the fitness clubs keep their money and have a lower overhead because of all the people who joined but don't show up.

Then the clubs lure new members, who also pay a membership fee, get sick of doing exercises that aren't any fun and quit. And the whole cycle keeps repeating itself.

My own theory is that unless it involves a ball that you throw or catch or smack somehow, exercise isn't really fun.

Basketball, racquetball, softball, touch football -- now those are fun. (Golf is fun, too. But if you're driving around in a golf cart swilling Coronas and pounding cheeseburgers and smoking cigars while you play, you're not exactly getting a workout. )

But sitting in a spinning class and pedaling until your lungs and thighs scream while some despotic instructor with a microphone headset shrieks at you to put out more -- how can this be fun?

Yogilates -- how can this be fun, either?

Things are so boring on the exercise front that one of the latest fitness crazes taking hold for women is pole-dancing.

This is absolutely true. In some classes, the women even dress up in hot pants and go-go boots to shimmy and dance around poles, although without a roomful of men leering and thrusting money at them and offering to buy them $14 glasses of white wine.

OK, maybe pole-dancing seems like a fun exercise for women right now. But pretty soon, they'll get bored with it and someone will come up with Pilates pole-dancing or pole-spinning or something like that, and this new fitness craze will go downhill, like they all do.

Another fitness craze that's hot right now is Zumba, which is said to be a brisk-paced mixture of Latin dance and aerobics.

I saw a picture on the Internet of people taking a Zumba class, and, OK, it looked as if they were having fun.

Everyone was dancing and sweating and throwing their hands in the air and smiling.

But the picture was put out by a company promoting Zumba as a terrific new fitness program. So, of course, the people doing it had to look like they were having fun.

I'll bet right before the picture was taken, everyone in the room was moping around and just going through the motions, the way they do with most exercise programs.

Then the photographer probably said: "OK, I'll give everyone 50 bucks if you look like you're having a good time."

So they did. Then the picture was snapped and they went back to looking as if they were being tortured.

These Zumba ads aren't fooling me.

Neither is this Yogilates business.

I'll stick with 40 minutes of weightlifting and 20 minutes on the treadmill.

That's no fun, either. But at least there are no surprises.


Copyright © 2019, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad