In Which I Fly Through The Air With the Greatest of ... Something

Since I am broad-shouldered and have somewhat of a sturdy gait, people tend to mistake me for an athlete. While I played my fair share of sports growing up, I never had the requisite grace, coordination or speed to be anything other than a steady member of the JV squad. (My sister, the college swimmer, got those genes: she did her first triathlon on a whim and returned home with the third-place medal. She also won the mountain bike being raffled off, because her athletic prowess is so great that it extends even to games of chance.)

So when we heard Reebok had designed a trapeze-based course with Cirque du Solei being offered at Equinox, it seemed like the perfect chance to make a fool of myself on camera in the name of investigative reporting and blog hits. Fitness classes—especially the seemingly fun, trendy ones involving dance or stepping or synchronized movement of any kind—have previously translated into about 60 minute of stumbling and humiliation for me, neither of which burn too many calories.

Maybe it's because I'm finding some dignity in my old age, or because I had three instructors assigned to help me, but the Jukari Fit to Fly class managed to work my body without entirely destroying my self-esteem. Because I was hanging, swinging, and pulling on the suspended trapeze, my upper body was called on to perform in a way most classes ignore. Thanks to gravity, the majority of the movements required that I keep myself long and lean, which worked my core with every move. All the running, jumping and swinging raised my heart rate, and by the end of my abbreviated 30-minute class, I was exhausted. There were no crazy circuslike tricks or flips, but we still got do some swings and spins, which were a lot more fun then endlessly marching up and down on a stupid rubber platform (I really, really hate step classes).

Don't expect to see these classes taking off at a gym near you—the logistics for such a class are totally impractical. Each trapeze, designed to hold more than 2,000 pounds, is rigged to the ceilings before class, and after the session ended, two maintenance workers had to disassemble the whole thing. But hopefully the fact that a Cirque Du Solei-inspired class focused more on physical feats of strength and completely ignored pelvis dips and erotic shimmies is a sign that exercise trends are moving away from the "sexy stripper/sensual yoga" school of fitness. Recently, working out has become a whole convoluted metaphor for eroticism and physicality, and you were expected to embrace your inner sex goddess and ooze desirability even while being sweaty and red-faced and kind of gross and tired. I'm all for a return to classes that focus on having fun with fitness and getting to play like little kids instead.

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Of course, it's possible I did humiliate myself, but was having too much of a good time to notice. Judge for yourself in the video above.

Jukari Fit to Fly starts this week at select Reebok Sports Club and Equinox gyms.

In Which I Fly Through The Air With the Greatest of ... Something | News