Turn the excess of the holidays into your season of prime fitness with an array of new wellness-enhancing Club classes.
Forget those doomed-to-fail fitness resolutions in January. There’s no time like the present to work up a sweat, particularly when the Club is offering a selection of free fitness classes.
From November 1, Members can burn calories, tone muscles, build stamina or just bask in an endorphin high among newfound friends at complimentary, instructor-led sessions in The Studio.
Shinji Yamasaki, chair of the Recreation Committee, says the initiative is part of a wider health and wellness strategy.
“I think now in the world that we live in, health, fitness and wellness have become a very large interest for Members, even more so than in previous years,” he says.
The expanded lineup of free classes includes ongoing ones like stretching and Pilates and a crop of brand-new workouts, including Zumba, Bootcamp, Classical Yoga and POP Pilates. In addition, Members can access the likes of TRX, indoor cycling and Bodypump, the popular Les Mills workout, for a fee.
Besides adding value to the Club experience for Members, the free classes can provide an incentive to those fitness first-timers, according to Yamasaki, himself a passionate fitness enthusiast.
“If you don’t really go into the Fitness Center, if you’re not keen to have a personal trainer or anything like that,” he says, “these classes are a great new way to start your fitness journey.”
Want to get in shape but aren’t quite sure about hitting the gym? Latin beats-powered Zumba might be just the thing to get your fitness rhythm going. Its blend of up-tempo music and easy-to-follow choreography has been called exercise in disguise.
“The most attractive thing about Zumba is the power of music,” says instructor Tomoe Kaneko, who has been teaching the cardio-boosting workout for six years. “You can work out while enjoying the rhythms of Latin and other world music.”
You can also count on a party-like experience with instructor Alejandra Blanco. She’s been leading Zumba classes since 2013 and also specializes in bachata, salsa, merengue, belly dance and samba.
Reap the fat-burning and aerobic rewards of Zumba while soaking up the energy of Latin music.
Tuesday | 11:30am–12:30pm | Free
Prepare to break through your physical and mental limits. That’s the pledge of American instructor Jake Swindal, whose class combines high-intensity interval training (HIIT) with functional fitness exercises.
“Fitness in itself is not always about fitness,” says Swindal, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and personal trainer. “Reasons change from day to day. It could be about weight loss, starting something new, creating a routine, alleviating stress, bettering your health or setting an example. But doing something physically hard every day will help you develop a mindset to achieve your desired goal.”
If you’re ready to build strength and aerobic and anaerobic capacity while forging mental fortitude, Swindal promises you’ll have fun in the process.
Wednesday | 9:30–10:30am | Free
Set regular Pilates to an upbeat soundtrack and you have POP Pilates, a new class taught by Yuka Koizumi.
Heart-pumping music powers this one-hour workout that mixes modern, upbeat and classical Pilates. Dubbed “dance on a mat,” POP Pilates is designed to strengthen your upper body while burning fat. It’s great for building cardio endurance as well.
“We use music and move on the beat,” says Koizumi, who has led trampoline workouts, interval training sessions and stretching classes. “Each song targets a single muscle, so it’s easy to focus on areas you want to strengthen. And it’s so much fun! My class has a lot of smiles, fun and muscle pain.”
Wednesday | 11am–12:30pm | Free
Instructor Mio Josephine Yamashita has been studying yoga since she discovered it as a great way to maintain her physical and mental health.
The former college sprinter says that the poses and breathing at the heart of her yoga class, which is based on Hatha yoga techniques, improve flexibility, strength and overall well-being.
“They release any discomfort or pain caused by your daily posture and activities,” she says. “The postures leading in and out of asanas [poses]—as well as the final pose—enable you to attain a stable mind and body.”
SPIN BLAST PLUS
Thursday | 9:30–10:30am | ¥1,320
Experience the huge health-boosting potential of indoor cycling.
Mio Josephine Yamashita, a certified level-1 Spinning instructor, leads students through a series of stages or “zones” that mirror the variation of a real-world cycling course and build stamina in different muscle groups.
“Spin Blast Plus is a dynamic program meant for all people,” she says. “It improves overall fitness and performance, and you’ll have fun!”
The one-hour session comprises a 45-minute ride through various stages of exertion before wrapping up with a 15-minute core workout to stabilize the body on the saddle.
STEP & SCULPT
Friday | 10:15–10:45am | Free
Step exercises originated in the 1980s for knee rehabilitation, says Tomoe Kaneko, a 30-year veteran trainer who leads this new class.
“Step & Sculpt is a low-impact, high-intensity aerobic exercise with a platform elevation of 10 to 15 centimeters.”
It all starts with a functional warmup using a step platform. Next, simple but dynamic aerobics build core muscle strength and improve balance. After that, it’s all about shaping your body.
“In this class, cardio is followed by functional strength training using your own body weight not only to increase muscle strength, but also to burn fat and achieve a toned body line,” Kaneko explains.
The 30-minute session is ideal for those looking for an entry-level fitness class and is designed to allow participants to exercise at their own pace.
Friday | 10:30–11:15am | ¥1,320
Fast flats. Hills. Mountains. They’ll all zip by in this 45-minute, high-intensity cycling workout. With music pumping, instructor Maki Tamura leads cyclists through a low-impact workout that can burn up to 500 calories per session.
RPM is a cardio peak workout, one of three in the cycling lineup from Les Mills, whose world-famous fitness programs have been trusted for more than 50 years.
By repeatedly rotating the pedals, you reach your cardio peak then ease back down. Cycling in a group helps you to keep pace with others and push yourself to new physical heights.
Tamura, who has been teaching RPM for five years, has one simple message for Members: “Let’s enjoy the cycle workout together with great music!”
Discover the full range of fitness classes available by visiting the Classes & Programs page of the Club website.
Words: C Bryan Jones
Images: Yuuki Ide
Top image (l–r) Alejandra Blanco, Mio Josephine Yamashita, Jake Swindal and Yuka Koizumi