Another year, another set of resolutions.
Sure you can join a gym but face it, you'll be tired of the Stairmaster by March.
What better way to break into a new fitness routine than to try something new? Here's a look at five alternative, healthy ways to kick off your 2011:
Turn up the heat at 105 Yoga
When the temperatures drop, turn up the heat. Way up.
At 105 Yoga in Oak Park, the heat is blasted to a stifling 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40 percent humidity for Bikram Yoga instruction.
Nancy Kalinowski opened the studio on Nov. 1 and is part of team that coaches students through a series of of poses in the Bikram tradition. The hotter temps reduce the risk for injury, speed up the detox process, boost cardio levels and provide for a killer workout.
Despite the intense heat — they supply plastic bags for your sweat-drenched clothes once you're through — Kalinowski said the classes are approachable, carefully supervised and open to all. Schedule here.
"You can really start at any age," she said. "You pretty much go in and do as much as you can. Some people acclimate differently and adjust differently. Everybody goes at their own pace."
105 Yoga, 105 N. Oak Park Ave. Two weeks, $25; Four weeks, $75. 708-613-6055
Burlesque classes with Red Hot Annie
"It's safe to say that it's not a pole dance class," said Red Hot Annie, burlesque instructor and performer. "It's not as provocative as that. It's more belly dance than pole dance."
Red Hot Annie, a mainstay in Chicago's burlesque scene, says her classes — typically filled with about six to 10 women — benefit both body and mind.
"The real health benefit is that you are active the entire time you're in class. We do classes, we do stretches, we do crunches and we're performing routines," she said. "[The classes] are really about tapping into your inner goddess, your sexuality and the things that make a woman feel really sexy."
And who knows, you might even parlay your lessons into a routine on the big stage. Annie says at least three of her students have performed, or will soon debut, under the spotlight.
DeMaira Studios, 1146 Chicago Ave. $20 per class; $60 for four classes. Register by e-mail at email@example.com
Indoor riding at Greenline Wheels
The eco-friendly business has started a new program which brings the concept of a heart healthy bike ride to the great indoors. Twelve stationary bikes are situated throughout the store for customer use, or patrons can bring their own wheels to hook up to the shop's stationary trainers.
Pete Schlacks says riders can bring any music they'd like to pump or movie they'd like to play on a big screen TV while riding – although he says they have bicycle tour DVDs of California and Hawaii available for viewing.
Not motivated? They've got that covered too. Several sessions throughout the week are led by motivation coach David Poppei, who guides riders through strength, interval, speed, threshold and aerobic sessions.
The coached sessions run from 5:45 a.m. to 6:45 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday; the open ride sessions run from noon to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Schlacks said the program is still relatively new, so the pricing details are being hammered out. But they'll let first-time riders give the program a spin for free.
"Right now, it's really informal," he said. "We'll work around whatever anybody wants to do."
Greenline Wheels, 105 S. Marion St. (708) 725-7170.
Bootcamp sessions for crossfit training at Bulldog Bootcamp Co.
With its headquarters in Oak Park, Bulldog Bootcamp is a serious program for those looking to get serious about their fitness.
But that doesn't mean it's intimidating, says owner Greg Major.
The Oak Park sessions consist of a four-week "on-ramp" course for Bulldog's Crossfit training, a series of classes and exercises designed to build strength and improve conditioning.
So why not just jump into it?
"It's not something can people can do off the cuff, and it's not like joining a gym or taking a general fitness class," Major said. "There's a little more skill involved. You have to learn how to do the things first, then there's the training aspect."
Major said the on-ramp course — and subsequent Crossfit sessions — are open to people of all ages, shapes and sizes. (His mom, who's in her 70s, is a Crossfit regular.) And the sessions are tailored for groups, a motivational plus.
"Everything that we do here is a structured, class-oriented environment," Major said. "Do people find Crossfit intimidating? Probably. Is it something that people can't do? No."
Membership rates vary based on program commitment. Bulldog Bootcamp C0., 441 South Blvd., (866) 966-3966
Get schooled in the art of Kumdo sword training
Practice the art of ancient swordsmanship with Kumdo instruction at Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts and Fitness Associates.
Kumdo ("The Art of the Sword") courses are based on the historical swordsmanship of Korea's Three Kingdoms period and instruct students about "grace, power and dignity."
"There's a lot of strength and flexibility that happens from the movements," said manager Elizabeth Wilson (known as Ms. Wilson to the martial arts students.)
The Kumdo classes are eight weeks long and draw can draw up to 20 participants per session. Organizers say it's open to adults, but children 10 and older who are practicing in the studio's martial arts programs can join.
"People enjoy the practice more if they have a foundation with our basic 13-week general martial arts course," Wilson said.
An eight-week course costs $395. Master S.H. Yu Martial Arts and Fitness Associates, 6701 W. North Ave., (708) 383-3456