A New Spin on Karaoke

If you're searching for a more well-rounded fitness routine or just something fun, exciting and different, try one of the new "fitness fusion" classes that are popping up at gyms across the US.
A New Spin on Karaoke

What happens when you get bored with your workout? Either you switch to something new or drop your routine altogether. WeightWatchers.com staffer Christi Clifford puts a fitness fusion class through its paces, in a bid to give her routine a change of pace.

Classes like Yogalates (a combination of yoga and pilates), cardio striptease, and cycle karaoke are rising in popularity because the way in which they combine strength, balance, and endurance while also keeping you more engaged than a traditional yoga or spin class.

To give my fitness routine a little more zip, I decided to try out cycle karaoke.

I wasn't sure what to expect. Karaoke is a lot of fun but it's an activity I normally reserve for a very late night and a raised glass or two. So, I decided to prepare a few songs. Fergie's "My Humps" seemed most appropriate, since that's what I'm trying to get rid of.

Ours was a 45-minute class which basically played out as if we were going up and down three large hills. We stretched, warmed up, and began our first ascent by adjusting the resistance on our bikes. We sang our first song, Britney Spears' "Hit Me Baby, One More Time" (thankfully as a group) as we increased resistance and speed. When we got to the "top of the hill," we spun as fast as we could for about 30 seconds before we coasted back to our natural pace.

But all that singing isn't purely for fun. Cecelia Acevedo, a licensed cycle karaoke instructor based in New York City, says singing during exercise is an easy way to monitor your rate of perceived exertion. "Rate of perceived exertion" is a mechanism that's used to gauge how hard you're working.

"You're building your aerobic base, you're building your endurance," Acevedo says. "When you come to this class and you do the singing and the exercising at the same time, you'll notice that you start synchronizing your breathing. You'll breathe better because you're using the correct breathing muscles. You get to know how your body functions better with better breathing."

She explained to the class that if we could sing the song with no problem, we probably weren't working hard enough. However, if we were panting uncontrollably, we should ease up.

This may sound like a difficult concept but it makes perfect sense when you're on the bike. Breathing correctly while exercising is something I've always struggled with. I had visions of passing out, falling off the bike and getting my hair caught in the wheel, but the singing forced me to pay attention and adjust.

After class I felt like I had worked out hard, but I wasn't exhausted. My humps felt firmer! My favorite part about the class: I had so much fun that it felt like 30 minutes instead of 45.

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