Exercise your options


The mall merchants have their own answer, but do you know why we call the day after Thanksgiving "Black Friday"? It's because that's when we gather to mourn the death of our diets, after having made it through opening day of what we know will be a long season of competitive eating. And no matter how much we promise ourselves that we won't overindulge, if we have even one piece of [insert gluttonous pleasure here] at each holiday party we attend, we'll wind up rolling into 2012 a little more roly-poly.


But even if overeating is a foregone conclusion, under-exercising doesn't have to be. By counteracting compulsive face-stuffing with a little extra conditioning, we might manage to keep our guts from establishing their own gravitational pulls. It's going to take some extra-creative workout ideas to tempt us to the gym during colder, shorter, and busier days, so here's a roundup of a few new and/or novel options seducing us to sweat.

Aspen Ascent at The Sports Club/LA (4 Avery Street, Boston, 617.375.8200). The first ski trip of the season always leaves us extra sore. (And not just from the egos bruised by being forced to retrain on the bunny slope.) It's been a long nine months since we remembered we even have some of those muscles, so we'll wake them now at SCLA, which introduced the ski-themed workout this fall. The hour-long class is filled with routines that replicate elements of downhill skiing. For example, some exercises emphasize interval cardio training (important for high-elevation exercise), some train the knees and ankles, and others build the balance needed to navigate slippery slopes.

Dance Classes with Celtics Dancers at Boston Sports Clubs (throughout Boston). Forget Dancing with the Stars: even those of us without C-list celebrity status can now learn from the pros. BSC locations are hosting a series of cardio classes led by Celtics Dancers, who'll put attendees through cardio-heavy drills of their high-energy, high-kicking choreography. For the full line-up of locations and dates, visit mysportsclubs.com.

SkyRobics at Sky Zone (91-B Sprague Street, Boston, 857.345.9693). You might have assumed that a visit to a room with rubber walls would have you wearing a straightjacket. But basketball shorts are more appropriate attire at this cavernous Hyde Park warehouse, now home to massive trampoline courts that serve as challenging terrain for group exercise classes. (Think jumping jacks give a good workout? Try doing them six feet in the air.) Individual classes are $12, and you can check out the schedule at boston.skyzonesports.com. Or, if you thrive on competition, swing by for a pick-up game of 3-D dodgeball.

SPX Workouts at Btone Fitness (30 Newbury Street, 4th Floor, Boston, 617.578.8663). This fitness center, opened just last month, is the only studio in Boston offering SPX. Every 45-minute class is limited to 11 students, each assigned to a Megaformer machine. You'll do a circuit of 25 to 35 exercises that combine Pilates principles with cardio and strength-training elements, all performed to the point of muscle fatigue (the point at which your muscles are fully exhausted - and so are you). With package pricing, classes are as low as $18 each, and machine booking is available online at btonefitness.com.

ViPR Workouts at Equinox (225 Franklin Street, Boston, 617.426.2140; 131 Dartmouth Street, Boston, 617.578.8918). In January, the gyms will launch a trio of full-body classes involving the ViPR, a weighty tube of rubber that looks like something a SWAT team might use to break down a door. (Which sounds like a fun workout routine, to be honest.) In ViPR Circuit, ViPR Cardio Intervals, and ViPR Sport, you'll toss, lift, spin, and otherwise manhandle that oversized baton to sweat-inducing effect.