Summer has already caused glistening foreheads, sweat-stained T-shirts and socks. But sweat should stay in the gym.
A hat tip to those keeping up an outdoor running routine in triple-digit temperatures and, lately, smoke-hazy air. For the rest of us, working out doesn’t have to go on hiatus during the next couple of sweltering months.
True, there are air-conditioned gyms, but running on the hamster wheel and lifting dumbbells can grow mundane. Here are some fun, offbeat indoor workouts to stay toned and out of the heat.
On the trampoline
The Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park northeast of Sacramento in Rocklin is a vast, springy playground that’s not just for youngsters.
Yes, children are free to bounce off the walls – literally – but people at any age can jump into the SkyRobics class. It’s an especially good fitness outing with friends or family.
Sleek black mats practically fill the room, where clients fly from square to square in bright orange socks to prevent slipping, and make swift turns by bouncing off the walls as part of a workout that includes other activities as well. There are many attack styles: bounce hard and high, alternate skip and hop, or glide along the surface like a lizard running on water.
Those who haven’t been on a trampoline in 10 years or more (if ever) may have a harder time building momentum, but it comes quickly so long as no one trips on the colorful dividers.
The rest of the workout, depending on the instructor, might also include push-ups, Russian twists with a ball, walking with a resistance band, sit-ups, squats and mountain climbing.
Instructor Jordan Traynor, 18, has a good-cop, bad-cop approach. Participants go at their own pace, but Traynor is there to bark and give that extra push, to “create a fun environment that you can get a workout.”
“I go to the gym and stuff and lift weights, and it can get boring,” Traynor said. “And you can get a great cardio exercise on the trampolines while having fun.”
Up a wall
Leaving the bright sun and walking into the dimly lit Touchstone’s Sacramento Pipeworks, a visitor needs a minute of rapid blinking for the room to brighten and the 40-foot colorful climbing wall to come into view.
This 11,000-square-foot facility offers all of the typical gym favorites – weights, indoor cycling and other strengthening machines – but also has Willy Wonka-like equipment for bouldering and rope climbing for full-body workouts.
“It’s kind of like sprinting and marathon running,” Ryan Rougeux, 30, a seven-year employee of Pipeworks, said of bouldering, which is a short climb without a harness. “Bouldering is the 100-yard dash where it’s like all your power all at once, and roped climbing is like marathon running where it’s like the long haul, it’s an endurance game.”
Both bouldering and hitting the wall are full-body workouts. New climbers will first notice tension and soreness in their forearms and fingers, but will quickly learn that they are engaging their core and legs.
“If you can get yourself up a ladder, you can get up a wall,” Rougeux said.
First-timers at Pipeworks must attend an introductory course where they learn basic knots and safety precautions. They’re advised to bring a climbing buddy, because without someone to belay (secure the rope), no one gets to climb.
Boxing for cardio
Prime Time Boxing on Del Paso Boulevard – there’s also a Roseville location – puts students through a full body cardio workout, complete with speed bag and jumping rope. All that’s missing is “Gonna Fly Now” playing in the background.
Even if Mighty Mick’s it’s not, the walls are covered with posters of former students who competed at professional and Olympic levels, old boxing gloves, and mirrors before which a boxer can jump rope and practice fundamentals.
A beginning class is a half-hour technical session that teaches form and how to throw a proper punch. Then students are thrown into the full-body cardio and strengthening workouts that engage the legs, arm and core muscles. The training also gets the mind in shape.
A lot of basketball players box as cross-fit training to get in shape, said Adrian Dougherty, 28, head coach and senior partner at Prime Time Boxing. “Everyone wants to have a boxer’s physique.”
Dodging the ball
Dodgeball players sprint as if their life depends on it, even though there’s just a little sting if they get smacked in the face.
At Thursday night league play at the Sacramento Turn Verein, dodgeballers sprint and jump around the gym, trying to avoid the balls (lighter ones are used during a Sunday night league).
The dodgeball league is one of multiple sports organized by Xoso Sport and Social League, including volleyball, softball and flag football for adults.
Sean Mattson, 28, of Elk Grove, has been playing in the Thursday dodgeball league for two years. He says he finds it to be a cardio workout. “You’re basically sprinting all the time.”
Upper body at the pole
Room-length mirrors reflect ceiling high poles amid the colorful lighting that changes throughout Vertical Fitness Studio in Roseville.
The studio, which offers pole-dancing classes for beginners as well as advanced sessions and cardio classes, provides a full-body endurance workout, especially for the arms and core.
The room is pink with a touch of animal print, and there’s a wall of shelved high heels designed for pole-dancers to use in class.
Rhiannon DeBaufer of Sacramento, 18, said her whole body is sore for days after sessions.
“Every time I laugh I’m like, ‘Don’t make me laugh,’ ” DeBaufer said. “It requires so much upper-body strength, it’s absolutely ridiculous.”
Students at Vertical Fitness vary both in age and skill sets. “The youngest student is 17, the oldest is 68 – skinny to larger, fit to not fit,” said instructor Kelly Starkey, 27.
“If it’s something that you’re interested in, and stick with it,” Starkey continued, “you will lose the weight, you will gain the muscle, you will gain definition.”