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Breaking away from the routine workout

Many workouts focus on “muscle confusion,” using exercises that take you out of your comfort zone to maximize potential.

New technology and variations of existing workouts have opened up a market for myriad methods to get fit. The Oracle runs down some of the more fascinating ways to get in shape in the 21st century.


“Crossfight” is a training system that combines several martial arts with strength training and yoga. But don’t expect any leotards or Lamaze breathing exercises. Be prepared for roundhouse kicks and UFC-style submissions. Crossfit Sparta, at the corner of Bearss and Nebraska avenues, offers up to 50 crossfight fitness classes a week.

According to the Crossfit Sparta website, crossfight is based on several military and law enforcement defensive tactics. Crossfit Sparta is frequented by off-duty police officers and firefighters, as well as those who just want to stay in shape while learning to fight.

-Jean Henry


Scientists are giving “LMAO” a brand new meaning. Studies show that intense laughter actually suppresses food cravings, builds muscle and strengthens your immune system. The contractions of the abdomen and shoulders imitate actual exercise. Scientists found that an hour of deep laughter burns as many calories as lifting weights for 30 minutes, according to the Telegraph.

Laughing also makes for a great anti-wrinkling facial activity. Still sounds like a joke? Members in more than 6,000 Social Laughter Clubs take this very seriously – but not too seriously, of course. Laughter Aerobics and Yoga groups all around the world gather routinely to laugh their butts off.

-Sheilla Sanon


If you’ve ever tried to keep a plastic ring swirling around your waist, you were not only having fun, but also engaging your core. That’s the idea behind a fitness routine that involves this playful children’s pastime.

According to a press release for the video series “Hoopnotica,” users burn 400 to 600 calories an hour. Famous Hoopers include Michelle Obama, Kevin McHale and Liv Tyler. Only requiring a Hula Hoop and instructional DVD, this workout is not only fun, but also inexpensive.

-Joe Polito

AntiGravity Yoga

A fitness regimen that gets you in shape while realigning your body, “AntiGravity Yoga” combines elements of calisthenics, dance and Pilates. The “AntiGravity Hammock,” made of soft fabric connected to two overhead points, uses the compression of gravity to improve overall agility and health.

The suspended stretching, swinging and flipping are fun, therapeutic and strength building. Originally designed to heal injured athletes and gymnasts, “AntiGravity Yoga” has been modified to appeal to the masses. It’s a head-to-toe workout that realigns your entire body and calms your mind.

-Melanie Wiesen

Kangoo Jumps

Running and jumping might be two of the best ways to exercise, but when performed on a hard surface they do damage to your legs. Special bouncing workout shoes, such as “Kangoo Jumps,” allow users to engage in rebound exercises that can benefit the heart, the spine and bone mass, in addition to leg muscles.

According to the Kangoo Jumps website, a report by NASA concluded “rebound exercise is the most effective and efficient form of exercise yet devised by man.”

-Joe Polito


Reebok and Cirque du Soleil have collaborated to break up the monotony of your exercise routine. Jukari is an exercise that incorporates circus-inspired moves to tone your body and increase flexibility. Flying through the air on the “FlySet,” which resembles a spitfire trapeze, engages core muscles while also serving as a cardio and strength exercise.

Jukari encompasses all aspects of reaching the perfect body and eliminates the amount of time spent at the gym. New to the U.S., Jukari is picking up steam in Las Vegas and California while making its way east. If you’ve ever wanted to soar through the air like a trapeze artist, this is the perfect exercise for you.

-Cheyenne Prosper

Pole dancing

Tampa is known for its strip clubs. Yet probably a lesser-known fact is that those swirling and spinning on metal poles are not only working it, but also working out. Pole fitness involves suspending yourself in a variety of positions using only a metal pole, as seen in strip clubs.

Rock ‘N Body Pole Studio on Kennedy Boulevard has been involved in the pole fitness industry since 2005. According to its website, participants take the course to “gain self confidence, build a lean and sexy body, have fun trying something new and feel like a super woman.”

-Joe Polito