Exercise isn’t just about losing weight, boosting strength and looking good naked. It’s about making friends, exploring your city and finding new ways to play. We’ve sussed out a month’s worth of fun workouts – from bike rides to ballerobica, kayaking to kizomba, secret hikes to yoga nights. It’s time to get fit.
>> Sunday, Nov. 1: Every Sunday, a 50-strong peloton pedals from Downtown’s Velo Bike Shop and Cafe to the summit of South Mountain. The vibe is more Tour de Fat than Tour de France. “It’s definitely not a race,” says bike mechanic Zach Stone. “We want to make people feel good and feel welcome.” To wit: celebratory coffee and doughnuts at the cafe. 828 N. Second St., Phoenix, 602-759-8169, thevelo.com
>> Monday, Nov. 2: If Latin dancing and synchronized swimming had a love child, it would be Aqua Zumba. As you samba, water creates muscle-carving resistance and cushions your joints. Mondays at XL Health Club: 5720 W. Peoria Ave., Glendale, 623-594-0246, xlhealthclub.com
>> Tuesday, Nov. 3: Plié, tour jeté, flab-away. Ballet Fusion Fitness’ ballerobica combines graceful barre with heart-pumping cardio. The result is total-body training that tones arms, tightens abs and, as BFF’s teachers say, “produces perky bottoms.” Touché. 2655 W. Guadalupe Rd., Mesa, 480-788-8348, studiobff.com
>> Wednesday, NoV. 4: Launched in Boston to motivate frost-phobes to work out in winter, November Project has made tracks across North America. In Phoenix, friendly fitness fans convene every Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. to turn Papago Park’s amphitheater into a colossal StairMaster. november-project.com/phoenix-az/
>> Thursday, Nov. 5: Flashin’ lights, pumpin’ beats, boppin’ bods. Dance club? Nope, it’s Party on a Bike at The Madison Improvement Club. “You jam so hard and have so much fun, and we do so much choreography that you get way more out of your workout than you’ve ever done,” says The Madison’s Megan Fitzgerald. Happy Hour (Thursdays from 5-8 p.m.) yoga and spin classes cost $12. 3802 E. Indian School Rd., Phoenix, 602-296-7118, themadisonphoenix.com
>> Friday, Nov. 6: Up for some swinging? Every Friday night, adults slip into Tempe’s Kiwanis Recreation Center for mix-and-match doubles play, and equipment is available. Did we mention we’re talking about tennis? 6111 S. All-America Way, 480-350-5702, tempe.gov/tennis
>> Saturday, Nov. 7: Golf, to paraphrase Mark Twain, is a good jog spoiled. Not anymore. Today, racers will pound The Phoenician’s cart paths for the 5K TroonFIT Running on the Links. Palm trees, lakes and Camelback Mountain scenery are par for the course. runningonthelinks.com
>> Sunday. Nov. 8: “Let your body flow naturally. Your rhythm, your way,” Nia instructor P. Casey Maples tells her Sunday class at Camelback Village Racquet & Health Club. Flowier than yoga and jazzier than tai chi, Nia is no-impact aerobics with a dash of free dance. Contact Maples at aznianow.com to get on the Village guest list and start swaying.
>> Monday, Nov. 9: Tonight, weekly walk/run/kick event Meet Me Downtown celebrates its first birthday with fun surprises, plus the customary DJ, restaurant discounts and prizes. Join 200 Phoenicians for a 3-mile lap between skyscrapers and bungalows, or a kickboxing-inspired workout. You’ll leave glowing with sweat, endorphins and conviviality. meetmedowntownphx.com
>> Tuesday, Nov. 10: Got hips? Fabulous. Flaunt those curves while firming your abs, shaking off calories and bringing sexy back. Belly Dancing with Mahin hosts hip-shimmying sessions Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. 480-233-0022, shes-got-hips.com
>> Wednesday, Nov. 11: Boxing can knock out 600 calories per hour, plus yield million-dollar arms and Stallone-like self-confidence. Jabz offers women’s classes at five Valley locations (602-908-1710 and 480-772-6000, jabzboxing.com), while The Duce kicks it coed (525 S. Central Ave., Phoenix, 602-866-3823, theducephx.com).
>> Thursday, Nov. 12: Kick-start your morning – and your metabolism – on Fitness Thursday, a weekly 3- to 5-mile trek in Goodyear’s Estrella Mountain Park. maricopa.gov/parks/events.aspx
>> Friday, Nov. 13: A bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Community, Gilbert boasts 30 miles of canal trails. Crank up the speed or click into low gear and take in the fresh foliage, pocket parks and bridges. gilbertaz.gov
>> Saturday, Nov. 14: Build biceps while spying blue herons and wild burros as ranger Terry Gerber guides a 4-mile paddle today on Lake Pleasant. No kayak? Pre-arrange a rental (602-372-7470 ext. 211). Kayak owners can also experience bird-spotting adventures on November 21 or December 12. maricopa.gov/parks/lake_pleasant
>> Sunday, Nov. 15: Go for endurance gold on a 9-mile hike in the Superstition Wilderness. Forged by a supervolcano, the Dutchman’s/Black Mesa/Second Water loop is dotted with hoodoos and “welded tuff” (that’s lava rock, but it could describe your quads come evening). arizonahiking.blogspot.com
>> Monday, Nov. 16: Post-natal yoga helps new moms regain strength, flexibility and that pre-pregnancy hourglass. In Desert Song Healing Arts Center’s Mommy & Me classes, combine Cat Cow with baby kisses and balance your wee one on a thigh in Warrior 2. “One of the biggest things that comes out of it is moms connecting to each other and getting back into their bodies,” says instructor Michelle Pulich Stewart. 3232 N. 20th St., Phoenix, 602-265-8222, desertsongyoga.com
>> Tuesday, Nov. 17: Biceps, lats, delts, abs, quads – rock-climbing is a total-body workout. With more than 15,000 square feet of climbing and bouldering, Phoenix Rock Gym is the place to get a grip. 1353 E. University Dr., Tempe, 480-921-8322, phoenixrockgym.com
>> Wednesday, Nov. 18: Lace up your kicks and pound the pavement with your new BFFs. Every Wednesday, group runs are hosted by Runner’s Den (6 p.m., 6505 N. 16th St., Phoenix, 602-277-4333, runnersdenaz.com) and Sole Sports (6:30 p.m., 18583 N. 59th Ave., Glendale, 623-322-2495, solesportsrunning.com).
>> Thursday, Nov. 19: Simmering with sensuality, kizomba is heating up dance floors in Europe, the East Coast, and Alter Ego Fitness on Thursdays. African tango does more than strengthen cores and slim pins, says instructor “Magic Mike” Byola. “Kizomba is all about connecting. It gives people courage, self-confidence and trust.” 2515 N. Scottsdale Rd., Scottsdale, 480-330-7420, alteregoaz.com
>> Friday, Nov. 20: It’s sunrise in Sunnyslope’s Royal Palm Park. Birds are chirping, sprinklers are shushing, and health nuts are huffing and puffing. AZ CORE Fitness’ Monday and Friday a.m. regimens combine cardio, core strengthening and stretching. 602-228-7760, azcorefitness.com
>> Saturday, Nov. 21: On Paragon Cycling’s Saturday group rides, East Valley cyclists might beeline to Tortilla Flat or skirt the Salt River. Call to get on the email list, and note that riders skew intermediate/advanced. 1106 N. Gilbert Rd., Mesa, 480-830-1620, paragoncycling.com
>> Sunday, Nov. 22: “The full moon is time for harvesting your dreams,” says Matthew Fritz, co-owner of Sutra Midtown. “It’s a great time for intention-setting.” Set an intention to attend tonight’s Lunar Flow yoga on the Clarendon Hotel’s roof, when a DJ spins mind-melding music and yogis do moon salutations above the city lights. 602-253-9525, sutrastudios.com
>> Monday, Nov. 23: A martial art disguised as dance, capoeira allowed African slaves in Brazil to practice self-defense without arousing suspicion. It’s now a UNESCO-protected art form and a great way to get a Rio-ready bod. Capoeira Brasil Arizona teaches the fundamentals to women, men and kids. 4113 N. Seventh Ave., Phoenix, 480-510-4741, capoeiraarizona.com
>> Tuesday, Nov. 24: Think aerial fitness is just for the Cirque du Soleil set? At Tough Lotus, gymnastically-challenged people of all ages stretch, swing and hang upside-down on silk hammocks to tone muscles, improve balance and relieve back pain. Intro classes Tuesdays and Sundays. 3050 N. Dobson Rd., Chandler,
>> Wednesday, Nov. 25: Tonight, parks and rec guides a constellation of full moon excursions. Listen to nocturnal noises on a hike in Spur Cross Ranch, the McDowell Mountains or Usery Park, or bike ride through a pearlescent landscape in the San Tan Mountains. maricopa.gov/parks/events.aspx
>> Thursday, Nov. 26: Your metabolism called. It saw the pumpkin pie in the fridge, and it needs a leg up. Take it on a Thanksgiving pre-prandial ramble in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. Park at the end of 36th Street north of Lincoln. Huff up the road, then blaze west on trail 8B for views of the mountain-circled metropolis. Veer north on 8A to a secluded vale crowded with sunlit chollas. Turn east on trail 8, and when you see another sign pointing left for trail 8, be a rebel and turn right. phoenix.gov
>> Friday, Nov. 27: If space-age equipment pumps you up, De La Fit’s Damage Control workout will get your heart racing. Combining Pilates reformers, TRX, the Kinesis Wall and Total Gym machines, this fitness crucible will fire up your Friday. 7342 E. Shea Blvd., Scottsdale, 480-272-6019, delafit.com
>> Saturday, Nov. 28: Yearn to run but wary of patellas that sound like popcorn? Chi Running promises painless, injury-preventive jogging thanks to tai chi-inspired methods. The Running University offers workshops (there’s one today) and private lessons. 602-502-1859, therunninguniversity.com
>> Sunday, Nov. 29: Think of stand-up paddle-boarding as Pilates on water. Boost balance and strength while soaking in vitamin D on Bartlett Lake. Go Stand Up Paddle offers boards, lessons and adventures. 20808 E. Bartlett Dam Rd., Carefree, 602-920-0999, gostanduppaddle.com
>> Monday, Nov. 30: Why stop now? Enroll in a month-long Phoenix Adventure Boot Camp. Basic training mixes outdoor running, light weights, jump rope, hiking and games. Navy vet-turned-trainer Tammy Kaatz’s “spicy sass” and camper camaraderie will make your transformation from recruit to first-class fitness officer positively fun. Semper fit, soldier. 602-274-1170, phxbootcamp.com
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