The colder it gets outside, the harder it is to motivate yourself to walk those few extra meters. When your fitness routine has grown stale, you need something new to refresh your fitness energy. Whether new to the Czech Republic or new to you, here’s a few fresh ways to stay fit that should keep you going at least until the temperatures rise again.
Started in New Zealand, the ever-popular Les Mills group fitness program is now going strong in Prague. The concept is based on THE GROUP EFFECT™, the idea that you feed off the energy of a group, motivating you to keep going in your fitness program. Among the 10 programs offered under Les Mills – all of which are renewed every three months (the choreography and the music), four of the most popular are offered at Holmes Place. BODYPUMP™ is ideal if you’re looking to get in shape fast. It’s based on the concept of low weight loads with lots of reps (The Rep Effect™) through which you’ll “burn fat and calories, gain strength and quickly produce lean body muscle” as described on the Les Mills website. CXWORX™ is described as a “short, sharp” 30-minute workout that targets your core resulting in a tighter tummy and butt. BODYCOMBAT™ (a favorite among the Expats.cz crew) is a high-energy cardio workout, inspired by various martial arts.
BODYBALANCE™ – inspired by yoga, pilates and tai chi – will improve flexibility and strength and center you. Sylvie Smrčková Milanová of Holmes Place says that all four Les Mills classes are attended by both women and men, but notes “women mostly prefer BODYBALANCE, although men attend as well, and men prefer BODYPUMP and CXWORX.” With the exception of BODYBALANCE, these Les Mills classes are also offered at World Class.
Flowin Friction Training
Developed in Sweden by a group of decathletes, Flowin® is functional strength training without the use of weights. It essentially allows you to determine the level of your workout based on how much pressure or friction you place on a small set of pads – supported by your knees, elbows, feet or hands– that you slide horizontally, vertically, diagonally on top of a larger plate (a large vertical pad) – thus the name Flowin® Friction Training™.
Using only your own body weight, up to 300 exercises can be performed on the plate activating several muscles groups at once for a full body workout. According to Jan Větrovský, Master Trainer of Flowin in the Czech Republic: “The biggest benefits are correcting posture, strengthening core muscles, improving coordination, and avoiding lower back pain…and in the advanced phase of training – improving anaerobic endurance.” Větrovský also notes that Flowin is suitable for “women and men, young and old, amateurs and professionals.” Through the Flowin.cz website you can find a list of several places offering Flowin classes including those through the Active Life Academy and at Fitness Face Czech.
Mixing mind, body and adrenaline, climbing offers a totally unique fitness experience. Prague has a number of indoor climbing facilities and bouldering gyms (most offering lessons, equipment rental and a fair price), which are appropriate for both experienced climbers and complete beginners. Although slightly off the beaten path, Lezecké Centrum Ruzyně is definitely worth the trip. Their Ruzyně climbing wall measures nearly 12 meters, and offers 600 square meters of climbing surface with 150 marked routes.
Of the benefits of climbing in general, Lezecké Centrum Ruzyně’s Dominik Habeš says, “It’s a different kind of sport that trains not just your muscles, but teaches you to be precise with your every move; it teaches you more about the coordination of your body and most of all, your mind gets heavily involved.” He adds, “on the other hand, while climbing you are using almost every single muscle in your body, so it’s great exercise as well.” Other (English-friendly) centers worth checking out include TendOn SmíchOFF in Smíchov, Adrenaline Pit on Václavské náměstí, which includes both a wall and a boulder, Lezecké centrum Mammut, and Boulder Bar in Holešovice, which yes, does indeed include a bar.
From strikes to kicks to grappling, often adding up to a series of visually beautiful movements, martial arts offer benefits beyond being an excellent means of physical fitness. Aikido is on offer at Aikido Vinohrady Prague. A Japanese martial art, Aikido, according to the Vinohrady school, is “a way of human development” including the aspects of “physical exercise and health, personal development and self-defense.”
Practice traditional Karate in Prague 5 or learn Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) from Keith Schneider of Warrior Fitness. In Smichov (Zubatého 11, 3rd Floor), Zhen Wu Praha (ZW Praha) offers daily classes in traditional Tongbei Kung fu and Taiji and emphasizes strong fundamentals. “At Zhen Wu, we teach the meaning of each posture according to martial theory, energy and application. Not everybody wishes to learn how to fight and, of course, it’s not essential for getting the health benefits and having fun with practice, but everybody should have at least a theoretical understanding of the meaning behind the training,” says Rosa Mei of ZW Praha. “It’s not just about inhaling and exhaling and arms waving in the wind. The form should not be empty or devoid of meaning. The students develop a stronger understanding of correct postures, use of energy, intent and connection to the ground.”
If getting to the gym is causing you to lose motivation to stick to your fitness routine, why not try having the gym come to you. A new trend in Prague-based fitness is the offering of in-office training. Working with individuals and groups, office training makes it possible to stay fit right where you are, while saving you some hours. Fitness Trenik Doma provides two options, either a practical cooperation, which includes “stretching in the office”, “strengthening in the office” or “how to prevent and alleviate back pain” – or a theoretical cooperation – where you can learn to do these fitness routines on your own through in office lectures. They can also customize the programs to fit your particular wishes.
Active Life Academy can bring Flowin or other exercise programs to the office through their “Fit in Business” service. My Personal Trainer Academy (MPT), run by sister and brother duo Ria Hrušovská and Gustav Hrušovský, takes pride in offering a personal and comprehensive approach to office training: “all that we offer at MPT Academy is based on a very individual approach, as we focus more on fitness coaching rather than just regular personal training or nutrition. So even with our office training we sit with the client, ask them about their goals and dreams, and based on that we practically live with the client,” says Hrušovská. “We go and train them in the office, create a special nutrition plan, go and shop with them or surprise them in the office with an after-workout snack. We teach our clients all about a healthy lifestyle.” As for what the training itself looks like, Hrušovská explains, “based on our client’s needs we train them either with their own body weight or we bring special functional training equipment like TRX, skipping rope, a few dumbbells, yoga mat and so on. We offer private personal training, functional training, yoga and pilates trainings but also outdoor trainings maybe in some park close to the office of course. Another option is office group training, which can also be done to music, like our famous pre-choreographed MPT circuit program.
Do you know of any new fitness programs in Prague? Have you tried some new fitness practice recently? Please share with us!