I know, I know. Exercising is hard. Especially when it's not fun. And how can it be when you've been stuck on that elliptical machine for the past 40 minutes, flipping through the same old issue of Us Weekly? (Yep, Jessica Simpson is still talking about her baby.) But summer is here, which means bare skin and bathing suits, which means it's time to get in the game. Luckily, burning calories doesn't have to be a drag. Here are five fitness classes in Orange County that feel more like an adventure. You may just become one of those people who actually likes to work out. Yes, even you.
STAND-UP PADDLE (SUP) YOGA
Downward dog. Cobra. Warrior I. You've done the poses a gazillion times, but now take away the floor and replace it with the ocean: You've got Stand-Up Paddle Yoga. The morning class takes place on the serene waters of Laguna Beach and works your core in ways you never thought possible. “When your yoga mat is always moving, your basic plank becomes that much more challenging,” says instructor Erin Nealy. Your yoga mat, in this case, is a SUP board, which is basically a heavy-duty surfboard. In the hour-and-15-minute session, Nealy guides you through various yoga sequences, all of which require extreme concentration. The payoff? Toned muscles, a clear mind and maybe even a dolphin sighting. SUP Flo (part of SUP Co.), www.supcompany.com.
Embrace your inner 8-year-old while sweating as though you're an NBA player. At AIRobics, held at trampoline wonderland Sky High Sports, you jump! And jump! And JUMP! For nearly 50 minutes straight, it's jumping jacks, leap frogs, side-kicks, 360s and Sky High Bounces, in which you try to fly like Michael Jordan. “Bring your heels all the way to your bum-bum,” commands instructor Adam Van Such. “Twist at the waist!” His favorite move is the “up-down,” a popular football drill that involves running in place and dropping into a push-up position. The workout is both thrilling and crazy serious—studies show that an hour of jumping on a trampoline can burn up to 1,000 calories. Sky High Sports, www.ocy.jumpskyhigh.com. $7.
Hybrid classes are perfect for those with fitness ADD. Piloxing fuses together Pilates, boxing and dance, and with their powers combined, you're in for a real booty-kicking. Students in the one-hour, all-female class wear half-pound weighted gloves through a series of high-intensity intervals. “In the end, you know you just worked your butt off, but you're so energized,” White says. “It's empowering.” Boost Fitness, www.boostfit.net. $14.
If you've ever wanted to plant yourself in one of those epic Bollywood musical numbers, well, here's the next best thing. With upbeat tunes blasting through the stereo, instructor Reetu Patel guides students through high-energy moves (shoulder bounces, wrist twists, hip shakes), all plucked from Indian folk, classic and street dance. You can't help but smile the whole way through. MAD Bollywood Dance Studios, www.madbollywooddance.com. $15.
A workout in which you get to float in a soft fabric hammock? Yes, please. But be warned: Aerial yoga isn't about group nap time—just hanging in the sling makes your core muscles quiver and burn. Instructor and acro-gymnast Ruby Karen leads the one-hour class, created to improve strength, flexibility, endurance and balance. Dance Asylum, www.rubykaren.com. $20.
This column appeared in print as “OC's Best Summer Workouts: Forget Zumba, try these.”