No. 1: Barre Fitness

The ballet-inspired exercises have become one of the most popular ways to get in shape

Let’s start with the basic question: what is barre?

The “barre” itself is the stationary handrail that is used by ballet dancers during their warm ups. The barre classes, however, are designed after ballet exercises and fuse strength training, Pilates, yoga, dance and orthopedic stretching to build lean muscle and a more flexible, balanced body.

The workouts can range from classic ballet movements to cardio classes that use high-intensity interval training to burn fat. Classes are usually set to dance music and designed to target the areas that are often difficult to tone, such as the abs, arms, hips and bottoms. The best part is everyone can do it. You don’t have to be experienced in ballet to try these classes and no dance background is needed.

Try it: The Bar Method, 4102 Boy Scout Blvd., Ste. 1, Tampa, FL 33607. For more information, call (813) 703-2227 or visit

Barre Fitness Tampa, 3423 S. Manhattan Ave., Tampa, FL 33629. For more information, call (813) 334-4165 or visit

Pure Barre, 3830 W. Neptune St. Ste. C5, Tampa, FL 33629. For more information, call (813) 254-8663 or visit

South Tampa Pilates, 610 S. Armenia Ave. Ste. 102, Tampa, FL 33609. For more information, call (813) 374-8875 or visit

No. 2: Stand-up Paddleboard

Stand-up paddleboarding utilizes Florida’s sunshine and shorelines to help build cores and burn calories

The Gulf of Mexico may not lend well to surfers but when it comes to stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), the Bay-area is a destination for “walking on water.” Armed with extra-wide surfboards and a long, one-sided paddle, these paddleboarders experience a full-body workout that can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour.

“The caloric burn you experience on a paddleboard is phenomenal,” says Mike Conlee, co-owner of Urban Kai.

Conlee is Paddle Fit certified and offers a wide range of SUP packages, including beginner lessons, recreational eco-tours, private events, group fitness, boot camp and yoga. The exercise is great for people who require low-impact strength training or people who love the water and just want to experience a new workout, he says.

Try it: Urban Kai, 2305 N. Willow Ave., Tampa, FL 33607. For more information, call (813) 598-1634 or visit

No. 3: Pole Fitness

Get fit with the only workout that encourages you to wear heels

Most people lace up their running shoes before hitting the gym but at Rock n’ Body Pole Studio, they’re strapping on their heels to get a full-body workout. Regardless of any preconceived notions you might have about this alternative form of fitness, the classes are both challenging and upbeat. The workouts are designed to stretch the muscles, engage the upper and lower body equally and build core strength. Music plays an integral part of each session at Rock n’ Body, where the 45-minute workouts often build up to one choreographed routine. It may seem like dancing, but owner/instructor April Soldano keeps her students working hard.

“The majority of women here want to workout and get in shape but the traditional gym does nothing for them,” she says. “The most important thing here is the empowering feeling you experience on the pole. It’s about loving ourselves again.”

Try it: Rock n’ Body Pole Studio, 4333 W. Kennedy Blvd., Tampa, FL 33609. For more information, call (813) 280-2931 or visit

No. 4: Rowing

The Stewards Foundation and The Tampa Rowing Club are teaching Tampa Bay youth and adults about the benefits of rowing

Venture anywhere down the Hillsborough River and you’re bound to see them: Tampa’s rowing teams have been hitting the water to get in shape for decades. For 20-plus years, groups like The Stewards Foundation and The Tampa Rowing Club have helped Tampa Bay youth and adults about the physical benefits associated with rowing.

The Stewards Foundation is a non-profit organization located at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park next to Tampa Preparatory School and trains more than 300 students and adults how to row. Commonly referred to as crew, the sport utilizes full-body movement to work the legs, core, shoulders, back and arms.

Teams include one-man scul races, pairs, doubles, foursome, and eight-member boats. The regular season runs from late January to late April. Adult row teams race Tuesday and Thursday at 6pm. No prior experience is required.

Try it: The Stewards Foundation rowing club is located at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park, 900 W. Cypress St., Tampa, FL 33606. For more information, visit

The Tampa Rowing Club also offers rowing classes from the Van McNeel Boathouse. Memberships are available for families, singles and students. For more information, visit