The Power of FusionWritten by Lisa Ann Smith / June, 2013
Fusion fitness is all about blending the best elements from multiple disciplines into one dynamic, and often addictive, workout. Just like its many inspired devotees, the trend has been building strength in exclusive studios over the past decade. For busy people looking to get more out of the precious time they dedicate to exercising, fusion workouts are increasingly popular. Wherever the fusion tides take you (yes, for the brave and flexible that can include yoga done on a paddleboard) the goal remains the same: avoid the ubiquitous workout plateau.
Tamra Barney of The Real Housewives of Orange County and her fiancé Eddie Judge recently opened CUT Fitness, an elite exercise studio in Southern California that’s home to three distinct studio spaces and 15 kinds of fusion fitness classes. “You can take a different type of class every single day or twice a day,” says Barney. “People are just excited and they’re not bored with the same old workout.”
Barney and Judge designed their sleek new space to reflect the fusion workout philosophy, which emphasizes an innovative and inviting take on fitness that does not rely upon a static row of treadmills, elliptical machines, or stationary bikes. CUT Fitness spans more than 6,200 square feet and provides an open, luxurious feel in each of its three distinct studio spaces. Another unique element—a central, glass-walled room where children can watch their parents work out and learn how to exercise properly on their own kid-friendly workout equipment.
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Mariel Hemingway, Cambria advocate and health, wellness, and fitness expert says the key to lifelong fitness involves constantly challenging your body in new ways and maintaining an element of fun. “The classes are so popular because anything that distracts a person from monotony helps the brain and the body respond,” explains Hemingway. “People just enjoy it.”
The lack of a tedious, repetitive motion on machines, coupled with a mental and physical focus on precise movements remains key to the success and effectiveness of fusion workouts, says Nicole Romano Uribarri, mind-body manager at Exhale Chicago. Exhale began their fusion focus 10 years ago when they debuted their signature Core Fusion Barre class in New York City. The Chicago location now offers four additional Core Fusion classes that incorporate plyometrics (high-intensity jumping), yoga, sports training, cardio intervals, and kettlebell work. ”As the business started to grow, fitness trends changed and no one thing worked for everybody,” explains Uribarri. “So we created programs that worked for several different kinds of athletes and people who like to work out.”
Industry leaders and enthusiasts alike continue to respond to the evolving nature of these workouts. “If done right, they are ever-changing and energizing, and they produce real and noticeable changes.” says Kate Albarelli, creator of Figure 4, an invigorating, full-body workout developed exclusively for Pure Yoga in New York City. Albarelli’s Figure 4 classes combine the alignment and discipline of dance, the lengthening and stretching of yoga, the core strength of Pilates, and the resistance training of free weights. This kind of variety is what makes fusion classes so exciting, she explains. “They keep the mind and body ‘confused’ and wondering what is coming next.”