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5 Non-Running Workouts I Enjoy

Good morning! How is it already Monday? I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

I got a 90 minute massage Saturday morning, then we went to a cocktail class put on by Bob Peters, who’s a stud in the craft cocktail industry here in Charlotte. The class was at one of my favorite lunch spots: Earl’s Grocery. They do it the second Saturday of each month and it’s a neat way to learn about new local distilleries and more about cocktails. This week, they partnered with TopO distillery in Chapel Hill.

cocktail class

On Sunday, we went to a friend’s graduation party, where I had lots of summer food, including WATERMELON (my favorite!), grilled corn, and lots of cookies and ice cream.

watermelon, fruit


So, friends, I’m hoping to run my first marathon this fall. Ed is making my training plan that will start up in a few weeks. Until then, I’m kind of just enjoying engaging in some non-running workouts and lots of long walks. I wanted to share some of these workouts and classes with you today, in case you were thinking about trying some new workout classes or looking for some new cross training ideas. I have really liked all of them!

Trying new workouts is one of my favorite things. One thing I’ve learned about myself is that when it comes to working out, I like having a guide and having someone tell me what to do. That’s why I thrive in group exercise class settings, or doing a youtube circuit workout at home. I love not having to think, and I’m competitive enough that I need to finish and hold myself accountable.

I’ve been trying some new exercise classes throughout Charlotte and I thought I’d share some of these new-to-me workouts! While these classes are local to me, I know similar class offerings are offered in many different locations. I’m linking up with Hoho Runs and Trish for the Weekly Wrap and  Jill for a Life of Fitness, Health and Happiness!

1. Orange Theory

Orange Theory (OT) is a non-stop, energetic class based on increasing your heart rate. They do have some running incorporated into these workouts but its mostly sprints and only for a few seconds. I love the constant movement involved – you’re not doing the same thing for more than 1-2 minutes at a time.

You’ll move from the treadmill to the rower, back and forth for half of the class, and you’ll spend the other half of the class in the weight training blocks, using free weights, resistance bands, and using a lot of your core.  

You don’t have to think about anything – the teacher/trainer will lead you through it, count down for you and tell you exactly what to do.

It’s based on the notion that you’ll have a longer afterburn (burn more calories for a longer time after the workout) the higher your heart rate gets.

orange theory, workouts

I love the little summary they email you after class, and having a heart rate monitor on you that tracks your HR on a screen in real time. You can see what “zone” you’re in (based on color and exertion), and it motivates you to keep up or work harder. Also, the first class is free, so major plus.


My only advice is that I would try to start on the treadmill/rowing circuit first, if you can. You’ll get your heart rate up quicker.

I started with the strength training circuit, and would have rather started with cardio. I didn’t spend as much time in the “orange and red” zone, where you’re working realllly hard.

2. Core Revolution

Core Revolution is a great spinning workout! I’m not big into spinning (or at least I didn’t think I was), so I wouldn’t normally have picked this class, but I was offered a chance to go as part of the Yelp Fit Club. The instructor was very motivating and positive.

He kept repeating, “You only have one life – don’t skip on your physical fitness.” I loved the message. The music was awesome and kept you pumped up while cycling.

Not to mention the huge screens they have where you virtually see yourself biking up a mountain – it’s almost like Super Mario Kart, and you can see yourself racing against everyone else. It also shows your RPM and heart rate.

I liked the mixture of standing and sitting, and increasing the resistance for our uphills!

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Sitting on a bike for a long time is slightly uncomfortable for me – I’m not a huge cyclist to begin with so I always feel a little awkward, but other than that, it was a lot of fun!

3. HSM Core

You wouldn’t think this would be a cardio class but it gets your heart rate up! We were working our core for pretty much 40 minutes.

You spend the entire 40 minute class on the “megaformer,” which is the platform machine that has everything you need for the workout. It has cables to allow you to spring back and forward to push and hold those core muscles and build strength.

I like how it’s a small, intimate class. There are only 10 machines available, so you don’t have to worry about an overcrowded class where you won’t get attention.

The instructor can give some one-on-one guidance, but he’s mostly inspiring the class as a whole and counting down the time left in each pose.

HSM Core_Charlotte

My body was shaking the whole time – you do different exercises for a certain amount of reps or time, and then hold at the end. Aside from tons of planks and other core work, we did lots of squats and some arm work too. It was a very enjoyable class. I’m the goofy one with the hot pink yoga pants.

HSM Core_Charlotte HSM Core_Charlotte HSM Core_Charlotte

As a runner, I know I should do more core but it’s hard to motivate myself to do it alone. Whereas at HSM Core, you have someone telling you what to do, counting the time, motivating you, and cheering you on, with the other cohort of people there.

This is a great way to get in shape for the summer. My abs were sore for days!

4. Rock Climbing

Rock Climbing is so challenging but it sculpts your entire body, from your fingers and forearms, abs and core, down to your glutes, quads and hamstrings.

You can challenge yourself as little or as much as you want because there are walls of varying difficulty throughout. I actually bought this first pass through Groupon at a local place in Charlotte, and was so glad to have found this place.

It’s not somewhere I would normally seek out.

I was working muscles I haven’t worked in a long time, and it was increasing my heart rate. My arms were so sore in a good way.

rock climbing, workouts


5. Xtend Barre 

To be honest, I’ve been intimidated by the thought of barre for the longest time. I am extremely uncoordinated and far from graceful. But this class was not what I expected. We did lots of leg squats, pulses and core work.

And even if you proclaim yourself to be uncoordinated and not into ballet (ahem: me), there’s a place for you here and it will challenge you!

The instructors are so uplifting and the moves are choreographed to upbeat music in the background, which is always a plus!

barre, workout

Those are some of the newer classes I’ve tried this year and have really enjoyed. Most of them offer a free first class, which is great if you’re curious but don’t want to drop any coin initially.

Do you like having control of your workouts and regimen or having someone tell you what to do?

Favorite summer cookout food? <– Fruit salad, pasta salad, grilled corn on the cob

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  1. Love all these classes and yes, they are such a great idea when you’re stuck in a workout rut! They really change up your game and add fun into your workout again! So important! If you want to share your posts at Sunday Fitness 7 food Link-Up we would love to have you! Happy Sunday!:)

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  3. I like to have control but I admit after becoming a personal trainer it’s kind of nice to have someone else come up with my workout.

    Thanks for sharing with the Fitness Health & Happiness community! Have a great weekend.

  4. All of the classes sound like a lot of fun..the only one I’ve done is rock climbing! I’ll be training for my first marathon starting in August. I think strength training is going to be so important to keep up with!

  5. That core class looks intense! I’ve heard a lot about OTF lately. They just opened one recently around here. It also looks like a good workout. I think it’s great that you have so much variety in your workouts. I like group classes, but I struggle to make the time to go in the evenings after work. Congratulations on signing up for your first full. I look forward to following your training.

  6. I don’t’ know which class looks more fun to do…. I’m thinking the cocktail would be pretty cool. 🙂 Tell me about this yelp fit club? It sounds interesting! Thanks Sarah for linking up with us!

  7. These are 5 very different types of activities. I think that would definitely keep things interesting. I usually don’t do anything with a class environment. I’m not opposed to them, but they don’t seem to work well with my schedule. How exciting you are planning to run your first marathon this fall. I can’t wait to follow along as you train for and accomplish that goal. Thanks for linking with us Sarah!

  8. I think ultimately I love working out in a gym by myself, but once a week or so I love taking the time to go to a group class and try out something new. I have tried Orangeology Fitness and if the membership wasn’t so expensive I would totally join! I havent’ tried Core Revolution though!

  9. I would love to try a spin class, because the only class I’ve tried is the Body Pump which was super fun! I’m just so lazy about getting out to the gym. I like working out at home, but I do love the class atmosphere too!

  10. love these different workout ideas you listed! i heard the megaformer is insanelyyyy hard. i’ve never tried it myself. personally i like to do all my own workouts. i’m not good at taking instruction from other people!!

  11. As a trainer, I usually do my own workouts, but sometimes I just want someone to make a workout for me. I’ve been wanting to try Orange Theory for a while! Favorite summer cookout food is either watermelon or baked beans!