FAIRHOPE — What do you get when you combine bungee cords, a rock-climbing style harness, rocking music and a bit of adventurous curiosity? A fun, full-body workout.If you like to mindlessly …
FAIRHOPE — What do you get when you combine bungee cords, a rock-climbing style harness, rocking music and a bit of adventurous curiosity? A fun, full-body workout.
If you like to mindlessly swipe through TikTok videos, you may have seen the videos of people suspended from the ceiling by bungee cords doing burpees with ease and soaring through the air. If you haven't seen it, just search for bungee fitness. You can thank me later.
Thanks to Jessica Watkins, owner and lead trainer of FIT by Jessica and FIT Fairhope, people looking for a new type of workout can experience the trend. Sling Bungee Fairhope opened at the end of February and has been booming ever since.
My YOLO (you only live once) attitude combined with the smirk my managing editor gave me the fortitude to give Sling Bungee Fairhope a try. Watkins welcomed me into the studio, and I am so glad I gave it a go.
Sling Bungee Fitness is a low-impact, high-intensity workout that engages all the muscle groups and works up a sweat. It combines the science of plyometrics with a bungee-assisted cardio workout to tone muscles while alleviating pressure on the joints.
While doing research for this story, I had to look up the definition of plyometrics because it was a new word for me. Also known as jump training, it is a type of exercise training that uses the speed and force of different movements to build muscle power. Examples include pushups, throwing, running, jumping and kicking.
"It is an innovative, fun approach to fitness," Watkins said. "People come in here and they don't realize they are working out. They look at their watch and they have burned anywhere from 400 to 800 calories depending on what level they are on."
The Sling Bungee Fairhope studio space isn't huge but offers enough space for nine (including the instructor) to work out.
One first glance, the studio seems bare and fresh. One wall is lined with mirrors, and there is a loft at the far end of the studio.Then the harnesses come into focus.
The equipment will look familiar to anyone who has enjoyed rock climbing. Locking carabiners suspend a climbing daisy chain from the metal rafters above. Another locking carabiner secures a grouping of proprietary bungee cords that are clipped to a padded harness. While the harnesses are proprietary to Sling Bungee, they look much like rock-climbing harnesses.
After signing a waiver, I stepped onto a scale so Watkins could calculate the number of bungees she needed to attach to the harness. There was some light math and a quick reference of a laminated card before she climbed onto a ladder to count out the bungees and secure them with a locking carabiner.
Watkins said everyone's first class takes a little time due to the setup, but they make note of what works best for all their students to make the next class' setup quicker.
Once the bungees are set and the harness is secured around the legs and waist, it is time to get warmed up. Watkins cues up the music and starts to demonstrate and explain the different moves. Every first-timer starts in level one with the basics.
A small amount of rhythm is helpful but not required. Getting the sequence of moves down took a moment, but I found myself laughing and having fun despite knowing I was being photographed for this story the entire time. Who knew it only required a bunch of bungee cords to make a burpee enjoyable?
While I only had the energy for the CliffsNotes version, Watkins and trainer Lauren Babcock ran me through most of the level one moves. In a short time, I could feel my heart rate going up and the sweat trickling down my back. Watkins said classes last 45 minutes.
"No one should be afraid of this class," Watkins said. "This is literally something that anyone can do regardless of age."
To take a Sling Bungee Fairhope class, you must weigh a minimum of 95 pounds and a maximum of 300 pounds. Watkins said she requires individuals to be 16 years old to purchase a membership, but the minimum age is 13 with a participating adult. So far, the oldest student to take a class was 75.
"Not only are they dying to try it out because it looks like fun, but they are coming in and getting a great workout and being able to do all these moves that have kept them out of the gym for years," Babcock said. "We are seeing a lot of new faces."
Watkins said the reception has been amazing and that in the month they have been open, people have already started to ask for more. Soon, people will be able to host girls' night events and book team-building classes.
If you are interested in taking a class, download the FIT Fairhope app. In the app, you will find a schedule of classes where you can reserve a spot. Due to the limited class size, you must reserve a spot in advance.
Drop-in classes are $15, an unlimited Sling membership is $75 a month, and FIT Fairhope members can add Sling to their existing membership for $35 a month.
They also offer a free seven-day trial that can be accessed under the membership tab.
"It is fun when you are teaching and looking around and people are smiling and laughing," Watkins said. "It has been a lot of fun."
Melanie LeCroy writes about entertainment and dining across Baldwin County for Gulf Coast Media.