Bill Bowerman, track coach and co-founder of Nike, once preached, "There's no such thing as bad weather, only soft people." Everyone knows it's hard to stay motivated when the weather shifts to either extreme, but trying something new can be a great way to trick yourself into maintaining your fitness over the colder months. Here are eight ways you can keep active throughout winter in Auckland.
ENJOY LOW-IMPACT CARDIO WITH AQUA FITNESS
For no more than the price of a cappuccino, you can enjoy the best low-impact cardio at your nearest Auckland Council Pools and Leisure Centre. At most centres, your entry fee also includes access to the spa and sauna to relax and recover after your workout. Some locations provide group classes too, if you haven't heard already, aqua fitness is not just reserved Gold Card holders, it's the perfect way to get into a routine or recover from injury without judgement. Classes range from classic aqua aerobics to deep water running and the incredibly low-impact hydrotherapy. For opening times, class options and timetables, find your closest centre here.
TRY HIGH INTENSITY CIRCUIT TRAINING WITH F45
Ever since first seeing F45 (Functional 45) a few years ago, I've been intrigued by the concept. I'm a sucker for brutal high intensity workouts and I've heard this is exactly the place to push your limits. With its popularity continuing to increase, there are now F45 studios popping up all over Auckland, there's bound to be one near you. They offer a seven-day trial, which gives you a chance to sample a range of their classes which change daily. Check out their website here for studios, timetables and pricing.
For something equally as challenging, try Zuu. Originally purposed for frontline troops, Zuu is a form of high intensity interval training that uses primal and natural human movements for a full body workout. The workout initially found its footing in the world of elite athletes, tactical police and the armed forces — where weights and machines aren't generally accessible.
JOIN A RUN CLUB
Inspired by the Australian surfing group OneWave, One Step Is All It Takes is a weekly running group with the purpose of improving mental health. There's no better way to start your week than banking some endorphins with a supportive crew. Running groups are scary, I know, but there are no fitness requirements, you can run, walk or a combination of both. The crew meet at Victoria Park's cricket clubhouse/pavilion every Monday morning at 7am, rain or shine, so there's no excuses not to start your week right.
If Monday mornings aren't your thing but you are still looking for a running crew, Adidas Runners is the place to go. With pacesetters to lead you through 5, 7 or 10km loops around Auckland CBD, there's an option to suit wherever you are in your training. The maps change monthly and are uploaded to their Facebook group so you don't have to worry about getting lost. The team are there every Tuesday rain or shine, so there's no excuses not to lace up and go.
STRETCH IT OUT WITH YOGA
Being in a heated room seems like a very obvious choice for winter, so my next recommendation is Studio Red Yoga. From the beautifully lit and soundproofed studio, to the expertly decorated facilities, the experience is unparalleled. The teachers are of the highest caliber, which gives the freedom to drop into whichever class fits your schedule for the week, with no compromise to the practice. Check the Studio Red website for the timetable and upcoming workshops.
To really capture the warmth of summer, Parnell's Rise Studio practises traditional body-aligning mat pilates and yoga with the accompaniment of infared heat. The system operates at a slightly lower heat than Bikram yoga, between 27-30 degrees, to build heat in the body but not at a temperature where capability is compromised and you walk out completely drenched.
If you're more into a grassroots yoga vibe, Ponsonby Central's Sapphire Room hosts free yoga classes every Monday night. The classes have become so large that they now offer two sessions to accommodate more yogis. It is advised to get there early due to the popularity and the inadequate parking that the area is notorious for. Don't forget to bring your own mat and water bottle, as these aren't provided. Check out the events section on the Ponsonby Central Facebook page for more information.
CHANNEL YOUR INNER KIDULT WITH BOUNCE FITNESS
There are many proven psychological benefits of exercise, so I think one that has you laughing and sweating is always going to be a winter winner. Uptown Bounce in Grey Lynn has fitness classes and they are more fun than you could imagine. I laughed the entire time, and before I knew it, the 45 minutes were up. The pain the next day was no laughing matter, I found muscles I didn't know I had. If you don't take your workout too seriously and you find the thought of working out with 40 other people stepping in unison terrifying, this is the class is for you.
Performing aerobic routines on tiny trampolines has also bounced back. UK-born company Bounce can be found on Auckland's North Shore offering highly choreographed dance-cardio routines on pint-sized trampolines. The classes run for an hour with 40 minutes of cardio and 20 minutes of toning exercises. The company also boasts a world record for the 'most amount of people jumping on trampolines'.
HARNESS TECHNOLOGY FOR 'EXERTAINMENT'
Full sensory or 'exertainment' workouts are becoming all the rage in the fitness world. Les Mills has jump onboard by offering a form of virtual cycling. Called The Trip, it uses stationary spin bikes and animated projections to take participants on an immersive journey through virtual worlds. The mind and stomach react naturally to the dips and curves as the scenery floats past. Riders are also encouraged to adjust the resistance of the bike to match the gradient on the screen.
The YMCA has also embraced the digital trend with the introduction of on-demand fitness classes. The company can deliver virtual, guided workouts including yoga and high intensity interval training via large screens in group fitness spaces.
TAKE A SHORT WALK IN THE WILDERNESS
While the weather in Auckland is notoriously unpredictable, we do get a few great weather weekends throughout winter. When you've been cooped up after days of rain, a walk in the wilderness will leave you feeling energised like nothing else. The Department of Conservation has a great list of short day walks, wherever you are in the country. You can filter the walks by duration, location and difficulty level, there's something for everyone. Share your walk and find others on Instagram using #shortwalksnz.
In an effort to combat the devastating spread of kauri dieback, Auckland Council voted through the plan to close the Waitākere Ranges Regional Park, with some exceptions outside the kauri ecosystem where dirt can't be tracked. The west coast beaches and a number of tracks across the rest of Auckland remain open. Here are seven walks that are still operating where you can start your weekend adventure.
WORK OUT FOR FREE ON YOUR OWN TERMS
Nike+ Training Club is an incredible free app for Android and iOS. With over 180 workouts to choose from, there's something for every mood. You can filter the workouts based on duration, focus area, intensity and the equipment you have on hand. Since adding yoga, the app has become an even more valuable training partner. You can create your own workout plans, based on your current fitness and future goals, and if you find yourself struggling to fit everything in (aren't we all), the plan will adjust with you.
To train on resistance machines for absolutely nothing you could take advantage of the equipment accessible in parks all around Auckland. Rocket Park, War Memorial Park Mt Roskill, Rosedale Park, Warren Freer Park and Grey Lynn Park are just some of the public spaces around Auckland that offer adult workout equipment. Check your nearest parks for what equipment is on offer and research correct techniques and routines for each.