Fun Alternative Workouts

Discovering the personal fit, right community, and motivation is essential to starting a healthy trajectory. If you’re devoted to staying in shape throughout your time in Chile and are looking for a good workout routine that doesn’t involve simple running while huffing and puffing in the streets of this toxic atmosphere, here are a few fun, unique, and alternative workout spots that may catch your interest.

 (Mallory Bracken)
(Mallory Bracken)

Avda. Las Condes 9792, Las Condes, Santiago
Contrary to some ideas of the sport as a question of the strongest and most violent, BXO BOXING defines boxing as an art made through energy, motivation, and intelligence. Men, women, and children all practice at the small studio in Las Condes.

One of their friendly, welcoming instructors, Cristián Bruzzone, has been boxing for 30 years and he does not like fighting, he does not fight on the street, and he is simply not a violent person. The sport of boxing however, is a very “noble sport” he says. They will teach you the necessary focus, strength, skills, and techniques.

There are three different classes, Boxeo, BXO training, and X3, which do not have varying levels but incorporate all levels of experience and age difference. Boxeo is technical boxing strategies, BXO training is purely physical work, and X3 classes include kickboxing, Boxeo, and BXO training strictly for women. Individual sessions are also offered for men, women, and children. If it sounds like it could be a new, cool hobby, the first class is free!

Alma: Body, Pole, Soul
Av. Irarrazaval 4928, Ñuñoa, Santiago
This center for women is out of the normal workout routine and focuses on soothing the soul, and finding happiness, strength, expression, fluidity, and breath. It encourages emotional development through pole-dancing. Pole-dance is a relatively new practice in Chile, arriving only 5 or 6 years ago, with about 2000 women who now practice the discipline.

Viviana Bown, teacher and the owner of Centro Alma has been practicing for 5 years, and opened the studio over 3 years ago. She says she had been looking for something different than normative exercises when she decided on pole-dancing. She loved the "ambiente agradable para mujeres" (the welcoming environment for women) and the integral aspect of pole-dancing. "En general, otras disciplinas trabajan de una manera aislada" (In general, other disciplines work in an isolated way), whereas pole-dancing works many aspects, such as flexibility, strength, balance, and creativity.

Photo by Rodrigo Marcelo Pineda Muñoz
Photo by Rodrigo Marcelo Pineda Muñoz

Pole-dancing classes range from Pole Virgin (Introductory classes for people with no experience) to Professional classes. Every class contains sections of basic moves and techniques, physical conditioning, elongation, flexibility and strength training, before returning to a calm state. There is a Pack Pole Virgin for first-timers: 4 classes for $20.000 CLP. The youngest class age range they have is 4 years old girls.

The center also offers some trapeze and ballet classes of three varying levels of difficulty. Let your soul, strength, and sensuality free and give it a try!

Gimnasio El Muro: Tu travesía en escalada
Av. Américo Vespucio Sur, 1647, Las Condes, Santiago
This gymnasium is specialized in training climbers and its owners want to share their passion with others. Diego Tapia, one of the owners of the 10 year old studio, El Muro, says it strengthens your upper body and upper limbs in a way other sports do not.

He says it requires a great deal of "concentration and focus during execution movements, mental control of anxiety, fear, self-confidence" as well as give you the chance to always look for new challenges and beautiful places to see. "Es una forma de vida" (It's a way of life) to be "siempre buscando una nueva ruta, un nuevo desafío" (always looking for a new route, a new challenge).

They sell entrance tickets and rental equipment so you can climb on your own and in-studio training for adults and children: a basic excursion course with transportation included, a more advanced excursion course, and specialized courses and courses for university groups. They organize championship events, public events, birthdays, and (safe) height exercises from buildings and high construction sites. If you have an adventurous spirit and are able to push past any possible fear of heights, these guys have it all.

Photo courtesy of Bikram Yoga Centro
Photo courtesy of Bikram Yoga Centro

Bikram Yoga Centro:
Av. Suecia 0104, Providencia, Santiago
Huérfanos 757, Local 01, Santiago Centro
A satisfying, intense style of Yoga, Bikram, is a class consisting of 26 fixed poses in a room of approximately 42 °C (107 °F). The heat may sound daunting but with practice it becomes easier and is beneficial to the body and practice. It creates a more flexible, relaxed body, eliminates waste and toxins from glands and organs as well as impurities from the skin, and increases functionality of the circulatory and respiratory systems.

Much of the strength in the classroom is mental and emotional, found through persistence and concentration. A lot of effort goes into respiration control and mental meditation along with the balance and accuracy in the postures. The focus and control over your body, health, mind, and yourself transfers over to attitudes and goals outside of the classroom. The studio practices under the guidance of a teacher with a certificate from Bikram Yoga College of India. The studio is fully equipped with equipment rentals and showers. First timers get 7 days for $12.000 CLP in which you can come once a day if you can keep up!

There is something phenomenal about feeling strong, healthy, and confident in your own body. You’ve heard it all before, gaining energy, releasing endorphins, increasing focus, gaining strength, losing weight, and even alleviating effects of depression. However, it is often hard to get started and to maintain despite the praised benefits. People have trouble committing to a routine which holds their interest when looking to work out and get active. It's good to have something new and original to excite you, keep you improving and coming back for that high.

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