10 Latest Must-Try Workouts in Manila

Stuck in a workout rut? Try these just-sprouted exercise trends that put the fun back into breaking a sweat.


While yoga, pilates and marathon-running are still popular with fitness buffs, those yearning to try something new shouldn’t revert to lounging on the couch. SPOT.ph lists the latest fitness activities and where to go for a session:


1. Jukari Fit to Flex

An alternative to those bored with their trips to the gym, this unique work-out is a collaboration between Reebok and Cirque du Soleil. Incorporating graceful moves inspired by the artistry of the famous performers, the instructor-led class keeps your mind off physical strain and makes the hour fly by. Signature moves, stretches, and graceful movements are done with the assistance of the Jukari band--an elastic, lightweight band also used by Cirque du Soleil performers during training.

Target Body Part: Different moves target various body parts, but the workout generally develops core strength, spine stability, balance and flexibility.
Difficulty level for beginners: Low
Calories burned: as much as 300 calories for a 1-hour workout
Celebs who do it: Actress and model Kelly Brook


Where to go: Available exclusively for Gold’s Gym members at the following branches starting October 2010: Gold’s Gym Timog, Quezon City; Galleria (634-0908); Alabang (772-4986); Greenhills (724-3694) and Glorietta (752-8081). If you’re not a member, you can take the class and pay for the day rate of P900


2. 360 Circuit Training

Recommended Videos

A 30-minute workout that can burn up to 500 calories, 360 Circuit Training has 20 stations that work all the major muscles. The exercises vary for each station, making the workout less boring and routine. The program also  changes every two months.

Says Chappy Callanta, owner of 360 Fitness Club in Ortigas, "The concepts [between 360 Circuit and the traditional Circuit Training] are similar, but with 360 Circuit Training, I introduced levels. If an elite athlete and a beginner walk in, they can work out at the same time because there are different levels. Because of that, there’s a lot of versatility in the program." He adds, "We also use free weights. [There are] no machines because we found out that free weights are actually better-- they improve your range of motion and are actually more functional."

Target body parts: All muscle groups
Difficulty level for beginners: Medium
Calories burned: up to 500 calories for a 30-minute workout
Celebs who do it: The guys of Boys Night Out--Sam YG, Toni Tony and Slick Rick


Where to go: 360 Fitness Club, 13/F Strata 100 Bldg., F. Ortigas Jr. Road (formerly Emerald Ave.), Ortigas Avenue, Pasig City. Contact 577-7807, (0917)560-0360.

Rates start from P2,090 per month for the annual package; P2, 490 per month for the semi-annual package; and P2,290 for the ten-visit pass (Avail of the Rainy Day Promo until October 31 and get 10% off on the rates.)


3. Plyometrics

Using drills, this workout entails doing quick, explosive movements and is used in training for sports such as basketball, volleyball and mixed martial arts. Women’s Health Philippines calls it the "performance enhancer" and the workout boosts one’s athletic performance. A 20 to 30 minute Plyo workout speeds up one’s metabolism and tones the entire body.

Target Body Part: Plyometrics improves endurance and strength, as well as enhances reflexes.
Difficulty level for beginners: High
Calories burned: as much as 500-800 for a 1-hour workout
Celebs who do it: True Blood star Anna Paquin


Where to go: Fort Rock, 8101 Pearl Plaza, Pearl Drive, Pasig City. Contact  (0915) 814-0227. Rate per session is P1,750 (by appointment only).


4. Kettlebell

Touted by Women’s Health Philippines as "an intense workout," Kettlebell involves swinging, lifting and lowering an iron or steel kettlebell which may weigh up to 40 pounds. Before you shy away from attempting this exercise, note that it helps burn as much as 1,000 calories in an hour. Kettlebell also counters back problems or a curved back.

Target Body Part: Kettlebell works the hamstrings, calves, glutes and the core muscles.
Difficulty level for beginners: High
Calories burned: as much as 800-1,000 calories for a 1-hour workout
Celebs who do it: Jennifer Lopez, Penelope Cruz

Where to go: Metropolitan Club, Estrella corner Amapola Street, Makati City. Contact (0926) 674-7598.


5. Cardio A-go-go


Dance instructor Marlette Besa demonstrates cardio a-go-go moves during a Women’s Health event in Boracay. Photo courtesy of Besa.

Add sensual steps to moves that make your heart race, minus the stripping, and you’ve got cardio a-go-go. Dance instructor Marlette Besa tells SPOT.ph, "The moves are very sexy and the exercise allows you to let go of your inhibitions. You have to feel the music and the dance for you to know when to make your moves strong or soft." She adds, "For a fun workout, the combinations must be done with attitude." Guys need not fear cardio a-go-go--Besa says she has had male participants who were able to dance "without looking ’girly’.’"

Target body parts: You move your entire body when you practice cardio a-go-go but the exercise specifically involves sensual movements of the head, shoulders, hips and arms.
Level of difficulty for beginners: Low to medium (Besa holds multi-level classes; students can work at their own pace.)
Calories burned: as much as 400 calories for a 1-hour work-out
Celebs who do it: Model/TV host Karen Pamintuan

Where to go: Call Besa at 0917-5206160, email her at marlette_@yahoo.com or send her a message at hipyogi.multiply.com. A one-hour class for four costs P1,000. For bigger groups, special arrangements can be made. Besa also handles sessions for the events of Women’s Health Philippines. In a session, you can wear regular exercise clothes and rubber shoes, dresses and heels for the women, or anything that allows you to move--what matters is that you feel confident in your clothes. If you have medical concerns, get a clearance from your physician.





6. Barre3

A workout which fuses ballet, yoga and pilates, Barre3 was introduced in Manila in the first quarter of 2010. With more yoga and pilates poses rather than graceful dance moves, those scared of twirling around or standing on one’s toes need not fret.

A 60-minute session includes stretches to warm-up the body before going through a sequence of different forms to strengthen one’s core and work out the arms and the upper body. Dumbbells, inflated balls and straps are used to do some of the poses, with music playing in the background.

Says Barre3 instructor Marie Calica, "Barre3 is great for people who don’t have a background in any of the three disciplines because it allows you to start tabula rasa. Those who are familiar with the disciplines will  appreciate how they shift from specialty to the next--and how three all work together to give you a stronger core and longer, leaner muscles. My students have marveled how they felt a difference after only three sessions!"


Target Body Part: Barre3 works the core muscles and the upper body. The exercises build strength and enhances one’s balance.
Difficulty level for beginners: Medium
Calories burned: as much as 200 calories per hour
Celebs who do it: Madonna

Where to go: The Spa at Bonifacio High Street (403-5994, 856-5858); The Spa Alabang, Lower Ground, Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa (836-3184, 850-3490); The Spa Rockwell, R2 Powerplant Mall, Rockwell, Makati (470-6868, 470-7878) and Richmonde Hotel Eastwood, 2F Richmonde Hotel, Eastwood Quezon City (709-6868, 709-7878)

Rate for one session is at P700; 10 classes for 2 months is at P5,500 and 30 classes valid for 6 months is at P15,000.

7. Descending Metabolic Circuit Training

While circuit training has been around for over a decade, one type of circuit training called Descending Metabolic Circuits which uses push ups, inverted body rows, dumbbell front squats and alternate lunges, is perfect for fat loss and conditioning. The key principle for this type of workout is taking little rest as possible in between rounds and is great for toning, endurance and strength.

The coolest thing about this type of circuit training: you can do this at home or with the guidance of your personal trainer at your gym.


Target body parts: All major muscle groups, you may tailor the exercises to target the upper body, lower body or go for the total body workout.
Difficulty level for beginners: High (the workout emphasizes little rest and should ideally be done with fast and explosive output)
Calories burned: as much as 1,000  calories per hour or more
Celebs who do it: Rafael Rosell

8. Core Kinesis

According to Women’s Health Philippines, the cable and pulley system used in Core Kinesis enables 360-degree movements as opposed to using gym machines that only allow lateral movements. The personalized workout--which only takes in up to three students per session--also tones the body and improves flexibility.

Target Body Part: Core Kinesis focuses on the arms, glutes and the core.
Difficulty level for beginners: Medium
Calories burned: 400-800 calories for a 45-minute workout
Celebs who do it: Georgina Wilson

Where to go: The Legend Villas, 60 Pioneer Street, Mandaluyong City. Contact 466-2673/ (0917) 285-7616. Rate is P1,500 per session.



9. Total Resistance Exercise (TRX)

Reema Chanco

In TRX, you use your own weight to get buff. Using a suspension trainer, you can target different muscles by simply shifting your weight or changing the angle of your body. Certified TRX trainer and TV personality Reema Chanco says, "They say--and I believe--that this is safer compared to machines in the gym. You can injure yourself using those machines but here, your body has a natural instinct to protect itself. You won’t let go even if you’re afraid to suspend your body... You know your limit."

TRX is also perfect for fitness enthusiasts on the go. The lone equipment needed weighs about three pounds and can fit in a small bag. "You can attach it to anything that can carry your weight like a tree or lamppost," Chanco says. TRX, which was invented by the U.S. Navy SEALs, also cuts down exercise time. Chanco says, "One hour at the gym is equivalent to 20 minutes using the TRX because there’s no need to move from machine to machine and to change weights."

Target body parts: "They describe TRX as ’All core, all the time,’" Chanco says. You can also focus on other parts by tweaking your position using the suspension trainer.
Level of difficulty for beginners: Medium
Calories burned: 800-1,000 calories for an hour
Celebs who do it: Phoemela Baranda, stylist Jenni Epperson, and model Brent Javier who is also a certified trainer


Where to go: Chanco offers classes from Monday to Friday at her house in Makati. To schedule a session, e-mail her at reemachanco@yahoo.com or send her a Tweet. Each one-hour session costs P500. Come in yoga wear paired with non-bulky shoes. (Chanco uses Vibram Five Fingers.) Bring a bottle of water and an exercise mat, if you have one. Women who have recently given birth must present a doctor’s clearance.

You can also try TRX trainer Johnny Besa’s classes at the Dasmarinas Village Gym and Manila Polo Club. Make sure you reserve a slot because his sessions are available by appointment only. Call Besa at 0917-7932263 or email him at dyanibee@yahoo.com. Each session costs P800.


10. Bollywood Dance Classes

Dance instructor Marlette Besa

Practically everyone has seen Bollywood dance moves, especially after the Jai Ho fever in 2008. Bollywood "has elements of hiphop, belly dancing and Indian folk dances, specifically Bhangra and Kathak," dance instructor Marlette Besa told Women’s Health Philippines. In Bollywood, your entire body moves--your face and eyes must follow the direction of your hand, for instance. This is what makes it different from belly dancing, which Bollywood is often compared to, that "focuses on channeling all gyrations on your midsection," according to Women’s Health Philippines.


Bollywood dance is set to the tune of soundtracks from Indian movies. Wearing costumes is most welcome but not required. Costumes (bra tops, midriff-baring shirts, loose pants, scarves and more) are usually studded with stones, sequins, beads, bells and coins, Besa told SPOT.ph.

Marlette Besa demonstrates Bollywood dancing for SPOT.ph.


Target body parts: The whole body moves but Bollywood is "big on the arms," Besa told SPOT.ph. Hips are always emphasized when you move to the side. There are also isolated movements of the chest and shoulders.
Level of difficulty for beginners: Low (depending on how fast you pick up dance moves)
Calories burned: as much as 500 calories for a 1-hour workout
Celebs who do it: Model Paulina Porizkova

Where to go: Call Besa at 0917-5206160, email her at marlette_@yahoo.com or send her a message at hipyogi.multiply.com. Classes for four--for either adults or kids--start at P1,000 per hour, plus P100 for every additional student. Pregnant women are advised to ask for a special Bollywood class where the music is slower and there is no jumping.


Photographs courtesy of Marlette Besa (cardio a-go-go), and from the Barre3 Facebook account, Core Kinesis Facebook account, Kettlebell Philippines Facebook account, totalfitnesssuccess (Plyometrics), freeworkoutguides.com (Descending Metabolic Circuit Training).

Main artwork by Warren Espejo.

Share this story with your friends!

Help us make Spot.ph better!
Take the short survey

Read more stories about

Latest Stories

Load More Stories