Shape Up or Ship Out: Shanghai’s Best Exercise Classes

Shape Up or Ship Out: Shanghai’s Best Exercise Classes
By Andrea Scarlatelli ,

It can be hard – really hard – to stay in shape in Shanghai. All the delicious Chinese and international food just a phone call away (thanks, Sherpa's) combined with suspiciously increased alcohol consumption and limited outdoor activities due to air pollution combine to form a trifecta of badness for your body. And while there are plenty of gyms scattered throughout the city, they either tend to be ridiculously expensive or laughably out of date. Luckily, if you know where to go, Shanghai offers some amazing independent exercise classes that will work you harder, longer, and get you sweatier than you ever imagined.

1) Zumba Shanghai
Don't hold their website against them—this is actually a super modern, high energy, and fun way to work out. Basically it is a solid hour of mash-up dancing. One song you'll dance the rumba, the next is old school show tunes, and the next you'll be throwing down to hip hop music. Don't worry if you're not the best dancer—everyone is clearly there to get some exercise and have a good time, not be the next contestant on "So You Think You Can Dance." As for the exercise part of it, the key is that you keep moving, constantly. You can run over to the side for some water whenever you need to, but you're expected to jump right back in. Classes are 150 RMB for drop-ins, but the first trial lesson is free and buying packages helps reduce the cost: 130 RMB per class for 10 classes or 120 RMB per class for 20 classes. You can split the packages with a friend too, so you can both get a better deal. Classes are currently held at one of two locations: Zhenning Lu or Tongren Lu.

Add: check website for current locations and times
Tel: 139 1758 8532; 189 3080 7860

2) Golden Glove Boxing ClubView In Map
This is for those of you wishing to whip your poor bodies back into shape with as much sweat, pain, and muscle-building as possible. It's a little like how I imagine boot camp would be – in a good way! You can attend the group boxing sessions, arrange your own group boxing session with your friends, or go one-on-one with their personal trainers. They offer three different levels of training: Beginner, Advanced, and yes, Boot Camp. In all of the classes you can expect a non-stop routine of punches, squats, pushups, and every other kind of exercise that you dreaded in high school. But it certainly does the trick – these are the guys who train the contenders of Brawl on the Bund, if that gives you any idea. Prices are 150 RMB for drop-ins, 120 RMB for 10 classes, or 200 RMB for 20 classes – which is a great deal, considering the intensity of the workout you'll get.

Add: Room 1629-1630, 16L, 68 Xinqiao Lu, Near Xinzha Lu
地址:新桥路68号16L楼1629-1630室 ) 靠近新闸路
Tel: 021 5171 7517
Opening Hours: 16:00-22:00 (Mon-Fri), 10:00-17:00 (Sat)

3) China Kettlebell Club
Kettlebell is all the rage in Shanghai right now, and for good reason – it's an intense workout that only feels torturous half the time. Basically a kettlebell is a large weighted ball with a handle (imagine carrying a very heavy suitcase). Because you are constantly moving around with it and turning in different directions, the idea is that every single muscle in your body is getting used and therefore toned – as opposed to static weight lifting which really only allows you to focus on one muscle or set of muscles at a time. Because the kettlebells are heavy and rather bulky, it's important to get the proper technique down. The China Kettlebell Club (which is part of Eternity Fitness) offers a huge range of classes in order to make sure everyone's on the appropriate level. They have Intro (required for anyone who hasn't used kettlebells before), Basic, Circuit, Open, XT, a Ladies class, and Smack Down (only offered on Sundays). Classes start at around 180 RMB and get cheaper the more you buy. See their website for more details:     

4) Spin Shanghai
Spin classes are an intense, non-stop biking class using specialty fixed bikes that have weighted wheels. You adjust the weight on the wheels to either make it harder or easier to pedal. Combine the weight with the go go go speed of the class, and you won't believe your 50 minute session is already over (OK, maybe you will…). At Spin Shanghai, located on Fahuazhen Lu, the music is always blaring and upbeat to keep you motivated, while a television showing various "bike trails" around the world is a good distraction if you find yourself getting tired. Prices are pretty reasonable considering the amount of sweat that will be pouring off you by the end of the class: 120 RMB for a one time class or for a block of 5 classes, 110 RMB per class for 10 classes, or 100 RMB per class for 20 classes. This isn't a drop-in kind of place, however – there are currently only 6 bikes in the studio so it's important to reserve ahead of time. Visit their website for more details and to reserve your spot.

Add: check website for current locations and times
Tel: Opening hours: 6:30, 8:00, 18:00, 19:30 (Mon-Fri); 9:00, 13:00 (Sat-Sun)

5) MMA Fitness Club
Mixed martial arts is not for the faint of heart (as is obvious if you've ever happened to catch a fight on television). But the "combat conditioning" offered at MMA Fitness Club can at least get you towards fighting shape, whether your ultimate goal is actual fighting or just looking good in a swimsuit. Expect to become leaner, more toned, and generally more badass after your lessons here, which also incorporate other fighting techniques such as Muay Thai and Ju-Jitsu. You can join either the group MMA class or get your own private personal martial arts instruction. Group classes run 300 RMB for a month's worth of classes, while personal training runs 300 RMB for a 1 hour session or 400 RMB for a 2 hour session. Group MMA sessions are held at the studio on Zhongshan Lu, but personal training sessions can be held at the location of your choice. Visit their website for more information: 

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Keywords: Shanghai exercise classes Shanghai zumba Shanghai spinning Shanghai MMA


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