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Natural Awakenings Indianapolis

Local Opportunities for Meeting Winter Fitness Goals

Dec 31, 2016 03:33AM ● By Allie McFee

With the holiday season of delicious food and spirits in the rearview mirror, New Year’s resolutions often stimulate motivation to incorporate more fitness and healthy habits. Yet, the desire initially felt can easily wear off within the first few weeks or months, particularly as work schedules increase and cold weather makes it a challenge to go outside. For those living in the Midwest, access to skiing and snowboarding are not readily available, but there are still many resources in Indianapolis for making and keeping fitness goals—from yoga studios, to acrobatic and CrossFit gyms—either with group camaraderie or personal one-on-one training. Local fitness pros share ideas and tips for how to successfully stick with fitness objectives during the winter and foster long-term achievement.

“It’s important to make lifestyles changes in increments,” says Alyssa Pfennig, owner of Embarque Yoga Therapy. “It’s easy to set yourself up for failure by making huge new year’s goals, but it’s better to be consistent, commit each day and be gentle with your body with self-care.”

Embarque Yoga Therapy offers both restorative and strength building classes. Yoga helps open the shoulders and hips, areas that often become tight from sitting at a desk all day. Job tasks with physical repetitive motion have the potential to create stress injuries if there is poor posture. Yoga helps prevent injury by improving posture through spinal movements, stretching and deep breathing.

For achieving success, Pfenning suggests committing to a new fitness activity for 30-day increments at a time to keep routines new and exciting. She also recommends attending a class in the morning before or right after work as it can be a challenge to leave home again after a long workday, especially in the months with less daylight.

For those new to yoga, Embarque offers an Intro to Yoga Series in January to teach the fundamentals of postural alignment.

Maria Broaddus, registered nurse, and Pilates and yoga instructor at AcroIndy, agrees it’s important to set realistic fitness goals as well as incorporate healthy nutrition to help the body recover quickly from workouts.

“Throughout the day, keep moving to incorporate small bursts of energy,” says Broaddus. “You can take the stairs at work or park a distance away and bundle up with a hat and scarf. You can do several push-ups in the morning and stretching in the evening.”

For those wanting to exercise but are injured, Mat Pilates includes specific movements for back and knee injuries. The exercises move the spine in all directions while strengthening abdominal muscles. If one is new to Pilates or needs modifications because of an injury, Broaddus offers private or small group sessions in which she can help assess and teach exercises to help strengthen the body to heal.

For muscle recovery, she recommends staying hydrated by drinking lemon with water in the morning, echinacea or green tea during the day and herbal bedtime tea at night. She suggests getting plenty of vitamin C from oranges or broccoli, and probiotics from Greek yogurt or supplements to prevent the flu. Supporting the immune system through the right nutrition and hydration is key to long-term fitness success during the winter.

For children, AcroIndy offers gymnastics and tumbling classes that teach and assist with cartwheels, runoffs, back handsprings and tucks. Elementary and high school ages often attend, especially those with acrobatic and cheerleading backgrounds intent on working on building specific skills.

AcroIndy also offers adult gymnastic classes as well as Acroyoga, a partner- style yoga, which combines yoga and acrobatics to improve alignment. The Acroyoga class meets as an “open jam” Fridays at 6 p.m. No previous experience is necessary.

For those wanting full-body workouts at a gym setting in a group atmosphere with camaraderie, CrossFit Naptown offers CrossFit classes, which focus on using the body to create muscle rather than using machines. Class attendees use medicine balls, dumbbells, gymnastic rings and pullup rigs to build their fitness. As classes are in groups, this builds community, accountability and friendships.

For people new to CrossFit, Cross- Fit Indy offers a two-week foundations course for personalized attention as well as regular goal-setting sessions  for laying out ways to help attendees achieve tangible goals throughout the year.

Whether it’s yoga or CrossFit, sledding with your children, popping in a workout DVD or doing squats in the kitchen while cooking, local fitness experts all agree that consistency achieves goals, the right nutrition enhances recovery and prevents the flu, and community classes help build accountability for maintaining long-term fitness goals well past the new year.

Embarque Yoga Therapy is located in south Broad Ripple at 5345 N. Winthrop Ave., Ste. E, Indianapolis. For more information, visit

AcroIndy is located at 1001 N. Country Club Rd., Indianapolis. For more information, visit

CrossFit Naptown is located downtown at 609 N. Delaware, Indianapolis. For more information, visit

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