Run on air at a trampoline fitness class
A series exploring Boston’s unique fitness classes by someone who hates fitness classes.
We had a trampoline growing up, which got minimal use as an instrument of exercise but was widely regarded as the perfect tanning spot during the summer. So when I hear about a local trampoline workout, I’m skeptical.
The website for Sky Zone in Everett says that you can burn up to 1,000 calories an hour. “Just jumping around?” I wonder. I decide to try it out and bring my friend Karla along.
The name — SkyRobics — makes me think of when my mom took aerobics classes in the town where we lived. It involved spandex shorts, tiny hand weights, and other early ’90s workout cliches.
Sky Zone sits in a massive warehouse, nestled behind a party bus company and just beyond a marble and granite supplier.
The entire gym is 28,000 square feet with multiple trampoline enclosures, each divided into rectangles so you get your own space and don’t crash into others. While SkyRobics is targeted to the adults, the gym is a kid-friendly spot, with birthday parties and free-jump times priced out in 30-minute increments. There are also dodgeball leagues and the 18-plus SkyJam runs from 10 p.m.-midnight on Saturdays.
When we walk inside, the first thing we notice is all the kids. There’s a birthday party in session.
Thankfully, the SkyRobics court we’re directed to is tucked in the back, separate from the hyperactive kids and their camera phone-wielding parents. We wait for our instructor, Sharon.
“She likes to yell. Be ready,” says Brett Bovio, general manager of the gym. Great.
I have to confess, I do hate fitness classes. I like to exercise, but I’m sort of a wimp when it comes to intense instructors. I would much rather run or bike or kayak at my own pace. But I remain optimistic.
Our instructor Sharon Gately is scrappy, in her early 40s, and reminds me of Lori Petty, the actress who played Kit in “A League of Their Own.” She’s been teaching at Sky Zone since it opened in 2012, and elsewhere heads up bootcamps, Zumba classes, boxing lessons, and more.
I ask her if you can really burn 1,000 calories.
“It’s harder than you think,” she says.
We start the class with — what else? — jumping. The warm-up consists of jumping up and down, toe-touches at the edge of our square partitions, and some jumping jacks. In one move, we bring the soles of our feet together while in midair. It’s bouncier than I expected. It’s also harder. I look up at the clock. Eight minutes have passed since the start of the hourlong class. I’m dying.
We jump through a series of instructions from Sharon, who never once yells. She’s actually pretty sweet, singing along to the ’90s pop blasting over the loudspeakers while directing us through moves that include lunges, jumping lunges, jump squats, high knees, push-ups, and a variation of burpees and later mountain climbers.
After 30 minutes I find myself wishing for some ab workouts, if only so I can lie down. I look at the girl next to me — we’re doing handstands now, and she’s nailing it every time. Show off. I learn later she’s a regular.
Sharon does an excellent job of reading the class of 16 — mostly 20-something women and a couple of guys — adjusting the pace when she can see us start to go limp. We’re never stuck on one move for long, and she uses a wristwatch to time us at 60-second intervals.
I catch up with one of the regulars after class, a woman named Pam Rossetti who’s in her 40s and attends the class four times a week, often with her husband and her daughter.
“I’ve lost 20 pounds since I started doing it,” Rossetti says. “It works out everything.”
Her daughter, 22-year-old Erin Willis, doesn’t come quite as often, but works a couple classes into her week around more standard gym workouts.
“I never leave here feeling unsatisfied,” Willis says. “We base our lives around this class.”
I can see how it would get addicting. After just an hour, I’m a sweaty mess and can feel soreness in my calves, quads, arms, and core. It is absolutely a full body workout, and quite challenging cardiovascularly.
At one point, I realize that I haven’t stopped smiling the entire time. Something about jumping around on a trampoline like you’re a kid is pure fun. Getting a workout in the process is a bonus.
Where to find it
69 Norman St., #1B
Everett, MA 02149
Cost: $12 (first class is half price), $100 for 10-class punch card,
$60 for monthly unlimited pass