FLEX APPEAL. To say that I was nervous when I showed up at Reflex Functional Fitness for a 30-minute “Butts + Guts” class that turned out to be a 45-minute “Boxing Plus” class would be an understatement. There I was, eye to eye, with Reese Ashe (Black Belt and four-year NCAA Division I wrestler at Coppin State) who recently ended his 13-year stint as a top trainer at Federal Hill Fitness to open his own no-frills studio in the Southside Shopping Center with his wife (and triathlete/trainer) Amanda Poppleton. But I donned a pair of pink boxing gloves and hit the AstroTurf—not to mention the heavy bags and Ashe, himself, who couldn’t help but smile at my “nice girl” propensity to aim for his gloves instead of his body.
What I loved: After jump ropes and battle ropes, I was losing steam—feeling like I couldn’t push through another round of boxing. Reese cued into my comfort zone (the music: ironically, “Stronger” by Kanye West) and sweetly said, “We’re just dancing,” which helped me pace myself and punch to the beat until I had completed my most challenging workout in weeks. Reese teaches 23 of the weekly classes. (Amanda helms High Intensity Interval Training.) Their philosophy: “We won’t give up on you.” Unlimited classes, $99 to $119/month. Drop-in, $15 to $20. reflexfitbaltimore.com
SHORT PEOPLE. My fave part of working out with my 5-foot-short buddy, Jaime, is the “boost” I have to give her when we belly up to the ballet barre. Listen up, Nugget! There’s a new class in town—courtesy of the sexy, smoothie-swilling stars known as Soul Body (aka Ann Marie Barbour and Stacey Vandiver) whose custom “SB” fitness classes are offered at a growing list of gyms, such as Thomas Moreland Fitness and Merritt Athletic Clubs. Their latest creation: SB Body Barre boasts many of the same muscle-toning, profanity-inducing moves as traditional barre, but it’s performed while holding a 6- or 9-pound “body bar” in your own sweaty little hands. Let’s just say when I tried the class at BeachFit Baltimore, everyone was doing the “modified” version by the end. soulbodyonline.com