Today’s news:

In the buff

for The Brooklyn Paper

Everybody makes his New Year’s resolution to exercise more, but few people can find the time or the willpower to stick with it. Now that we’re two months into 2008 — and just a few more away from hitting the beaches — fitness fanatics across the borough are finding it easy to stay in shape thanks to the wide range of classes that local gyms are offering. And although you might not have worn spandex since step aerobics first hit town, with classes that employ everything from trapezes to martial arts, even your sense of adventure will get a workout.

Body Elite Gym

Of all the dance-inspired classes at Body Elite Gym in Carroll Gardens, “Soul Ballet” is the most popular.

“It incorporates ballet for a cardio workout and muscle conditioning,” said fitness manager Michelle Aluqdah. Instructor and professional dancer Rey Santiago has been teaching for years and whips his class into shape by helping you improve balance and body strength. The hour-long session includes dancing, yoga and aerobics.

“The soul is defiantly in the music as you work out in your bare feet to improve the core balance,” said Aluqdah.

“Soul Ballet” is offered at 9:30 am on Thursdays at Body Elite Gym (348 Court St. at Union Street in Carroll Gardens). A day pass to the gym is $15; a monthly membership is $67. For information, call (718) 935-0088 or visit

Eastern Athletic Club

Newcomers would be forgiven for thinking Eastern Athletic Club, with locations in Brooklyn Heights and Prospect Park, is a nightclub. The gym is heavy on dance-inspired workouts including classes in “Capoeira,” an ancient Brazilian form of martial arts, and “Nia Technique,” which fuses ballet, karate and Pilates.

“We find that the Brooklyn residents love to move,” said Aisha Cowart, fitness director of the club. “The more dance classes we offer, the more we get them a cardiovascular workout.”

But don’t be fooled. Although these exercises look beautiful, they’re still tough on your body. So, much like trying out a new move on the dance floor, it’s smart to take it easy during your first two visits.

“Capoeira” is offered at 6:30 pm on Tuesdays and “Nia Technique” is offered at 10:15 am on Saturdays at Eastern Athletic Club [43 Clark St. between Hicks and Henry streets in Brooklyn Heights, (718) 625-0500]. The “Nia Technique” is also offered at 9:30 am on Mondays at the Prospect Heights location [17 Eastern Pkwy. at Underhill Avenue, (718) 789-4600]. For $25 you can use any of the clubs’ facilities for the day; monthly membership is $110. For more information, visit

Espana-Streb Trapeze Academy

Bring your workout to new heights with an “Aerial Yoga” class at Espana-Streb Trapeze Academy. “Aerial Yoga” begins with traditional yoga “asanas” (poses) on the floor and then moves to the trapeze.

“It’s about moving though space and eliminating the transitions,” said Education Director Sarah Donnelly. Not only does it claim to relax your mind, but the class will utilize your whole body as a base of support while building muscle strength. Find inner peace off the ground while improving shoulders and abs.

“Aerial Yoga” is offered Saturdays at noon and 1:30 pm or Mondays at 7 pm by reservation only at Streb Laboratory for Action Mechanics (S.L.A.M., 51 N. First St. at Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg). Each 90-minute class costs $15. For more information, call (718) 384-6491 or visit

Harbor Fitness Center

So you always wanted to be in “Fight Club”? Now you can at Harbor Fitness Center’s version of the club. In their “Fight Club!” class, the instructor is padded from head to toe, so you can practice boxing with a real person.

Fitness Manager Jodi Heywood said that the members “love the ‘Fight Club’ class, because it takes the skills and moves they have learned in kickboxing and puts them into action.” Participants take turns with the teacher for one-on-one instruction while the others practice with the punching bags. This class works out your entire body and helps to hone self-defense skills.

“Fight Club” is offered from 9 to 10 am on Wednesdays at Harbor Fitness Center [191 15th St. between Fourth and Fifth avenues, (718) 965-6200]. Other classes are offered at the Bay Ridge location [9215 Fourth Ave. at 92nd Street in Bay Ridge, (718) 238-9400]. Buy an unlimited guest pass for the day for $20. For more information, call or visit

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