Well hot dang. There’s nothing like an end-of-the-year review to remind you that you actually DID do a lot of fun active and outdoorsy stuff, even if it simultaneously feels like you spent an awful lot of time sitting in front of a computer. (I did spend a lot of time in front of the computer – sometimes even on really sunny and fantastic summer weekends. It happens.) But this favorite workouts list is a testament to the fact that, even if life is busy and we have jobs and responsibilities and families and home repair projects that soak up our time, it’s still possible to squeeze in some physical activity, whether it’s a three-times-a-week workout or a sporadic outdoor adventure. The key to making sure it doesn’t get bumped off the calendar is to pick stuff we genuinely enjoy doing. And maybe bring some friends along.
To help you nail down a few workouts and activities you might genuinely enjoy, here’s a list of Maine workouts and adventures from 2017. Hopefully you’ll find a few things here that pique your interest and you can start making plans for an active, sweat-filled, and memorable 2018.
There’s more where this came from. Check out last year’s list of favorites:
9 fun ways to get active in 2017 (aka, my favorite Maine workouts and events of 2016)
Punk Rope at Body by John, Portland
The Punk Rope class at Body By John in Portland is a challenging 45 minutes of rope jumping to loud music in a cool warehouse-like gym. It’s not straight-up jumping the whole time, though. In between the jumping, instructor Kathryn Foley leads the class in burpees, high knees, and butt kicks.
Go ahead and jump: Punk Rope at Body by John, Portland
Yoga + beer at Dirigo Brewing Co., Biddeford
For an easy-going Sunday that you can still feel proud to talk about at work on Monday, there’s Downdogs at Dirigo. This weekly event combines an hour of yoga with a glass of your favorite Dirigo Brewing Co. beer. (To be clear, you do the yoga first, then drink the beer. Not that beer-during-yoga wouldn’t also be lovely, but think of it most as a post-yoga reward.)
Downdogs at Dirigo: An hour of yoga followed by Dirigo beer in Biddeford
Obstacle course workout with Spartan SGX BFD, Biddeford
Anne L’Heureux does is a Spartan racer and Spartan SGX certified coach (and a registered dietitian at Hannaford, so she’s well-verse in nutrition talk, too) and she runs outdoor obstacle classes in her yard starting in April and ending when the snow won’t let her anymore (usually in November). The classes are perfect for anyone looking to start training for their first-ever obstacle course race (Spartan, Tough Mudder, Warrior Dash, etc.) or anyone who’s already done obstacle course races and wants to improve their endurance and agility.
Obstacle course workout in Biddeford’s coolest backyard: Spartan SGX BFD
Hula Hoop Quest Fitness, Kennebunk
Instructor Holly Brooks brings her energy and sass to every FXP Hula Hoop Fitness class, making it a lively and welcoming environment, even if it takes a while to remember how to make the hoop go ’round. (If you haven’t hooped in a while – or ever – no worries. You’ll pick it up in no time.)
Group fitness (like Hula Hoop!) and a saltwater pool at Quest Fitness in Kennebunk
Body Weight Routine at Optimal Self, Portland
During the Wednesday night Body Weight Routine class at Optimal Self in Portland, the weight you’ll be lifting is YOU. Eric Hilton, who owns the wellness center/gym on Congress Street, leads the hour-long class, which is made of a three-set circuit that works your entire body using your own body weight.
Pull-up, push-up, dip: Body Weight Routine at Optimal Self, Portland
Beginner squash clinics at Portland Community Squash, Portland
Portland Community Squash is home to four regulation squash courts, gym, and locker rooms. Membership includes access to the leagues and all fitness classes, too. And for those of us who don’t know a darn thing about the sport, there are free clinics on Tuesday nights for women and on Thursday nights for men. If you don’t have gear, there are plenty of racquets, protective eyewear, and even sneakers available to borrow.
Learn squash! Free beginner clinics at Portland Community Squash
Rock climbing with Equinox Guiding Service, Camden
Experienced guides Noah and John lead climbs year-round for climbers of all levels, although most tend to be novices looking to challenge themselves and try something adventurous and new. Rock climbing is more accessible that it might seem at first glance, and the experience is one you’ll remember (and probably brag about).
Rock climbing in Camden with Equinox Guiding Service
Aqua Fitness at St. Joseph’s College, Standish
During an Aqua Fitness class at St. Joseph’s College in Standish, you might forget you’re actually exercising…at least until those innocuous-looking foam dumbbells come out. (They weigh nothing on land and yet they’re sources of pure muscle exhaustion once they’re in the water.) Exercising in a pool is also great for folks with joint issues or people who aren’t fans of the high-impact stuff.
Aqua Fitness: Work out in the pool at St. Joseph’s College, Standish
Community class at The Distance Project, Freeport
Trainer David Bidler isn’t simply there to lead us through a string of burpees and deadlifts and lunges (although he’ll do that, too), he wants us to really understand the mechanics behind what we’re doing. Each week (and during all his classes), David focuses on a few key components. But here’s what’s even sweeter: this Saturday community class is free. And open to everyone. Every Saturday at 8 a.m., year-round.
Lift and learn: Free community class Saturdays at The Distance Project, Freeport
Zumba at Happy Wheels, Portland
You can have a grand, body-moving good time at Happy Wheels without skates during a high-energy Zumba class. Studio Fit holds classes there every day of the week (see the full schedule). The music is upbeat and loud, the disco balls are going, the rink is filled with colorful lights and Zumba dancers of all levels, and the energy is simply fantastic.
Zumba at Happy Wheels with Studio Fit in Portland
Pole Dancing with 207 Pole Fitness, Biddeford
But pole dancing – a combination of dance and seriously impressive acrobatics done on a vertical pole – has found it’s way into fitness studios. Much like popular circus arts like aerial silks, pole dancing (or pole fitness, as it’s often called) requires strength, flexibility, endurance, and a bit of panache to make it all look so graceful. Learning the art translates into a solid workout that’s equal parts strength training and cardiovascular fitness.
Strength and artistry on the pole at 207 Pole Fitness in Biddeford
Women’s surfing lessons with Maine Surfers Union, Scarborough
Maine Surfers Union leads women’s surfing lessons at Higgins Beach in Scarborough all summer. Wetsuits and surfboards are supplied, and it’s a welcoming chance for beginners to glean tips from experienced surfers and learn to catch waves alongside other beginners. (There’s comfort in learning to surf in a group, where you’re all tumbling sideways into the water and not quite getting that pop-up right and then cheering each other on when it all starts to click.)
Women’s surfing lessons Wednesdays at Higgins Beach with Maine Surfers Union
Adult circus arts at Circus Maine, Portland
Circus Maine offers several classes for grownups: adult fitness, aerial foundations, intro aerial fabric, tumbling, hand balancing, Chinese pole, mime, clowning, and wall trampoline. (There are also youth classes.) Each class is geared toward beginners and will not only teach you new skills, but you’ll also work on overall strength and flexibility, which means you’ll get one heck of a workout while learning something new and cool.
Learn silks, trapeze & aerial hoop: Adult circus arts at Circus Maine
Fitness kickboxing at Riverview Martial Arts, South Portland
It sure does feel good to punch and kick an inanimate object in a socially appropriate environment. At Riverview Martial Arts in South Portland, you can do a whole lot of socially appropriate kicking and punching during a fitness kickboxing class. You’ll also do pushups and ab work and squats and lunges, which means the sweat will be abundant and you’re certain to be spent by the end of the 55-minute class.
Jab, hook, kick: Fitness kickboxing at Riverview Martial Arts, South Portland
70s-era workout stations at Beaver Park, Lisbon
This family-focused park off Cotton Road has seven miles of easy-going trails, as well as two regulation softball diamonds, picnic areas, and swimming ponds. But the neatest thing at Beaver Park, in my pull-up-fantasizing opinion, is the one-mile fitness trail, complete with 70s-era workout stations.
70s-era workout stations + easy hiking trails at Beaver Park in Lisbon
Hiking yoga with Yoga on York
Imagine doing mountain pose ON A MOUNTAIN. Or tree pose among trees. Or having the yoga instructor guide you to reach for the sky or point your toes toward the ocean. Yoga on York leads hiking yoga classes every other Sunday in the summers at Mount Agamenticus in York. It’s a short trek to the summit where you’ll do yoga in the open air.
Hiking yoga on Mount Agamenticus with Yoga on York
Learn lightsaber with LudoSport, Westbrook
Lightsaber combat is what it sounds like: duels using a well-known (albeit not real) weapon, the lightsaber. But we’re not talking about those random swings and wacks to the noggin we perpetrated on our school friends and siblings. LudoSport lightsaber combat is a sport, complete with rules, duels, and international ratings. Students learn seven different combat styles, which draw on multiple forms of martial arts and are built around the capabilities of the lightsaber – if it were real. And yes, it’s also meant to be fun.
Learn lightsaber combat at LudoSport Portland in Westbrook
Ice climbing with Acadia Mountain Guides, Acadia
There’s a whole world of things I don’t know about ice and climbing, which is why guided climbing trips with outfits like Acadia Mountain Guides Climbing School are so fantastic. They supply the gear and expertise to keep us safe, which means we get to focus on having a good time and swinging those axes like a champ. Acadia Mountain Guides goes all over – Acadia, Camden, Moosehead Lake region, Bangor area, and the White Mountains.
Ice climbing in Acadia National Park with Acadia Mountain Guides
Yoga at Funky Bow Brewery, Lyman
During the winter, the yoga class is held in the tap room – a nifty hoop house that boasts a bunch of picnic tables, pizza oven, and a small bar with several taps. Even if you’ve done yoga in a brewery elsewhere, this experience is pretty unique. After class, the tap room doors open to the public and folks start staking their claims at the picnic tables. The room fills with conversation and the ovens start churning out pizzas (which are excellent), and then the band kicks in with lively music. There’s a bonfire outside, too.
Yoga in the hoop house/tap room at Funky Bow Brewery in Lyman
Indoor cycling at Kennebunkport Bicycle Company, Kennebunkport
Kennebunkport Bicycle Company certainly isn’t the first place to offer indoor cycling classes, but this bike-shop-by-summer has found a way to lure us fair-weather riders in even in the winter. And while you ride, you’ll get to gaze upon all the road bikes and mountain bikes and cruisers in the shop and fantasize about all the outdoor riding you’ll do in the spring.
Ride inside: Indoor cycling at Kennebunkport Bicycle Company
Cross-country skiing at Titcomb Mountain, Farmington
Titcomb is a family-friendly place to ski – downhill or cross-country. The 16 kilometers of cross-country trails are pretty sweet, and the chance to ski past sunset on the lit trails feels like a rare treat. The trails are regularly groomed for classic and skate skiing.
Cross-country skiing under the lights at Titcomb Mountain, Farmington