Shanghai exercise classes sans uncomfortable gym pickup lines

Shanghai exercise classes sans uncomfortable gym pickup lines

Say no to 'locked in this 24 month membership yet feeling puny struggling with tiny weights and wondering why he left his shower door open' gym moments with these fun, friendly fitness options
Shanghai exercise classes
Capoeira Mandinga Shanghai's open membership allows anyone who wants to learn this Brazilian art form to join in as long as they're ready to kick, punch, dive, roll and sing their hearts out to thumping Brazilian beats.

The gym can freak out many folks -- lock you in for your entire life type of memberships, make you feel scrawny/fat in your tank top/leggings, and let's not even discuss the sauna, showers or changing rooms. (A colleague saw a guy use the blow drier on his nether regions the other day. While standing on a towel. Seriously, what is that all about?).

So, avoid the gym. Shanghai has options for the anti-gym, busy, transient and commitment-phobic amongst us. These classes accept all four.

1. SISU Pudong Night Cycling: Two-wheeled warriors

Shanghai might be a pedestrian city, but the best way to take in the massive urban sprawl is on two-wheels. SISU Cycling, one of the city’s more popular cycling groups, hops the Huangpu to Pudong at night and explores the local highlights before stopping to check out the winking Bund lights. Suitable for all level of riders; RMB 150 includes guide, bike and helmet. Contact for ride details.

395 Dujuan Lu, near Longyang Lu 杜鹃路395号, 白杨路龙阳路口, +86 138 1663 6060, +86 21 5059 6071, info@sisucycling.com

2. Argentina Tango Practi-Milonga: Bring on the heat

The only thing hotter than Latin heat might be Sichuan spice, so it’s only fitting that this local tango group found its weekend home at the high-end Sichuan restaurant and lounge, South Beauty. Wednesday night practice at their studio starts with a 30-minute free (yes, free) lesson then moves into a milonga where you’ll put your new smooth moves to the ultimate test -- on the dance floor. All levels are welcome in the class and on the dance floor. On the weekend, tango it up at South Beauty with Shanghai’s other Latin lovers. RMB 70 includes entrance and a drink.

2/F, 777 Wuyi Lu 777, near Zhongshan Xi Lu, inside Star Gym 武夷路777号2楼, 近中山西路, +86 135 2418 9770, official_tangoshanghai@yahoo.com.cn, groups.yahoo.com/group/shanghai_argentine_tango

3. Capoeira Mandinga Shanghai: Join the roda

A word of warning: this class might kick your posterior while also toning it up. Capoeira, a Brazilian martial arts that combines, dance, gymnastics, throbbing Brazilian beats, has finally come to Shanghai. This group of international capoeira enthusiasts welcomes all levels of practitioners into the roda from newbies to veterans alike -- just be prepared to sweat. RMB 70 per lesson.

780 Changning Lu, 长宁路780号, +86 137 6116 4307, capoeirashanghai@yahoo.com, www.capoeirashanghai.com

4. Shanghai Blush: Shake and shimmy

There's no real secret why pole dancing classes have become so popular -- it's the sexiest way to work up a sweat around. While it might look like all fun, games and a piece of pie when professionals shimmy up and down their poles, give it a try and you’ll see that this class is more than just the art of seduction. It’s about working out. And it is really hard work. Although you’ll never be far from your pole, each class incorporates "stage props" from chairs to scarves and hats to add some spice to your routine. Call for class prices.

2/F, No. 84 Fujian Lu, near Guangdong Lu 福建路84号2楼, 近广东路, +86 136 1164 3267, +86 136 5194 2171, shanghaiblush@gmail.com, www.shanghaiblush.com.cn

5. Rainbow League Kaixin Volleyball Group: Pass, set and spike

Pass, set and spike with a rainbow coalition of Shanghailanders. Every Sunday, gay and gay-friendly players join in for informal volleyball games. Membership mainly consists of local Chinese, so knowing some Mandarin is helpful, but the expat LGBT community and friends are warmly welcomed. Practice saying “Jia You!” (Go! Charge!) and “Wo Lai” (I’ve got it!) and you’ll be fine.

Nanyang High School gym, 4/F, Zhongshan Nan Lu, near Damuqiao Lu 中山南路, 进大木桥路, qcshhz@hotmail.com, www.weour.net