Manila’s best alternative workouts: barre, boxing, indoor cycling, surfing, climbing

Where to sweat it out, work it off, and pump some iron in Manila…

We all need to keep fit, but sometimes doing the same old workout can be a drag. It’s hard to bring yourself on the daily (or on the weekly) to the same treadmill, the boring free weights, and the tired aerobics class.

Manila is full of options for spicing up your workout routine, making it less boring and perhaps even offering better results since your body probably gets just as tired of a boring old workout as your brain does.

There are, of course, other ways to work up a sweat — flying trapeze, doing anti-gravity yoga, and surfing indoors. And those options are all available right here in the city.

Two spinning options

Photo: Electric Studio/Facebook

Spinning, or indoor cycling, is a tried-and-true alternative workout, much more fun and spirited than plodding along on the elliptical. When the lights are down, the music is up, and the instructor is screaming at you to “Just.Keep.Going” — it works wonders in burning those calories off.

Two places that get rave reviews in Manila are Electric Studio and Ride Revolution.

Photo: Ride Revolution/Facebook

With branches in Bonifacio Global City (BGC), Makati, and Mandaluyong, Electric offers candlelight and choreography during rides, as well as free weights during class to tone the upper body along with the lower. They stress the aspects of riding together to build community and positivity.

Ride also has three locations around the city and prides itself on its pay-as-you-go system without contracts or commitments. They believe the strength of their customized workouts will keep riders coming back even without a financial obligation to do so. They also stress the importance of wearing specialty cleated shoes to spin in order to engage the hamstrings and glutes to achieve lean, toned legs.

Anti-gravity yoga

Photo: Beyond Yoga/Facebook

For a workout that might feel wholly unnatural but produce out-of-this-world results, check out anti-gravity (aerial) yoga at Beyond Yoga. With five studios scattered around the city, they bill themselves as the largest full-service yoga studio in metro Manila and offer classes for all levels.

The benefits of this style of yoga, performed while hanging from a silk loop attached to the ceiling — other than the feeling of flying, of course — include: joint decompression, better alignment, less strain and relief from vertebrae pressure.

Ladies only

Photo: Curves/Facebook

Curves is a chain of mini-gyms scattered across the US that are open only for women and offer 30-minute workouts made up of short weight-lifting bursts followed by quick cardio intervals. They call this the “Curves circuit.” The ladies-only gym trend has made it to Manila, with five outlets located across the city, each with its own “Curves coach” on hand to help guests along and answer any questions.


Photo: Sparta/Facebook

Everything old is new again — and that’s certainly the case at Sparta. This Mandayulong City calisthenics academy aims to create elite athletes at their “one-stop, sports, lifestyle, and wellness center.” Naming their brand values as fearlessness, respect, honor, and excellence, we’re guessing this isn’t going to be a workout you can half-ass your way through.

Flying trapeze

Photo: Flying Trapeze/Facebook

For the truly daring, check out Flying Trapeze Philippines, the only full-sized flying trapeze setup in the Philippines, where you can pretend you’re a true circus star. This alt-exercise spot is in BGC and allows visitors, from total newbies to advanced circus trainees, to feel the wind in their hair as they fly through the air and get a great, full body toning workout.

Indoor climbing

Photo: Indoor Climbing/Facebook

Whether indoor or out, rock climbing is one of the hardest sports out there — both mentally and physically. The main difference is that it’s somewhat safer indoors. At Mandayulong City’s Climb Central, you can try basic routes perfect for first-timers or advanced maneuvers for those that dream of someday conquering Everest. Sign up for classes, climb routes with a belay buddy, or boulder on your own.

Indoor surfing

Photo: Flowhouse/Facebook

Hang ten indoors at this unusual workout spot. Located at The Seasons mall in Cavite, Flow House Manila promises a great, heart-pounding workout with a laid-back California vibe with food, beer, DJs, bands, contests, and more. Even if you’re not interested in a work out like this, it’s still a pretty cool place for chilling and people-watching.


Photo: Ninja Academy/Facebook

The cleverly-named parkour school Ninja Academy in Quezon City teaches you how to be Spiderman. Just kidding. But after a few classes, you will be able to run up walls, balance on tiny beams and do things you never thought possible. A few side benefits of this workout? Rock hard abs, cut calves, bulging thighs and crazy confidence. They offer a six-month “ninja bod” program and 30-minute obstacle course classes called “the gauntlet” that happen four times every day.

Circuit training

Photo: 360 Fitness/Facebook

There are few exercises that get you in and out of the gym faster than circuit training. At 360 Fitness, which has six locations across the city, you’ll maximize every minute with one of the hardest, sweatiest, fastest-moving workouts around. Using weights, kettlebells, your own body weight, and all kinds of other equipment, you’re bound to get buff fast.


Photo: Barre 3/Facebook

Barre workouts may look easy, but they are one of the most challenging alt-workouts out there. If you’ve never been forced to hold an agonizing tip-toe plié for an entire minute — or felt the extreme soreness the next day — then we don’t want to hear how easy it is. However, stick with a barre program like those at Barre 3 in Rockwell, and you’ll get a long, lean, defined look.


Photo: Flyweight/Facebook

Last but not least, here’s an alternative workout for those with a bit of aggression they want to work off. Flyweight offers real boxing techniques taught safely for beginners to advanced students. They use six-foot heavy bags and work in intervals for max calories burned. How many, you might ask? Up to 750 calories per hour, they say, as well as toned muscle, fat reduction, and increased metabolism.

Leave a Reply

What's New, What's Happening

By signing up for our newsletters you agree with our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy