Over the past decade the number of fitness fusion classes has skyrocketed. Just offhand I can name half a dozen: Piloxing, Piyoga, Yogilates, Walkilates, Poolates, and Exhale Spa’s Core Fusion. Now, in the best of all possible worlds (yes, I taught philosophy) any fusion workout should offer the best of both while still respecting the separate disciplines. However, as often happens, in practice the fusion classes tend to offer at best a watered-down version of each discipline that doesn’t do justice to either.
Take Viveca Jensen’s Piloxing as an example. According to their website,
“PILOXING blends the power, speed and agility of boxing with the beautiful sculpting and flexibility of Pilates. Add to that the fun and sexy dance moves that reflect Viveca’s personality… and weight gloves.”
So far so good, except that Pilates is itself a full-blown full body exercise system that incorporates both mat and specific apparatus, and boxing also has a body of training. Neither is just a series of “moves.”
Piloxing is also touted as being more female-oriented than either Pilates or boxing, but again that is not true to the roots of either. Pilates was invented by a German man, Joseph Pilates, during the turn of the twentieth century while he was interned by the British as an enemy alien during WWI. His original exercises were geared towards men who needed to stay in shape in cramped quarters, and while his clientele later expanded to include ballerinas and other performers, Pilates is not a women-centric exercise method. For that matter, neither is boxing.
And finally, where do the “fun and sexy dance moves” and the weighted gloves come from? Not in Pilates or in boxing, as far as I know. Weighted gloves do not appear in any Pilates exercises, although we do use arm weights and springs as well as body weight to increase strength and tone in the arms. The weighted gloves do not “maximize cardiovascular health.” Doing high intensity cardiovascular exercise, gloves or no gloves, accomplishes that. And the dance moves are, well, dance aerobics.
Is the workout effective? Will you tone up, sweat, increase cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength? Probably, but you could also attain that walking, running, biking, or doing boxing, dance aerobics, and Pilates separately. Look, if you need motivation to exercise and a fun, new fusion gets you moving, that’s great. But do not expect to get the same benefits or intensity from a fusion workout that would have from a straight session of whatever modality you prefer.