A bigtop-inspired workout

Femme Fatale Fitness can enhance strength, flexibility and femininity.

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Vibrant magenta silks dangle from the ceiling, a large hoop is suspended on one side of the room while a trapeze bar hangs across the room.

While it appears to be an ideal space for a troupe of circus performers, there is no ringmaster here. Instead, an enthusiastic instructor takes her students through their paces, showing them the ropes or, in this case, the silks.

There is not a treadmill or exercise machine to be found, but these students will get a full body workout. For some, however, that’s not even the best part.

“It is so much fun,” Theresa Brockman said. “It brings the joy back into exercise.”

The Springboro woman treated herself to a class at Femme Fatale Fitness for her 52nd birthday and was hooked. The Kettering fitness facility offers a unique array of options including classes in aerial silks and aerial hoop. The circus workout class utilizes both, as well as a trapeze, to improve stamina, strength, dexterity and grace.

“It really does work the whole body,” instructor Toni Allen said. “You go from station to station and hit every area of the body. And it’s never the same class twice, so it doesn’t get boring.”

No excuses

Amazing strength and incredible artistry — anyone who has ever watched a Cirque du Soleil performance can attest to witnessing both. But, while the talented professional performers make it look easy, Femme Fatale’s circus apparatus may be a bit intimidating at first glance.

“When I came in here the first time, I couldn’t climb and I couldn’t even imagine being inverted,” Corin Potor, of Beavercreek, said. “But it’s amazing how much strength you build and how quickly.”

Allen — who started as a student at Femme Fatale Fitness before becoming an instructor — has heard plenty of excuses.

“I hear ‘I can’t do that’ all of the time, but anybody can do it,” she said. “We have people here in their teens and others in their 50s. Everything we do can be modified.”

Brockman witnessed that diversity in her first class.

“It was all ages and all body shapes,” she said, smiling. “I had never been to anything like this and, by the end of the class, I was suspended sideways in the silks. It was really fun.”

The workout

Femme Fatale’s circus workouts are not designed to prepare you for a career under the big top, they are designed to enhance strength, flexibility, confidence and, even, femininity.

“It’s a very welcoming community,” Potor said. “It’s a positive environment, very empowering.”

The silks, hoops and trapeze are essentially fitness tools. Much like the straps in TRX, the silks can be utilized for body-weight conditioning. Lunges and knee-ups get a unique twist with the silks.

The hoop and trapeze are also useful tools for enhancing balance. And the core gets a workout from start to finish. But it isn’t just about burning calories or building strength.

“It’s a very positive environment, you aren’t competing with anyone in the room,” Allen said. “There is a focus on strength but also on femininity.”

Several of the Femme Fatale classes — like the circus workout — are drop-in classes in which students pay-per-class. For those who want to focus on a specific area such as silks, the advanced classes teach the finer points of twists, flips and inversions.

For more information, go online to www.femmefatalellc.com/.

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