The Area’s Best Health & Fitness Classes and Courses for Fall

Who says the kids should be only ones headed back to school?

Ah, September. The first few crunchy leaves are littering the sidewalk, kids are once again touting backpacks, and the smell of No. 2 pencils is in the air. If you feel a little nostalgic for the excitement and that fresh, clean-slate feeling that the start of school used to bring, check out our roundup of the area’s best health and fitness classes and courses starting up this fall and exercise your brain as well as your body. From healthy cooking classes and weight loss seminars to mountain climbing and beginner’s jazz, there’s something for everyone. — Jenna Bergen, research and writeups by Alyssa Brindisi

Calling A Truce With Food
How many times have you reached for that last brownie not because you want it, or need it, but just because it’s … there? Sometimes, when it comes to weight loss, we are our own worst enemy. In this group program you’ll learn to end self-sabotage, deconstruct your personal cravings, fit healthy food into an on-the-go lifestyle, learn what foods your body really needs, and many more tips to achieve your weight loss goals—without your own interference.
5-Week Series: Mondays, September 13 – October 11, 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. $299. Eviama Life Spa, 262 South 16th Street, 215-545-3344.

Prenatal Yoga
Whether you’re a newbie or a yogini, 3 months or 8 months, yoga is known to be beneficial in pregnancy.  Remove yourself from the stresses of the workweek, relieve lower back and shoulder strain, and strengthen your muscles during this weekly prenatal yoga class. Through breath work and stretching you will ease anxiety and help better prepare your body for the moment when junior decides he’s ready to come out and join the party.
4-Week Series: Sundays, October 3–24, 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. $65. Must bring waiver with doctor’s signature. Yogawood, 688 Haddon Avenue, Collingswood, 856-858-YOGA.

Five Ingredients or Less
Back to school means jam-packed schedules and  less time to do everything, including cooking. While everyone feels the weight of the busy fall season, your health should not be the one thing that suffers. Let Katie Cavuto-Boyle, regular Be Well contributor and nutritionist for the Phils, lend you a helping hand by providing you with quick meals that are constructed with five ingredients or less. Not only are these meals timesavers, but also they consist of local, fresh ingredients such as fish and veggies.
September 23, 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. $65. Healthy Bites To-go, 2521 Christian Street, 877-667-6495.

Gluten-Free Baking
Just because you are restricted from eating Gluten due to health reasons, or made the choice to cut it out of your diet, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the same foods as everyone else. In this class, you’ll learn to make healthy, delicious, gluten-free substitutes for your favorite treats such as banana bread, chocolate -ipped coconut macaroons, and garden veggie pizza.
September 27, 6:30 p.m. $69. Sur La Table, 690 West Dekalb Pike, Suite 2068, King of Prussia, 800-243-0852.

Broadway Jazz

There are more interesting ways to break a sweat than a monotonous jog on a treadmill, and this class proves it by combining Broadway music and choreography for a full-body work out. Utilizing warm-ups, stretching and across-the-floor work with different styles of jazz dance, you’ll leave behind some calories and take home a knowledge of basic dance vocabulary and  dance moves from famous Broadway musicals.

10-Week Series: Tuesdays, September 28 – November 30, 5:45 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. $210. The University of the Arts, 320 South Broad Street, 215-717-6006.

Pilates for Back Pain
Sitting in your cubicle all day, carrying kids, hauling groceries – everyday tasks can take a toll on your back. Set aside one day a week to refresh your mind and ease your back pain. Through Pilates-based exercises and stretches you will tighten the muscles that contribute to back pain.
7-Week Series: September 30 – November 11, 7:45 p.m. – 8:55 p.m. $99. Conestoga High School, 200 Irish Road, Berwyn, 610-687-0460.

Small Changes, Big Results: How to Add Healthy Options to Your Everyday Menu
If you think staying healthy and cooking nutritious meals is more of a chore than a joy, head to this workshop where you’ll learn timesaving tips, ways to add some fun to healthy cooking, and debunk well-known diet myths. You will leave with the knowledge of what foods you need to start your day, how to cook with vitamin-rich foods, and healthy recipes to take home and try out.
October 30, 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 a.m. $59. Creutzburg Center, 260 Gulph Creek Road, Radnor, 610-687-0460.

Funk Fitness
This weekly class is less of a class and more of a dance party. Dancing to your favorite music is fun and burns calories, so come join the party and swap dance moves and music with fellow classmates. The best part? You won’t even realize you’re exercising.
10-Week Session: September 15 – November 17, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. $119. First Position Dance Arts, 10 East Athens Avenue, Suite 204, Ardmore, 610-687-0460.

Discover Your Best Health
Leave your calorie charts and diet books behind, grab your open mind and join this six-week holistic program designed to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Topics include increasing your energy, overcoming your cravings, and constructing better meals with better foods. You’ll finish the program with a motivation to lead a healthier lifestyle as well as recipes and food samples to assist you.
6-Week Series: Tuesdays, October 5 – November 9, 6:00 p.m. – 7:15 p.m. $199. RYAH Yoga and Health, 424 East Elm Street, Conshohocken, 610-834-1551.

Introduction to Climbing
Rock climbing in the Philadelphia area is available daily at the Philadelphia Rock Gyms. If you’re interested in learning to rock climb, the most important lesson is safety. In this introductory course you’ll learn to operate safety ropes, tie knots, and the fundamental climbing movements so you can climb like a pro—and build a killer body and torch calories while you’re at it.
Classes every hour on the half hour, Monday – Friday, 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.; Saturday – Sunday, all day. $42 introduction package (includes lesson, equipment rental and day pass). Philadelphia Rock Gyms,122 Mill Rd, Oaks; Philadelphia Rock Gyms, 255 Mount Airy Road, Valley Township, 877-822-ROPE.

8 Weeks to Nutritional Wellness
The saying goes that an apple a day keeps the doctor away; in truth, many fruits and vegetables will help keep you healthy. Through this series of classes you’ll learn which fats and vegetables can be help ward off the disease and slow the aging process. You’ll also get a glimpse of what healthy means in other cultures.  At the end of eight weeks you’ll go home with food samples, recipes and reference materials so can experiment in the kitchen with new nutritional foods.
8-Week Series: Tuesdays, September 21 – November 9, 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. $64 (includes materials, food samples, ingredients, recipes). For adults 50+ years. The Ralston Center, 3615 Chestnut Street, 215-386-2984

Level 1 Skills Pole Dance Fitness
While pole dancing may seem a little, uh, scandalous, the fitness benefits may surprise you. (And the scandalous-ness may be just what you need to break out of your ho-hum routine!)  You’ll participate in a combination of dance, intense strength and flexibility conditioning, and stretching. Show up with an open mind and ready to break a sweat, and this 75-minute work out will be both fun and rewarding. In addition to a great workout, you may even leave with a few fun new skills.
10-Week Series: Thursdays, 7:45 p.m. – 8:45 p.m. $200. Must be at least 18 years old. Awakenings Pole Dance Fitness, 499 South Henderson Road, King of Prussia, 610-348-7165.

Introduction to Mountain Biking
Mountain biking is a great way to tone your legs and tush, and get in a great cardio workout. If you’re hesitant to conquer a mountain side on two wheels, this class will help you feel confident the next time you head out on your own. You’ll learn basic techniques of shifting, breaking, ascending, descending and maneuvering around obstacles on easy terrain. Bicycles will be provided free of charges for those who do not have one.
October 10, 10:00 a.m. Members $65; Non Members $85. REI, 200 West Ridge Pike, Suite 115, Conshohocken, 610-940-0809.
October 23, 9:00 a.m. Members $65; Non Members $85. REI, 501 Route 73 South, Marlton, NJ, 856-810-1938.

Fish Tales: Hands-On Class
Fish are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals, and eating fish regularly can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Over a two-week series you’ll learn to work with flat, round, and shellfish to learn the proper cooking methods and ways to season your fish.
2-Week Series: Thursdays, September 23 and 30, 7:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. $125. The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College, 4207 Walnut Street, 215-222-4200 ext. 3067.

What classes are you signed up to take this fall? Did we leave a great one off the list? Let us know in the comments!