The Best Pet-Friendly Fitness Classes

Fat dog, fat owner? Not necessarily. But if you move too little and weigh too much, there’s a good chance your pooch does, too. In fact, 52.5 percent of U.S. dogs are overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention’s 2012 National Pet Obesity Survey. But a new trend could help both you and your four-legged friend shape up together: A growing number of fitness classes across the country are offering fun workouts for people and their pets.

Like humans, dogs benefit from any kind of physical activity, says Tricia Montgomery, founder and president of K9 Fit Club, a Hinsdale, IL-based fitness club for dog owners. And when that tail starts wagging, owners find the motivation they need to make regular exercise a routine.

Sure, there’s no proven correlation between the health of a dog and that of its owner. But a more fit and happy you will likely rub off on your pooch and keep his behavior in check, says Montgomery. Even better: Unlike your other workout buddies, dogs never work late, sleep in, or choose “drunch” over a Sunday morning fitness class. So schedule a workout for you and Sparky at one of these fun places across the country:

K9 Fit Club’s Boot Camp
You don’t need hand weights or resistance bands to break a sweat in K9 Boot camp classes, which are taught by fitness and animal trainers. Just scoop up your small dog to do bicep curls, or place your larger dog’s paws on your knees during a wall squat. The 55-minute classes put your strength and agility to the test and promise a heart-pumping workout for you and your dog—not to mention quality time together.
$ 15 per class; various locations in Illinois, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Florida—and more coming soon

Thank Dog Bootcamp
Inspired by Barry’s Bootcamp for humans, Thank Dog Bootcamp combines fitness and obedience training for you and your furry friend. Run by one personal trainer and one physically-fit dog trainer, the course begins with a mandatory consultation to assess you and your pup’s fitness levels. In each hour-long session thereafter, you torch calories and sculpt lean muscle while your dog learns who’s boss (you).
$ 50 mandatory consultation, $ 25 per class with discounts for bulk packages or $ 18 per class to “borrow” a dog; Los Angeles, CA

Bootcamp at FitDog Austin
Some fitness classes for pets focus more on training your pet than training you. But if you want to sprint, strengthen your core, improve your balance, and actually break a sweat, FitDog Austin is the answer. While you can bet you’ll leave with a damp shirt, your dog will walk away extra bendy: The class includes dog stretches and tricks.
$ 12 per class; Austin, TX

The Pack Fitness Doga Yoga
To improve you and your dog’s balance, flexibility, and strength, practice downward facing dog with an actual downward facing dog. The class begins with a walk and flows into a 45-minute yoga class with some doggy massage to leave you both feeling Zen.
$ 12 per class with discounts for bulk packages; various locations in California

Leash Your Fitness Butts and Guts With Your Mutts
This hour-long class sculpts your buns and core from every angle using Bosu balls, TRX, and your own body weight to perform squats, step-ups, and shuffles. Taught by a certified fitness instructor, the class emphasizes fitness for people but also promises to mentally and physically exhaust your dog with constant commands and movements. Why tire out Toto? A tired dog is a well-behaved dog, says Leash Your Fitness founder Dawn Celapino. When you give a dog a job—even if it’s just sitting down—they have to think, which is way harder than a typical walk around the block.
$ 20 per class with discounts for bulk packages; San Diego, CA

Barking Boot Camp
If your dog can sit, stay, and heel, he’s welcome at Barking Boot Camp, a high-energy fitness class that combines resistance training, cardio, “dogstacle” courses, and elements of “doga” (yoga with your dog).
$ 15 per class; New Orleans, LA

Go Fetch Run Cross Training
If you’re bored with your regular dog run, your pup probably is, too. Go Fetch Run Cross-Training classes merge cardio, strength training, agility, core work, and a “down and dirty” obstacle course that promises to challenge participants on both ends of the leash.
$ 25 per class; Brooklyn, NY

photo: Hemera/Thinkstock

More from WH:
The Coolest New Fitness Classes
Making an Exercise Comeback
The Secret to Staying Motivated

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The Coolest New Fitness Classes

Spring is here, which means bikini season is just around the corner. But if your workout routine’s gotten a little stale—and you’re not seeing the results you want—it’s time to spice things up. Luckily, gyms across the country are rolling out some brand-new body sculptors that’ll challenge you and help you build a better, stronger body. Here, four must-try group fitness classes, represented in Venn diagrams (to give you a better sense of what you’re in for if you decide to take one):


photo (thumbnail): Comstock Images/Comstock/Thinkstock

More from WH:
Making an Exercise Comeback
The Secret to Staying Motivated
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Drop Two Sizes DVD NEW breakthrough DVD program from America’s #1 Personal Trainer! See amazing before and after pictures! Click here to learn more.

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The 9 Quirkiest Cooking Classes in America

Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. But teach a woman to cook and she’ll eat well for a lifetime. It’s true: cooking classes can actually improve your diet and boost your kitchen confidence, according to published in the journal Public Health Nutrition.

Researchers from the UK enrolled 44 adults in a National Health Service (NHS) cooking course. The course took place over four to six weeks and involved weekly two-hour classes. A year later, the participants reported eating fewer pre-packaged and restaurant meals, more veggies, and more fruits than they had before the class. Better yet? The lessons gave them the confidence to follow simple recipes and cook new foods.

While it helps to take a healthy cooking course, you don’t need to study raw cooking or enroll at Le Courdon Bleu to become a better chef—and better eater. In fact, there are plenty of cool culinary experiences around the country that will make you want to tie up your apron and sharpen your knives—even if you hate to cook.

Here, 9 amazing and quirky cooking classes to try.

Pack Lunch For a Week: Brown Baggin’ It
Want to save lunch money–and save yourself from the gross food you typically gobble down at your desk? This Sunday HipCooks course supplies all the containers, ingredients, and skills to prepare and pack a week’s worth of packed lunches. On the menu: caramelized shallot and goat cheese tart, shaved fennel salad with lemon, olives and orange, penne with eggplant, tomato, basil, and pine, and more. Sure beats peanut butter and jelly.
$ 60 at HipCooks in Los Angeles, CA, San Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA, Portland, ME, and San Diego, CA

Get Food and a Fortune: Psychic Palm Readings and Unwrapping the Mystery of Thai Food
According to the chefs at The Way-Cool Cooking School in Savage, Minnesota, your hands are your best kitchen tools. In this class, a palm reader uncovers the secrets in your palms while you discover the secret to making perfect spring rolls and pad Thai, and write your own fortunes for homemade fortune cookies.
$ 80 per person at The Way-Cool Cooking School in Savage, MN

Turn Up The Heat: Iron Chef Challenge
Face off against your friends in this BYOB competitive cooking party. First, the head chef runs though some basic cooking techniques. Then work with your team and provided ingredients to put together a winning dish before the buzzer sounds.
$ 85 per person for 10 people at Taste Buds Kitchen in New York, NY

Date While You Dine: Singles Cooking Parties
Perk up your dating life while you hone your cooking skills at this singles-only cooking party. Mingle with wine, music, and light bites before the cooking demo, then break up into co-ed cooking teams to prep a gourmet meal. Like speed dating, you rotate around the room to meet everyone.
$ 65 per person plus membership fess at Parties That Cook in San Francisco, CA, Chicago, IL, and Portland, OR

Win the Cupcake Crown: Cupcake Wars
Want to be a better baker? Put your creativity to the test at a Parties That Cook Cupcake War. During this edible experience, you work with teammates to choose a chocolate or vanilla batter base. Then, add flavor with your pick of exotic ingredients like bacon, basil, cayenne, and, of course, standards like sprinkles. Judges award a prize based on taste, appearance, plate presentation, and originality of the dish. But win or lose, you’ll still leave with a sugar high.
$ 1,275 for 15 people at Parties That Cook in San Francisco, CA, Seattle, WA, Chicago, IL, and Portland, OR

Cook for Your Canine: Dog-Gone Good! Real Food for Your Pooch
Just like packaged foods for people, many store-bought pet foods contain preservatives, high-fructose corn syrup, and additives. Want to fill Sparky’s bowl with more wholesome, healthy food? In this three-and-a-half-hour cooking demonstration, you’ll watch chefs prepare organic meals free of chemicals and common allergens like gluten and dairy, like grass-fed beef and caramelized root vegetable meatloaf and chicken liver fudge. Sure, you might leave hungry. But you do get a doggy bag filled with samples for your pooch.
$ 125 per person at Natural Gourmet Institute for Food and Health in New York, NY

Bake Your Own Junk Food: Homemade Twinkies and Pop Tarts
If you love the cellophane-wrapped versions of these classic childhood treats, this class will truly tickle your taste buds: Taught by Casey Barber, author of the cookbook Classic Snacks Made From Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats, this hour-and-a-half course will teach you how to bake Pop-Tarts and Twinkies that rival the real deals.
$ 10 per person at the Brooklyn Brainery in Brooklyn, NY
(Can’t make it to Brooklyn? Find recipes for Fig Newtons, Cheez-Its, and Pinkberry on Barber’s website.)

Make Meat-Free American Classics: Sporkie Drive-In
This class doesn’t take place in a ’57 Chevy, but it’s designed to muster memories of an old-school drive-in menu. The caveat: the vegan menu is free of meat, dairy, and other artery-cloggers. While there’s no movie, you can feast your eyes on the avocado and caramelized onion burger, cheesy chili bowl, and baked zucchini fries you’ll prep. For dessert, wash it down with a nutty toasted marshmallow milkshake.
$ 65 per person at Spork Foods in West Hollywood, CA

Cook With Chefs Around the World:
Can’t find a cool cooking course in your area? Bring a live, virtual class to your kitchen. At, you can learn from chefs all over the world via a Google+ Hangout. There, up to 10 people can cook together via webcams. Just pick a meal like paella or mini whiskey-braised tacos and sweet Thai chili wings. Then sign up for the class to receive an ingredient list, stock your pantry, and prop your web cam in you kitchen to join the class at a designated time.
$ 25- $ 90 for a single class, or $ 349 for a 10-session series at

photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock

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To find out how to suppress your hunger hormone, buy The Belly Fat Fix now!

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