I was recently contacted by Andi Swigart on the tacogirl.com Facebook page. She was looking for things to do in Belize and wanted to know if there was a gym on the island so her family could exercise while on vacation. I told her about the two gyms and decided to give her some good island-style options. Just as many people like to embrace local food and culture, embracing local exercise classes can be just as much fun – especially if you are coming from a cold climate.
Since I already had this post in the works, I asked Andi if she would not mind saying a few words about why vacation exercise was important.
Our family was overjoyed when my husband made the announcement we would be going on a Belize vacation for Christmas this year! As the date approaches, I have to say I’m a little anxious thinking about staying fit while we’re there. We have worked hard to get in shape and have embraced exercise and cleaner eating into our lives. Some of my friends, of course, roll their eyes when I mention this but it really is that important to me! After contacting tacogirl my mind is put at ease with all of the options of exercise and fitness that are available in Belize. From SUP (stand-up paddleboarding) to Pilates and aqua aerobics AND just knowing there are two fitness centers available we are so excited to embrace our holiday vacation knowing that we don’t have to bring unwanted pounds home! My special thanks to tacogirl, we can’t wait to get there and I doubt will want to leave!
Andi Swigart & family
I know Andi is not alone and there are people who like to exercise while on vacation. Denise visits San Pedro often and goes to the gym at the Phoenix regularly while here. After all who would not want to do something that makes you feel good? We all know if you don’t use it you lose it. I am a great example of that I am always using my loss of abs to motivate me back to class when I fall off the wagon for months at a time. Thankfully I have a fast bounce back. After just 6 Aquafit and Pilates classes, I am starting to see my obliques come in – now if I could only stop my Mexican cupcake addiction 😀
Here are more details and pricing for a few of my island fitness favorites that I mentioned to Andi.
Also known as aquafitness and a host of other names, this class provides not only a great workout but much laughter as well. Especially since teacher Lisa is back, she and class teacher Eileen are a dynamic duo of comedy.
The class is one hour long and starts and finishes with stretching (which most people do not do enough of) and works up to some good cardio and muscle toning. Cost $10 and classes run Tues, Thur and Sat from 10:00 am – 11:00 am. Currently, the class is being held at Banana Beach Resort while the big pool is being finished (you will see pictures of both below). The word from John is that we will be back at our regular pool at the beginning of November. Watch Fun in the Sun Aquafit Classes Facebook page
Benefits of Exercising in Water
- Depending on the exercise being done, multiple muscles are used at the same time or sometimes specific muscles are isolated.
- Students are able to work at their own intensity level. If you want more cardio, double time on appropriate exercises will give it to you. Other exercises you might want to slow down to feel the burn.
- Movements are slower and less jerky in the water, as a result, there is less chance of injury. This is an effective low impact way to exercise for people who have injuries they are trying to help heal.
- The force and energy required to move through water improves muscle and cardiovascular endurance as well as develops muscle and bone strength.
If you want a chance to get that swimmers body you’ve always dreamed of and have fun in the process then this class is for you 😀
I know the students who have done both classes would agree, both Teacher Rose and Teacher Eileen are cut from the same cloth. Aside from being a very fun and funny teacher, Rose also makes sure to monitor her class well. She watches all of us and knows exactly who needs to adjust their workouts to their skill or pain level. Rose also plays great music while we work out. Yesterday’s mix was a great Halloween set – she included 2 of my favorites; the “Monster Mash” and “Thriller”.
Currently, the class is on Thursdays from 10:00 – 11:00 am and will be more than once a week in high season. The cost is $15 per individual class with multi-class packages are available.
Visit Zen Belize Facebook page to see what else is going on like their upcoming annual Holiday Bazaar.
Benefits of Pilates
- Better balance
- Increased flexibility
- Improved muscle strength
- Long lean muscle tone
More specifically Pilates works and strengthens the core muscles of your body: abdomen, lower back, hips, and butt. All great areas to work on.
Stand Up Paddleboarding or SUP
Stand Up Paddle-boarding is an excellent overall workout and a great way to have fun on the Caribbean Sea with friends.
If you are able to paddleboard regularly where ever you live, it will tone and strengthen your shoulders, back, arms, abs, and legs. If you find it a bit hard on your legs and knees you can always switch to sitting or kneeling position. The other 2 exercises mentioned above will also help you do the same toning, should you be suffering through winter and not be able to SUP.
Benefits of SUP
- Improves your balance
- Great full-body workout
- Good cardio workout
- Relatively low impact
If you have time when you have finished your workout, lay down on your board and just take the time to relax and float for a few minutes. Breath deeply and release any tightness in your body. That actually feels amazing, with the water flowing gently around your body.
SUP with Belize Sailing School
Located at Caribbean Villas Hotel, this option offers you two choices.
- You can choose a regular hourly rental and play around right off the beach
- Mangrove safari tour has you paddle-boarding around the back (west) side of the island
To find out more about what option number 2 is like, read my write-up on the tour – Thankfully there was no tipsy taco.
Big SUP Paddleboards
This option is mere steps north of town in Boca Del Rio area on the beach; located at Chuck and Robbie’s Dive shop dock.
I recently did an hour here with friends and I found it quite enjoyable boarding between the docks, having races and watching beach and sea action.
The cost of the basic hourly rental is $15 USD per hour.
Favorite Pool on the Island
Thanks to John a favorite pool on the island got the TLC it so badly needed. He worked hard to get the pool refinished and the water balance right. Aquafit class, while very thankful to have use of the Banana Beach pool for the last month and Coral Bay Villas before that, is super excited to get back to the San Pedro Fitness Center.
Recently I snuck in through Grand Baymen to snap a few pictures for you of our beloved pool. I say snuck as the regular entrance was blocked off while they redid the gym and pool. It was all I had heard it was and John’s crew did a fabulous job restoring the pool.
While I highly recommend it for guys and girls, you do not have to take a class to use the pool. Sometimes people even come out to lounge in the sun and watch us exercise 🙂
Click through to find out more about what is offered at the San Pedro Fitness Club.