If you’re already overloading on holiday season sweets, you’re not alone. And if you’re swearing that you’ll shed the extra pounds as soon as Jan. 1 rolls around — well, you won’t be alone then, either. Rather than fight throngs of resolution-makers over the empty treadmill at your regular gym, why not find a niche fitness studio that can target the real problem areas? Here’s a handful that will get you (or keep you) in shape from head to toe — literally.
Back Bay Yoga
No one will see it in a bathing suit next summer, but the most important thing to keep fit is your mind. Sure, the physical benefits of yoga are many: increased flexibility, a stronger core and long, leaner muscles all come from honing your Downward Dog on the mat. But they’re nothing compared to the enhanced focus, positive mood and balanced life perspective that develops over practice. Back Bay Yoga boasts a slew of classes, from high-energy “Flyin’ Vinyasa” to the more meditative Yin style, and fun special events, like evening Blacklight Hip-Hop Yoga and occasional all-Madonna music sessions, that keep things interesting and show a sense of humor. (364 Boylston St.; 617-375-9642; backbayyoga.com)
Whether your generational touchstone is Rocky or Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out, you never forget where you were the first time you vicariously slugged some jerk in the kisser. Now: live the fantasy. Because boxing isn’t just great for stress relief, cardio and feeling like a big kahuna — throwing blows is also a great way to build bulging biceps and triceps and super strong shoulders. Many gyms offer boxing classes now, but Sweat Box takes things a step further. It’s a hybridized form of boxing, martial arts and gymnastics that was developed specifically for women (who can often feel excluded from more traditional fight clubs). Everything from a single drop-in class to personal training packages are available. (Prudential Center inside Fitcorp; 800 Boylston St.; 617-905-3666; sweat-box.com)
CHEST, BACK & ABS
October saw the opening of Barry’s, a West Hollywood-born brand that basically purveys the nightclub vision of boot camp: think sexy red lights and Top 40 remixes blasting full throttle, while trainers attractive enough to double as go-go dancers guide you through four 13-minute rounds of alternating cardio and weight training. But, unlike most other bootcamp approaches, Barry’s also targets specific muscle groups during many of its sessions: “Arms & Abs,” “Butt & Legs,” and “Chest, Back & Abs” are some of the regularly offered classes. Be warned: the classes are intense, and Barry’s is best for those who already have at least a modicum of fitness. (30 Chauncy St.; 857-350-4019; barrysbootcamp.com)
Want a dancer’s stems? Train like one. (Sort of.) Barre-based workouts employ the kind of low-impact, ballet-inspired sculpting techniques that famously got Natalie Portman in shape for “Black Swan.” Expect small isometric movements that elicit big sweats, as Pure Barre runs through a 50-minute, music-set workout. The class alternates strength building sections with stretching sessions so that, rather than build bulk, you wind up with the kind of long, lean musculature that looks great everywhere — but especially on legs. (350 Newbury St.; 617-247-5360; purebarre.com)
It’s not your toes that need toning, obviously. But fleet feet are vital to staying fit: for cardio, that is, since no one is going to see your new six-pack if it’s buried under 7 inches of flab. So use your feet to pump the pedals at Recycle, an indoor cycling studio that started in the South End and opened a Back Bay location earlier this year. The spin-centric approach has resulted in a cult following of “Recyclists” that swear by the many permutations of classes: from “Reconquer,” which replicates uphill biking, to “Remix,” which pairs 40 minutes of cycling with 30 of core-focused yoga. (9 Newbury St.; 617-775-0282; recycle-studio.com)