Saturday, December 3, 2022 Dec 3, 2022
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I Needed Megan Thee Stallion to Get Through Jungle Dallas’ Strength Class

I used all my energy to push my 'body-ody-ody-ody' through all the stations during the HIIT-style sweat sesh.
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Jungle Fitness
Jungle Studio Fitness in Bishop Arts. Catherine Wendlandt

When I stepped foot into Jungle Studio Fitness, I had to take a moment and gape. The Oak Cliff studio is by far the prettiest gym I’ve ever visited. The earthy-toned studio had potted plants and moody candles. There was bamboo and big, beautiful windows and arched mirrors. It felt like the perfect spot for a relaxing yoga session, not the “Female Hip Hop and Latin Artists” strength class I was there for. But I couldn’t take time to stare. I was late, and class was starting. 

At the beginning, the instructor ran us through the workout. The studio was arranged into six different stations with various workout equipment. We’d pair off (this is the perfect class to bring a friend) and then head to a station. We’d spend five minutes in each spot, repeating the assigned exercise sets and reps until it was time to rotate to the next station. By then end of class, we’d complete all six stations. 

I partnered myself with two other women, then headed to Station 1. While they did 150 meters on the rowing machine, I did squat hinge and lunge reps with weights then switched with them. Each station had a little dry erase board to remind us of what we needed to do. 

As the first rotation started, the instructor came by to check on us. I explained I was disabled and had little strength. He asked me if this type of class worked for me. “That’s what I’m trying to find out,” I replied. The instructor rolled with it, showing me how to lunge safely and modify the station. Before I knew it, it was time to move on to Station 2: the battle ropes.

I’ve only ever worked out with ropes once, a decade ago, so this station was intimidating. Here, we did squats while moving the ropes, then, while still in a squat and still moving the ropes, stepped forward and back. I could barely move the ropes, so the instructor had me move both at the same time, instead of switching back and forth. Then we did weightlifting, burpees, and pushups, all of which I had to modify. 

This class was hard, and I had to confront dead-on how weak I am. It was a full body workout, but it focused on upper body strength. Almost every station incorporated weights. We had to lift medicine balls, do jumping jacks with them, and slam them on the ground. We did sumo squats holding a kettlebell as a deadweight underneath us. We did controlled hip thrusts with a kettlebell situated on our groin. And we did so many lunges it all blurred together. 

I tired quickly, but I liked that each station was only five minutes. It made the class doable, which it hadn’t felt like at the start. And I really liked the anonymity of the class. Everyone is rotating around and not paying attention to each other, just their own workout. Sometimes in these studio classes, I’m afraid the other students are staring (and judging) at me struggle through the class in the mirror. But here, no one has time to pay attention to anyone else. 

Throughout the class, the instructor ran around, checking on people and adjusting form. He always made sure to come by my station to help me make modifications. Often, he’d switch me to hinges. But he also had me do exercises without weights. At the fourth station, when my partners stepped up onto an exercise bench and balanced on one leg holding weights, he had me just balance on the ground. 

There was only one station where I didn’t have to make any modifications. At the fifth station, we did arm reps on a skiing machine, 25 jumping jacks, and 16 toe touches. I was able to get through all the exercises here and repeat them multiple times. But, admittedly, the 25 jumping jacks sucked what felt like the remainder of my energy. 

I was so tired by the time I got to the final station that I didn’t know if I’d be able to get through it. But then Megan the Stallion’s “Body” came on, and it powered me. This station was slower, which was nice after all the skiing and jumping jacks, with lots of squats and lifts with kettlebells. I couldn’t lift, so I just did a weird mishmash of modified movements somewhat similar to these exercises until the class was finally done.

I enjoyed the class, but I definitely was in over my head. I could see myself going back, though. 

Final Thoughts 

Aesthetics

The boho-chic studio is practically begging for you to post it online. Everything is painted in soothing earthy tones; there are tons of arches, including the massive selfie-worthy mirrors; hundreds of battery-operated candles to set the mood; and potted plants everywhere. Think Monsteras, parlor palms, fiddle-leaf figs. Seriously, it’s like they raided Oasis down the road.

Difficulty 

As the instructor explained the exercises at the beginning, I felt panic. This is too hard, I can’t do this, I thought. And while the class was hard—don’t expect to be able to do things after—it was doable. The incremental format of the class helped tremendously. With everything broken out into stations, and only five minutes at each stop, I was able to power through it all. 

Accessibility

You need to have some level of strength to get through this class. I felt like people were a bit shocked that I was even attempting it. But, that said, pretty much every exercise we did was modifiable. Some of them I could make for myself. Others I relied on advice from the instructor, which he was always willing to give. Also, the gym has a variety of kettlebell, dumbbell, and medicine ball weights, so you can lift what you’re able. 

The Cost of It All

Jungle offers a wide variety of classes and workouts. A one-off class is $25. Class packs start at $115. The studio also offers unlimited one-week and one-month passes for $59 and $159, respectively, and memberships begin at $99.  

Would I Go Back? 

I could easily be coerced into taking this class again, but I would for sure bring a buddy. 

Author

Catherine Wendlandt

Catherine Wendlandt

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Catherine Wendlandt is the online associate editor for D Magazine’s Living and Home and Garden blogs, where she covers all…

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