Naked Is the New Fit?

You'll never believe what some people do to shape up

Helen Smith is a personal trainer, fitness revolutionary, and nudist in Southampton, England. Her latest idea? Combine all her hobbies into one — by teaching a naked exercise class.


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Smith held her first “nudercize” class this past weekend — a boot camp-style fitness class that went for just $10 a session. Her workout circuits include sit-ups, push-ups, lunges, squats, and jumping jacks (awkward!) — but she claims her exercises are gentle enough for participants of all ages. The first class consisted of 10 attendees whose ages ranged from 30 to 70.

All giggles and shock aside, this is a no-nonsense gig. Participants have to email her ahead of time and show their ID at the beginning of class. “Nothing untoward happens in these classes,” Smith told the Daily Mail, “and if there was any hint of that, then the person responsible would be asked to leave.”

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So as clumsy as people might feel during the partner exercise portion of the class — they should keep their game face on.

Smith claims the nudity allows class members to fine-tune their exercises. For example, if they plank naked, they can tell when they’re not engaging their core muscles. Similarly, they can tell if they’re pulling on their neck with their arms while doing a sit-up instead of flexing the stomach. They can solve these problems by simply being aware of what muscle groups they’re engaging as they exercise, she said.

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Not surprisingly, many of the class members belong to a nudist organization, British Naturism, which teaches that clothes add to one’s psychological “load.” Shedding clothes allows people to embrace their physical body in a non-sexualized way, the instructor believes.

“It’s about normalizing the human form,” said 66-year-old Colin Campbell, a naturist and class attendee, in an interview with the Daily Mail. “The class didn’t feel weird at all, and I think that’s a lot to do with the way Helen runs it. You are just there to have fun.”

Experts always say that whatever gets you moving — might be worth a try.

But Minna Herskowitz, a certified personal trainer and owner of Sandbox Fitness in Los Angeles, is having no part of this “naked truth.”  “Not my thing!” she said.

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