HOT HULA fitness: Polynesian beat meets reggae for fun workout


"At first it was like, 'Oh my gosh how do I do this?' And already I feel like I'm starting to learn more," said Carlina Villaverde of Irvine. "It's such a good workout. I'm sweating so much, and it's so much fun also at the same time."

At HOT HULA fitness, no equipment is needed, not even shoes.

"No tights, all barefoot, because when you're all bare feet, it's all total core. We just wear a lava lava, kind of like a sarong, so it's all loose and everything shakes," said Anna-Rita Sloss, creator of HOT HULA fitness.

Sloss says that is a good thing.

"It's basically concentrating on not moving your upper body. So everything is down from your belly button low, and it's all quads, so you're totally isolating your core," said Sloss.

Movements are mostly low impact with an emphasis on isolating energy below the belt. You have to get low in the legs so the quads cry a bit. That surprised Alisha Medina, who is now a HOT HULA instructor.

"I went to the training and couldn't walk for like three days afterwards," said Medina.

Is it fun? Yes. Is it hula? Not really, but rather a combination of Polynesian dances that put a sway in your hip and a smile on your face.

"The name hula is just generic. What I've done is taken a few different islands from Tahitian, Hawaiian, New Zealand, Maori and I've combined it and I've infused it with hip-hop and reggae," said Sloss.

It makes it appealing to all ages and sizes, including "big-bodied women who are intimidated in other classes," Sloss said.

"HOT HULA is for all levels. We've had ladies who've lost 30, 40 pounds in three to four months," she added.

The program is offered at 24 Hour Fitness clubs from Hawaii to Florida, and even New Zealand. There's also a DVD series and instructor training as well so that churches and recreational centers can share the wealth.

Women know the classes are fun. Student Ron Won realized what many men fail to notice.

"The scenery is great," Won said with a laugh.

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