Taking flight

Bungee Fitness Offers a Fun, Safe Way to Burn Calories

“When I first started, my biggest issue was trusting the bungee, because I thought I was surely going to faceplant onto the floor," says one enthusiast. "But now, I don’t even think about it.”

By Stephanie Churn Lubow November 3, 2023

A Body by Bungee enthusiast takes off.

Think of the word “bungee” and what typically comes to mind are daredevils jumping from high bridges or travelers using stretchy cords to strap luggage onto the roof of their car. But bungee fitness is a popular new exercise trend that brings a whole new meaning to the word, offering a fun, safe way to burn calories and get a full-body cardiovascular workout.

Mari Lynn is the owner of Body by Bungee, Sarasota’s first and (so far) only bungee fitness studio. She says the classes are appropriate for all ages and fitness levels, from those who are already athletic to people who are new to exercising. In a bungee fitness class, participants are strapped into padded harnesses that are tethered to bungee cords bolted to the ceiling. They’re then led through a high-intensity, low-impact workout set to dance music.

“The support offered by the bungee cords reduces the load on joints by 50-70 percent,” says Lynn. “Each participant has their own station. When you come to your first class, we set up a customized harness for you based on weight, so that you will receive maximum benefits from the resistance of the cords. We keep those notes and can set your station for you ahead of time in future classes.” 

Lynn, who is originally from upstate New York, opened Body by Bungee in 2022 after working as a personal trainer and online fitness coach for several years. Bungee fitness was originally developed in Thailand about six or seven years ago, but started to pop up on Facebook and Instagram in more recent years as it spread to the United States.

“When I moved to Sarasota, there were a million gyms,” Lynn says. “I knew I needed to bring something new that hadn’t been seen before. I took what I knew about personal training and plyometrics and added the bungee.” 

Inside Body by Bungee.

Sarasota resident Emma Mileham originally came to a class at Body by Bungee because a friend brought her. The friend never went back, but Mileham started going to as many classes as she could. “I was a serious runner and cyclist, and after my first workout here, nothing hurt,” she says. “I’ve tried so many fitness programs and gyms, and I would always find myself dreading going. But here I’m often the first to arrive and the last to leave. I come pretty much every day that they’re open if I can.” Mileham says that since she started taking bungee classes in May 2022, she is the fittest she has been in a long time.

“When I first started, my biggest issue was trusting the bungee,” Mileham says, “because I thought I was surely going to faceplant onto the floor. But now, I don’t even think about it.”

Lynn understands people’s initial nervousness. “People sometimes wonder if the bungees are safe and strong enough to support them,” she says, “and they definitely are. Each bungee station can technically hold up to 1,000 pounds of weight.” 

A sign at the studio’s check-in counter says, “No Bitches in Bungees!” According to Lynn, during the first week the studio was open, a woman came to class with a judgmental attitude and left Lynn in tears. “She was so negative and making fun of our studio,” Lynn says. “I went home that night and said, ‘Something’s got to change.’ I’ve always believed in women supporting women and building each other up instead of tearing each other down, so that’s when we started our ‘No More Mean Girls’ movement. Since then, we make a point of talking about it all the time to build comfort and community, so that when anyone walks in here, they feel welcome and accepted.”

Body by Bungee is located at 4156 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. For more information, call (941) 923-8703 or visit bodybybungee.com.

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