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If you are looking for an unconventional way to get fit this winter, you may want to check out Twerk and Dance NWI.

“I have people with Fitbits in the class and they are burning over 500 calories. It takes a lot of core control,” said Nicole Alarid, owner of Twerk and Dance NWI.

Alarid has been a group fitness instructor for more than 10 years. She started her business, Twerk and Dance NWI, in January 2017. Alarid and her four instructors teach Hip-Hop Cardio Fitness Class and Twerk and Beyonce Dance Class.

The studio is inside Universal Fitness at 1516 N. Main St. in Crown Point.

Brittany Kelly, an instructor for Alarid, agrees that working big muscles, such as the legs and butt, aerobically helps increase person’s heart rate, which burns calories.

“It tones the glutes and legs because you are in the squat position the majority if the time,” said Kelly, who minored in dance at Indiana State University.

“But the class also teaches you to isolate muscles and that helps tone as well.”

The class is for all levels of fitness because all moves can be modified.

People who attend class come from all walks of life — students, professionals, etc.

“We are always working or taking care of our families and we finally get an opportunity to meet new people in our area and connect with them outside of class,” Kelly said.

Amanda Myers, who has been attending classes for about six months, drives from Valparaiso.

“At first I wanted to go because I wanted to lose weight. But once I did the first class I kept going because of how Nicole was — she was so welcoming and friendly. And all of the ladies in class were extremely cheerful and supportive. I’ve never been to a class like that, where other students cheer each other on,” Myers said. “For me, it makes it worth the drive.”

Alarid agrees that is the tone she sets for the class.

“It’s a judgment-free zone. It’s a place to let go and do something fun. You come here in a bad mood you leave here in a good mood and you got a workout in,” Alarid said.

Jennifer Deveaux, a student, agrees.

“I have tried many classes in the past, but none compare to Nicole's classes. It is a judgement-free atmosphere and everyone encourages each other,” she said. “In order to stick with a routine, exercise program, etc., you do have to enjoy it. Regardless of how hard of a day I had or what happened during that day, I am going to class because that is my outlet and time to do something for myself.”

Alarid said some people can feel intimidated or put off by the word twerk.

“Some are imitated to go in. ‘I can’t twerk!’ Well that’s why you go to the class — it’s not hard learn, and like belly dancing, you learn to isolate parts of your body. I don’t expect you to come and be a twerk star,” Alarid said.

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