Here at Work For Your Beer, it's no secret we love fitness and beer. We're a community of active beer-loving Charlotteans, but our affinity for fitness doesn't stop at brewery workouts. We love sweating it out at local gyms and studios, too!

That's why we're starting a new series called Work For Your Beer Spotlights​, in which we'll highlight local gyms and fitness classes to show you how you can work for your beer beyond the brewery and support local businesses in the process.

Our first Work For Your Beer spotlight is Aerial CLT. Aerial CLT offers three different types of aerial classes in their studio: silks, Lyra, and trapeze. ​The training they offer is very Cirque du Soleil, but still totally accessible if you've never "flown" before.

This workout is so different from anything I'd ever experienced before, so I knew I had to try it. Nervous but excited, Work For Your Beer co-founder Mel Fox and I signed up for our very first Lyra class.

Here's everything you need to know.

The Essentials

Studio: Aerial CLT

Locations: Uptown & Pineville

Address: 801 N. Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28206 | 311 S. Polk St., Pineville, NC 28134

Website: www.aerialclt.com​

Social: Facebook | Instagram ​| Twitter

The Studio

We visited the Aerial CLT's Uptown location. Simply put, the space is STUNNING. With high ceilings, exposed bricks, and a whole lot of natural light, it's an Instagrammer's dream.  

When you first walk in, you're greeted by colorful, flowing silks on your right and trapeze apparatuses on your left before you get to the front desk. The Lyra classes and intermediate silks classes are located in the back half of the studio.

The Class

This workout was going to be way outside of our comfort zones, so we figured we may as well lean into it and try whatever seemed most difficult to us - which is how we decided to take a Lyra class.

​Lyra, also know as the aerial hoop, is a large metal apparatus. Aerial CLT offers hoops at varying heights to accommodate everyone from beginners to experts. During Lyra classes, you learn to mount, flip, bend, and pose on the hoop.

While you may think you need to be able to perform a pull-up to participate in class, Aerial CLT assures you that no pull-up is required - but they do caution you that the class will definitely be challenging, and you're likely to get a few bruises.

The Investment

Aerial CLT offers various membership options, or you can pay $25 to drop-in and try one class. It's worth noting that if you purchase a membership after the class, the $25 drop-in fee will be applied to the cost of the package.   z

Unlimited Monthly: $150/month

8-Class Pass: $125

4-Class Pass: $75

Drop-in: $25  

They also offer packages for team building, birthday parties, and private lessons.

The Details

I have to admit, I was pretty nervous going into the class. I had no idea what to expect. Before we went, I did some research (i.e., scrolled through endless aerial videos on Instagram) and I honestly didn't think I'd be able to get into the hoop. I was a little reassured by Aerial CLT's motto of 'no pull-up required,' but I was still skeptical.

When we arrived at the studio and and I saw the hoops in person, I was pretty intimidated. But aside from that, Mel and I were both excited to give the class a shot.

The practice area for Lyra had four different height hoops, ranging from a couple feet off the ground to more than five feet up.

Our class had about eight people in it and began with light stretching (with and without the hoop) to get us warmed up. The instructor of our Lyra class, Katie Rothweiler, assured us that she would walk us through everything we needed to know (which she did - thanks, Katie!). 

Then class began.

Throughout the class, Katie would demonstrate each move for us, and then we would practice it. She guided us through each posture to ensure we were doing it correctly, then let us practice on our own.

As excited as I was to finally get on the hoop, the first time actually doing any of the movements felt pretty strange. We started on the low hoop, which you could get into just by sitting in it. Each series of movements has a name, such as 'Star' or 'Mermaid.' The movement felt pretty out-of-the-oridinary (likely because Mel and I don't frequently play around on metal apparatuses), but once my body flowed through it a few times, it got a lot easier.​

We quickly learned that the key to mastering each move wasn't physical, but mental. Inverting upside down using a hoop isn't exactly a natural movement, but Katie assured us that we were strong enough to perform the move - we just needed to trick our brains into doing it. She was right. Once we got past the initial 'this feels really odd' sensation, each movement became more fluid and easier to navigate.

The 90-minute class flew by! We played around on two different height hoops, learned multiple movements, and were even able to perform a sequence of moves by the end of class. I have to say, I think this was the most fun I've ever had working out. It's hard to even call it a workout because it was so much fun. I felt like a kid playing on a  playground.

Mel and I loved the experience so much that we each purchased a class pass and made a sweat date to go back to Lyra class the following week.

The Aftermath

Before class, we were warned we would most likely get some bruises, and we absolutely did. So, be prepared if you bruise easily (and even if you don't). Your legs may look like you got into a fight with the hoop the next day.

Aside from the bruises, we were both sore for days. No exaggeration. Even if the class is so much fun that you don't feel like you're working out, you most certainly are. There were muscles in my arms that were sore that I never knew existed. Opening doors and getting dressed proved to be a bit of a challenge post-Lyra class.

​When you give aerial a try, don't say we didn't warn you you'd be sore.

The Bottom Line

Mel and I absolutely loved Lyra class at Aerial CLT! It pushed us outside of our comfort zone and gave us a killer workout, so we will definitely be back. 

Are you ready to check out Aerial CLT?

Sign-up here to try your first aerial class and then let us know how it went! Post a photo on social using the hashtag #workforyourbeer for a chance to be featured on @workforyourbeer.

Is there a class or fitness studio you think we should try for our Work For Your Beer Spotlight series? Would your gym or studio like to featured on the Work For Your Beer blog? In either case, you can reach out to Danielle at danielle@workforyourbeer.com.