'You're only ever this weightless in the womb, or in outer space," says Jesse Sandiford, minutes after I've tentatively stepped onto a massive trampoline at Mississauga's Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park.
It's 9 a.m. on a Saturday and I'm about to partake in SkyRobics, an aerobics class conducted on a trampoline. It's purported to have the calorie-burning power of plyometrics – the form of explosive jump training made popular by the Insanity DVD series – minus the joint stress, all for a reasonable $11.50 per session.
Balance-challenged as I am on planet Earth, the extreme bounciness of the 27-metre-long trampoline throws me off guard. We spend the first 10 minutes of class practising jumping. Although I don't fall, I'm also careful to never clear more than a foot. (The recent 30 Rock episode, in which Liz Lemon refers to trampolines as "hymen demolishers" and "death traps," is still top of mind.) Around me, it's clear who in the class of 15 twentysomething men and women have been here before – they're the ones bouncing off the walls.
After surviving the warmup, we proceed to "rouncing" – skipping across the length of the tramp, then walking back. It's a lot harder than it sounds: Movements need to be controlled or you'll fall.
We divide into two groups, the more advanced jumpers on one half of the trampoline, beginners on the other. While the advanced group spends the rest of the class in a circuit of sprints, squats, burpees and rouncing, we newbies spend the next 30 minutes practising various jumps: jacks, bringing our knees to our chests, touching our heels to our butts, and jumping back and forth and side to side. We also attempt to "fly," jumping as high as we can while fluttering our arms back and forth, which makes me feel as though I'm in a Fatboy Slim video.
It's undeniably fun – there are worse ways to spend a Saturday morning than bouncing around to your heart's content – but also a hell of a workout. (Aside from all the jumping, the instability of the tramp increases core activation as your body constantly tries to steady itself. Abdominal exercises are particularly intense: My stomach muscles tremble about 10 times more than usual while planking.) By the end of the jump segment, I nearly have to crawl to my water bottle. Aside from exhaustion, I'm also more than a little dizzy, apparently common among first-timers.
The 60-minute class flies by – it feels more like playtime than a workout – and I leave on a trampoline-induced high. I haven't had this much fun exercising in ages, and it's effective to boot, at least judging from the fact that my quads burn well into Monday. I'd definitely try SkyRobics again, Liz Lemon be damned. In terms of trampolines, I've experienced a true leap of faith.