Marie Lynn is the owner of Body by Bungee, Sarasota’s first and (so far) only bungee fitness studio. She says the classes are suitable for all ages and fitness levels, from those who are already athletic to people who are new to exercise. In a bungee fitness class, participants are strapped into padded harnesses that are attached to bungee cords bolted to the ceiling. They are then led through a high-intensity, low-impact workout set to dance music.
“The support offered by bungee cords reduces stress on joints by 50-70 percent,” says Lynn. “Each participant has his own station. When you come to your first class, we create a custom belt for you based on weight so you get the maximum benefits from the resistance of the ropes. We keep these notes and can set up your station ahead of time for you 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 popping up on Facebook and Instagram in recent years as it spread across the United States.
“When I moved to Sarasota, there were a million gyms,” Lynn says. “I knew I had to bring something new that hadn’t been seen before. I took what I knew about personal training and plyometrics and added the bungee.”
Sarasota resident Emma Mileham originally came to a class at Body by Bungee because a friend brought her. The friend never returned, but Mileham began attending as many lessons as possible. “I was a serious runner and cyclist, and after my first training session here, nothing hurt,” she says. “I tried so many fitness programs and gyms and I was always afraid to go. But here I am often the first to arrive and the last to leave. I come almost every day they’re open if I can.” Mileham says that since she started taking bungee lessons in May 2022, she’s the healthiest she’s been in a long time.
“When I first started, my biggest problem was trusting the bungee,” says Mileham, “because I thought I was going to step on the floor for sure. But now I don’t even think about it.
Lynn understands people’s initial nervousness. “People sometimes wonder if bungees are safe and strong enough to support them,” she says, “and they definitely are. Each bungee station can technically support up to 1,000 pounds of weight.
A sign at the studio’s registration desk says, “No bitches in bungees!” According to Lynn, 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 made fun of our studio,” Lynn says. “I went home that night and said, ‘Something has to change.’ . Since then, we’ve made it a point to talk about it all the time to build comfort and community so that when someone 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.