When I was 6 years old, I was convinced I was going to legitimately become The Little Mermaid when I grew up. And, well, that didn't quite happen, and I'm not going to lie, I'm still low-key sad about it some days. Instead, I'm a fitness writer, so you can imagine how f*cking pumped I got when I found out mermaid fitness classes were a real thing. Two worlds colliding, people — can't get much better than this.
First of all, no, you do not have to go to some bougie fitness center in the heart of Malibu to attend these mermaid-inspired workouts. According to SELF, "The 8-Week Mermaid Transformation Series" is available on YouTube (bless you, internet), and it's a brand new series that would honestly make Ariel proud AF.
This fin-based fitness fad was created by a company called Fin Fun Mermaid, which sells dope mermaid tails that are 100 percent swimmable for adults and children alike. To create the workouts, Fin Fun teamed up with Christine Dustin, a USA Swimming-certified coach, so you know you'll be getting a combo of ~magic~ and major athleticism with this workout.
Dustin told SELF that the sport is literally called "mermaiding" because you're rolling your body to propel you forward as you swim.
And these workouts are not for the faint of heart, people. Mermaiding is said to be (and honestly, looks) extremely difficult, so if you're up for the challenge, you'll be getting a killer workout from head to toe, with a pretty big emphasis on your core strength.
If you've ever dabbled in swimming as your workout of choice, then you know the full-body exercise requires major core engagement the entire time you're taking laps. Well, mermaiding basically works the same way as swimming in terms of that total-body challenge — and it comes with the low-impact and reduced injury benefits that a quality workout in the pool provides, as well. Sounds like mermaids have truly got all the bases covered in the fitness arena, do they not? Not going to lie, I would do some pretty unspeakable things to see an athlete like Michael Phelps put on a sparkly mermaid tail and do his thing in the water — but I guess that's beside the point.
On that note, though, after watching some of the videos of these mermaid workouts, I think professional swimmers might even struggle to get the hang of it at first, too, despite their own impressive skills. If you take a look at the Fin Fun YouTube channel, Dustin explained in one video that, in order to perfect the "dolphin kick" technique, for instance, you have to propel yourself while your legs are enclosed in a tail, meaning you don't have your full range of motion. So yeah, it's a pretty tricky way to work out, to say the least. But not to worry — to help you get used to your lack of legs, you can grab a trusty styrofoam noodle for some additional support, not to mention a nice dose of nostalgia for the days when those bad boys used to be lit AF during pool playdates back in the day.
Real talk, though: You don't actually have to invest in a mermaid tail to effectively complete these workouts if you don't want to, according to the Fin Fun 8-Week Mermaid Workout introduction video. In the clip, Dustin explained that during your mermaiding warm-up, you should be sure to take a few laps freestyle (about 200 yards back and forth) in the pool, without wearing any sort of tail attachment.
After your warm-up, you can choose to attach your glittery mermaid tail, or not, if you're not feelin' it or don't own one.
And, in case you were wondering, even though these classes are super accessible on YouTube, and you'll be able to follow along in your pool at home or at your local gym (again, the tail is not required in public if it makes you feel kind of weird, but I say YOLO — let the haters hate), there are mermaid classes offered in a variety of locations if you want in-person guidance and are willing to travel. For instance, one of the hotels that offers mermaiding courses is in San Diego, so I guess I was onto something when I said California is the place to be. Someone teleport me — please and thank you.
The bottom line is, whether you're taking a mermaid class online or venturing to a location that has mermaiding classes, becoming Ariel's twin sister — who also happens to have an incredible amount of core strength — has never sounded so appealing. Happy tail-flipping, friends!