Laser tag is something I associate with kids’ birthday parties—not fitness. But in L.A., a couple of entrepreneurs have turned it into what they call lazRfit, a 45-minute game/workout they say burns 500 calories and sneaks in 3,000-plus steps and 150 squats as you maneuver around and over obstacles and shoot at other players’ targets—which sounds undoubtedly more fun than slogging on a treadmill.

Child’s Play

On the other coast, in New York City, you’ll find Throwback, with a tagline that reads: “It’s like recess for adults.” Throwback weaves playground-inspired games, such as dodgeball or tug-of-war, in with compound moves like burpees, squats, rope jumps, rowing and ball-slams to get your heart pumping in a playful manner.

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Think Outside the Gym

These workout studios might be a little gimmicky, but I wholeheartedly agree with their underlying premise: Staying in shape doesn’t have to be drudgery. Even if you’re not in L.A. or N.Y.C., there’s plenty you can do to make exercise more palatable. Dust off your tennis racket, and challenge a friend to a game. Get a mini-trampoline, and bounce to your favorite music. Ask your kids to create an obstacle course the whole family can do. Take a swing-dance class. Or take a post-dinner walk with your spouse and place bets on how long it will take or how many steps a certain route might entail.

As the lazRfit and Throwback folks can attest: A little friendly competition or infusion of fun can fool you into getting fit before your body even has time to protest.

Kellee Katagi is one of those strange souls who actually enjoys working out for the sake of working out. She’s spent most of her 20-plus-year writing and editing career covering fitness, nutrition and travel, as well as outdoor sports ranging from skiing to spelunking to street luge (yes, that’s a thing).