Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Hula Hoopin' with Tiger Hoops!

When many people think about hula hoops, they think of brightly colored, feather light, pieces of plastic that rattled and were a toy-box staple of many of our childhoods. My hoops were used as a means to lasso pretend unicorns, tie up pirate prisoners and to spin around my arm to build a force field to protect me from Dr. Doom, aka, my brother. I do remember my mother hooping in the kitchen to lose her baby weight after my sister was born (I have a frighteningly long memory), but I was never really able to gain any momentum with spinning it around my waste, I also lacked the attention span to try. Once I was on a two wheeler, I quickly forgot about hula hoops.

Last summer, a couple of my best girlfriends started hooping for fun and exercise. They were extremely enthusiastic and when they would talk about it, the only thing I could think of was how ridiculous they must look spinning those stupid, frosty blue and pink plastic things around their waists.

I was wrong.

These hoops are not the Rite Aid hoops of the 1980s. Stephanie Winters, my pal and the creative brains and braun behind Tiger Hoops uses standard irrigation tubing, with decorative gaffers tape (for grip), which are around 160 pounds per square inch (weight of the plastic/ thickness) and filled with rice or water. These hoops are as handsome as they can be! Though these big mama-jammas were not like any hoop I had ever seen or used before, I was still not convinced that they would be easier to use than the hoops of yesteryear. Which, I have to add, always made me feel like fatty failure when I was unable to swing them around my hips like some 1960's California girl... So I was hesitant at first.

After some cajoling, I finally gave it a whirl, and by Moses! I could do it! It was unlike any other experience I had had with hooping before. It was not only easier to manage, but at first it was a little painful(?), which then faded to feeling like I was getting massaged around my midsection. It was pretty nice! Not to mention, the next day I could totally tell it was giving me a workout! I felt like I had done about 200 crunches from ten minutes of hooping and chatting with my girlfriends.

We all know that the Hula Hoop is nothing new. However, it has been around a lot longer than the 20th century. Though many of us equate the hoops with the birth of rock and roll and kitsch in general, children also played with hoops made of grapevines during Egyptian times, as well as during the Renaissance. In the 1800s, sailors who had traveled to Hawaii began associating the hula dance with the hoops, due to their similar motions. In fact, according to historical medical records, the majority of dislocated backs and heart attacks were attribute to hooping!*

Hooping can burn up to 200 calories a day for every 30 minutes you hoop. You strengthen your core muscles and hips, while improving spinal flexibility while increasing blood flow to the brain and promoting the integral functions of our vital organs.**

It's also a lot of fun.

So, how do you know if you have the right hoop? One vital detail to remember is that the smaller the hoop, the more challenging the exercise. According to, "you should place the hula hoop on the ground and the top of the hoop should reach anywhere between your stomach and your chest. However, if you are a bigger person, you should choose a larger hoop, which rotates slower. This will make the movements easier to coordinate."

Stephanie sells her high quality hoops for $30- $45 dollars depending on what design, weight, height, etc. you want. She 's so enthusiastic about hooping, that not only will she make an excellent hoop, custom designed for you, but she is also a terrific resource for advice on technique and tricks to try. Many custom hoops can cost up to $100 and there are also many "knock-off" hoops on the internet for $20. Hoops are just like any other piece of equipment, you get what you pay for. However, with Tiger Hoops, you're not getting a cheap, knock off made in China. You're getting a quality crafted piece of equipment that will last for years to come, independently produced in the US. What more can you ask for?

If you would like to inquire about getting your own Tiger Hoop, you can contact Stephanie at


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