Is Stepper-Ton The Most Fun Cardio Workout In The World?

Stepper-Ton: the cardio workout that’s putting the fun back in fitness

Julius Burphy, founder of the viral TikTok workout on why a fun, step-based, dance-inspired routine could change your attitude to cardio

THE COVID PANDEMIC and accompanying lockdowns were undoubtedly a tough time for everyone but there were plenty of bonuses to come out of that period of mass global uncertainty and its associated sense of ennui: more flexible workplace arrangements and virtual workouts, for example. But few COVID artefacts can claim to be as at once as healthy and as fun as Stepper-Ton, a workout that’s gone viral on TikTok in the past year.

Founder Julius Burphy, who was in Australia last week taking locals through the workout in his role as an ambassador for powdered hydration supplement Liquid I.V, says the workout was born out of the boredom he felt during lockdown.

“There was a lot of down time during the pandemic and working in the fitness industry for a long time and doing the same classes over and over, it just got very boring to me,” says Burphy, 32, a trainer and former bodybuilder from Manchester. “I’ve always wanted to do something fun, something that would be uplifting.”

Burphy looked into Zumba and CrossFit but wanted something that gelled with his exuberant, fun-loving personality. “I was looking to step aerobics and I thought that it could be a really fun way of putting hip-hop, R&B, Afrobeat stuff, a lot of stuff that represents me, into a workout,” he says.

He remembers ordering a stepper and practising at home, inspired by the many step aerobics classes that have come before him. Eventually he came up with a free-form, 45-minute step class he says can burn up to 500 calories an hour.

Burphy’s classes quickly became a hit on TikTok – Burphy’s recent posts have garnered over 4.4m likes on the platform. The response surprised the trainer, who believes the reason for the workout’s popularity is simple: it’s fun. “I think the reason why it blew up that much is because people just like watching me and my customers having fun in class,” he says. “And that’s what I was always trying to do. When people come to class I make sure they have the best time ever. And when it radiates like that on camera, on film, I think a lot of people just gravitate towards it.”



This one had us sweating but so much fun 😂 #fypシ #foryoupage #stepperton #juliusburphy #hiphopstepaerobics #afrostep #funcardio #lamamadelamamaelalfa #elalfa

♬ La Mamá De La Mamá Del Sax (Saxo Tribal) – Dj Jhonaz

So, why would you choose a Stepper-Ton class over, say, a HIIT session? Burphy says the workout is a serious calorie burner that’s great for fat loss and, most-importantly, isn’t boring.  “For anyone who doesn’t like running on treadmills, or doesn’t like high-intensity interval training, this class is the best class for them.”

It’s for this reason that as well as offering a dynamite cardio burn, the workout can also pay significant mental health dividends, Burphy says.

A recent study published in the British Medical Journal found dance to be the best form of exercise to treat depression, proving more effective than simply prescribing participants with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). Dancing produced the largest reductions in depression symptoms among study participants, while exercises like walking or jogging, yoga and aerobic exercise with therapy were runners-up.

Similarly immersive, Stepper-Ton requires concentration and focus to follow the designated moves, while the group dynamic offers important social connections, Burphy says.

“From the feedback I get from my members, they tend to come in feeling all gloomy because they had a tough day, or they’re overthinking a lot of stuff and then after class they’re all in a better mood,” he says.

Burphy was in Australia for the launch of Liquid I.V., conducting classes at the ‘House of Hydration’ at North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club. When asked about the appeal of the product, Burphy again draws on the desire for variety and stimulation. “I’m just one of those guys that finds drinking water a bit boring after a while,” he says. “So, when Liquid I.V. reached out to me, and knowing they were the number one powdered hydration brand in the US, it was a no-brainer for me to partner up with them.”

Burphy, who is currently criss-crossing the globe spreading the Stepper-Ton gospel, likes the mobility offered by Liquid I.V.’s powdered hydration.

“It is very convenient,” says Burphy, who favours the Lemon Lime flavour. “It’s very easy to use. If I want to take it on a trip, it’s really good to take wth me.”

Research commissioned by Liquid I.V. found three-quarters of Australians (76%) agree they live a wellness-focused lifestyle, with water consumption/hydration (66%) considered one of the top three most important factors of wellness, alongside mental health (77%) and physical health (66%). The majority of Aussies (97%) agree that maintaining hydration is important to their overall wellness, so much so that six in ten (61%) Aussies are open to trying different hydration hacks or shortcuts. However, almost two-thirds (63%) still admit to feeling dehydrated at least once a week, while a staggering 1-in-4 (25%) report experiencing dehydration daily.

Having conquered social media, Burphy’s goal now is to take his workout to the world. “I feel like everywhere around the world, there’s someone that would like to do a Stepper-Ton class,” he says. “Hopefully there will be a Stepper-Ton class for everyone one day.”

Liquid I.V.® Hydration Multiplier is available at Chemist Warehouse for $19.99 for a 10-pack and $39.99 for a 24-pack.



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By Ben Jhoty

Ben Jhoty, Men’s Health’s Head of Content, attempts to honour the brand’s health-conscious, aspirational ethos on weekdays while living marginally larger on weekends. A new father, when he’s not rocking an infant to sleep, he tries to get to the gym, shoot hoops and binge on streaming shows.

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