Archive for April, 2014
Studio: The Forum Athletic Club-Buckhead
Class: Fast Twitch
Class description from website: A fast-paced 60-90 minute workout guaranteed to keep your muscles guessing for maximum gain.
Location: 3393 Peachtree Road NE, Suite 2010-A, Atlanta, GA 30326 (Lenox Square)
Phone: (678) 904-1940
Cost: First class is free. $15 per class for Forum Athletic Club members; $20 per class for non-members. They also offer packages for multiple classes.
What to Bring: Water, towel. They have water fountains if you need to fill up.
What to wear: Comfortable workout clothes. Yoga pants, leggings, tank top, t-shirt etc. Shorts are fine, but I would wear bike shorts because you will be up, down, pushing, pulling, on your back, jumping, running, planking, etc, etc, etc. Comfortable athletic shoes (cross trainers, running shoes).
Class size: Large. There were about 30 people.
Props used: Resistance training machines (leg curl, leg press, cables, lat pulldowns, etc); cardio machines (treadmills, something resembling an elliptical machine but with one large platform for both feet rather than one for each foot); gliding discs; sled; dumbbells; plates; resistance bands; suspension trainers; steps, Bosus; dollies; and more…much, much more.
Volume and type of music: Music was at a loud volume (probably to cover the grunting, groaning, and heavy breathing) and the teacher played a mixture of hip hop and R&B from the 80s, 90s, and today.
Impact: High impact.
Modifications: This is a circuit style class and more often than not you are at a station by yourself so you are able to modify exercises as needed. The person in front of me had shoulder issues so she said she avoided all exercises that involved lifting a weight above her head.
Format of class: This class is offered four days a week with one day being upper body, another day being lower body, and the other two days total body. I took the total body Fast Twitch on Friday at noon. This particular class lasted for 75 minutes and believe me, we were active nearly the ENTIRE 75 minutes. No warm up, no breaks (except for the 15 second rest periods between stations) and no cool down. Just a 75 minute long butt whooping. The emphasis of Fast Twitch is on strength training and they want you working at a high intensity to keep your heart rate elevated. The teacher and co-owner of the Forum, Roman Fortin, is a former NFL player and his background is definitely present in this class. I spoke with him before class since I was a newbie and he gave me the basic rundown, explaining that for each station a bell would sound to start the exercise, a bell would sound halfway, and a horn would signal the end of that exercise meaning you move on to the next station. He explained that the active periods (45 seconds) were not designed for you to perform the exercise for the duration and that you should burn out on some of the stations before the final horn sounded. We started at noon on the dot with Roman assigning people to different stations. Once everyone had a station we were off and running. Basically, it’s an intense form of follow the leader. We did approximately 70 different stations, but not 70 different exercises. Sometimes we would do certain exercises 2-4 times so we could do each side. Some of the exercises were sled push, weighted sumo squat on a tire, suspension flies, and sprinting on a treadmill. The women around me were friendly and supportive, explaining exercises I wasn’t sure of, or pointing me in the right direction as we went along. It seemed that veterans of the class were eager to help – maybe it was because of the team-like atmosphere in the class; maybe it was because their butts were getting kicked as bad as mine and they just wanted an extra break. But regardless the reason, they were always willing to help, and in the end, that’s all that matters! After the class, Roman gave everyone a high five and we were on our way.
What to expect:
Expect to get a butt kicking like you’ve never had before.
Expect to work hard.
Expect Roman to randomly break out into song and dance if the spirit moves him. (Very entertaining, especially if it happens when you feel like your arms are about to fall off. Something about a giant man jamming to Guy’s “Groove Me” makes the burn more bearable.)
Expect to jump onto a treadmill that is already moving.
Expect to be sore for several days after the class.
Expect to work every single muscle in your body, including your eyelids.
Expect to be sore in places you did not know existed.
Expect many fun fitness toys and equipment to add variety to the workout.
Who should take this class: This class is excellent for people who want to work hard and push themselves. There were people of all different levels, shapes, and sizes in the class, but you honestly won’t notice anyone else because you’re moving the entire time. Despite the intensity of the class, it was not an intimidating atmosphere. If you are a beginner and you want to try the class and you know basic exercises (e.g. lunge, biceps curl, push ups, plank, etc) then you will be able to do the class, but I do not recommend it for the complete novice. Bottom line: if you are willing to work hard and push yourself beyond your comfort zone you will leave feeling accomplished and beast-like. I was grateful that I had trained with NFL players before so that I was used to some of the exercises and the level of intensity.
Professional advice: Arrive 5-10 minutes early so you can do a quick dynamic warm up (jogging in place, walk on a treadmill, jumping jacks, etc).
Leave your pride at the door. This class is intense, you will sweat, your muscles will burn, and you will feel like collapsing at certain points, but if you embrace what your body is telling you and push it when you can and break when you need to then you will get an incredible workout.
Do not sacrifice your form to lift heavier weight.
Carry your water with you and sip throughout the class.
Do not take this class on an empty stomach. I would recommend eating 30-60 minutes before the start of the class.
Stay and do 5-10 minutes of stretching following the class because the delayed onset muscle soreness is ridiculous. I thought the day after was bad but two days later my skin was sore…I am not exaggerating.
Thank you to my instructor, Roman, for an awesome workout! And thank you to director of multi-club operations, Craig Hragyil, for taking the time to speak with me after class and making me feel welcome at The Forum.
Studio: Stellar Bodies
Class: SPX Total Body
Class description from website: This workout, created from the roots of Pilates, encompasses cardio elements and strength training all in fifty minutes! This workout is incredibly dynamic, and emphasizes core stability and functional movement.
In these 50 minutes, full body conditioning will be achieved with resistance, counter resistance, and full muscle contractions. This workout focuses on full body composition that forces peak performance without injury.
The SPX workout strengthens the body, tones and elongates the muscles, improves endurance, jumpstarts the metabolism, burns fat, and increases flexibility and posture, alignment, and restores the body’s natural balance.
The machine used is the Megaformer TM, which is an evolutionary design of the traditional reformer. It is designed to utilize both upper and lower body muscles, using springs and pulleys that will set the resistance and counter resistance of the workout. With a certified instructor, it is one of the safest ways to strengthen your muscles with very little stress on your joints.
Location: 3872 Roswell Road, Suite A-1, Atlanta, GA 30342
Phone: (404) 467-1060
Cost: First class is free. $30 per class after that. They also offer packages for mutiple classes.
What to Bring: Water, toe socks, towel. Toe socks are sold at Stellar Bodies for $16. You can also find them at Target and sometimes TJ Maxx and Marshalls.
What to wear: Comfortable workout clothes. Yoga pants, leggings, tank top, t-shirt etc. Shorts are fine, but I would wear bike shorts because you will be in compromising positions and somethings are better kept a secret. Side note: if you forget workout clothes they do sell workout attire at the studio.
Class size: Small. There were 7 people including me. Each class can accommodate up to 10 people.
Props used: The entire class was done on the Megaformer, which is basically a reformer on steroids.
Volume and type of music: Music was at a medium volume and the teacher played top 40. (“Turn Down 4 What” came on at just the right time towards the end of class…I was about to turn down, but Lil Jon helped me to turn up.)
Impact: Low impact, no jumping whatsoever.
Modifications: Since all the movements are performed slowly and methodically and for a significant period of time the teacher was able to walk around to help individual students with proper form and get situated on the machine.
All exercises were done in either 45 second, 60 second, or 90 second intervals. We began class with a warm up focusing on the abs. To warm up, we started on the front platform of the Megaformer on our knees and with our hands on the moving portion and pushed the moving portion out and back in (similar to an ab wheel), then performed the same movement but in a pike. It didn’t take long to warm up and we moved on to lower body exercises. We did several exercises on one leg moving from a four point (all fours) position to standing split squats (stationary lunge) and worked our way through the exercises in reverse order on the other side. Some of the exercises included standing on the floor with one foot on the moving part of the Megaformer and the other foot on the floor while squatting and pushing the leg on the Megaformer back (hip extension, again isolating the glutes on the pushing side but utilizing your entire body since you are also doing a 1 leg squat); and one of their signature exercises dubbed “scrambled eggs.” In this exercise you are on three points (both hands and one knee) on the moving part of the Megaformer, and the foot of the free leg is in a strap connected to a resistance band, and then the leg in the band sweeps forward and kicks back. The standout characteristic of this move is that you are utilizing over 600 muscles in the body.
We ended class performing ab exercises in the same body position as the beginning of class but on the other end of the Megaformer. This meant we were pulling the platform instead of pushing it, making the ab exercises from the beginning of class quite different than at the end.
What to expect:
Expect to get your butt kicked. Within the first five minutes I felt like my abs were going to pop.
Expect a total body workout including muscles you forgot you had.
Expect to feel a burn that will stop you in your tracks. I had to stop quite a few times to shake off the burn before continuing.
Do NOT expect to take a Pilates class. Yes, the Megaformer is reminiscent of a reformer, but this is not a Pilates class.
Expect for 30 seconds to feel like eternity but know that it’s only 30 seconds.
Who should take this class: This is an excellent class for people who are afraid to lift weights believing they will get bulky, because you are getting resistance training through the bands, pulleys, and springs. (Side note: it takes a significant amount of work and calories to get bulky so you shouldn’t be afraid to lift weights.) As a dancer, I would like to say that this is an excellent workout for dancers because you will get the balance and coordination work that’s crucial to dancers, but also a heavy dose of strength training that is not always achievable in a dance class.
People who don’t have a full hour to devote to exercise. It might seem silly, but that 10 minutes makes a world of difference sometimes so here’s a total body workout in 50 minutes.
Professional advice: Use the long intervals to focus on proper form and body alignment. As with trying anything else for the first time, swallow your pride and stop when you need to. As I mentioned, I stopped several times to shake out the “burn” and grab some water. The workout provide a great muscular challenge from the first few minutes, so be aware of your body’s capabilities. Please take breaks as needed. The teacher put no pressure on me to fight through the burn.
Arrive early to your first session. Ellie, my instructor, gave each new person a run down of the Megaformer before class, which was very helpful since you will need to adjust springs, and hold various straps and handles during the workout.
Thank you to my instructor, Ellie, for delivering an incredible workout!