Thursday, February 7, 2013

One of These Workouts Is Not Like the Other

Some TRX action at Camp Darby. Credit: Joyce Costello
TRX Boot Camp at Equinox might have boot camp in its name, but it's not your typical boot camp. For starters, it uses the TRX suspension trainers that uses bodyweight and gravity to perform hundreds of exercises. And it's most certainly NOT the boot camp-like workout I so lovingly despised when compared to the interval training workout at Lateral Fitness. That's probably why I forgot that it was actually the last boot camp workout I ached through and not the hated one.

I am addicted to TRX Boot camp, specifically the one taught by Gideon Akande on Wednesday nights at Equinox Lincoln Park. I'm hooked. I'm obsessed. I make it my mission to stop working and get to class. And it makes for one crazy Wednesday workout(s) because I'm equally addicted to the Shockwave circuits offered midday (taught by Gideon and fellow trainer Mike Nickles, it's the fastest 45 minutes you'll sweat through, but that's a separate story). Getting me to choose between the two doesn't happen--I just make myself extra sore the next day, or collapse halfway through a core set with my abs aching and my legs burning.

But maybe that's part of my addiction. Between the warm-up, suspension training, core work and drills packed into this fast-paced hour, it's exactly what I wouldn't associate with a boot camp--nor have I seen at other classes deemed boot camps.

It's intense. Squat jumps kill your quads and glutes even when you don't have to push through as many as you can squeeze into a 45-second interval before resting 20 seconds and then hitting them again. Don't even ask me about the core moves--I start off strong but I can barely move in the final seconds. And the alternating between the TRX and the mat is after a dynamic warm-up complete with running, drills and hip openers that starts to elevate the heart rate.

It's challenging. If an empty water bottle, a damp towel and wet workout clothes are any indication, I'm put through the ringer at this class. My body burns, I can't control my sweat and I'm ready to collapse as soon as those 45-second bursts are up. Last week I had the crazy thought that I'd be able to run a few miles after this workout. Didn't happen--and I could barely move the next day (though I think Shockwave assisted with that).

It's different every time. I've been to at least a handful of TRX Boot camps, all led by Gideon, and I have yet to see the same workout twice. Sure, I've repeated some moves, but there's always a new one thrown in and I have yet to master the repeats. One-legged lunges with a TRX are not easy, I tell you.

It's educating. Educational might sound like an odd way to describe a fitness workout, but you can learn some fit tricks just by attending once. I first tried TRX shortly after we launched Fit-Ink in 2009 (thanks Biggest Loser for showcasing suspension training--you had me curious). But I couldn't remember any of the moves I tried, I could only tell you that I was incredibly sore the next day. After my first Equinox class, I had three TRX moves I couldn't wait to practice on my own. A handful of classes later, I have even more moves and I'm not scared to tinker on the TRX that hangs in the middle of the gym floor where everyone's watching.

It's motivating. Well, the true motivator is Gideon, who runs around the room to correct form, encourage, give high fives and push you to complete more reps. He must get a workout just from chasing us around. He also manages to appear at your space right when you're feeling those first stages of exhaustion, but it gets you to keep going even when every inch of your body aches. You feel guilty for not trying your hardest.

Like Erik's class, I get a rush from Gideon's. The exercise endorphins are raging, the body is aching, and I know I got my butt kicked. Yet I crave more. We have Chicago-style pizza, so maybe I've been testing myself at Chicago-style boot camps? Whatever, it's a variety that makes me a regular customer.

Have you tried boot camp workouts that offered TRX? How were they formatted? Were you as exhausted as I was afterward?  

Photo grabbed from campdarby at flickr, taken by Joyce Costello, USAG Livorno Public Affairs.

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