One of our members recently commented/asked the following:
“The thing that amazes me about what we do is that I used to think that to get in the best shape of my life, I needed a grueling, long workout – something that was a serious time commitment and a steady state cardio thing the whole time. I am continually amazed by the structure of our classes. We do a little small talk with our question of the day. We stretch and warm up at a leisurely pace which really doesn’t feel hard at all. We go through the movements with the coaches’ instruction. There’s more talking, practicing and then finding your weights for the WOD. Then, when you finally do the workout, it may be only 10-20 minutes of what I’d call grueling work. How in the world is it that it works? I’m not sweating it out on a treadmill or elliptical for an hour. I’m not skimping on the warmup – I’m getting everything in during that hour class and yet, I’m literally in better shape than when I was 30.“
What a great question! This could easily be a 10 part series, but I’ll try to condense it down.
In order to answer the question, we need to define what the question is first. What does “being in shape” mean? We can take this many directions, but the most simple way to think about it is looking, feeling, and performing better.
- Looking has to do with aesthetics. Most people coming in our doors want to lose body fat and maybe gain some muscle. They want to “tone up.”
- Feeling better has to do with health. When you go to the doctor’s office, are your numbers better or worse than before? We often see members get off meds for blood pressure, diabetes, and more. When this happens, the doctor usually asks, “What have you been doing??”
- Lastly, performing better is related to what you’re physically capable of doing. “Be useful” as they say. This can be performance IN the gym, but our motto is “Fit for Life” so we also want you doing things OUT of the gym.
What’s great about these three metrics are they they can be measured both objectively and subjectively. We can measure body fat with our InBody biometric machine, you can get blood lipid panels done, and we can measure your workout data. At the same time, you can look better in a mirror, feel better in your own skin, and have more energy and capability outside of the gym.
Ok, so let’s get into just some of the reasons why our workouts are so effective:
Compound, Whole-Body Movements
We push, pull, hinge, and squat. We run, jump, climb, crawl, and twist. The things we do involve our whole body and are generally compound movements. Bicep curls are fine to get bigger biceps, but pull-ups work biceps, triceps, lats, abs, and more. Squats on a Smith machine are fine, but squats with a barbell or dumbbells are better to make you fight for balance.
Unlike other workout programs, everyday is different for us. Sorry, but if your workout involves running and rowing every time you go, it’s not varied. And that’s totally fine if you want that! Just realize that true variation should have a wider library of movements to pull from.
Varied Time Domains
If I had to give just two answers, it would be the varied movements and varied time. To my knowledge, no other workout program varies the time domains like we do. One day, our main workout may be a four-minute burner and the next day is a forty-minute slog. There are three main energy pathways and we hit them all to keep your body guessing and make it adapt across all three pathways. (For those uninitiated, just because a workout is four minutes long doesn’t mean class is. Our classes always run one-hour long and involve warm-ups, skill sessions, mobility, and more.)
Lots of Work in Little Time
The clock is a beautiful thing. Our members get so much work done in so little time, it’s actually mind boggling. This is where the intensity piece comes into play. If I said, “Hey, go to your local gym and do 50 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, 150 sit-ups, and 200 squats,” most people would take their time with the work. They would take extended water breaks, chat with their buddies, and take selfies. Meanwhile, if you simply add “for time” at the end of that, it suddenly becomes a much different workout. It’s the difference between walking a mile and sprinting a mile. Intensity is magic.
I’d be remiss to not mention nutrition. When asked, 95% of people would say they “eat pretty well,” and yet they don’t have the body composition they want. Usually the changes that happen are related to both education about proper nutrition vs. what you see in magazines and also consistency of new habits. Some of our members take it in their own hands to fix their food while others need some more help and attention so they hop onto our 1:1 Nutrition Coaching. Nutrition is a big factor in looking, feeling, and performing better.
Community = Adherence and Lifestyle Change
For both fitness and nutrition, community matters a lot. Having worked in a high school before, I know that the biggest influence on teens are their peers. Adults are no different. When you surround yourself with others invested in their health, you’ll do the same. Our small group classes keep people coming back and keep them accountable. Talking about nutrition is not a weird thing around here because everyone wants to become healthy. As they say, you are the average of the five people you surround yourself with and I firmly believe that idea is true.
There are probably more factors as to why our workouts are so effective, but those are the ones I came up with for now. If you have any other ideas or thoughts, comment below!