I used to run. A lot. That’s all I did. I thought I was in the best shape of my life but it turns out, it’s not a great idea to do the same exercise over and over and over again (great article to read about the topic). You want to be challenging your body in different ways and working different muscle groups. Having a rotation of various types of workouts is the only way to be holistically fit.
I thought I wouldn’t find anything I loved as much as running. But I think I loved it because it was only what I knew. I was afraid to try anything else. Until one day I found myself standing awkwardly in my first Equinox fitness class.
Everyone raves about the Equinox classes and despite being a member for over a year, I had never tried one. The push that got me there was thinking that it is already included in the cost of my membership and I’m losing money if I don’t take these classes.
I didn’t want to go alone so C signed up with me. We picked a class called Tabata. Tabata is the definition of high intensity interval training — 20 seconds of very hard work then 10 seconds of rest, repeated 8 times is one tabata and you do 8 tabatas total. It doesn’t sound that hard, right? But when you’re on your 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th iteration of plank walks, you’ll feel it’s the longest 20 seconds of your life.
We did burpees, squats, lunges, using dumbells, sandbells, gliding disks. Here are some classic tabatas you can try. It was a full body work out and I left feeling spent. It was one of those workouts where you feel like you need to lie flat on your back and pant out the pain with a smile on your face. It felt amazing. I thought it was one of the best workouts of my life because I could feel every muscle twinge and ache, every artery and vein expand and contract.
The thought was confirmed in the following days because I had NEVER been so sore in my life. I hurt in places I didn’t know I could. I gingerly walked in those days following incredulous that I ever thought that running 30 miles a week made me in shape. I didn’t stretch, I didn’t lift, of course I wasn’t in shape!
I was hooked on that feeling — the post-HIIT high endorphin rush. We found a class called MetCon. MetCon is short for metabolic conditioning and is designed to burn calories during your workout but also maximize the calories burned after (afterburn effect). Ultimately, MetCon will make your workouts better because you increase the efficiency of storage and delivery of energy.
In Equinox’s MetCon 3 class, you do an exercise for 1 minute, followed by a short rest. There are 8 exercises in a set an 3 sets in a class. And at the end of each class you do 3 “finishers”, which is just another way to sneak in more reps. You do similar exercises as in Tabata, just spaced out differently with rests.
I am completely and totally addicted to these classes. I moved from the back of the class to the front. I usually get there at least 10 minutes early to be first one in and get my favorite spot. The instructors recognize me and we chat (shout out to Amy, John, and Chris at Equinox Wall St/Brookfield). And now I ALWAYS bring at least two sweat towels in with me.
It’s really cool to watch myself get stronger. It’s sad to say but I couldn’t do a real push-up before. And now I can breeze through(-ish) push-up burpees. When I’m planning workouts for the week, I always want to do Tabata or MetCon, and not run 8 miles. I still will sometimes but HIIT is faster, more fun, and I leave feeling like I got in a serious full-body workout.
Have you tried Tabata or MetCon? Loved it? Hated it? Any suggestions for what else I can try? I’d love to hear! Comment below!