They say that working out is a good way to get rid of the frustration, stress and pent-up aggression. I never truly experienced the veracity of that statement until I took a Vitality class at Equinox. Any tension that I had was left on the floor of the studio after an hour of punching, kicking, and rope-swinging.
Vitality, a circuit-style workout, was created by personal trainer Lauren Greer. The interval-workout class goes beyond traditional push-ups and sit-ups by incorporating partner work, personal training elements and various exercises to offer a full-body butt kicking.
The room was set up like an obstacle course with 11 stations comprised of ropes, balls and steps. After introducing the stations, Lauren gave us regression options if we needed to slow down. Each exercise lasted for 30 seconds with 20 seconds recovery in between.
We were asked us to find a partner for the first circuit. While I often prefer to work out alone, having a partner helps keep me from slacking and gives me someone to share the pain with.
My first station involved slamming a fairly heavy ball into the ground as hard as I could. By the end of the first set, I could already feel the muscles in my arms working. Next up was one of the crazier stations — the ViPR flip. Using our arms and legs, we were supposed to flip the ViPR across the mat and the jump to the other end of the mat and do it again and again.
At first, it felt a bit manly. Very manly, actually. I felt like a wrestler flipping his opponent across the ring. But as I started putting emotion behind my energy, I could feel any lingering stress melt away. It was actually pretty fun.
Next was the rope lift, where we swung a rope into the air with alternating arms.
At the next station, I slammed weighted medicine balls into the wall. Then we moved on to squats, lunges and skaters, again using the ViPR for arm work. Finally, I finished with some cardio intervals on the step and military ladder.
By the end of each interval, I was having difficulty eking out those last lunges and curls. Yet, three intervals were enough for me to work up a sweat, but not enough so that I got bored or lost good form.
Vitality is the type of term I would expect to describe a rejuvenating yoga class rather than an all-out kicking, punching, throwing boxer-worthy workout. However, the class released my stress and energy in a new, more active and emotionally-driven way.
I liked that the class made strength work fun and I got in a full upper-body workout without picking up a weight or doing a push-up. Lauren did a great job of incorporating her personal training skills into a group workout that is individualized and blends cardio and strength together seamlessly.
The class is not yet on the schedule. In the meantime, check out boot camps and Crossfit classes to get a similarly intense, aggression-busting circuit workout. I have definitely learned that a workout doesn’t need to be Zen to help me work through emotions and relieve stress.
Melissa is a NYC resident and workout junkie. She keeps motivated to stay fit and active by trying out new workout classes, signing up for races, and keeping an eye out for a fun fitness challenge. She hopes to complete the New York City Marathon for the second time in 2011. Read more about her healthy adventures in New York City at her blog fitnessnyc.wordpress.com.