As some of you may know, the CrossFit Games just wrapped up on Aug. 6, taking place in Madison, Wisconsin for the first time ever.
This worldwide competition encourages athletes to compete in the sport of CrossFit to earn the title of “Fittest on Earth”. With news of the two-time reigning champ defending his title and a brand-new women’s champ flooding the world of fitness, I thought it seemed like the perfect time to try something new and at the same time revisit something that is somewhat familiar to me.
Now, I’ve been to a handful of boxes (CrossFit gyms) and survived quite a few WODs (Workout of the Day), but I want to make sure I’m trying new things and giving you guys an honest overview of them – my personal opinion as someone who is new to whatever adventure I’m embarking on at that time. So, when I first heard about this Extreme Fitness class in Faribault, I knew I had to check it out. I mean c’mon, I have an Extreme Fitness column… that’s just too good to pass up.
Now, I have never been to an Extreme Fitness class, but the more gyms I come across, the more I’m seeing classes like this pop up. These gyms have been pulling bits and pieces from CrossFit style training, as well as other types of training, and creating their own class of intense, functional training.
That’s essentially my own style of training. I find little things that I like and incorporate them into my programs, I think that’s why I find it so interesting.
I was invited along to attend this class by a friend, Allen, who also ended up being my partner for the workout. When I first stepped foot into Fitness in Motion in Faribault, I noticed the old jerseys framed up on the walls of the gym, new TVs in the cardio room, old school lifting equipment mixed in right next to the brand-new rig. It was the perfect mixture of classic and cutting edge – a throwback to things that people would see as more traditional styles of fitness and exercise. The atmosphere is similar to what I found in this Extreme Fitness class – a lot of traditional movements mixed in with a variety of exercises that are a little fresher.
Mike Swanson, the owner of Fitness in Motion, has been a fitness fanatic his whole life. As a freshman in high school, he decided to dive deep into the world of fitness and never looked back.
“It’s all I have ever done and it’s all I know… Doesn’t matter if you are an elite athlete, a person just trying to improve the quality of life or someone who needs to lose 80 pounds… we are here to help,” he said.
Mike says that the reason they are not a “CrossFit” gym is because it “is a much narrower brush and requires a franchise membership to use that name and their specific CrossFit training. We offer a wider range of fitness equipment.”
Anything from treadmills, bikes, ellipticals, octanes and other functional style cardio equipment. You will find dumbbells, rigs and platforms with rubber plates, LifeFitness & Cybex fitness equipment.
Now, how do these all fit into an Extreme Fitness class?
Mike and a few other trainers at the gym carefully craft workouts for the week, which look a little bit different every single day and every single week. Obviously, you want a good mix and variety so that it’s still fun and interesting but challenging at the same time.
Mike explained that although each week is different, they will typically have days that are reserved for strength training, with the use of weights with some endurance movements mixed throughout, and these workouts will usually be separated by some cardio days – which could involve multiple different circuits using various pieces of cardio equipment.
Our class was a partner-based workout, both indoor and outdoor. We did some of the classic movements like sprints, squats, and push-ups but we also incorporated some of the newer pieces of equipment like the push sleds, slam balls, GHD sit-ups and Ski Erg. We focused on getting as many reps as possible in a certain amount of time before resting for 90 seconds and moving onto the next one. During that rest period, we would record our total number of reps on a whiteboard before moving on to the next.
Man, did that hour go quick! And little did I know that they were going to tack on another giant set of squats at the end in the parking lot (thanks for that Allen) – this group is a riot!
What I liked: How welcoming everyone was – it’s always nerve-wracking walking into a new class. This class ranged from 18-74 years old, there was a wide range of abilities, but there was always a way to adapt something so that everyone could do a variation. The support amongst the group makes everyone feel welcome too. It really is a team/family environment!
What I learned: Having a partner to workout with definitely pushes you to a new level. Unfortunately, with my crazy schedule, I work out at crazy times of the day so this isn’t always realistic. But, it was a very nice change of pace.
What I did not like: Running. The class I attended had a tiny bit of running in it. Everyone stayed together as a group which made it more likeable – if that’s possible. There was constant bantering and jokes being thrown around… which leads me to believe that I wasn’t the only one who needed a distraction from this part.
My advice: Go in to work out and try the gym out, get a feel for it and see if you can set up a time to talk to Mike. While the Extreme Fitness class really is for all ages and ability levels, I totally get that it might not be right for you when you first walk in, but it’s something that you will absolutely work up to.
Fitness in Motion
200 8th Ave NW Ste 5
Faribault, MN 55021
By Nicole Sweeney
Nicole Sweeney is a fitness freak who loves nothing more than coffee, laughter & sharing a good workout with anyone and everyone. If you think of any crazy fitness fads you think she should try hit her up on her Instagram account @sisufit or Twitter @APGnsweeney.