Sunday, 24 June 2012

Hourglass Workout and Energia reviews

I wanted to do a brief review on two new workouts/fitness facilities I've tried out recently: Hourglass Workout and Energia Athletics.

http://www.hourglassworkout.com/index.html
http://www.energiaathletics.com/

Hourglass Workout with Lyzabeth Lopez: I'd wanted to do a new strength training regiment for some time (and am still looking for others if anyone has ideas) as I don't have the time in my schedule to devote to the old amazing sets I had (upper, lower, push/pull, supersets, and a whack of others) because it was a good 3-4 hours/sessions of strength training per week. Also, while I love Body Pump, it's not challenging enough or confusing enough for my body on its own.

There are many bootcamps out there and most focus more on H.I.I.T. cardio interval training and I wanted to focus on leaning and strengthening. Based on reviews and word-of-mouth, I decided to try Hourglass Workout for the 1 month challenge given that Lyzabeth Lopez is a fitness pro and body builder. I wanted something hardcore but fun.

The fee for a month is $200 and includes "Hell week" (the first week is 5-days in a row of muscle confusion and intense workouts), 3 more weeks of 2 x a week workouts, nutrition plans and an outing. It takes place at Venice Fitness at King/Spadina, which is not the nicest of gyms but spacious, not busy, and centrally located. I chose the 6:15pm class and it's a pretty busy one (sometimes it seems a little too busy) but was the most convenient for my schedule.

After day 1 of Hell Week, I was super sore. This is when I was sold that I was doing the right thing. By week 4, I'm feeling stronger and really look forward to the workouts. I am considering signing up for another month too because I really enjoyed it.

Pros:
-When taught by Lyzabeth, it is a great workout. She pushes, and maintains the pace/intensity of the class. I enjoy the sequencing as it's different every time, and uses equipment I don't have so it's not like I could just replicate the workout at home (gliding discs, anacondas, parachutes, ladders, push/pulls, etc).
-You may start a bit late but you'll end late too and get your full 60 minutes in. If you plan ahead and go to the gym early, they're pretty cool about letting you use the cardio equipment and doing your thing to supplement your workout.
-Variety variety variety - indoors, outdoors, upper, lower, abs, bootcamp style, good tunes - all great things to keep your attention, make you want to go back, and see changes in your body.

Cons:
-A successful enterprise often means moving onto franchising. A few classes were taught by alternate teachers and the quality was not the same.
-Busy classes sometimes mean not enough equipment so you're stuck with the lighter or heavier kettlebell or dumbbells, trying to maintain form or challenge yourself.
-With a lot of regulars there, sometimes, it can feel clique-y for the newbies so be ready to try to make friends. While doing your own thing is fine, since you need to find equal strength partners for a lot of classes, it helps to have allies in the group who you can partner with and who will push you hard.

Verdict:
Try it out if you are looking for something to renew your strength training regiment. Be ready to work hard but find it from within too (it is only as hard as you make it).

Energia Athletics: Energia is on the Danforth between Broadview and Chester. They are jack of all trades in a way - offer spin, yoga, kettlebells, a run club and have a storefront with pretty good merch selection. I had never been there before even though teachers from MYD can go for free and bought a Groupon to check them out.

I haven't been to anything there except the spinning and I've heard good things about their kettlebell classes so I really should go back and try other classes. This review is just about the indoor cycling.

The studio is small/intimate and the equipment is good quality and functioning. The space has windows that open which is refreshing (literally) and allows for good air flow beyond just fans blowing in your face.

The teachers are all very different - some teach time trials, others drills, some to the music they choose for a all-terrain ride.

Pros:
Not too busy, easy to get a bike and no stress/rush.
Friendly staff/teachers who take the time to set you up if you're newer.
Variety in instruction so you can try different techniques on the bike.

Cons:
Seems like spin "lite". Music really quiet (likely due to other classes at the same time) and it really changes the experience of a spin class! Some of the classes seemed low energy,
Tiny changerooms/shower facilities.

Verdict:
Try it if you are newer to spinning. The teachers are attentive and the classes (for the most part, depends who you get and how hard you're willing to push yourself!) are not as tough as other studios so you don't feel like you can't o it. It isn't intimidating and the friendly people will help get you set up.
Also, try their yoga/kettlebell classes!

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