Monday, February 24, 2014

My Animal Flow Experience at Equinox

Recently, I had an opportunity to participate in the new “Animal Flow” class at Equinox… which gives “train like a beast” a whole new meaning! 

I had no idea what to expect… bear crawls, frog jumps and crab walks are animal moves that I’m familiar with but I had a feeling this class was going to be a lot more involved.

"Animal Flow” was created by Mike Fitch and incorporates functional movement from many disciplines. The class description on the Equinox website states:

“Blend dynamic bodyweight movement with modern athletic training.  This non-traditional approach to primal bodyweight training integrates strength, endurance, flexibility, mobility and power for total body mastery and the ultimate fit physique.”  

This is Mike :)
photo courtesy of Global Bodyweight Training

As a big believer in bodyweight training, I thought this sounded right up my alley!

It was my first time at Equinox on Dartmouth Street, and I was early (no that’s not a typo), so the friendly front desk attendant offered to show me around the fitness center.  Wow, this place is definitely top notch… and HUGE.

Equinox Dartmouth St
photo courtesy of Equinox

There are separate studios for different kinds of class offered, a sea of cardio/strength machines and (my favorite part) an area on the strength floor with lots of open space for bodyweight/functional exercise. 

One of the studios
Photo courtesy of Equinox

There are a number of high-end amenities too… complimentary coat check, Kiehl’s products in the locker rooms, an outdoor deck (although, sadly, not the time of year for me to check out), laundry service and juice bar.

The VIP locker room... another one of the amenities at Equinox
Photo courtesy of Equinox

There are two “Animal Flow” classes:

  • Animal Flow X – 45-minute beginner class
  • Animal Flow – 30-minute conditioning class
Even though it was my first time taking the class, I took the 30-minute “non-beginner” version because it fit my schedule better. As it turned out, the other 4 people in class were newbies too.  

Todd, our instructor, explained that the “X” class just takes things at a slower pace and allows more time to really learn the movements.  I guess we were all just a bunch of overachievers :)

Todd started the class with a thorough warm-up and then taught us a handful of animal-named exercises that were turned into a set of circuits.  A lot of these exercises were unilateral so we’d repeat each one on both sides of the body.

Mike demonstrating a movement
Photo courtesy Global Bodyweight Training

He then led is through a series of crawling exercises across the studio floor – side-traveling ape and side-traveling beast.  It reminded me of exercises I've made my clients do and had sort of an acrobatic element to them. 

After the crawling portion, we spent about 10 minutes on the final flow.  The exercises we learned at the beginning of class were strung together to create a “flow” of movements. Todd would call out an exercise along with “right” or “left” and we would transition between them.  It was really cool and more strenuous than I expected but in a challenging “this is so much fun” kind of way. 

the "flow"
photo courtesy of Global Bodyweight Training

Todd spent a good deal of time at the end of class, as well as in between segments, stretching… especially the wrists.  Many of the movements involve being on your hands, so wrist stretching was a definite necessity.

The class felt like a mix of power yoga and low-impact breakdancing, with some strength moves thrown in for good measure.  Although I didn't get too sweaty (probably because I was focused on remembering the movements), I still got a good workout and felt very limber and stretched out afterwards.  I would imagine that after taking a few classes, it becomes more of a workout because you don’t have to think so hard to remember the exercises.

In the Boston area, “Animal Flow” classes are only held at the Dartmouth Street Equinox.  They are offered at other sites outside of Boston… check the website for the full schedule of classes at all Equinox locations.

If you are looking for a unique way to get in shape for summer, definitely check out “Animal Flow” at Equinox. Not only will it get you moving in ways you probably haven't since childhood, it'll help bring back FUN to your workout! 

Roaring encouraged :)

Disclaimer: This was a complimentary class; however, all views expressed are my own. 

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