The term “CrossFit” is trademarked so couldn’t be used by the UoA Rec Centre, but I guess they wanted to capitalise on the trend, lol!
Prior to this evening, I hadn’t ventured into one of the Uni’s X-fit group fitness classes since my first year. Despite still having a fair amount of residual fitness, having only recently retired from my eight year competitive rhythmic gymnastics career, that had been one of the most difficult exercise-related experiences of my life. Memories that have stuck with me include having to do so many squats that it was three days before I could walk down stairs without clutching the handrail for dear life, and exerting myself so much doing sprints in the cardio portion that I nearly vomited into the Albert Park fountain.
The first thing I noticed upon entering the class was that I‘d apparently missed the dress code memo. Everyone else in the class was in head-to-toe black and grey, so in my primary-coloured Thor singlet, bright blue shorts, and rainbow shoelaces, I stuck out like a sore thumb. Luckily, I’d convinced a friend to come along with me, so at least there was one familiar face.
The instructor was, in a word, intense. I suppose you have to be to teach this type of class—the atmosphere revolves more around keeping energy levels high throughout seemingly endless reps of squats and lunges, and much less about cultivating the relaxing vibes of yoga or barre. Still, despite the appearances of being hard-core, he was very accommodating of different fitness levels, suggesting appropriate weights for beginners that would be challenging but not impossible, and offering alternative exercises to my friend (who had a wrist injury).
The music was also very unique—rather than the usual pop music, there is a specific soundtrack to this class designed to fit the timing of each high-intensity interval of exercise, with the beat indicating the exercise speed and a voice counting down at the end of each interval. It seemed weird at first, to have a disembodied voice essentially controlling the progression of the class rather than the flesh-and-blood instructor that was also there, but I got used to it pretty quickly.
The way the instructor set up the room was interesting. The classes I’d been to in the past mostly had (or entirely had) the class members all facing the instructor at the front, whereas this session had us around the outside edges of the room facing each other for most of the time (we’d do lengths of lunges in the centre). I really liked how this allowed for more interaction between everyone in the class—we could encourage each other as we worked out. This was the first time I ended up having a spontaneous conversation with someone in the class that I hadn’t met before. Afterwards, at the water fountain, we were all too out of breath during the class itself to exchange more than a few words at a time. Scintillating conversation.
Fun: 6.5/10. It didn’t have the party atmosphere of Zumba or the chill vibes of BarreFit, but the HIIT-style exercise rotations meant I didn’t get bored and—the endorphins were certainly running high.
Challenge: 9/10. Definitely the hardest of the rec centre classes I’ve tried so far, but definitely doable. I used the minimum recommended weight on the bar for squats and lifts, and I think next time I could go a little heavier, but by the end of class I was dripping with sweat.
Would I go again? Yep! I really liked the intensity, and the camaraderie. [Note from Future Mel: I’d earnestly signed up for the next week’s class but then hurt my back at cheer training and decided that lifting heavy things wasn’t the greatest idea, but I’ll be back!]