Hanging Out

Suspension-based fitness is a whole new challenge


It’s no fun to find yourself in a workout rut, but if you keep up any exercise routine long enough it’s bound to happen. You begin to dread driving to the gym, lacing up your shoes for a run or pushing “play” on your DVD player. You tell yourself that skipping just one day of working out isn’t going to set you back – but then you realize it’s the 14th day you’ve used that excuse. I know, I’ve been there – tired of the same old routine and longing for something that makes fitness fun again.

When I found myself in one of these ruts last summer I knew I needed to switch things up. I was doing a lot of cardio but not much else, so I added in some strength workouts at the gym. That’s when I first started taking notice of TRX suspension training. I had heard of it but never tried it, and seeing it in action really intrigued me. People taking the TRX classes were getting a full-body workout with just one piece of equipment – suspension straps – while I was traveling all over the gym and using a bunch of different machines for the same effect. Looking for a new way to strength train, not to mention workout more efficiently, I decided to get in on the TRX action.

By the time I had the chance to check out one of the classes at Newport Athletic Club (NAC) recently, I already had a few months of TRX suspension training under my belt. I knew it was invented by a Navy SEAL to build strength, balance and core stability with minimal equipment. I also knew it was a butt-kicking workout – and isn’t that what we want out of a trip to the gym?

My instructor at NAC was Steph, a seasoned fitness trainer with delts to envy. With me in class were people ranging from around my age (early 30s, if you must know) to a seriously inspiring woman in her 70s who, I would later find out, can hold a plank longer than me. Steph first led us through some warmup exercises to get our muscles loose before moving into the good stuff – a series of sweat-inducing exercises that isolated different muscle groups, starting with sets of squats for the quads, then moving to exercises for the back and chest, obliques, biceps, triceps and finishing with core work.

This was all done using only the TRX straps and our own body weight for resistance.

I felt the burn and I know I wasn’t the only one; I could hear the sighs of relief from my fellow TRX-ers when we’d finish particularly challenging sets. (Don’t let that scare you, though. One of the great things about TRX training is that you can self-adjust the amount of resistance you want at any time just by making a few positioning adjustments. So if you need to cry uncle at any time, you can just dial it back a bit on your own.) Steph was a great instructor, ensuring we had proper form and keeping us motivated through some of the tougher exercises.

My arm muscles were still shaking as I left Newport Athletic Club, a sure sign of a workout gone right. Doing TRX has been a great reminder that no matter how long I’ve been exercising, there’s always a new way I can challenge myself. Yes, there’s comfort in familiarity, so trying something new can be intimidating, but sometimes it’s just what you need to reignite the fitness fire within. Knowing this to be true, NAC offers its members a complimentary one-on-one Progress Coach. The coach is there to help them build a personalized exercise program based on their interests and goals, and to change up anything that’s not working for them. Doesn’t that sound fab, having someone to build you a road map to fitness success – and hold you accountable for it? Talk about a way to knock yourself right out of a fitness rut.


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