Inspired Athletic Movement, 5485 Conestoga Court, Suite 110B, facebook.com/SimplyFitAllWays
Instructor: Liz Wigod, of Broomfield, who runs Simply Fit All Ways. Wigod was a manager at Snap Fitness in Louisville for five years, before she left to start her own business a year and a half ago. She has multiple fitness certifications, including one from Heart Zone USA.
She also teaches at clients' homes and the Louisville Rec Center.
Wigod has been a trainer for five years.
What is the workout? Cardio heart zone training. The class is designed to work your heart muscle and help you defeat your fitness plateaus.
"Your heart is a muscle, just like your other muscles, and we want to work it to be stronger so you can utilize oxygen more effectively," Wigod says.
The class uses a heart rate monitor (although once you are familiar with your zones, you can ditch the monitor and use the "perceived rate of exertion" scale). Wigod uses various types cardio equipment, from treadmills to bikes, and also free weights for strength-training circuits.
Basically, there are five heart-rate zones. The first two help maintain a healthy heart; the American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of cardio in these zones per day to maintain a healthy heart. The third zone builds endurance and the last two improve speed and sugar burning, Wigod says.
This class works all five zones, depending on your individual needs, goals and abilities, as well as the class's emphasis. Cardio Blast is a specific, structured and focused workout, based in part off Heart Zones USA's program.
"Most people say, 'Go hard or go home,' but in this zoning, we're re-teaching people, you don't have to go hard every time," Wigod says. "The benefit is to burn all types of energy."
The cardio zoning lasts 30 minutes and the final 30 minutes of class is resistance training, wrapping up with core work.
We used a variety of equipment for the strength-training part of class (free weights, kettlebells, mats).
What's different? This class is designed to be personal; you learn your own levels -- and your abilities, too. For newbies, it removes the fear of exerting too hard, because you realize the extent of your abilities. You learn when it's good to be in your red (max) zone and when it's not.
It also gives participants different numbers to focus on, other than weight and calories.
Cost: First class is free. Various memberships and punch cards beyond that.
Level: Class size is limited to four people. Can be adjusted for all levels.
"Everybody has a different maximum heart rate," Wigod says.
Interestingly, that number never changes, she says. It's like your fingerprint.
The class varies between low and high levels of exertion, but only stays in different zones for short periods of time. Before taking class, I was intimidated by the idea of identifying my max heart rate and playing around in my max zone, even for just 30 seconds at a time.
However, my fears were unnecessary. The class is so personalized that I never felt outside of my comfort zone, even though I absolutely pushed myself. It was surprisingly approachable and fun.
Bottom line: Don't be scared. It's just another way to get to know yourself.
This class is appropriate for beginners to elite athletes, who need to train their heart to recover quickly and learn how to better pace themselves.
When: 9:30 a.m. Tuesdays and 6 p.m. Thursdays. Class is one hour long.
What to prepare: Bring a water bottle, comfortable clothes, shoes and your own heart-rate monitor, if you have one. Otherwise, one will be provided, along with all other equipment and a towel.
Muscles worked: Your heart.
"You'll walk away with a good idea for where you should be training for your goals," Wigod says.
The strength-training part of class worked the whole body. I especially felt it in my thighs and glutes (thanks, kettlebells).
What I loved: I was amazed by how much I learned about my body. I can't believe I didn't know this stuff earlier. It seems silly how much effort I have put into strategically strengthening and understanding the other parts of my body, and how little I actually knew about the most important muscle, my heart.
I enjoyed having tangible numbers to work toward. It took away the guesswork and guaranteed an excellent workout.
I'm grateful for the small class size, as well. This class could not be done well in a big format.
What I didn't like: The new type of elliptical machine I used took some getting used to. I spent a lot of time figuring out how much resistance and how many levels to change to move my numbers between low and high heart-rate zones. I feel like you would need to take a few classes before you'd really understand how to work with the machines and what it feels like to be in your specific zones.
This is not the kind of class you pop in on one time.
I also was surprised by how hard it was for me to bring my heart rate down. Apparently, I have more to work on than I realized. But it's pretty cool to have that knowledge.
How I felt after the class: My thighs felt tired all day, but that might also be due to the fact that I took this class after being sick for a few weeks. My body was rusty. But it felt wonderful to get the blood flowing again. Even if I could barely get it to slow back down.
-- Reported by Aimee Heckel.
Know of any interesting workouts? Tell us about them so we can check them out: email@example.com or 303-473-1359.