Fit Chick Express, 1254 Sherman Drive #4, Longmont, 720-204-8320, fitchickexpress.com
Instructor: Angie Schumacher, of Thornton, the founder of Fit Chick Express. Schumacher has been involved with fitness all her life.
After working in daycare for 12 years, she decided to get certified by the National Federation of Personal Trainers and begin teaching fitness, with an emphasis on women. She started working out with five girls in a park, and five years ago opened Fit Chick Express, which claims to be the "most effective, fun and inexpensive" way to get fit in a community of women.
What is the workout? The 30-Minute Boot Camp is a fast-paced total body workout for women that mixes cardio with all major muscle groups. It is Fit Chick Express's signature class.
Schumacher says she started the class because "as women, we take care of everyone else but ourselves. Thirty minutes is perfect. You come in, get the workout done as quickly as possible and get out."
My class was set up in a series of circuits with one minute of work and a short transition time in between stations. The exercises, emphasis and length of intervals change every day.
Schumacher says many people don't believe you can get in a good workout in just a half hour, and she aims to prove them wrong.
Classes average 10 to 15 participants, with the early morning classes the busiest, sometimes hitting 25 women.
The class uses a variety of equipment, such as medicine balls, stability balls, dumbbells and TRX, but exercises using body weight (like pushups) continue to be the biggest challenge for many people, Schumacher says.
What's different? Fit Chick Express is just for women, and it's built with a strong community emphasis.
Even though the class moved quickly, the atmosphere still felt social. Members regularly hang out together outside of class and have a Facebook group, Schumacher says. Although most of the exercises were not new, the atmosphere had a distinct feeling -- a blend of no-nonsense, get-in-and-work-hard, but with cheerfulness set to great music.
Cost: Get a free two-week trial to see if you like the facility. Then, you can buy packages for $94 to $150 per month, with classes averaging $7 to $12 each.
Level: All levels, from total newbies to marathoners. I found the class a six on a 10-point intensity scale, a bit lower because it only lasted 30 minutes.
Interestingly, about half of the participants have some kind of injury to accommodate, Schumacher says. She was highly attentive and focused throughout class, offering constant modifications and encouragement. Schumacher may have worked just as hard running the class as we did doing the exercises.
"We make it fit for any person at any time," she says. "You don't feel the same every day. If you're having a down day without energy, that's fine, we try to help them with that. We want people to take care of themselves. It's like an individualized group training class."
When: The 30-Minute Boot Camp is offered 16 different times per week, including Saturdays. Check the schedule for times.
What to prepare: Regular workout clothes, athletic shoes and a bottle of water. You may need a sweat towel, although I didn't sweat too heavily.
Muscles worked: Full body, with a different emphasis each class. My class focused on hamstrings and glutes, with some core and upper body.
I especially felt it in my chest, because we did a lot of pushups. I also felt a little sore in my glutes, hamstrings, shoulders -- um, yeah, full body it is.
What I loved: The two-week trial is an amazing offering that all fitness studios should provide. You cannot tell if a studio is the right fit for you in one or two classes. And if a studio is really up to par, it can only benefit by letting people try it for free, because then they'll be hooked and potentially start to see changes in their bodies.
As a busy mom, I appreciated the 30-minute workout, too. It's better to have a 30-minute workout on a busy day than nothing at all. And the proof was in the soreness. Can a 30-minute workout be enough? My sore muscles head to toe scream heck to the yes.
What I didn't like: I understand why some women like all-women facilities, but why exclude? My perception of an all-women facility is that it's going to be easier -- and this class was everything but. I think the name Fit Chick Express limits what this facility truly offers and would have turned me off, if I hadn't tried it for myself.
How I felt after the class: I was mildly sweaty but not ruined. I felt accomplished and my muscles felt fatigued. By the next day, my muscles were talking to me. Those 30 minutes stayed with me for three days.
-- Reported by Aimee Heckel.
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