Itsera Martial Arts and Family Fitness, 645 Tenacity Drive, Unit E, Longmont, 303-652-0104, itserafamilyfitness.com.
Instructor: Kru Scott Meier has black belts in Muay Thai and Tai Kwon Do and has numerous belts in Krav Maga. He has trained in various forms of martial arts and self-defense for over 16 years.
Itsera opened eight years ago, teaching martial arts and group fitness. "Itsera is the Tai word for freedom. The freedom to change your life, the freedom to better yourself in some way, to surround yourself with people that lift you up. There are too many things in this world that pull you down," said Meier.
What is the workout? A combination of TRX training and kickboxing. Body weight training is at the heart of the TRX system. Using only two adjustable straps, students can choose their difficulty level just by altering their body position and taking on more of their own weight during the exercise.
"It's a great way of building core strength for people of all shapes and sizes. We add the kickboxing to add more heart rate to it and get a sweat going," said Meier.
In between exercises, we'd move to the punching bags and don a pair of boxing gloves. We threw kicks and punches to the bag at a quick pace, before going back to the TRX bands.
What's different? TRX and kickboxing are both relatively common workout styles. Together they provide a more balanced workout in only 45 minutes. Kickboxing gets your heart rate up and your body sweating. TRX on the other hand is more of a low impact, strength training workout. "This is a combo class that's designed to focus on TRX, and the reason why we do that is because it offers you a substitute for impact," said Meier.
We moved through a dozen different exercises using the straps. The one thing they all had in common is that the core was working hard the entire time. Even when it felt like I was only using my arms or working on balance, I had to keep my core tight or I wouldn't be able to complete the exercise.
Kickboxing was a nice addition to the TRX bands. It made the class more interesting and got my blood pumping. "It's core and strength training combined with cardio to make an all-around workout," said Meier.
Cost: The first couple classes are free and you can schedule a short private appointment with Meier. He'll show you the ropes and explain the classes that area available. Unlimited classes run $149 a month. Drop-ins are $20 or a 10-class punch card is available for $150.
Level: "People with back problems, shoulder problems or knee problems can do this without being hurtful. So you don't have to have a lot of experience," said Meier.
This class is accessible to most people. Students can choose how much body weight they want to use during each exercise. If it starts getting too hard you can back out and use less weight. Meier thoroughly demonstrated the exercises, offering easier or harder variations. The kickboxing portion is also self-paced in some ways. You choose how hard you want to punch and kick the bag. Meier keeps up the pace, but the level is your own.
When: The class is held every Tuesday from 7:15-8 p.m. There is a similar TRX-boxing-bootcamp class at 6-6:45 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
What to prepare: Shoes are optional for this class. Wear normal workout clothes and bring water. They have loaner boxing gloves or you can bring your own.
Muscles worked: What muscles didn't I work? That might be a better question. I can't think of a single muscle that wasn't involved in this workout. There was an emphasis on the abs and arms during class. Kicking the bag and some of the TRX moves got into my legs, but not to the same degree.
What I loved: There was such a diversity of students in class, all different ages and fitness levels. The gym was just the right size, not too big to be intimidating or so small it felt cramped. The class was well organized and Meier was easy to work with.
What I didn't like: I could have gone a little bit longer. Class went by really fast and I could have handled another 15 minutes to burn off all the cake I ate earlier in the day.
How I felt after the class: I was sweaty and out of breath. I left feeling like I ended my day on a high note.
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