Gymnast Danell Leyva, swimmer Michael Phelps and Miami track and field star Lauryn Williams have all done their part. They are in London these next two weeks competing in the Olympics.
Not all of us can sprint as fast as Williams, but we can train like an Olympian thanks to new classes at several South Florida gyms. Equinox’s three locations in Aventura, Coral Gables and South Beach have created Olympics-inspired classes such as Shockwave Challenge, featuring rowing moves, Metcon3, “a fat incinerator,” and E-lympic Circuit Challenge, which combines Shockwave, indoor cycling and Tread and Shred.
We tried for the gold at Crunch’s new Olympics class, The Decathlon, run by trainer Robin Retherford and it’s a killer. Get through this 60-minute baby often enough and you could very well have a body to match swimmer Ryan Lochte’s.
Retherford blends plyometrics for speed and power, weights for strength and jump rope for endurance and coordination in a non-stop, ever-evolving, intense hour that borrows the kind of training swimmers and track and field stars face in the real world.
“We try to simulate what’s going on in the Olympics, how would an Olympic athlete train, there are a lot of elements,” Retherford says. “The body moves in every plane of motion — forward, backward, in a circle, because an athlete has to be agile as well as strong. There’s a flexibility element and you want your body to be balanced on each side.”
On the evening we tested our Olympic mettle — and found it was neither gold, silver nor bronze, but tin — Retherford focused on the decathlon.
Of course, Crunch, though well stocked, lacks actual hurdles or a pool to mirror the events, but Retherford’s savvy enough to offer exercises that fool the body into thinking it’s out on the track or in the pool.
Steps fill in for the hurdles. Eight of these are spaced a few feet apart and one of your tasks is to run up and over them, then run backward or hop back like a frog to the starting point and repeat.
A body bar serves as the javelin and you mimic hurling the bar for an upper body workout.
For swimming you clasp two-pound weights and move the arms in the front crawl style.
Lunges, jump rope, rowing machines, burpees (a form of push-up) and bicep curls with weights figure in the mix.
“This class utilizes every part of your body,” says trainer Crystal Siegel, 25. “It’s cardio-based weight training, the best of both worlds.”
And it also taps into that Olympic spirit of competition.
“You want people to have fun, first and foremost, so at the end of the class we have a little competition,” Retherford says.
Everyone jumps rope for 50 rotations, performs 10 modified jumping jacks and does 10 burpees.
“Whoever can do those exercises the fastest — with good form — will win gold, silver or bronze.”