Your First AthletiX Class: A Beginner’s Experience

couple doing battle ropesAt XSport, we know the value of fitness routine that offers plenty of variety and challenge. We offer more than traditional workouts, with hopes you’ll try new things.

Still, some beginners aren’t comfortable trying fitness alternatives. So, meet Faith, our XSport blogger. Read her play-by-play of the special classes she’s sampling, starting with AthletiX.

Intro: Meet Faith, our Fitness Reporter

Hello! I’m happy to be testing out a number of programs offered at XSport Fitness clubs. I’ll be reporting my first-hand experiences as someone new to the clubs and the classes.

If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to be in a small group training class like AthletiX, read on. I’ll give you a thorough peek into our session to help you know what to expect when you try it for yourself.

I’m a middle-aged female, mom of three grown kids. I’ve had a desk job for the last 6 years, and only manage a little bit of exercise on my own, mostly dumbbells, yoga and abs. I’d say I’m of average fitness level and average size – softer in the middle, a few pounds over where I’d like to be.

I have some limitations to work around, too. I’m being treated for rheumatoid arthritis, so my joints give me some trouble, especially wrists, hands, knees and ankles. Also I’m not big on cardio, and I do get short-winded at times.

Alright, that’s me. We figure I’m a lot like many of you! Now on to the review.

What is AthletiX?

AthletiX is a conditioning workout—and it’s a challenging one. But it’s still suitable for newbies, because it’s very straightforward. There are no complicated sequences or choreographed moves. This makes it easier to focus on form.

AthletiX reminds me of sports drills, with movements like lifting, pushing, pulling, stepping, running and jumping. It’s done in intervals around a circuit of stations, few minutes working intensely at one station, and a short break before moving on.

couple doing battle ropes

How does AthletiX work?

There were eight of us in the class I took with trainer Chris James at the Schaumburg club. We were of various ages, experience levels, and fitness levels. I was the only first-timer, and a couple members were experienced and in good shape. For me, seeing people about my age able get through the drills with strength and stamina was inspiring.

Chris started us with simple warm-up of high knees and jumping jacks for 5 – 10 minutes. He described all the exercise stations giving us an overview around the room as we continued to stretch for our warm up.

That wasn’t our only instruction, though. He circulated around the room reminding us of what to do next and checking each of us for form, safety and exertion. He timed everything for us, too. My knee and ankle were a little wobbly, so I took his advice to work with good form at my own pace. It’s nice that you have options and modifications for the exercises if necessary.

What do you do in AthletiX?

Chris had set up nine stations for this particular class. They won’t always be the exact same drills in every AthletiX class, but this list of exercises will show you an example of what you might encounter.

The first time around the circuit we worked 3 minutes on, 1 minute rest, until switching to the next station. Again, Chris was clear that form matters more than speed. You’re allowed to slow down, breathe deep, shorten your range of motion, etc. Everyone was able to go at their own pace regardless of fitness level.

Here’s how it went –

  1. Side steps up on boxes, with different heights available to accommodate fitness levels and sizes. I went for the smallest one, about 18” off the floor. To give my knee a break, I was doing some of them flat on the floor, not onto the box. That worked well. People are able to either jump or step up onto the boxes, or as I did, not even use the box at all at times. Chris was very adept at providing options for people with chronic injuries so they could still participate, yet remain safe and comfortable.
  2. Running drill on the gym floor: it was high knees in one direction and a “kick butt” move w/ heels pulling back on the way back to the starting line.
  3. Little hurdles, done over a row of small tubes zigzagging on the floor in one direction, and then travelling planks on the way back to the start line. Mine were pretty slow. Every time you take an AthletiX class you should be able to see your time and coordination improve, which is a great way to judge if you are getting more fit.
  4. Suitcase lifts with squats. This movement used core bags with handles, and I did the lightest weight at 5 kgs. More bags are available all the way up to 22 kg.
  5. Sumo squats (wider stance more like plié squats) with kettlebell – different weights available again. I did second lightest.
  6. Medicine ball toss against wall – 2 different balls were available and there are two different heights of target for the ball. I used the lighter ball and tossed it in the lower circle on the wall.
  7. Heavy ropes for 3 different moves: alternating whips, two whips at once, side-to-side like the hand jive. I was having trouble with my weak hand grip (and tired arms!) so I needed some breaks on this one.
  8. Tire flipping and carry back. The tires came in 3 weights and sizes, the smallest one was still darn heavy and really works your core! The drill was to flip the tire end over end on way down the mat, and then step inside it to carry it back. This was definitely a challenging sequence!
  9. Plyo boxes – here we jumped straight up to land on the box, and jumped backwards off the box. The various heights of the box presented the right-sized challenge for everyone. When I worried I might not make it (tired legs!), I modified to come back down one foot after the foot for more stability.

Once we made it all the way around, we went around again using half the time for the intervals – 90 seconds working, 30 seconds rest. The pace was quicker since we were more comfortable with the different exercises.

Faith’s Takeaways:

Best parts: Chris encouraged & motivated, but kept an eye on our form. This class FLEW by, it was so action-packed. No getting bored here.

Watch outs: Plyometric exercises are the explosive moves with impact. Ask for modifications if you’re like me and not a happy jumper. Also, I’d wear gloves next time, since the gripping of and the wrist pressure of planks gives me trouble. This was personal experience based on my needs – others may have other things they need to modify or adjust.

After effects: I felt so accomplished! I had sore hamstrings and shoulders 24 hours later. Was expecting worse… surely the warm Hydromassage I was able to try in the spa after my workout helped!

Recommendation: Try it! This isn’t a hard routine to follow or learn. Beginners will get a LOT out of this class. If you’re unfit, I predict it will take several weeks until you can hit each station at a strong intensity with good form and a faster pace. That’s ok! Also, very fit people can push their fitness to the next level.

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