We do not segregate classes into workout level – one for beginners, one for intermediates, and one for advanced athletes. We don’t do this because we don’t want to create limitations on people, section them off, or segregate them – i.e. this class is for the slow, that one for triathletes.
We want to encourage everyone to come together and show that the people that are the high caliber athletes at the competition level are equally inspired by the person coming in that is in their 70’s who is working side-by-side with them. They get the inspiration that someday when they’re in their 70’s they’re doing the same thing this person is doing. Meanwhile, the 70-year-old is thinking wow, I can’t believe how hard they’re working; I better do the same thing. So there’s a magic that occurs in the group that we don’t want to spoil by sectioning it off for different types of levels. I think we create labels enough in our society that I don’t want to do the same thing here.
We have different classes offered throughout the week and break them down in a couple different ways. One is by the type of energy the muscles use as its primary fuel source at any given time. The other way we differentiate classes is by the purpose of movement and the ability level of people to move unrestricted. Below are the class types.
Power and Speed
The Power & Speed class is all about short bursts of effort generating force over a certain period of time. Our muscles require a certain type of energy known as adenosine triphosphate (ATP); a molecule which causes the muscle fibers to slide and contract. We always have a certain amount of ATP in the muscle tissue for immediate action. It might be considered like jet fuel. Jet fuel is expensive, you can only store so much, it’s highly explosive and it only lasts for a short amount of time. When the muscle tissue is depleted of its ATP, after only 10-20 seconds, it needs to be replenished. The Power & Speed classes are all about training that type of energy.
The Foundational Strength classes focus on being strong with fundamental human movements: pushing, pulling, moving up & down, rotating, and traveling through space. We tap into a different energy system known as the lactic system. When the short-lived ATP is depleted in the muscle it increases the breakdown of sugar molecules (glucose) into glycogen, which combines with other molecules to form additional ATP. Glycogen is present in muscle tissue just like ATP and it also is being utilized on an ongoing basis. It will be in greater demand once the ATP is depleted. When breaking down sugar molecules to create more ATP another byproduct of this is known as lactate. The breaking down of glucose with water molecules creates a higher pH and we experience that burn when we exercise.
Endurance and Fitness
The Endurance & Fitness classes also primarily use the lactic energy system. This form of energy could be considered like gasoline. It gives us a little bit more mileage than jet fuel and can pack a punch but not as explosive as jet fuel. The muscles and liver (where glycogen is also stored) have a certain amount of energy, about 2 to 3 minutes’ worth, that we can take from our tanks before running on empty. The Endurance & Fitness class tries to get the most mileage out of those gas tanks. The goal is to increase your tolerance to the lactic build up or your lactic threshold. The typical endurance class will be made up of several circuit stations with little rest between sets.
Another way in which we have created differences in the class is in terms of movement ability. The three main classes of Power & Speed, Foundational Strength, and Endurance & Fitness are geared toward people that have very few restrictions that do not have many limitations and who do not need a lot of modification to these exercises. There are those people who want to exercise but have restrictions. We designed a couple of classes with that in mind: the Bridge class and the Cogs class.
The Bridge Class originally was designed to bridge the gap for people that are being released from medical care (such as joint replacement recipients, cardiac rehab patients or stroke victims). They have seen a doctor, exercise physiologist or physical therapist to begin rehabilitation exercises. Once they get to a certain ability level or amount of workouts they are often told to get a membership at a local gym. However, the quality of instruction at local gyms vary greatly and many may not be familiar with proper protocol to help people in such situations.
Whether these individuals are cardiac rehab, stroke rehab, joint replacement or whatever the case may be, the Bridge class is all about progressively guiding in a very controlled manner on to greater levels of ability. The Bridge class has morphed in its own special way into a class that is really populated with individuals who may need modification in the other mainstream classes. So we end up having a broad mix of people that are getting post-traumatic or post-professional care and then those that don’t want to jump into the other classes for fear that they may be a little bit too much.
We move in three-dimensional space. The hips are meant to tilt forward and back, or sway side to side, or elevate and drop, or rotate left and right. These opposing actions are all three-dimensional motions and need to occur with the least amount of restriction. Prolonged seated environments or standing in a confined space, such as behind a counter, or just the simple fact we are no longer farmers and we’ve moved from a rural environment to an urban setting, the modernity of today’s society is taking its toll on human form and is pulling us into distorted positions creating muscular imbalances, joint compromises, and inflammation pain. The COGS class is all about the restoration of proper joint function, posture alignment, and muscular balance.
The COGS class is kind of a double entendre. COGS refers to cog wheels like you might find in a pocket watch when one wheel moves clockwise another wheel attached to it will move in the opposing direction, counterclockwise. That is, in essence, how our body behaves in motion. We move in opposing actions; when one arm swings forward the opposite swings back. The swinging arms are paired up with the opposite legs. This allows the torso to turn in one direction and the pelvis to oppose it. Our modern world of labor-saving devices reduces the bodies ability to function at it’s optimal level and it is by reintroducing such opposing actions can we begin to unlock restricted joints, improve muscular balance and restore postural alignment. COGS is also an acronym for “Center Of Gravity.” The dual objective of this class is to restore a person’s unconscious ability to manage it’s mass toward their center, to align their body more congruent with the force of gravity so that they are more structurally sound. When load bearing joints get closer to their ideal position optimal movement is possible. The COGS class is all about exploring your own body and understanding where it is that you have restrictions and then getting strategies to help free up those restricted areas.
The COGS class is our answer to what others would call a stretch class. We are not against stretching, it’s quite the opposite. Yet stretching a muscle just for the sake of stretching is not necessarily a good thing. Certain muscles in the body are already being pulled on by others causing them to be stretched longer than they need to be. Certain muscles are doing quite the opposite, shortening in response to instability or the way in which a person has organized their movement. So rather than creating a stretch class we created a joint class. COGS are all about exploring joint motion because when joints act muscles react to that motion. Rather than picking on one specific muscle we look at how the body moves. If we allow the hips to travel in one direction that causes a myriad of soft tissue to respond. So the COGS class is really about getting joints to move in a way that they should as unimpeded and as unrestricted as possible.