Regular readers of this column know that I love a workout that gets a lot done in a little time. That’s exactly what Matt Espeut and his team offers at Providence Fit Body Boot Camp. Their 30-minute sessions give you a full-body workout – including warm up and cool down – in less time than it takes to listen to Motley Crue’s Theatre of Pain. (It’s their shortest album, and that comparison will make sense in a few paragraphs.)
Fit Body Boot Camp uses high intensity interval training (HIIT), which jacks up the heart rate with short bursts of intense activity and brief rests in between. HIIT has a number of benefits, one of which is that it boosts metabolism and maintains it for up to 30 hours – burning calories both during and after the workout.
Though the specifics of each session vary, they all incorporate cardio, strength, and resistance to build overall health and fitness, rather than focusing on activity-specific gains (like running faster or lifting more weight).
“I don’t train you to be good inside the gym, I train you to be good when you leave the gym,” Espeut explains. “We focus on functional movements so you don’t get hurt at home when you’re just carrying groceries.”
That means a lot of rotational movements that are common in sports training precisely because they help prevent injury. This is important to Espeut’s practice because he also trains the Shea High School football team, and his goal is to keep everyone in shape and on the field. “Our workouts are high intensity, not high risk,” he maintains.
The session I attended was structured into two “conveyors” with five stations each. The class was divided into two groups; we began at one station and cycled through them in quick session, barely stopping to recover in between. The stations were simple and straightforward: heavy ropes, dumbbells, medicine balls, TRX suspension straps, and a plain old wall.
Before we started, Espeut asked us if we had a music preference. “Put on the hair metal mix,” one of his regulars quickly responded. Thus, with Motley Crue and their spectacularly coiffed ilk blasting on the stereo, we were off and running. The first conveyor started with two-armed rope slams, followed by sumo dumbbell squats, alternating medicine ball shot puts (basically slamming the ball into the wall as hard as you can), TRX shoulder presses and wall sits, to which we added medicine balls for extra resistance. There were no reps to count or specific milestones to achieve – the point is to keep moving and exert maximum effort atevery station.
With hearts pumping and sweat pouring, we completed the first conveyor – but that’s only half the battle. After a brief rest, the second conveyor took us through the same set of stations, but with different activities, all intended to activate the entire body rather than isolating one specific muscle group. It’s not an easy half-hour, but it’s not supposed to be. The intent is to make it the most challenging and rewarding part of your day.
After a brief cool-down (and a transition to a more mellow playlist), we adjourned and Espeut encouraged us, “You worked hard. Now you can go home and eat guilt free.”
Not a bad reward for less than a Motley Crue album’s worth of effort.
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