Monday, March 30, 2009

Metabolic Mayhem a.k.a. BURN

Are you interested in personal training but don't have the time or the money? the lilac-colored flyer asked.

After a recent workout at Harvard's Malkin Center, "A class of advanced circuits geared towards people that have just a small amount of time to be in the gym and want the most bang for their buck." They call it "Metabolic Mayhem"; at Healthworks, we call it BURN. I was surprised to see how, like BURN, they use:

* timed sets and intervals of rest
* mostly body weight exercises using some dumbbells
* dynamic warmup followed by interval circuits followed by static stretching

The kicker was that their group met at the same time each week (mid-day on a single weekday) and that participants pay in advance for all 6 classes, no refunds for missed classes. This is how bootcamps work at my gym, but not how BURN works.

The one advantage for clients is that having the same group time/day week after week means that progressions can be made for the group to build on past weeks' moves. By contrast, BURN sessions run at 14+ different time/day combinations each week, so there is almost never the same group twice. Trainers leading BURN sessions have to give the beginner to advanced adjustments on-the-fly based on participant skill. We also accommodate varying speeds of walkers/joggers/runners in each treadmill BURN session.

Seeing weekly group training schedules does make me appreciate just how consistent vs. chaotic scheduling can really influence a workout progression. How consistent are my client's workout routines? How can I make them more progressive while keeping them fresh with new or tweaked moves week after week? That is every trainer's challenge, and every group training instructor's challenge, too.

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