Triple Play

Three workouts to mix up your exercise routine

Variety, as they say, is the spice of life — even (or maybe especially) when it comes to exercise.

Renee Stein, fitness director at the Franklin Athletic Club in Southfield, says, “It’s vital to have a variety in your workout routine in order to continue to progress and create a well-rounded physique.”

From experience, I know that running 20-plus miles a week isn’t as beneficial as a weekly routine of running 10 miles along with doing weights, lunges, boot-camp style workouts, and swimming or spinning classes.

In that spirit of variety, I set out in search of a wide range of fitness options and, after two emergency-room visits, eight stitches on my left leg, and a handful of classes, I offer this overview of three approaches to exercise

Revolutionary Workout

Location: Nth Degree Fitness, Royal Oak.

Routine: Full-body workout.

Duration: 55 minutes.

Class notes: Kristin Turner, manager of Nth Degree, says local trainer Robb Frentz designed these classes to offer a level of personal attention for each client. “He created a workout that would provide cardio and personal training in less than one hour,” she says. After trying the full-body workout, I would agree. Two trainers were available for the approximately 15 students. During drills, my form and technique were always corrected. Mirrored walls help you self-monitor.
Equipment includes treadmills, a step bench, and various free weights. During classes, lights are dimmed, and red lights flash — a setting Turner says “provides an atmosphere to escape into.”
The class accommodates all fitness levels, from walker to jogger to runner. All participants alternate five minutes on the treadmill and five minutes of weights for 55 minutes. During that time, the instructor shouts out instructions for various levels of fitness and ability, allowing people to train at their own level of intensity. Turner calls the workout “extremely addictive,” adding that it “torches body fat and builds lean muscle.”



Locations: Pointe Fitness, Harper Woods; Brick House Fitness, Mount Clemens.

Routine: Sick…Mean…Hateful (Yes, that’s the name.)

Duration: About 17 minutes.

Class notes: Call me crazy, but the “Sick…Mean…Hateful” workout was my favorite (a surprise, considering that I only partially accomplished the session due to a fall that landed me in the ER).
The workout, which I did with CrossFit-certified instructor Morgan Nye at her Body Envy Boot Camp class in Harper Woods, was a combination of three five-minute rounds of different exercises followed by a one-minute break. During this time, your partner counts your reps on each exercise and tallies your final score. Exercises included burpees, box jumps (my downfall), wall balls, and ball slams.
CrossFit is a combination of Olympic lifting, metabolic conditioning, and gymnastics. The workout I attempted was, hands-down, one of the toughest seven minutes of my life (before I wiped out). A note here: My jump-box spill was my fault and had nothing to do with the intensity of the program or instructor.
I had previously trained with Nye and learned that CrossFit is a combination of simple drills performed with repetition. The routine (even cut short) left my body more muscle-sore than it has ever been. Currently, 19 gyms are listed as CrossFit affiliates in Michigan.


Indoor Cycling

Location: Real Ryder Revolution, West Bloomfield Township, Birmingham.

Routine: T.G.I.F Ryde.

Duration: 45 minutes.

Class notes: Having regularly taken a spinning class for the last year, I thought I was prepared for the Real Ryder Revolution class in West Bloomfield Township. When feet were secured to the pedals, I knew this ride would be like no other. Indeed, it felt a bit like a carnival ride as my cycle swayed vigorously from side to side.
In order to keep the bike balanced, I had to constantly tighten my stomach muscles. The bike would lean so far to the side that it seemed as though it might leave its hinge. Bringing it back to center required a full upper-body effort.
Leslee Blatnikoff, partner at Real Ryder Revolution, says their bikes differ from typical spinning classes because they involve more than legs and cardio. The bikes allow participants to turn, lean, steer, race, and climb, burning about 700 to 900 calories per 45- to 60-minute class, Blatnikoff says. “We’ve taken spinning to a new level,” she says. No disagreement here.



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