Fusion Cross-Training Kicked My Ass

How much did Fusion Cross-Training kick my ass this morning? So much that I felt nauseous for half the class; had a minor asthma attack on the way home and had to use the inhaler for the first time in months; and I felt compelled to write about it as soon as possible. In short, it made me feel really out of shape, and it made me want to fix that.

I’m always looking for ways to change up my gym routine. I have a very rigid plan for my marathon training, and it gets really boring after a while. The bright spots of my week are my 2 morning spin classes, which I always attend with my bff, Jordan. We’ve been going to the same spin classes with the same instructor, Jason (highly recommend his class at PSC Market St), for almost a year now. The music is great, the workout is never the same, and Jason is so much fun as an instructor. The class is always full, so rather than ride a bike, Jason walks around the room, dancing and bantering with everyone until they smile… which is hard to make me do when I’m up against my will before sunrise working out. Anyway, Jason works out at Fusion, and from time to time invites students from our spin class to go with him and check it out. When he mentioned it to myself and Jordan, we were more than happy to go and try out a new workout.

We had no idea what to expect, but I was more than a little nervous going into it. We arrived at class around 6:10, for our 6:30 class and had to wait a few minutes for the instructor to show up and open the door. I was surprised to find we were probably 10th in line at that point. This place is in demand. The class is an hour and 15 minutes, and broken up into three sections. The first 30 minutes is cardio. There’s a small studio with maybe 12 treadmills, six bikes, and two rowing machines.

Jordan and I snatched up two treadmills and filled out our paperwork. I can’t imagine doing 30 minutes of high-speed rowing, so I’m glad we got to class early. As everyone got settled into the room, the instructor, Jesse, came over and introduced himself and explained how the class works. Our class today consisted of an eight minute uphill, and then a couple sets of intervals. The hill was at a 15 incline on the treadmill… I’ve never used that setting before, and can’t say it was fun. The first two minutes was walking lunges. I was exhausted even after that part. Then two minutes of long stride walking, two minutes of jogging, and two minutes of running. Jesse was great about walking around to give tips or correct form when necessary. I was already dripping with sweat and reaching for the water bottle after the hill. Then it was on to the intervals. We were told to run at whatever our 90% exertion rate was for various times… picking up the pace with the shorter intervals. We did two minutes with a one minute recovery jog, one minute with a 30 second recovery, 30 seconds with a 15 second recovery, and then a 15 second sprint, which we ended by restarting the cycle. We jogged it out and then cooled down for a bit. It was tough and I was completely exhausted, but I was pleased with myself.

Then, the really hard stuff started. We moved to the studio next door for 30 minutes of strength training. Every day of the week focuses on a different group of muscles. Today was request day, but Jesse was making the requests. I have to admit I have been seriously bad about strength training. When I first started exercising a few years ago, I was so overweight that all I had to do to lose a few pounds was run. I didn’t worry about strength or toning. It was only in the last year that I’ve even made an attempt to work on that stuff. I’ve done a few cycles (eight weeks at a time) of TRX suspension and Kettlebell personal/group training. I love my trainer and I’ve definitely seen some improvement, but I still have the upper body strength of a small child. I can barely muster 15 push-ups (with questionable form) on a good day. So doing a class after a very challenging cardio workout proved more than difficult.

We started with a circuit of single leg squats (10 on each leg), 20 navy seal push-ups, then 20 bicep curls with a resistance band. We were told to do as many circuits as we could until Jesse told us to stop.  It was painful to say the least. And Jesse wouldn’t let me cheat on any of the moves when I got tired. He came around and corrected me on the single leg squats and my push-ups. I’m pretty sure I laughed out loud and shook my head in disbelief when he was explaining the next circuit. It started with a ladder series of walk-out push-ups, starting with one push-up each walk-out, then two, then three, etc… up to eight. Then 20 sumo squats, all the way down to a step that was maybe eight inches from the ground. Then 20 bicep curls with a resistance band. UGH. The push-ups. I made it through the first ladder set, with some of the most half-assed push-ups I’ve ever done toward the end, while my arms were shaking and sweat was dripping from my forehead all over the floor. The squats and curls weren’t so bad. But when it came time for the second set of push-ups, I had to do them the “girly” way on my knees. I was relieved to hear lots of people panting and grunting, and pausing between exercises. I knew I wasn’t the only one having a hard time. We finished up with four minutes of abs. One minute of pikes with TRX suspension, one minute of crunches with TRX, one minute of crunches on the floor, and one minute of leg lifts on the floor. I honestly thought the TRX would be somewhat easy. I’ve taken months of TRX training, and am very familiar with those moves. Ha. I was wrong. I got through about 30 seconds of pikes with very poor form. Then Jesse came over and told me to raise my hips… I did a few that way. Then just gave in and rested til the minute was over. Same with the TRX crunches. The floor stuff was a little easier. But I was elated to be finished with it.

Class ended with 15 minutes of light yoga and stretching. I found this a little difficult since my feet were so sweaty I was sliding on the mat a little. My arm muscles were also a little wobbly. At the end of class, everyone lays on their stomach with the lights off, and Jesse comes around and gave each student a quick back rub. I feel bad the instructors have to touch so many gross sweaty people, but it was a nice touch.

All in all, it was a great workout. It was a nice change of pace from my normal gym routine, even if I wanted to die through most of it. You can buy a pack of 10 classes for $175. They are normally $20 for walk-in, but you can’t reserve them ahead of time, and based on what I saw today, you need to reserve a spot. There’s also a $95 initiation fee, but if you sign up the day you try it out, they waive it. At this point, I am 90% sure I will be calling this afternoon to buy a 10-pack, as long as I have a few months to use them up. I am starting another eight week TRX/Kettlebell small group training next week, and it’s too close to the Napa Marathon to really change my workout routine. However, I’m now thinking that if I wait til after my spring races, maybe I will take a little break from running over the summer (distance runs at least) to do Fusion and work on more cross-training and strength work at my normal gym. Then I can start training for the fall marathons from scratch, and attack it with a more muscular physique. I definitely recommend checking out a Fusion class if you’re looking for a good workout.


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