It took three days before I could descend a staircase or stand up from a sitting position without grunting a little.
My quads ached, thanks to a “Takeoff to TRX” class at FitWell in Portland. (More specifically, I think it was the single-leg squats and plyometric jumps that really did my legs in. My delicate thigh muscles were calling out for relief 10 minutes into the class – I knew then that I’d be sore for days after).
FitWell is a personal training and fitness studio on Dartmouth Street. It’s a fully equipped TRX training studio, which means all the classes use the TRX Suspension Trainer – that adjustable black and yellow strap with two handles on one end that you might’ve encountered before at a bootcamp class or seen shoved under the couch at a friend’s house (along with the yoga mat and five-pound kettlebell).
I wondered if it was even possible to create a whole hour-long workout with one of those things. (Spoiler: Yes, it’s absolutely possible. And it’s a serious workout. See aforementioned pain in my quads.)
With pretty limited TRX experience, I opted to take the “Takeoff to TRX,” class (5:30-6:30 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays), which is intended for beginners and designed “to develop and master your TRX basics.” I needed some basics. (See the entire class schedule.) That said, beginners can drop in to any class – the Takeoff class just takes a little more time explaining how to adjust the suspension trainer and get into position.
During my first time there a few years ago, a dozen or so TRX trainers hung from overhead scaffolding in the studio – and within short order there was a human in front of each one. The class was full, and folks were chatty and welcoming, which is always a good sign. Half of what makes a class fun is the other people in it, am I right?
FitWell owner Karen Kelly (who’s ripped in that way we all wish we were ripped) led the class, guiding us through each exercise and offering modifications for those of us – ahem, me – who needed them. We planked with our feet suspended off the ground in the foot cradles of the TRX. We pulled in our knees for serious crunches. We stood and leaned forward, letting our own body weight work our triceps and biceps. And then there were the squats. Oh the squats. One-legged squats and squat jumps. At one point I squat down and just stayed there. No shame in taking a breather.
All the while instructor Karen offered words of encouragement in that high-energy and lively way she has (“Come on, ten more! Almost done!” she says, and you almost want to be angry with her, but you’re not. Then she suggests you go for another round, and the room collectively groans. “Are we still friends?!” she jokingly asks.)
Yes, Karen, we’re still friends. You’re pushing everyone to do more, and while it’s hard and it hurts for days after, that’s why people come here.
Fit Will classes include TRX Strong (strength training using body weight), TRX Fit (a blend of strength and cardio) and Takeoff to TRX, the intro class I took, among others. See all the classes: www.fitwellme.com/services
If you’d like to check it out (I encourage that very much) the first class is free and it’s $12 for a drop-in after that. 10-punch card costs $90. Fit Well also does personal training and team training, if you’re looking for that sort of thing.
For my part, now that my quads have stopped hurting, I’m going to head back for the TRX Strong class. I’m confident my entire body will ache for days, and I’ll kinda love it.
*This story was first published November 21, 2016