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What Happens When A Pro Triathlete Tries 7 Fitness Trends?

  • By Chris Foster
  • Published Feb 12, 2016

Pro triathlete Chris Foster is a former member of the U.S. National Triathlon Team and has won multiple non-drafting races such as the Los Angeles Triathlon and Galveston 5150 Triathlon. Instead of a typical off-season, he decided to try something a little different for February—immerse himself in two weeks of fitness trends to see what would happen. Here’s a look at how his experiment turned out.

The winter months have not been kind to my (previously) fine-tuned professional triathlete body. More accurately, I have not been very kind to it. After guiding a visually impaired friend of mine at the Ironman World Championship in October, I took some time off. And then some more.

I had gotten to the point where my off-season was sliding into the real season, and I needed to jumpstart my motivation and my fitness. So I did what so many people do after New Year’s Day: I joined a gym. Actually, I joined seven gyms. I decided to try seven new fitness trends in the Los Angeles area—none of which I had ever attempted before—at a rate of two per day, for 14 days straight with no breaks.

RELATED: How To Fit Yoga Into Your Training Cycle

The Schedule (repeated twice)

Monday
AM: SoulCycle
PM: Jumping Fitness (small trampolines)

Tuesday
AM: SoulCycle
PM: Aerial Yoga at Guru’s Gate

Wednesday
AM: SkyFitness (big trampolines)
PM: Aerial Yoga at Guru’s Gate

Thursday
AM: SkyFitness (big trampolines)
PM: Zumba at Whole Body Fitness

Friday
AM: Zumba at Whole Body Fitness
PM: Kickboxing at iLoveKickboxing

Saturday
AM: OrangeTheory
PM: Kickboxing at iLoveKickboxing

Sunday
AM: OrangeTheory
PM: Jumping Fitness (small trampolines)

Day 1:

I thought SoulCycle was going to be a relaxing spin class, but instead it sucked the soul out of my body. It is intense. It has nearly deafening music. In the first 10 minutes, I thought I was going to pass out from pedaling while standing. Then we stood up for another 10 minutes and went harder. The class seems to have a level of focus I haven’t even seen at pro ITU workouts, and the women (note: 95% of my classes were women) look like they’re spinning for their lives.

Day 4:

Back-to-back workouts at SkyFitness—a strength, cardio and ab workout on big trampolines—left me incredibly sore. My abs, shoulders and glutes beared the brunt. On the other hand, aerial yoga—essentially yoga on a silk hammock—was the most relaxing workout I’ve ever done. My calorie intake skyrocketed to in-season levels, and I started to question the wisdom of doing so many classes in a row. I dreaded the OrangeTheory/kickboxing weekend.

Day 8:

Fatigue started to set in, and I become a zombie at both of my weekend morning classes. Though I started to finally get the hang of most of the workouts, I was still getting wrecked at SoulCycle. On the upside, I slept better than I had in months, and I felt surprisingly good after my workout on small, individual trampolines at Jumping Fitness.

Day 11:

I finally started adapting to the craziness of the schedule, and I was no longer sore or overly tired. I followed along in all of the workouts very well—I even got through SoulCycle with my soul relatively intact. Meanwhile, I got worse at Zumba.

Day 14:

The OrangeTheory/kickboxing combo was particularly brutal this weekend. I was getting some serious aches and pains from the intense cardio in OrangeTheory combined with the striking from kickboxing. At this point, I was glad these 14 days are behind me.

RELATED: How To Maintain Fitness While Traveling

Awards:

Most Likely To Be Loved By Triathletes: OrangeTheory
It’s like a functional CrossFit that’s less likely to cause injury. Each participant straps on a heart rate monitor that beams your data to a big leaderboard during the class. The harder you go on the treadmill, rowing machines and floor stations, the more “Splat Points” you rack up. After each class, they send you an email with your performance. The workouts seem well thought out, and the quantitative feedback is a tri geek’s dream. Also, Andy Potts is a fan.

Most Impossible (for me): Zumba
In a class full of Latina women with rhythm, I looked like a malfunctioning robot chicken. The atmosphere was fun and the people were supportive, but I could not seem to get any of the moves right.

Most Useful To Triathletes In the Off-season: Jumping Fitness
This was a surprise. Though it was not a particularly killer cardio workout, the exercises on small trampolines did wonders for any stability issues I was having. After having wrecked my ankle a few weeks prior, I left every class feeling stronger than before. For triathletes with ongoing injuries—for me, an ongoing Achilles issue—this will get you to the other side of the off-season solid and ready to rock.

Most Enjoyable: Aerial Yoga
As a particularly stiff and bony human being (like many triathletes), even a mat and blocks can’t get me to relax in traditional yoga positions on a hard floor. In aerial yoga, I was always cradled by soft fabric, allowing me to work on my flexibility, core and body awareness. Also, flipping upside-down is awesome.

Best Release of Aggression: Kickboxing
I had way more fun kicking the crap out of a body bag than I probably should have. The cardio was great, and nothing beats leaning into a good uppercut before landing a solid roundhouse kick.

Best Fun-to-Workout Ratio: SkyFitness
These workouts kicked my butt big time. The unstable surface worked my core, ankles and legs while the lack of impact prevented injury. Also, there’s something to be said about bouncing up and down like a kid.

Links To Gyms

Jumping FitnessJumping-fitness.com
SoulCycle – Soul-cycle.com
Zumba – Wholebodylifestyle.com
SkyFitness – Skyzone.com
Aerial Yoga – Gurusgateyoga.com
OrangeTheory – Orangetheoryfitness.com
Kickboxing – Ilovekickboxing.com

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