I attended a free Total Body Run media preview class at CrossTown Fitness. All opinions are my own, as always.
I love CrossTown Fitness, as you may have noticed by now. While I haven’t visited every studio in Chicago, I have worked out a decent number of them, and CrossTown has consistently been at the top of my list. I’ve never had a disappointing workout or subpar trainer there, and I truly think it’s great place to work out.
Historically, CrossTown’s workouts, at least in my experience, have been particularly geared towards the HIIT or strength training enthusiast. You could usually count on one or two of the several circuits during a Total Body class putting you on the treadmill or a rowing machine, but cardio, never mind running specifically, certainly wasn’t the focus of the class. Total Body Excursion Runs gave you the opportunity to get outside and concentrate on running, but it did, obviously, require being outside, which isn’t always ideal in Chicago. To fill that gap, CrossTown recently added a Total Body Run class, a quick, 30-minute workout entirely based on the treadmill.
Now I, admittedly, am not the treadmill’s biggest fan, and will generally choose an outdoor run over an indoor run any day for one reason in particular: I find treadmill running to be crushingly boring. No amount of music, TV, podcasts, nor books on tape have ever been able to make me enjoy my time on the ‘mill. Because of that, I was really curious to see how I’d feel about CrossTown’s Total Body Run class.
Kiersten, a new-t0-me trainer, led our class at CrossTown’s NorthSide location at Addison and Halsted. (Tori, whose classes I’ve taken a few times at various locations, also leads the class at the West Loop.). After a few minutes of gentle warmups on the floor, doing things like squats, high knees, butt kicks, and burpees (only five, so nothing unbearable), we hopped on the treadmills. Kiersten had set all of them at 5.0 to get us started, but made it very clear from the get-go that we would call the shots in terms of our own pace for the class. She instructed us based on effort percentage rather than specific speed, so we could all work as hard (or take it as easy) as we wanted. Our base pace, where we started, was supposed to be an easy, manageable pace we could hold for a long time, about 60% effort. I normally wouldn’t consider 5.0 to be 60% effort for me, but since I had done my long run the day before and had come down with an undiagnosed-at-the-time illness (since diagnosed as “maybe strep?” I have all of the classic symptoms except for a fever, and my in-office throat culture at the doctor on Monday came back negative, but my doctor was fairly certain I have strep, since I got a Centor score of three out of four.), I thought it would be in my best interest to take it super easy, so I stuck with a 5.0 as my base pace.
Our first two intervals of class had us climbing hills on the treadmill, working our way up to a 6.0 incline while keeping the pace easy. After that, we did a few sprint intervals, working our way up to a pace we should only be able to hold for 45 seconds. We played around a little with inclines on the sprint intervals, but not at all like we did with hills. We cooled down for a couple minutes on the treadmill and finally moved to the floor for some stretching to finish out the workout.
I really enjoyed Total Body Run. Since the class only lasts 30 minutes and we never spent more than one minute at the same incline/pace (unless we were recovering), I didn’t get bored at all. The class changes every time, so just because I did hills and sprints doesn’t mean that’s what you’d always get at each class. Regardless, I think this class is a great way to mix up your running workouts and take advantage of the treadmill’s offerings to get some more variety in your running than you may get if left to your own devices, either on the treadmill or outside. You can find the current class times online.
Have you ever taken a group treadmill class? I certainly haven’t, and I was pleasantly surprised to find out I didn’t mind it nearly as much as I thought I would!