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Inspire Fitness, Birmingham, cross training, group personal training, interval circuits

Three weeks into the new year, and I’m staying true to my word and continuing to incorporate cross training into my weekly routines. Last week I posted about taking a spin class at Inspire Fitness with Gabe Rios. I loved the class and the atmosphere at Inspire so much that I went back for a Functional Fitness class with Stephen Creel.

Functional Fitness is essentially a group strength personal training class, so I figured it’d be perfect for me to find my cross training strengths and weaknesses. Pun intended. I signed up for the Wednesday evening class thinking it’d be a good way to beat the midweek hump. Meanwhile, I had also run trails for an hour that morning and took Gabe’s spin class right before Stephen’s class, so my legs were jello by the time we started. Not my brightest idea, but it was too late to back out. My friend from grad school, Lizzie was my saving grace—she was also taking the class, and I knew she’d help guide me along, or at least try to catch me if I fell over.

Inspire Fitness, Birmingham, cross training, group personal training, interval circuits

These look playful and innocent enough

I have to admit that I was a little intimidated as Stephen was setting up and explaining the circuit for that night’s class. We did one minute intervals of weighted squats, weighted lunges, kettlebell swings, mountain climbers balancing on a yoga ball, planks, tricep dips, Bosu ball push ups, and a few other things I know I’m forgetting. Gah. I can run for hours, but could I repeatedly lift a 15 lb weight over my head while squatting, without crushing my skull? Not so sure about that.

Inspire Fitness, Birmingham, cross training, group personal training, interval circuits

Once we started I got into a rhythm and began to feel more confident. While I noticed my arms fatigued quickly and I had to switch to a lighter weight a few times, I never got winded or was too tired to continue. There were 7 of us in the class, so Stephen was able to give everyone attention—he corrected our form (this girl) and suggested more difficult moves (the pros), and it felt just like a personal training class. Despite his best efforts, I never did manage to do those damn mountain climbers on the yoga ball. I was a human Weeble Wobble and kept rolling around. I think that means I lack core strength.

Inspire Fitness, Birmingham, cross training, group personal training, interval circuits, lactate threshold

Learning the basics of lactate threshold

After the class Stephen and I talked for over an hour about cross training, the fitness community in Birmingham, and marketing. Stephen asked if I had ever had my lactate threshold tested (say what?) and explained to me why it’s beneficial to know it. I’m clueless when it comes to my heart rate when I exercise; it beats, I’m doing fine. But Stephen got me curious to find my lactate threshold and learn how to stay within it. His explanations were easy to follow and made sense—stay below my lactate threshold to run stronger, longer, and recover quicker.

We also chatted about Inspire’s vision for the future—their goal is to get people to love their workouts, and ultimately take them outside. In the future, Inspire will host group cycling rides around downtown Birmingham as well as group runs. They also want to help the enormous running community in Birmingham by putting out a water cooler on weekends. This will be perfect for Birmingham Track Club runs, especially since Inspire is surrounded by hills that make you want to die. That kind of community thinking says a lot about Inspire, and people will definitely appreciate it!

Inspire Fitness, Birmingham,, cross training, interval circuit

Gabe catching me mid-squat

That night and the next morning I felt great, which in my mind meant that I was in better overall shape than I had thought. But as the day progressed, I started to feel sore—even reaching across my desk for a pen hurt. That’s the best feeling though! So thank you, Stephen for the great ass-kicking!

I am excited to watch Inspire Fitness continue to grow, because they have a great thing going on. Stephen, Gabe, Kelly, and the other coaches genuinely care about their members and want to help them lead active, healthier lifestyles.