To keep your motivational mojo going, we here at FBG thought it would be fun to share the inside scoop on a few of our favorite things — from workouts to races to healthy eats. So if you’ve been wanting to try out a new healthy thing but are a bit intimidated or afraid to try it, have no fear, the What to Expect series is here!
But suspension training? That’s not something we grew up around, and as popular as it is these days, it’s still not exactly everywhere. In fact, I haven’t done a suspension training-specific class. So, I went to someone who’s well-versed in the technique: Jamie Walker, co-founder of Fit Approach and SweatGuru (basically the OpenTable of fitness). We met a couple of years ago at BlogHer, and I’ve admired her ambition and athleticism (seriously, girl is a bad-ass) ever since, and I knew she’d have some awesome FBG-ified advice about suspension training.
What does suspension training really mean? What does a typical class involve? What should you expect at the first class?
JW: Often a class utilizes some sort of cable or spring to supplement functional fitness, which creates a core stabilizing dynamic. It uses your entire body for a great workout. For example, I love doing push-ups with my feet in the straps and my arms out — it engages my entire body and forces me to engage my core. You can see results very quickly.
Who’s it for? Is there anyone who should skip it?
JW: Honestly, I think it’s for everyone. You can really customize it for anyone from a beginner to someone who’s advanced — just move the straps and stance around to suit your ability.
Is there anything a newbie can do to prep?
JW: Having a base level of fitness will help, but otherwise, no real prep is needed. I do always suggest wearing pants, though — there are certain suspension exercises that might be uncomfortable in shorts or loose-fitting pants. I’ve learned that running shorts are … not great.
It’s good to let the instructor know you’re new — if you can, show up early and take a few minutes with the instructor to get familiar with the cables or straps you’ll be using.
What will the instructor do?
It varies workout by workout, but you can expect the instructor to help you get into the straps, especially if you let them know you’re new. Otherwise, it’s verbal and not very hands on.
Is there anything that tends to surprise people?
JW: Even if you’re at an advanced level of fitness, that first class is going to be extremely hard for you. And there will be people there who are going to make it look easy. I mean, I have a pretty good baseline and I find it really humbling. But in a good way!
Have you ever tried a suspension-training class? Any other tips you’d share with newbies? —Kristen