Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Core Fusion Sport at Exhale Spa: A Review

One of the ways that the team behind Core Fusion at Exhale Spa has distinguished themselves from other barre studios is by the sheer number of different class options. There is, ofcourse, their signature Core Fusion class. For those craving a faster pace there is Core Fusion Cardio. For those desiring an improvement in their sports performance there is Core Fusion Sport. Their latest offering is Core Fusion Bootcamp, an amalgam of the Core Fusion Cardio, Core Fusion Sport and Core Fusion Yoga. Over the past few days I have sampled each of the three classes, courtesy my two-week unlimited class certificate purchased from Gilt, and will be writing my reviews over the course of the next week or so. The studio also offers a host of yoga classes, including Core Fusion Yoga and Music Yoga Flow, which I also hope I get to take during my two-week period.

After trying and enjoying the signature Core Fusion class I took with Fred DeVito a few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to try Core Fusion Sport next. It is described as:

"a total body workout that is designed to help you improve your performance in sports while reducing your risk of sports related injuries.

Using a combination of lateral and twisting movements, this barreless one-hour class will chisel and firm your arms, shoulders, legs and butt while focusing on your core - the center of your strength. This calorie-burning cardio class works with resistance bands, core balls, and mat abdominals with periodic jump backs for cardio and stamina benefits. Balanced flexibility exercises at the end will cool you down and increase your range of movement for sports. We hold this class in a slightly elevated temperature room with motivating music, so be prepared to sweat and work out with a passion

The class is done in bare-feet on a yoga mat with a double-handed medicine ball (I used a 6lbs ball) and a Theraband resistance band as your props. The mainstay move in this class is the 6-step "Jumpback" which is done while holding the medicine ball.

Step 1: Raise the medicine ball above your head. Step 2: Squat and bring the ball to your chest. Step 3: Place the ball on the floor. Step 4: Jump into a plank while holding onto the ball on the floor (See Picture above). Step 5: Jump forwards while still holding onto the ball on the floor. Step 6: Squat and bring the ball to your chest. Repeat.

The medicine ball is also used in the one-handed push-up where one hand firmly grips the ball while doing a push-up. We did diagonal lunges holding the ball, lunge twists while swinging the ball and diagonal lunges with leg lifts. We also held the chair pose while holding the ball out in front of us, after which we pulsed in this position and then held the pose with both heels lifted. While the class moved slowly I did notice my heart rate elevating, more so in the chair pose sequences. Balances were also done where our instructor emphasized keeping our core engaged. The jumpback sequence was repeated many times throughout the class as a divider between the other exercise sequences.

In the last fifteen minutes we picked up the resistance band, and used it for outer thigh/seat work and abdominal work. I loved this part of the class and wished it were longer. For the outer thigh/seat section we lay down on our side and looped the band around the foot of the leg on top and then did moves like making a circle with the leg or pushing the leg back. The movements were tiny but the added resistance made a difference. The abdominal  work was performed lying down, with shoulders slightly raised off the floor, in the "curl" position.

The Good:
1. The class: I liked the props. The medicine balls helped to give me a great upper body workout, and the resistance bands allowed me to feel a different sensation in the outer thigh/seat section which I thought was very unique.

2.The instructor: I thought our instructor, Tyler, was excellent. He was motivational, made postural adjustments and even provided more challenging variations if he felt you could go a step further.

3. The music: I loved the music. This is something I have noticed in all the Core Fusion classes. It's understated but it works. Honestly, I don't even remember what was played. I just remember that I enjoyed it. I'm sure a lot of it was pop but somehow it did not sound quite so blaring!

4. The space: I took class at the Upper East side studio. It's spacious and the studio windows look out onto Madison Avenue. Pretty swanky.

The Not-so-Good:
1. The pace: This class moved too slowly for me. I did not find the jumpbacks to be challenging enough because I felt they moved way too slowly. Even the lunges were performed too slowly for my preference. While I did break a sweat it was more from poses that we held for long, such as the chair pose, rather than the more 'cardio'-based movements.

While I appreciate the 'Strength in Stillness" philosophy behind Core Fusion, this class was not my favorite. It was too slow for me and I did not feel like I was challenged enough. I did like the use of the medicine balls, especially when we used them for the chair pose squat. As I mentioned before, I loved the outer thigh work using the resistance band and wished that that section had been longer. Classes are a personal preference and I did meet girls in this class who said that Sport was their absolute favorite of the Core Fusion classes. It just was not for me. Core Fusion Cardio, however (to be reviewed next!), is another story!


Lauren said...

So happy you used this from Gilt, we're meeting with them this week. Do you "gilt" a lot? Would love to hear your fave exhale class after trying each of these. Tyler is great.

sofia said...

i've said it before, but MAN do i hate jumpbacks! this is not the class for me :) interesting that the CF "sport" class moves so slowly... i feel like the name is misleading. it sounds more focused. core fusion focus doesn't sound too great, but i'm sure there's something better :)

Kelly said...

I've heard so much about their CF classes. The cardio one particularly intrigues me - looking forward to your review!!

Sam @ Mom at the Barre said...

Lauren: I think the new Gilt City site is great. Is that who you are meeting with? I don't 'gilt' a lot. In fact, this is my first Gilt purchase but I am following Gilt City.

Sofia: Honestly, these jumpbacks are pretty slow and I am sure you will be able to manage. I agree that it should be named something different. But I guess the moves are supposed to make your sports performance better hence the name.

Sam @ Mom at the Barre said...

Kelly: I know I have yet to post but spoiler alert: CF Cardio is the best one, in my humble opinion!

Jess said...

I get so confused between Sport and Cardio -by their names they sound similar, but clearly they are very different. Can't wait to read your next review so I can get a good comparison going!

leslie said...

i'm sad i missed that gilt deal! i love both music yoga flow and core fusion yoga and would have loved the opportunity to take a few more. i'm excited to hear your thoughts on all the different classes though - your reviews are always so thorough and give me a good idea of what to expect. i think you'll really like core fusion yoga if you liked isauro!

Sam @ Mom at the Barre said...

Jess: You are right, they sound quite similar. They are very different!

Leslie: I have heard good things about Core Fusion yoga so I look forward to trying it. It seems like I'm scheduling more CF Cardio during this 2-week trial period but I think I should really try to get some yoga classes in also!

ellen said...

Great review! I've been thinking about trying CF Sport on my Gilt pack too. I really like regular CF and even CF Cardio. I've tried the yoga and am not too in to it, but I'd be interested in your review!

Cameo said...

Great review. I am of the same mind with regard to Sport, it is just not challenging enough for me. I love Core Fusion, but I tend to go to Core Fusion Cardio and yoga classes the most because I get more from them. You have to try either Erin J's Music Yoga Flow or Stefanie's Vinyasa while you are visiting Exhale - they are both amazing.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a fan of Sport either. I think it's more of a 'guy' class. I agree with Cameo's Erin J recommendation! But I think I already told you that.

I can't wait for your Cardio review!


Sam @ Mom at the Barre said...

Ellen: I don't do a lot yoga but I think I should try a few classes as part of my package. I would regret it otherwise. Will keep you posted!

Cameo: I have already signed up for Erin J's class next week!

Amber: Interesting that you say it's a 'guy' class. I was talking to a trainer the other day who said that women are much more stronger-willed when it comes to exercise. She said it so matter-of-factly that I almost felt silly for not knowing this piece of info! This trainer teaches a really hard class and it's all women- men just cannot keep up.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Sam to the rescue! I couldn't remember what this class was like (it has been over a year since the ONE time I took it) and I am trying to figure out if I can do this with my injury or not. I forgot about those stupid jump backs. I think I can do them but whether or not I want to is a different story. Thank you for being such a fabulous class reviewer, as this is exactly what I was looking for today!


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