Gym Class: UXF
Eager to add something new to my usual fitness repertoire (which consists mostly of running, group classes, and yoga), I signed up for a four-week UXF session—a slightly CrossFit-esque small-group class at New York Sports Club.
What is it?
UXF stands for "Ultimate Fitness Experience." These sessions boast “big results fast” and use a mix of weight training, plyometrics, and drills to "boost strength, agility and endurance." For $199 you get a series eight hour-long sessions limited to eight participants. Classes are available at New York Sports Club, Philadelphia Sports Club, Boston Sports Club, and DC Sports Club, but are open to non-members, too.
I took UXF at the East 36th Street New York Sports Club with Jason, one of the gym's personal trainers. When I started, I wasn’t convinced I’d like it. Typically I go out of my way to avoid anything that seems overly heavy (my upper body looks a lot like Olive Oyl’s), so as you can imagine, I felt a little intimidated on the first day when Jason handed me a kettlebell the size of my head. However, by the end of the series this is what I appreciated the most about UXF. Jason pushed me to lift more weight than I ever would have selected myself, and which I felt comfortable doing because I knew I was always under his watchful eye (there were usually only three people in my class). And he never let us slack—we had to finish the reps in their entirety and with perfect form.
Classes would often begin with some kind of instruction (I learned the correct form for kettlebell swings, the Turkish getup, and clean and jerk), or agility training (sprints, ladder runs, jumping drills). Then fast-paced circuits made up the last half-hour or so. Depending on the day, the circuit may have included a combination of box jumps, sit-ups, pushups, TRX rows, squats, overhead presses, or another challenging move. The format would vary, but frequently we’d do three rounds of five one-minute stations with a short recovery between sets.
What it worked
As cheesy as it sounds, in addition to working a mix of core, upper- and lower-body muscles (which, trust me, I really felt the day after sessions), I really built confidence in strength.
Who is it best for?
The personal attention and the detailed lessons give exercisers at most skill levels a chance to improve, but gym neophytes may find the experience too advanced. I’d also recommend UXF to anyone who is reluctant to splurge on personal training, but wants a more individualized program than group classes. At $199 for eight classes, UXF is cheaper than a series of one-on-one training sessions.
What to watch out for
You have to be willing to push yourself. The trainer offers adjustments based on your abilities, but you're expected to complete all of the exercises, which can be intense.
UXF presents a great opportunity to get stronger. I saw a good deal of improvement in just four weeks, especially in my overhead presses. Plus, now I know how to safely perform moves that used to intimidate me, like kettlebell swings.
—Mary Squillace is an associate editor at Fitbie
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