About the most extreme thing I’ve done is carry twins for eight months. They were born early, thus saving me from the truly extreme ninth month of a twin pregnancy. Their birth was via emergency c-section, so that was a little extreme, but I think natural childbirth would have been a lot harder.
So, when I looked at the new class schedule and saw MXT (Midtown Xtreme Training), I was intrigued. And when members began raving about the very first class on the club’s Facebook page a few weeks ago, my curiosity was piqued again. The current class time (Wednesdays from 12:15-1:15pm) doesn’t work for my schedule, so when Trainer Vinny Mugavero, who together with Trainer Justin Bradt developed MXT) offered a private class at a more convenient time, I took him up on it, and dragged three of my friends along for company.
Not much in my life is extreme.
It earns its name.
Here’s what you need to know about MXT (Midtown Xtreme Training):
1. Embrace Kettlebells.
My kettlebell experience is limited. I used them briefly during Boot Camp Against Cancer, and that sums up my exposure to them. Pardon the pun, but MXT is kettlebell-heavy. During class we did Dead Man Lifts and incorporated kettlebells into sqauts and choreographed moves. At first, I was raging against what one friend called “kettlebell hell,” but by the end of the class I had begun to look at them in a new way. I’m a runner, and all my power is in my legs. My upper body strength is very poor.
MXT showed me exactly how poor, and now I know how important it is to improve this area. Strong upper body = strong total-body runner.
2. The Class is Not for Beginners.
Prior to taking this class, I considered myself in shape. I have many areas that need improvement (doesn’t everyone?), but I have a decent level of overall fitness.
MXT kicked me in the rear.
"I'm trying, Vinny. I'm trying!"
We began the class with several laps around the Group Exercise studio (yay! Running!), moved into jumping jacks (traditional and squat jacks), and then things began to ramp up from there. We used free weights for bicep curls and during push-ups. We used body bars and jump ropes. We did sprinter stances and then backed up our hands to our feet, inchworm-style. And in the second half of the class, we used kettlebells almost exclusively.
I am not a fitness expert by any means, but if you’re new to working out or lack endurance, I would not recommend this class. “Xtreme” appears in the class title for a reason. However, I would certainly encourage everyone who wants a challenge and who has a moderate fitness base to give it a try.
3. Boot Camp-Style Stations Mix It Up.
November’s Boot Camp Against Cancer was my first Midtown boot camp experience. I really liked running through the different stations, because it kept the class interesting, and I never had to do any one activity for very long. During the last part of MXT, Justin set up five stations using a step box, kettlebells, dumbbells, and a stability ball, and we moved through the circuit. Good cardio mixed with weight training.
4. Vinny and Justin are excellent trainers with inspiring strength.
This was a fast-paced class whose activities were continually changing. I am usually overwhelmed in classes like this, because I have the balance and coordination of a toddler.
But strangely, in this class, I was able to follow the moves (although not always able to perform them for very long), and I’m giving Vinny and Justin credit for this. Granted, the class was small - there were only 5 of us, and therefore we received a lot of individual attention- but both trainers were excellent teachers. They performed the moves multiple times-slowly-so that even the most challenged learners (me) could follow along.
The class ended with Turkish Get-Ups. What’s a Turkish Get-Up? Check it out here. My friends and I did Half-Turkish Get-Ups (meaning, we did not actually ”get up”) with nothing in our hands. It was challenging, but do-able, and it felt a lot like a yoga move.
Justin demonstrated a full Turkish Get-Up (meaning, he did the entire move) with a 25-pound kettlebell in his hand.
And for that, he received a round of applause from the class. It was impressive, to say the least.
I used to think running 5 miles was extreme. And then I did it.
I used to think running 10 miles was extreme. And then I did that too.
Pushing limits is a good thing. Traveling outside our comfort zones is something everyone needs to do once and awhile (or every Wednesday at 12:15).
T.S. Eliot once said, “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”
And while I don’t believe Eliot has taken MXT, he’s right.
Push the envelope and give the class a try. I think you’ll be glad you did.