My alarm went off and my tired eyes slowly opened. I peeped out the window and I could see it was still half dark outside. I contemplated not getting out of bed, staying in my warm cocoon for another hour or so, but I knew I would regret it if I did. It was early, I was tired and the last thing I wanted to do was drag my ass out of bed to hit the gym, but I had a funny feeling that my first Nike+ Training session was going to worth the early start.
I remember first hearing about Nike+ Training Club sometime last year. The concept seemed simple, yet extremely cool. “We are a community of athletes united in a pursuit of their potential—athletes of all levels, all over the world,” the website reads. Underneath the statement there is a footnote that reads, “If you have a body, you are an athlete.” Boom. No excuses here.
Nike+ Training Club operates out of their city studio at the University of Auckland, offering free fitness classes for anybody who is game enough to give them a try. Throughout the year there are three types of training classes every week; one for endurance, one for strength work and one for mobility and stretching. To kick off the year on a high however, the team behind Nike+ is currently running a special programme, aimed specifically at women called ‘Metcon Mondays’.
The idea behind the programme is so simple, it’s genius. Stop exercising, start training. Run by NikeWomen, the programme aims to encourage females to stop working out for the sake of it and start training towards a goal with an adaptive plan that targets all areas of the body. We all know that we should be exercising, but many of us fail to realise that to get the best results, we need to train with a purpose and set ourselves strong goals.
‘Girly’ exercises are thrown out the window and instead, Metcon Mondays aim to redefine the way that women work out, focusing on developing strength and building lean muscle using resistance, bodyweight, and partner drills. It is a high-intensity work out that takes focused effort to lift weights and stay moving in a circuit-style format.
When I arrived at the gym at 7am I was slightly nervous, but excited. The first thing I noticed was that not everyone was wearing Nike and I was kind of relieved. Of course, a lot of the girls were wearing a Nike item here or there, but the fact that many people were wearing whatever they liked reassured me that like myself, these girls were actually here to train and not necessarily there to just wear cool Nike sports gear and look good. No fashion shows here.
I was quickly introduced to some of the other girls who were training and felt comfortable instantly. There was a real feeling of community right from the beginning and I got very strong girl power vibes, which of course I was into. The exercises we would do that morning were written on a blackboard for everyone to have a look at before the session started and a good dose of motivating music helped to get us all in the zone while we waited for the class to begin.
While the programme is called Metcon Mondays, the session that I went to was actually on a Friday because it was an introductory session. Basically the idea behind this is that you go along on a Friday to learn the technique for lifting, squatting and every other bad ass move you can think of and then by the time the Monday rolls around, you’re ready to go to a full on training. This being said, the introductory session was by no means easy.
We started with a few minutes of foam rolling to loosen our muscles and right from the get-go it was clear that the trainers were experts who knew their stuff. We then moved onto the bulk of the session which was about learning how to do all of the moves in the correct way. The main trainer Mel demonstrated the moves and then splitting into groups, we did a round robin to all of the exercise stations. From burpees, to dead-lifts, to squats and core crunches, we learned the exercises while also putting in a fairly decent effort at each station. The trainers came around and helped us all individually, emphasising that good form and correct technique is the single most important aspect of training. It was almost like have your own personal trainer right there with you and best of all, it was totally free.
Now it was time for the real deal. Another rotation, two intense minutes at each station and our opportunity to really get into our new moves. Let me just say that even at a fairly good level of fitness, two straight minutes of burpees was almost enough to make me want to cry a little bit. But in a good way, of course. The final round robin was intense, sweaty and challenging, but at the end I felt like a boss. Something about the structure of the programme, the fact that you do your round robin with a team of four or five girls, makes it feel like a real team effort and a really empowering environment to be in.
Having tried Crossfit before, I noticed that a lot of the moves were similar to Crossfit moves, but had been adapted to suit women specifically. The workout was just as intense as Crossfit, but I genuinely found it far more enjoyable and a lot less intimidating. I felt like I was working hard but in an environment that was sightly more enjoyable than having huge muscle men yelling at me that I could do five more reps. All of the girls at Nike+ Training Club seemed to be on the same page as me and honestly I feel like that community feel was why it so enjoyable. It wasn’t about a popular brand that happens to offer free training classes, it was genuinely about women getting together to be the best they can be. And I was instantly addicted.
Now that I’ve done my first introductory session I am ready to take on a Monday session, which I am told is more intense, but just as much fun. The main difference between the Fridays and the Mondays is that on Mondays they get straight into it and the real training begins. I have a sneaking suspicion that my next Monday session is going to absolutely dominate me, but hey, that’s the life of an athlete, huh.
To find out more about Nike+ Training Club or register for a session click here.