She makes it look so easy.

When I walked into Equinox River Oaks for the True Athlete group fitness class, I felt fancy, but also prepared. I work out regularly (at least four times a week) and have played sports most of my life. To say I was confident going in is an understatement—I was straight-up cocky.

I was Babe Ruth pointing to the stands, because I was going to knock this class out of the park. Little did I know that instructor Corey Jones was about to have me begging for a sub.

The room was spacious, outfitted with Bosu Elite domes, an agility ladder, a wall of mirrors perfect for distinguishing sweat from tears, and the class staple: the RMT Club, a training tool meant to facilitate "strong, powerful rotation integrated from the core, hands, and feet," Equinox says. Everyone was issued one (either four or six pounds) that looked and was used like a stubby sledgehammer.

The club was essential to the workout and kicked off the warm-up. We began swinging it like a baseball bat, and it only progressed from there. Lunges and squats were added to the mix, and by the end of the warmup, I was ready to be cut from the team. 

My arms, back, and legs were already on fire, and the real workout hadn’t even started yet. Luckily, I wasn’t alone. Corey quickly divided the class into three teams following the warm-up and assigned us to stations. While he explained what to do at each, we introduced ourselves to our “teammates.” I sensed he knew we would need emotional support during this sweat session. 

That's the point: True Athlete draws on "the challenges and benefits from workouts used by professional athletes," channeling them into one hell of a workout "that boosts performance to make everyone a champion." By the way, my class was predominately male, and I couldn’t help but notice how eligible many of these bachelors were. If you’re in the market for a “gym partner” to keep you motivated, this class wouldn’t be a bad stop. 

There were three stations, one for each team, each unique in its chosen torture method. My favorite was the agility ladder, where participants made their way through the ladder and finished by running and touching the wall again, then side shuffling back. Every station ended with this routine, so it added a level of uniformity.

After each team completed the timed intervals, we were back to swinging the club. Though similar to the warmup, these moves were more coordinated. The class was not prepared.

Following a grueling club session, it was back to the stations with minor, highly painful alterations for the final round, including the addition of jump squats. At this point, I was ready to throw in the towel, but as my favorite athlete Troy Bolton says, “I gotta get my, get my head in the game.”

The class survived the last course of stations and happily transitioned into a cool down that involved mostly stretching and a light ab workout. We had all survived, and after I made it home and caught my breath, I was happy to have been a part of a team again, if only for an hour.

True Athlete is no joke. This is not your sorority sister’s barre class. It’s a new class comprised of exercises most people aren’t used to doing, so the learning curve is steep. However, the team dynamics and the workout itself leave a strong impression. This workout is cardio- and coordination-intensive, but you will be hard pressed to find a better burn.

If you’re looking for a class to kick your butt back into shape or to shake up your traditional workout routine, give it a go. Maybe next time I’ll feel ready to walk-on at Minute Maid.

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