Taking the 7 Day Challenge with Next Gen

To start 2017 off right, we’ve started going to Next Gen and finding ways to improve our wellbeing at their fitness centre. To begin with, we found ways to relax and destress from our hectic lives by doing yoga and relaxing in the spa. We were starting to wonder what it would be like if we committed to upping the intensity and frequency of our workouts, and so we set ourselves a challenge to try a different class every day for a week. Below are our thoughts, favourite classes and changes in our daily mentalities!

Day 1: Yoga

After a particularly stressful opening weekend of Fringe, yoga seemed to be the obvious class choice on Monday. Our very strong and extremely flexible teacher today was Maura, who began the class with a meditative buddhist chant to bring everyone together. After an hour of stretching, focusing mostly on the lower body, we could feel ourselves becoming more relaxed and calm after the crazy weekend we had. By the end of the class, we were both much more flexible than when we had started, as our warm muscles weren’t so tense anymore and our downward dogs had became more fluid. The class went for 60 minutes which meant that the session was long enough for us to really warm up and feel some stretch, yet not too long so that we could get back to work ASAP!

A relaxing yoga session at Next Gen Memorial Drive.

A relaxing yoga session at Next Gen Memorial Drive.

Day 2: NXG Strength Plus

NXG Strength Plus offers a selection of full body plyometric, static and high intensity sculpting exercises sure to get you sweating. We took the class with the powerful Christine who knew how to work the room and made us push that little harder each time for maximum benefits. The music was loud and rhythmic, getting everyone in a groove of their own as they followed Christine’s instruction and worked on their technique. It was also a super crowded class, so you could tell it was quite popular among Next Gen members. We felt truly exhausted by the end of our session.

Day 3: HIIT VO2 Max

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) VO2 Max is held just outside of the studio room on the gym floor and includes a rotation of different workout options to target a variety of areas, such as running on the treadmill, skipping with a skipping rope, rowing, stepping with weights, burpees and more. Only going for half an hour, the workout aims to cycle through the exercises at a fast pace, doing each exercise for just 45 seconds with a 15 second break in between. We really love the HIIT classes because we often don’t have a lot of spare time in our day, and we prefer pushing ourselves to the max for half an hour than doing some of the longer classes.

Boxing is fun, but we've still got a long way to go until we're ready to join Fight Club.

Boxing is fun, but we’ve still got a long way to go until we’re ready to join Fight Club.

Day 4: Boxing

Boxing is our all-time favourite group class because it’s so fast-paced and fun. From the minute we walked into the class, Tony had us practising sparring routines to tunes from rappers like Eminem, making us feel like we were in a video game. Routines are broken up with quick footwork exercises and pushups, squats and lunges, making sure your heart rate never slows down and giving you a real full body workout. Tony always takes the time to run through routines with newer members of the class (like us) one-on-one, helping improve techniques and building confidence. Though our arms did get a bit sore during this class, neither of us messed up and punched the other one in the face so you could say we did pretty well.

Day 5: Cycle

Within five minutes of starting this class, we were already huffing, puffing and close to death. Cycle is not a class where you can slack off, take breaks or even catch your breath: it’s a chance to push yourself and go above and beyond those cardio goals. Throughout the hour-long class we were guided along a ‘racetrack’, travelling up and down hills, flat surfaces and overtaking opponents. Our instructor Steve entertained us with really bad jokes that paired well with the typical 80s workout music, distracting us enough occasionally from the burning sensation in our legs, arms, chest etc. The highlight of the class would easily be the final jam, where we all powered through to the end to Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’.

Practising some pilates moves on the gym floor.

Practising some pilates moves on the gym floor.

Day 6: Pilates

We took a pilates class during the day with Lana who took us through the class step-by-step, demonstrating strength and ease (both things we’re clearly lacking)! She was a great instructor, making conversation with us and counting us down just when we thought we couldn’t go any further; this definitely helped keep our momentum going strong. We did a number of standing up and lying down moves, with dumbbells to give our arms a workout and a mat for comfort. Every move was easy at first, but eventually doing the move would get so hard we had to try stop our muscles from shaking! As the movements were quite simple to follow, Lana really encouraged us to engage in a cardio workout, performing as quickly as we possibly could. By the end, our muscles felt super warm and we were ready to take on the day.

Day 7: Personalised Training Taster

As well as group classes, Next Gen offer some really unique ‘Next Step’ options, where you can try personalised one-on-one options with trainers, like creating a Personalised Program, taking an Intro to Tennis lesson or having a half-hour mini Personal Training session. Having never tried a PT session before, we decided to finish our 7 day challenge by trying something new.

Our PT trainer for today was Charlotte, and since we’d had a particularly exhausting work week she said she’d be kind to us and take it a little bit easy. We started out with some light stretching, before moving onto some squats and weight exercises. We then moved out of the private PT area and onto the gym floor, where Charlotte got us to use some machines we hadn’t tried yet, and finished off by stretching our legs out for us.

Charlotte made the whole experience quite enjoyable because she listened when we said we were pretty worn out, and had a great talent for encouraging us to push ourselves harder while also distracting us with interesting conversation.

They look innocent enough, but these kettlebells will really amp up any workout.

They look innocent enough, but these kettlebells will really amp up any workout.

By the end of the week, we’d noticed some serious differences in our daily lives. Even though some days we’d only had 4-5 hours sleep, after we’d done a class we felt awake and energised, without even drinking any coffee. We also found that we’d been feeling less hungry all the time, and found ourselves not craving much junk food. Whether this was more of a mental motivation to not interfere with the good work the exercise was doing or not, we’ll never know.

A few days after our challenge finished, we found ourselves going back to the gym most mornings still as we felt flat and unmotivated throughout the day when we didn’t go. We never thought we’d be daily gym gals, but it’s 2017 and here we are.

If you want to try out Next Gen, they’re currently offering 10 day trials for just $20. You can find out more here.

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