From the energetic instructors and the heart-pumping music to the state-of-the-art IC7 bikes and the (literal) pools of sweat that you’ll leave in your wake, there’s a lot that makes SweatBox one of the best workouts you can get in the District.
But what we probably love most about SweatBox is the science behind the sweat. You won’t be needlessly repeating moves or focusing on the same muscle groups over and over again. Instead, each SweatBox #SweatSesh uses a one-of-a-kind, layered approach designed to help you reach your goals efficiently and strategically.
“The end goal for most people is their results,” explains Isiah Muñoz, SweatBox Director. “Are they getting the results they’re looking for? How do they get those results? Where do they come from?”
While you could do SweatBox just one day a week, whether or not you achieve your goals is 100 percent dependent on what you do for the other six days of that week. Since some people have different gyms, classes, or trainers that they work with, a central component of the SweatBox program is incorporating it into your existing routine at least three times a week.
“The programming allows people to do that because they’re not doing the same exercises, movement, and motions day after day,” Isiah says. “Typically you wouldn’t do a lot of squats on Monday, then turn around and do a lot of squats on Tuesday. You would overwork your muscles, and at some point you would get hurt, so that doesn’t work.”
The key elements that factor into a SweatBox workout are tempo (aka how quickly you’re moving), the duration of your work periods (20-30 seconds versus, say, 90 seconds), and how much weight you’re moving/lifting.
“Those are the variables that you can change on a daily basis, and then you can pair those intensities with different types of exercises like variations of push-ups, presses, squats, or lunges,” Isiah says.
So what does that look like in real life?
On Mondays, you’ll come in and get a total body workout at a higher tempo, which means it’s more of an aerobic workout. You’re using low to medium weight so that your body and muscles won’t get too sore after that workout. Your heart rate, however, will definitely get up there.
On Tuesday, be prepared for a heavier workout — lower tempo, higher weight.
“Tuesday is leg day and arm day,” Isiah explains. “The emphasis of that is training a lot of legs and arms at a heavier weight and at a slower pace. At the end of that session, you’re very aware that you have muscles in the legs and arms, and maybe the next day you’re sore in those areas.”
Wednesday is back to higher tempo work. The main focus is on loosening up muscles and breaking up the lactic acid that’s in your legs and arms from all the heavy lifting work the day before.
“You might walk into a class on Wednesday sore, but you typically leave feeling better than when you arrived because you’re able to work the lactic acid out of your muscles,” Isiah says. “You still got a great workout, but the strength work is not the same type of tempo and intensity you did on Tuesday. Now your body is loose, you’re feeling a little better, you can turn around and go back into that heavier strength training session on Thursday not sore or overworked from Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.”
Thursday features an upper body training focus that zeroes in on the chest, back, and shoulders using heavier weights at a slower pace with medium repetition. The Friday workout is similar to the Wednesday workout in that you’ll probably be feeling some soreness, which — of course — your instructor will take into consideration.
“On Friday I can’t ask you to do 100 push-ups, a lot of pulling, or a lot of shoulder work with the understanding that you did that Thursday,” Isiah says. “So Friday goes back into that higher intensity, higher cardio output. There are less strength demands, and we’re breaking up the lactic acid, loosening you up, and getting you ready for the weekend.”
But even though the work week may be done, there are still plenty of opportunities to sweat it out on Saturday and Sunday.
“Weekends are kind of like the cherry on top of the program,” Isiah explains. “Saturdays are probably one of our hardest days of the week — they’re just known to be higher tempo and higher intensity. Sundays are conditioning days, which are 75-minutes long with the goal of helping people improve their overall cardiovascular strength and muscular endurance.”
Although some of this might sound intimidating to those who are reconnecting with fitness for the first time in a while (or ever), Isiah says that there’s no need to worry.
“There’s a misunderstanding that only really fit people go to SweatBox, and you have to be in great shape before you go to SweatBox,” Isiah says. “But if you come to our class and look around the room, there are more people who are in the beginning phase of their fitness journey than those who are not. For those people, it’s more important that they go at their own tempo in class, understand that they’re just getting started, and set reasonable expectations for what each class is going to look like, feel like, and flow like.”
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