Speedplay’s original trainer, Blake Raymond, comes out 5 minutes before class with a backwards hat on his head and air-cast on his foot.
In his quest to qualify for his hometown Boston Marathon, he fractured his foot while running the LA race. But that’s not going to slow him down, and with a slight adjustment of the foot strap he’s soon sitting at the Concept 2 Rower, showing the class proper technique.
Before his cut off tees and headset microphone, Blake was working with patients at a sports rehab and preventive health clinic, Urban Med. It was there that Blake and Speedplay’s two founders saw an opportunity to take the principles they used helping patients rehab from injury and build a class-based fitness program focused on sustainability and longevity.
In a neat row behind the treadmills, a set of Concept 2 Rowers sit. The rower activates nearly every muscle group in the body, from legs through to the torso and arms. (Blake, from Boston, has a rowing background).
Fifty percent of every class is spent on these two machines (the treadmill and rower). The other fifty percent is spent doing floor exercises, from weight training to plyometric exercises. But you won’t find squat racks and barbells at Speedplay. The weights top out at 30 lbs to avoid overload. This combination of cardio equipment and floor exercises allows clients to jump from one station to the next and keep their heart rates high while finding rest and variability as needed. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) activates fast twitch muscles and allows for the greatest metabolic benefit post-workout. That means you can look good naked, avoid injury, and feel better with just a few workouts a week.
The clients at Speedplay’s Downtown and Beverly Hills locations tend to be Type A. The workouts are marked by a ticking clock on the wall, and progress is measured in reps on the floor, and miles (or meters) on the machines. Blake tells us, “people are excited to come in and compete against themselves, to get their best time or go a bit further than last week. They’re competitive - not with each other, but with themselves. You’ll hear a lot of hooting and hollering as we get going.”
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