So this week I haven’t covered the most cerebral topics. Monday was Kelly, who loves Jelly Bellys, and her diet book, Wednesday highlighted nut milk delivery, which I’m pretty sure only happens in New York and today’s workout-related topic isn't going to vastly change your life. I promise to comment on the latest obesity predictions next week; I take that back, I don’t because I like these fun topics.
The NYT ran a story on a current NYC fitness trend. I can’t imagine why but six separate people emailed or tweeted me the link with a version of “maybe you should blog about this.” The “this” is the trend among women, the article stated it is a female phenomenon so I’m not stereotyping, to scurry from one intense workout class to another. Whether it’s barre, boot camp, spinning or running for many women one workout isn’t enough. The Times distinguished “this is different than the elliptical and then weights.” While that sounds somewhat elitist these exercise classes are each 45 to 60 minutes long and intense.
I consulted two of my favorite fitness professionals for their two cents on this trend. Kate Albarelli is the creator of the brutal, yet beneficial, barre class Figure 4 and Riley Nickols is a running/triathlete coach and owner of Mind Body Endurance. It did occur to me that this leaves us taking advice from a ballerina (you know their work ethic) and a 5-time ironman (which is technically an octuple workout). They both said that they many of their students or clients do double workouts but not every day. At Foodtrainers, if a client has been doing the same daily workout for years I will suggest one weekly “doubleheader” as we call it. This wouldn’t be something for someone new to exercise. Riley, in exercise-physiology speak, said “I do believe that adding in a double workout to your schedule can be a helpful way to make fitness gains and break through a "plateau". The body is amazing at adapting to the stress you place upon it, so switching things up can have physiological and psychological benefits.”
There is also a limit and more exercise is not always best. I asked about the prevalence of the “triple threat” and Kate explained “I have seen 3 classes for sure, however at that point, I start to wonder why. Not for everyone, but at a certain point, it becomes less about fitness and more about obsession and that can be dangerous.” It also becomes competitive, the article mentioned a woman who said “you see other people doing it” and “it’s a type A New York thing.” I had a client come in who said “since when is one workout not enough?” And Riley clarified "I would suggest double workouts only on a few conditions for the recreational exerciser:
- The individual has the availability in their schedule (that does not take away from family/work responsibilities) and the resources to devote to double workouts and
- The individual views the double workouts as being enjoyable rather than an obligation.” We all know type A can be a nice way of saying neurotic.
I’ll often do a run before Figure 4 or yoga. It’s hard to go all out, ether I’ll do a quick run between dropping my children at school and class or I’ll do a good run and tack on a barre class as an extra. You only have so much gas in the tank and I never have as much to put into Figure 4 when I’ve pre-fatigued by legs. Kate concurred “If the student is really giving it all they have with one Figure 4, there is no need to do another right after.” It may come down to a question of quantity versus quality. And Riley mentioned the concept of periodizing workouts that he uses with his athletes “similarly to triathletes/runners, recreational exercises can also benefit from periodizing their workouts incorporating periods of higher training volume (e.g., double workouts) but also building in periods of rest and/or lower volume training."
Many of my friends and colleagues have their favorite doubles. Sam, from Mom at the Barre a great fitness blog mentioned she does a Physique57/Refine Method double and also likes FlywheelSports/Physique. In her email about this she added “I met your friend Shari at As 1effect today, she was wearing a Foodtrainers t-shirt.” It’s a funny fitness world in NYC but nothing made me laugh more than this statement. A few friends were emailing about the workout article while trying to arrange meeting for a lunch or a workout. Everyone has busy schedules with dental visits and meetings and one friend said “I was thinking 8:30 Soul Cycle and 9:30 Figure 4 this Tuesday...because I have 11:30 acupuncture and 1:00 physical therapy. Holy cow, I take a lot of maintenance!”
So help me here, is this a NYC thing only? Do you do doubleheader workouts? How much do you think is too much? Any men want to confess to double?