Time is important — especially when it comes to exercise. And nothing beats a workout that does it all in as little time as possible. Stacked, one of the latest class offerings from Equinox, is just that and has quickly become a lunchtime staple during my week. My entire body is challenged in less than an hour, and I leave the gym feeling energized and the good kind of sore. Best of all, there is nothing boring about this class.
Each class consists of two circuits that contain six different exercises. At the most recent class I took at Equinox's San Francisco gym, we started with an eight-minute dynamic warmup that elevated the heart rate and warmed up the muscles through simple cardio, stretch, and strength moves. Then we jumped right into the first exercise of the circuit (triceps dips) for 30 seconds; once finished, we completed a 30-second active recovery (plank) before stacking the second exercise onto the circuit (one-legged squats with bicep curls) for another 30 seconds. But before we could even get to the squats, we had to go back to the beginning and start again with the triceps dips. When we finished that round, we added the next exercise from the list (box jumps), but again, we first had to complete a 30-second active recovery (plank jumping jacks) and start over from the beginning of the list and complete the triceps dips and one-legged squats with bicep curls. This cycle continued until we finished the sixth and final exercise on the list, resulting in a circuit that was right around 15 minutes. After running through the second 15-minute circuit, we cooled down for about eight minutes with some light cardio, stretches, and yoga poses.
Learn more about why I love Equinox's Stacked after the break!
If you're looking to lose weight, want to build strength, or just find that group fitness classes typically bore you, Stacked makes a great alternative to traditional classes. It's probably already obvious, but the 45-minute class is fast-paced and a real challenge. What I like most about it, however, is how it's constantly changing. I've been to the class five times, and each time the circuits were different. The only similarity was that they always consist of compound strength-training moves, plyometrics, a plank series, and high-intensity cardio; they also start with the easiest move and end with the most challenging. Over the course of the five classes, I've used a BOSU, sandbags, hand weights, a barbell, and a step with risers. Given how often the class changes and how quickly we moved through each exercise, boredom is never an issue. And because you do each move in a set time frame (rather than defined sets), you can easily set your own pace if you are more of a beginner. I love that the class keeps me guessing, how motivating the instructor is, and that my balance and strength have both improved from taking Stacked. Expect to sweat and deal with a bit of soreness the next day, but nothing that will prevent you from coming back again — and soon!