The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Fitwall.
I know I JUST wrote the teaser about this last week, but I’m eager to tell you all about it! The workout was intense but fun! I felt like I was playing on a grown-up’s jungle gym and yes, a few days later I’m still store. I’ll share my experience and try to cover any questions from my previous post.
Right off the bat, I’ll say that I think Fitwall would be great for anyone who wants the benefits of a high intensity workout without the use of weights or a lot of high impact movements. It would also be great for those who get bored easily in other fitness classes because Fitwall doesn’t have you do anything thing for longer than a minute or two. Also, I’d recommend Fitwall for people who are encouraged and driven by measurable workout results because Fitwall’s unique system will give you an easy way to track your progress.
As Fitwall’s Newport Beach location is currently under construction, I headed down to Solana Beach on Saturday for my free class.
I love the look of the modern fitness studio/gym. Fitwall has a well designed space with infographics that educate you about why they do what they do. There is one classroom and it felt like a mix between walking into a workout room and walking down a Best Buy TV display aisle. On either side of the room there were workout stations with mini screens above them and then one giant flat screen TV at the front of the room.
As you can see, all those who had registered online for the class that day were listed on the big screen. Find your name and you know which station you’ve been assigned too. I was going to be at station 14. Knowing this, I could then set up my heart rate monitor at the “Peanut Gallery.”
Coach Travis led me through all this, by the way. I didn’t just figure it out on my own. But it’s so simple and everything is labeled that someone could easily figure out what to do. So I grabbed the #14 heart rate device, or “peanut”, and a chest strap and got synched up with my workout wall.
As you can see, the little flat screen above my wall has my name on it and my station number. What you’re also seeing in this photo is that the wall has four steps for your feet on the bottom and four rungs for your hands at the top. On the sides you can see the resistance bands we used for the workout as well.
Throughout the workout, this screen was my cheat sheet. Everything that was up on the big screen (the countdown to the next workout movement) was also displayed on my own little screen. During an exercise interval, my screen showed my heart rate meter as well as a video of two people doing the movement correctly. For me, the “monkey see, monkey do” thing works really well and being able to watch the exercise as I tried to do it helped a lot.
40 Minutes of Fitness
Fitwall workouts are a series of timed work-rest intervals. Ours had about 5 minutes for a dynamic warm up, three 10 minute sections of intervals with a wide range of movements, and a cool down/stretch at the end.
All the movements were demonstrated before we did them. Two coaches walked around checking form and helping us modify.
Fitwall’s unique approach to a workout moves the body as a whole rather than in pieces. Many of the movements required you to hold yourself steady with your core while your arms or legs were moving up and down the wall.
Here, Coach Travis demonstrates “Ab Hops”. His hands are gripping the top rung of the wall, but his feet hop back and forth from the first, second, and third step. His abs (core) and arms have to maintain control, keeping his body close to the wall, as his feet hop around.
You’d be familiar with many of the exercises. They’ve just modified the movement to be done on the wall. The added element of stabilizing yourself on the wall makes it a little more challenging. It sneaks in upper body strength and core strength while you’re focused on what your feet are doing. This is how Fitwall gets you burning more calories in less time while building strength, cardio and flexibility.
Not all movements were on the wall.
I should point out that there were quite a few floor movements and we used the resistance bands to do reverse lunges. While the wall is definitely the unique feature of Fitwall’s workout experience, it isn’t the only thing they do.
Real Time Workout Data
During the workout I could see what my heart rate was, although I admit rarely stole glances at that information. I was too focused on resting for the next interval! I could see myself focusing more on pushing my HR in the future as I get used to this kind of workout, though.
Not everyone uses the heart rate monitors, but if you do, there is a point system to your workout. It’s called your “FIT Factor Score”. They had this cool infographic on their wall so I thought I’d just post it here.
For every second of the workout you can earn up to a full point.
You earn a percentage of that point based on your exertion at that moment.
An athlete working out at 100% every second would get a 2400 score.
How do they determine how much effort you putting in to each second? Your heart rate. Heart rate zones are based on personal fitness levels. Your effort during the workout is compared to your personal minimum and maximum heart rate values, which a coach will help you figure out. Also, your workout history will help determine what your target zones should be over time.
The score I got for my workout was 1432. Wah wah. However…I may have an excuse….
Turns out my HR monitor was having some issues with loosing track of my pulse. Which is why my graph looks nutso. I just need to tighten the strap and shift it slightly to the left next time. HR monitors are not perfect. I have used a PEAR Sport and UA39 and both took me some time to find the ‘right fit’ to stay connected during a workout.
The cool thing is that you can login to Fitwall and see your workout results after class. You’ll see a graph showing your heart rate changes during the workout. You can click anywhere on the graph to see your HR and FIT Factor score for that minute, as well as which move you were doing at the time. If you don’t remember the move, there is a video link to remind you what it was!
I love that this data is collected for you and easily accessible.
Fitwall gives you measurable data that shows your progress over time!
With each class you take, you build your workout history. You can login and compare your results any time. You can see if your max HR is increasing and if your FIT Factor scores are increasing.
Each month Fitwall cycles through three different workouts.
Theoretically, you could repeat the same workout 4 times, trying to beat your previous FIT Factor Score each time.
How’s that for measurable results from a group fitness class?
Pretty good data and all you have to do is show up, strap up, and sweat it up.
What I Liked
- It’s only 40 minutes! I’m a firm believer that short bursts of high intensity can be really effective. I love that Fitwall doesn’t stick with the standard 1 hour class just because. I think it makes it easier to commit too, to schedule in your day, and wrap your mind around doing a high intensity workout.
- Fancy post-workout treats. During the cool down, Coach Leah came around with cool, damp towels that smelled of lavender and mint. It was divine. Then Coach Travis handed out coconut water shots. A little fancy treatment goes a long way with me.
- Good coaching. Fitwall has handpicked knowledgeable and dynamic coaches who make the class fun and are sneaky about making you work harder. I found myself a bit overwhelmed with learning how to engage with the wall but a few gentle cues from them would get me on track.
- Everyone does their own thing. It’s easy to scale your workout at your wall without feeling like others notice or care. You can’t really see other people’s workout results on their screens. It’s not competitive against others. It’s more competitive against yourself.
- Sense of humor. What I liked most about Fitwall is the relaxed sense of humor. They could easily have gone the “hardcore” or “sexy” route as many new fitness brands do. Instead, they make up punny names for their workouts and decorate their facility with silly fitness posters and images. No fitspo. No beastmode. Thank goodness!
What to Expect
Anytime you use a new piece of workout equipment (like a wall), there is a bit of a learning curve and it just takes doing to get used to it. Here are some things you should expect when you try out Fitwall.
Sweaty Palms. Until you get comfortable “hanging” from the wall, Coach Travis says new members tend to grip the rungs with a full-palm, increasing the likelihood of sweaty, slippery hands. I sure did that. As I get used to it, I will be able to relax my grip to a strong finger hold. This decreases hand sweat, puts less pressure on the knuckles and less strain on the forearms. Some ladies wore fingerless gloves, which may help with the sweat, but I’m not a glove person.
There is a lot of quick stepping/hopping up and down the bottom four steps of the wall. It’s fun but I realized that it takes time to get the hang of it. My feet were slipping everywhere. I had to tell myself to laugh it off and not get frustrated. It’s just part of the process of building coordination and accuracy. Also, a minimal cross trainer shoe could help. Travis said he prefers Converse for Fitwall workouts due to their hard toe and thin sole. I’m sure I’ll get the “hang” of it after two more classes.
Get Your FREE One-Day Pass!
If you’re near La Jolla, Solana Beach, or Newport Beach click here to sign up for your free pass and try out Fitwall! If you’re not near those locations, the good news is that Fitwall is going to franchise. By next year there should be new locations popping up all over the place.