Months ago the ULA girls told me about this great place in SODO. They had been going to Boot Camp classes there and loved it. Five months later, I finally made time to visit Athletic Form.
Athletic Form is located in an unassuming part of SODO on 6th Ave S. Parking is easy to come by and I was lucky enough to get a spot right up front. When you first walk in, there is a front desk with a sitting area to the left. What I did not expect was the batting cages that stretched from the back of the front desk area to the far end of the building. I loved seeing all the kids in there, early on a Saturday morning, swinging their bats and running through drills. (What I would later find out is Athletic Form is more than a gym with group fitness classes and training sessions. This is a full fledge training facility for athletes, including student athletes).
To the left of the front desk waiting area, is what appears to be a small cardio area. There are rows of cardio machines and TVs set up. On a Saturday morning, there were a few people working out on the machines. What I didn't expect was once I walked over to the 'small' cardio area and turned to my right, I realized just how big the facility was. It stretches so far back my first thought was 'I hope we don't have to do sprints". I've never seen anything like it. Most of the area is covered in turf (one of my favorite features in a facility!) and the space had me jazzed thinking about all the potential workouts we could do.
I had specifically chosen this class because Robel was the instructor and the ULA girls raved about his workouts. Robel personally greeted each of the members with a hug and came over to introduce himself to me. He seemed genuinely excited to have someone new come check out his class.
We started right off with a set of stretches. He had us spread out across the turf and work the length of about 10 yards back and forth. I liked it since it was a bit non-traditional for me and they were the right types of stretches for me.
The Class itself was set up with 4 stations:
- Station 1 - Weights
- Station 2 - TRX
- Station 3 - Body Weight
- Station 4 - Ropes
I can tell you, even before we started the workout, I knew I was going to LOVE this class. It was a full body, strength and cardio workout that I knew would make me sore for days. We would move in groups of 3-4 and spend 6 minutes in a station. I will tell you, as someone who is used to Tabata (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off for 4 minutes) and 1-2 minute sets during Boot Camp, 6 minutes sounds like an eternity. And I was about to find out how painful 6 minutes could be.
At each session, Robel had set up a little sign with the 4 different exercises we would work through and the counts. Depending on the stations, we would do anywhere from 10 - 25 sets of the exercise.
For weights, everything was counts of 10 - 10 bicep curls, 10 chest presses, 10 shoulder presses, 10 Arnold presses. It sounds so simple and so easy. Even writing this, I feel like 10 sounds so easy and way too short. But let me tell you, if you choose the right weights, getting through 10 of anything can be SO HARD. I would say by the last 2 minutes of the set, I was shaking and having a hard time getting past #8.
The TRX was similar, the counts were low (5 counts or 10 counts) but the exercises were challenging - squat jumps, push ups, Ys Is and Vs. Let me tell you, getting through one set of 10 push ups using the TRX nearly did me in. The second time around, I'm certain it too me a full minute to get through 10 push ups. My arms were SHAKING.
On the Body weight station, we worked through 25 push ups, 25 V Ups and 25 mountain climbers. This station was a good reminder that even the simplest exercises are HARD when they are combined with other activities. Have you ever tried to do 25 push ups for 3 rounds? Well I had not until this class and I don't know if I ever will again!! I had to go to my knees by the second round and let me tell you, that did NOT help my case. It was still just as hard.
My favorite station was by far the ropes (no surprise there!). Anyone who knows me knows I rarely get to work with ropes so I LOVE them. Whatever the exercise may be, it's always new to me and a good challenge. Well, Robel did not disappoint in this department, he had us doing everything from burpees to whips to jacks. I was DYING. It was one of those moments where I felt as though I was pushing so hard and moving so fast but the reality was, I looked as though I was barely moving. It was that hard. And the looks on the kids in the batting cages said it all. I'm 99% certain they had a pool going on when I would pass out.
Robel was fun, light hearted but consistent and encouraging throughout the workout. He knows how to make the workout hard and challenging but knows that a big part of working out is making it fun. He danced his way from station to station and in between breaks found time to check in with each of the members asking them about their kids, their recent work trips, their birthday celebration. It was obvious that he has a strong personal connection with everyone and believes in investing in those relationships. He was quick to identify when someone needed a form check or a pro tip. He was kind and encouraging in how he shared these tips. You can tell he has the ability to train, coach, motivate and push people.
I LOVED this facility and I LOVED this class. It was unlike any I had taken in so many ways. The vibe and the energy is so unique. There is a quiet intensity that motivates you in ways that are hard to describe. Everyone around you is working 120% and laser focused. It truly made me feel as though I was training with a group of elite athletes. Not necessarily because they looked like athletes or moved like athletes but because of their focus, their drive and their commitment to their workout. The workout was hard, it was intense, it hurt but there was a moment when I realized, I can do this and I could feel myself craving more. I like to believe it was the inner athlete in me, the moment when you realize you can and you will.
In a city where there are so many studios and gyms to choose from, I'm grateful for a place like Athletic Form. Robel's commitment and dedication to bringing out the athlete in all of us is inspiring. Athletic Form is a MUST visit. But go knowing you will WORK. In fact, I would not recommend working out the day before! Give you body a chance to rest up.
Thank you to the incredible ULA girls for their awesome recommendation!! You guys never disappoint!!