5 Reasons to SPARC up Your Fitness Routine
Burn more calories, keep it fresh, workout with friends!
By: Guest Blogger Kelly Berry
You might have seen fancy new machines on the floor and new classes on the schedule and perhaps you’re wondering ‘what is this SPARC training all about?’ To share more about the program and its unique benefits, we spoke with Amy Hutchinson, personal trainer and SPARC instructor at VIDA Gallery Place, to give us the deets.
What is SPARC?
SPARC training is the highest form of intensity you can get in a group training workout. In one 55-minute session you can complete a full body workout and/or isolate specific muscle groups to create a lower body or upper body focused workout. In addition to the SPARC training machine, VIDA SPARC classes employ a range of gear including CorMax equipment, Bosu balls, kettle bells, TRX and more. All equipment used in a SPARC workout is meant to turn on stabilizing muscles, reduce strain on the joints, all while reaching maximum levels of intensity to burn calories, improve endurance, strength, and mobility.
How is a SPARC workout different from other group fitness classes?
One of the biggest reasons why SPARC training sessions are able to dial up the intensity of the workout is due to the fact that all equipment used, including the SPARC machine, has no motor. Instead, you are the motor! The SPARC trainer also has no handles – which means you have no other option but to use your lower body to keep up momentum. This of course, as Amy explains, translates to a focus on strengthening and building quads, glutes and hamstrings all with minimal to zero impact on joints, making it a much safer and beneficial workout if you’re working with or looking to avoid injury.
In addition to using the SPARC trainer, sessions can include a variety of functional training tools. With a mixture of equipment and circuits, members can expect a unique workout each class that will incorporate fat burning, cross training, cardio, high performance bursts, low stress/impact, and strength training in each and every class. One of Amy’s favorite challenges is upping the resistance on the SPARC trainer while continuing to keep the speed.
“It’s like carrying 50 lbs on your body and marching up a steep hill, fast. Only in this version, there is no undue stress on the body, you are maximizing effort and you have a whole room of your peers cheering you on. It completely changes how you feel and what you are able to accomplish in a single class and from week to week the results will surprise you,” she explains.
What are the top 5 benefits of a SPARC workout?
- Burn more calories
On average, participants in Amy’s class using MYZONE are burning anywhere from 500 to 900 calories per 55-minute workout. Yep, you read that right. The calorie burn is intense!
- Work out with friends
Similar to boot camp workouts offered at VIDA in the warmer months, SPARC encourages teamwork and some healthy competition to keep you and your fellow VIDA champs accountable and consistent.
“There is something extra that you are able to tap into with small group training classes. It’s the best of both worlds; you’re getting more dedicated time with the instructor due to the smaller class sizes to focus on proper form and tailor the workout to you. Plus, you are receiving the benefit of working out with peers who lend encouragement and support to push you towards healthy challenges, while having fun doing it! As we all know, if a workout isn’t stimulating and you don’t enjoy it, it’s very difficult to motivate yourself to keep coming back. By combining a social element to a challenging workout, chances are far higher that you’ll stick with it and reap all the positive benefits!” says Amy.
- Keep workouts fresh, never get bored
Workouts vary by class and instructor and use the SPARC trainer, weights, kettle bells, CorMax, bosu, TRX and more to provide circuits that are challenging and provide variety in order to build a better booty, core, and upper body. If you want to get up early to work out but have trouble motivating, this format could be a game changer.
“I love waking people up and motivating in a positive way to start the day. My goal is to get people feeling 100% awesome and ready to take on their day with a positive mindset when they leave my class” says Amy.
She invites in playful music and encourages students to push themselves to their limit all while maintaining great form, of course.
- Maximize your time + calorie burn
SPARC is a full body workout with the ability to target all muscles groups all in 55 minutes. SPARC classes are typically offered in the early AM – 6:00 AM to be exact – and can be a great way to jump start your morning and burn your calories for the day all before you reach your desk. Amy also reminds us that because of the HIIT programming – which brings your heart rate up and down the entirety of the class – you can burn more calories per session and up to 24 hrs after the workout! To see the greatest results, Amy recommends two SPARC sessions per week in combination with active recovery or strength training such as yoga, barre, or weight lifting classes.
- Built for All Levels, Focus on Fun + Form
SPARC small group training might have elements of the HIIT workouts that are so popular in today’s fitness landscape, however SPARC offers a more personalized approach.
“So many studio workouts focus on speed, and then those that are brand new to the program are at a higher risk for injury during class or over time with repetitive stress movements,” says Amy.
The solution then becomes mindful movement, body awareness, and variety in workouts for all skill levels and to stimulate the brain to avoid fatigue and boredom.
“What I enjoy most about working at VIDA is the ability to connect with students 1:1 and as a group to offer variations of an exercise that works best in their body as it is right now and then watch that confidence grow as the challenge increases from week to week and a student builds the strength and confidence mind and body. It is hands down the most rewarding part of the job, seeing that positive shift in people,” says Amy.
Ready to join a class?!
SPARC is currently offered at multiple times during the week at our Gallery Place and City Vista locations. Click here to try a demo class for free!
Amy Hutchinson is a personal trainer and group fitness instructor at VIDA Gallery Place. She teaches SPARC classes every Tuesday and Thursday 6:00am – 6:55am (Verizon) in addition to group training classes, abs, and HIIT. Amy strives for improvement, not perfection, and applies the same concept towards her clients’ training. She sets goals for herself and others that are achievable through hard work and dedication. She believes in loving what you do, because if you don’t love what you do you’ll find yourself putting in less than 100% effort.