Beach Body. Who Wants One?

Two words: Beach Body. What comes to mind? I picture tight, tan, happy people, bikinis, surf boards, beach balls, sunshine…and maybe a chilled Corona or two?

Happy group at the beachWRONG! Now picture this: barbells, sweat, burpees, squats, and panting…a whole lot of panting. Connor Miller’s Beach Body class at Southampton Gym is all work, not so much glam, but if you’re looking for that one class to get you into beach body shape from head to toe, Beach Body is your answer. And, with a couple months until Memorial Day, now is the time!

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If you want a half-assed workout, Beach Body is not it. If you want to shock your body, challenge your mind, and be sore (and high on endorphins) for days, Beach Body just might be for you. So, what exactly goes on in a typical Beach Body class? The good thing is that it’s always different (Connor keeps us on our toes)…and it’s always the same (as in the panting, soreness, endorphins, and lack of chilled Coronas.)

Class kicks off with the warm-up, which I’ve learned always includes squats. Lots and lots of squats. Weighted, half-way down, half-way up, jump squats, you name it, we squat it. Legs on fire. Everyone wants to quit, but Connor doesn’t allow that.

But then, the intervals start and oh, how badly we want to return to those delightful squats. Not kidding. Can’t forget those abs, shoulders, triceps, biceps, back, obliques, chest, or anything else, can we?!

photo 2After the warm-up, the class is comprised of high-intensity tabata intervals (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off) separated by abdominal circuits and strength-training with weights. Plyometric drills are all timed, so the goal is to bang out as many as reps as possible. Each interval is four minutes long. Four long minutes, really. The first round is doable. And then, just when your heart rate hits the roof, you have three more rounds to go. This is where the panting comes in. That 10 second break are just enough to avoid a heart attack, but definitely not enough for recover. Recovery must wait until about five minutes after class is over and sanity is regained.

Why must we do such nonsense? For the Beach Body, remember. Eye on the prize: Memorial Day. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) burns more fat in less time and increases metabolism long after the workout is done. Plyometrics combine both speed and power, meaning that each exercise demands both cardio and strength for a double whammy. Now you understand why this class is always full. It’s EFFECTIVE. Each muscle group is effectively exhausted, including, for sure, the cardiovascular system.

On a good day, I consider myself somewhat in-shape. Never do I feel ‘in-shape’ during this class, but what I feel after Beach Body, is without a doubt, totally worthwhile. A combination of absolute exhaustion, a flood of endorphins, topped off with anticipation for that ‘hurts so good’ pain that is to come. Since Beach Body hits every muscle group, it’s always a guessing game as to which muscles will be most sore in the coming days. Don’t be too intimidated, the class is tough, but it’s doable at any age and fitness level. It’s about starting somewhere, challenging oneself, progressing, and, don’t forget the panting. Regardless of your age, fitness level, or perfect beach body, there will always be panting.

You can catch Connor’s Beach Body class weekly at Southampton Gym.

One Healthy Breakdown: Maybe I’ll see you in Beach Body class. I’m the one gasping for air.

Body Combat: The Real Life Video Game

Body Combat is one of the few exercise classes I’ve been going to for years without it getting old. It’s like a real life video game because participants perform kicks and punches as though in a real fight. Just like most things in life, what you put into Combat, you get out. You can go through the motions or you can kick the motions ass. Luckily, the instructors at Hampton Gym Corp motivate you to be fierce, fast, and powerful, maximizing each and every one of the 55 minutes.


The class is divided into 9 tracks and lots of intervals. You’ll learn combinations and perform them at different levels to vary the heart rate. It’s intense cardio with mixed martial arts; boxing, taekdwondo, tai chi, karate, and muah thai. I’ve mastered self-defense moves I wouldn’t normally know, like uppercut, hook, roundhouse, side kick, and back kick. These practices are tied to the rhythm of upbeat songs, some old and some new. The tracks switch between lower and upper body, hitting most muscle groups more than once. I love the post-combat burn, I always feel it in my upper back and shoulders the next day. It’s just as empowering as the class itself.

Body Combat is one of Hampton Gym Corp’s many Les Mill group fitness class offerings. There’s nothing better than that adrenaline rush you get in a full room of “Combatters.” Sure, you may feel silly when you’re a little behind on the combo your first time, or when asked to yell as you punch or kick, but the group fierceness in the room makes everything ok. And fuels your energy to win the fight. I was hooked from the start. There’s something for everyone and everyone can benefit from Body Combat.

Try Body Combat at Southampton or Sag Harbor Gym, check their schedule here. See you in Combat!

One Healthy Breakdown: Go hard or go home. Win or lose, it’s up to you.

Exceeding Your Max at Exceed

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Exceed Physical Culture (located on Plank Rd. in East Hampton & in NYC) is rugged without the mess. It’s competitive without the judgment. Exceed is built on unpredictable (yet consistent) intensity. It’s group fitness with personal attention, teamwork, and disparity. Exceed defines the term “shock the body.”

One thing I know after taking two Exceed classes: there is nothing out of the realm of possibility. I had no idea what to expect when I first walked into Exceed’s spic and span open fitness ‘shed.’ And I now know I’m not the only one, “our athletes learn to expect the unexpected,” Ed Cashin, Exceed’s co-founder explains. When I told Ed I came back for more because I was overwhelmed the first time, his response was “prepared to be overwhelmed again.” Exceed’s athletes are accustomed to being overwhelmed with intensity, and then exceeding the limits to get it done. Women flipping truck tires? Yeah, that happened.

The only thing Exceed athletes can expect is a structured class; quick intervals, never-ending intensity, functional movement, plyometrics, and a huge push at the end.

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Exceed is 50 minutes of ‘strength and ultra metabolic movement interval training’ (SUMMIT, developed by Ed in 2012.) Spiking the heart-rate, exhausting the muscles…oh, and, there are no breaks, not a one. The big difference is that Exceed’s SUMMIT philosophy fills the gaps between strength-training intervals with intense cardio, the heart rate is constantly being pushed, whether it’s rowing or jumping rope, it’s not catching your breath.

Everyone sweats, everyone grunts, everyone exceeds their own expectations. Although there isn’t much conversation going on, there’s this vibe that you’re all on the same team, all there for the same reason. The workout is scalable to all different levels, but everyone is there to exceed. The camaraderie, coaching, music, and grunting gets you through the 50 minutes alive.

After we partnered up, we switched it up between strength training, cardio spurts, plyometrics, and partner drills. We used kettle bells, medicine balls, truck tires, jump ropes, TRX bands, and most importantly: our own body’s resistance. Exceed’s method is based upon movement; the fitness toys are just there to assist or intensify the body’s own actions.

Then. There. Was. The. Wheel. What’s the wheel, you ask? I made the mistake of thinking there was enough time to ask that very same question. No, there’s no time for questions. The wheel is basically a compact version of running through the intense exercises of the class, one after another after another as fast as you possibly can. The wheel is a whole new level of intensity that happens just when you think class is wrapping up. The. Wheel. Is. Killer.

One Healthy Breakdown: I’m pretty sure I figured out why Exceed is 50 minutes instead of a straight hour: if it were 10 minutes longer, some people may actually die, and that would really mess up the clean floors.