The room is dark except for a few candles lit on an elevated platform where two women are spotlighted. Soft music plays. Everyone in the room is barefoot and standing on cross-shaped mats.
It doesn’t look like the typical setup for a group fitness class, but then again, Group Centergy isn’t a typical group fitness class.
Jan Crawford, a Group Centergy instructor at Gold’s Gym Elite, said the class draws inspiration from yoga and pilates, but it is “driven by choreography.”
“We want to appeal to a wider variety of people,” said Crawford. “We give you little bites instead of the whole platter.”
But that doesn’t mean the class is easy.
The poses are challenging and are intended to increase flexibility, strength and balance.
Crawford said that is the biggest benefit of Group Centergy. “It gives people a different perspective of what they can do.”
“We can inspire our body to work in different ways,” added Lindsay Urquhart, another Group Centergy instructor at Gold’s Gym Elite. “You can always push further.”
In addition to the physical benefits, Crawford said the class can also have positive effects on stress and longevity.
Crawford recommends taking the class 2-3 times per week, though she said you can benefit from just once a week.
She added that noticeable results take longer with Group Centergy because “flexibility comes in micromillimeters. You’ll feel the strength before flexibility.”
Crawford, who will be 58 this year, hopes that her age will inspire beginners, giving them an “if she can do it, I can do it, too” attitude.
“There are lots of things Centergy can offer lots of different age groups,” she said.
The Workout: The 60-minute Group Centergy class combines yoga, pilates, strength and flexibility training. Transitions from one movement to the next are slow and deliberate; focus on breathing is encouraged. Crawford and Urquhart emphasize body awareness and the connection between breath and movement.
The class ends with a few minutes of silent rest, something “that the body craves, but is often not given,” said Urquhart.
Sweat Factor: The class isn’t necessarily designed to make you perspire, but during some of the more difficult moves, like the salutations, I broke a light sweat.
Difficulty Level: While some of the poses are more difficult than others, each pose offers modifications to make it slightly easier or slightly more difficult. Crawford and Urquhart agree that the biggest challenge is connecting your breath to your movement.
The poses aren’t always the easiest to get into, but the slow pace of the class makes it easy to follow.
Average Calories Burned: One participant who wore a calorie counter and took all the higher difficulty options burned around 600 calories. For lower options, it’s probably between 350-400 calories, said Urquhart. However, since it is a strength-training program, the body is still burning calories up to an hour after the workout.
Commitment: As with most gyms, a contractual membership will gain access to all the classes offered. There is a daily rate option for those who don’t want a full membership.
Perks: Gold’s Gym Elite members have access to all Gold’s Gym facilities, including the other two Columbus locations. Female members can also take advantage of access to Fitness for Women, 5828-O Moon Road.
Gold’s Gym Elite offers cardio and weight machines, free weights and dressing rooms with showers.
Other group fitness classes offered include Group Active, Group Groove, Group Kick, Group Power, Group Ride and Group Step.
The Afterglow: Group Centergy was indeed a stress-reliever. I have done some at-home yoga and pilates before, but the serene atmosphere allowed me to relax and have a more enjoyable experience. I was sore the next day, mostly in my major joints — which tells me I probably need more flexibility training in my routine.
Group Centergy finds its place among the high-energy, high-impact fitness classes as a calming agent.