In a quest to discover the fitness option in SF and beyond, I’m visiting different studios and bringing you the details. Here’s what Core40 in San Francisco is all about.
Guess what, another studio I teach at! At Core40, I teach cycling, but in this post I’m going to focus on their bigger offering, the Core40 signature full body class, based on the Lagree Fitness method. If you’ve seen those crazy looking pilates-like contraptions, you might know what I’m talking about. That weird contraption, the megaformer, or to regulars known as a torture device, is a killer for achieving that slow muscle burn. For my NY and DC readers, Core40 is similar to SLT and Solidcore.
At Core40, each class is (you guessed it) 40 minutes. As someone used to 45-60 minute workouts, the 40 minute workout feels quick, yet effective. Each class uses the megaformer, various springs for resistance and tiny movements to build lean muscle. Like other workouts that use tiny muscle movements or tiny weights, it seems easy on the outside, but get in there and it’s a different story.
Core40 Full Body + Targeted Moves
I’ve taken other megaformer classes and Core40 lives up to the name, really focused on your core/abs throughout almost the entire workout. Even when you’re doing leg work, you’re engaging your core. After particularly challenging classes I expect to leave with an instant six-pack because the burn is so strong.
Because of the way the megaformer functions, I find that these classes target your obliques better than any other workout. They way you have to hold your entire core tight to stay in control engages those obliques more intensely than I’ve ever felt before. While the classes are full-body, I do wish there was more upper body work, but the bigger focus is core and lower body. There are always some upper body sections thrown in, but the next day I tend to feel it in my abs, glutes and thighs the most.
Each class is formatted differently and uses a variety of moves, but many you’ll see in each class. As you continue to go, I wouldn’t say the class gets any easier, but you feel more coordinated, more in control and able to get deeper into the movements. I’ll admit that some days I think, wow I’m kinda good at this! Other days, I can barely hold a plank. Some days you got it, some days you don’t!
I’ve been taking Core40 classes a couple of times a week for the past six weeks and I’m seeing and feeling changes. If there is one place this class falls short, it’s in the cardio elements. While the movements are effective and leave me sore and sometimes a little sweaty, you don’t get that out-of-breath drenched effect, which sometimes I really want.
And that’s where my cycling class comes in! There are six Core40 locations in SF and in addition to the megaformer signature classes, studios also host cycling class. A cycling class paired with the megaformer class is the ultimate combo. Get your sweat on for 40 minutes, burn crazy calories, then head to the megaformer and get those muscles lean and mean. If you’re not in the mood for 80 minutes of action, there are also combo classes that are 50 minutes total, half cycle, half megaformer.
I’ve regularly visit two studios (Noe-Mission and Soma) and both are simple, clean and overall have a very lovely zen feel. The Noe-Mission studio is in an old church and is particularly gorgeous with stained glass windows to calm you through the struggle.
If you’re looking for an extra challenge, the Soma location features “Ramped” classes where the incline of the megaformer changes throughout class, all controlled by the instructor. SO hard!
image via petitandtoned.com
Tips for Core40 Beginners
A few things to keep in mind for your first class.
- It’s okay to take breaks during moves. You’ll notice that most people break form throughout the process because it is so hard to hold those trembling muscles in place.
- Listen to the spring cues. The instructor will tell you how many springs to put on and take off at any given time. There are a bunch of red and yellow springs (yellow are the light ones, red are the harder ones). Pay attention to the spring changes and remember what you do on one side so you can use the same level on the other side.
- Look around. Don’t be embarrassed to check out the other students, this will help you get the form right. The instructor will demo some moves, but she typically isn’t doing the workout with you, so if you’re confused, and you probably will be at first, take cues from those around you.
- Listen carefully. Instructors are very specific in what they tell you to do. Whether it’s moving just your left leg and keeping your right leg straight, or engaging certain muscles, stay focused and listen up and you’ll get more out of the class.
- Go back again! If the first class seems confusing and you felt uncoordinated, that’s totally normal. Don’t be scared away. Give it a second try and you might be surprised by how much more you understand.
Core40 date? Let’s Go!
Interested? Visit Core40 for the signature class and also please come check out my cycling class! I teach Tuesdays at 6:20pm and Thursdays at 6am and 6:20pm at the Noe-Mission location. Since the studio isn’t super close to my apartment, I like to make my visit worth it and tack on a megaformer class. Shoot me and message and let’s do it together soon.
Any questions on Core40? Do you like megaformer classes? What’s your favorite studio? Comment below & let me know.