Writer Asia Key wasn’t afraid to jump right in and start using the TRX bands at Acacia Spa’s TRX class
So you think you can TRX? I did, and I thought wrong. I was good at and caught on quickly in every sport I played growing up, including soccer, basketball and football (I practiced with my brother’s team). I even played competitive basketball up until my senior year of high school.
Even after gaining the freshman 15 (plus 15), I lost it all as incentive for a spring break trip my junior year. I trained with a football player then, who constructed high-intensity workouts for me and my girls. I’ve tried strength training, fat-burning and kickboxing exercises that confuse muscles and eat up calories. I love a challenge, but for all my athletic experience and tenacity, I was unprepared for the TRX class at Acacia Spa taught by Tom Hooper and Whitney Moore.
Asia Key works with the Rip Trainer, a metal bar attached to the wall by a bungee cord.
The studio is isolated from the main spa by a concrete walkway, and inside sunlight bathed the hardwood floors in golden light. Through the large windows I saw red and purple flowers and a rock wall. The serene landscape put me in a good mood, which is essential to a good workout. I was a few minutes late, and the other five ladies were spread out on blue mats in the spacious, high-ceilinged studio, finishing up what Hooper calls six-minute abs. I was determined to jump right in and go hard the whole way through to make up for what I had missed. So when everyone got up to face the TRX bands hanging from the ceiling I followed suit, though I had no clue how to use them or even which direction to face. After a quick adjustment by co-owner Richard Kennedy, I was powering through arm curls. We moved fluidly from move to move, with pointed instruction from Hooper and demonstrations by Moore. They made it easy to follow along, even if executing the moves was hard. The quick transitions also concealed my fatigue.
What’s nice about the TRX bands is they allow you to adjust to your own comfort and ability. They provided much-needed stability and balance. The bands and the Rip Trainer—a metal stick connected to the wall by a bungee cord—were developed by a Navy SEAL and were my favorite part of the class. I had never seen them before, and I love to learn new things.
| "The serene landscape put me in a good mood." |
Hooper tells me he and Moore are notorious for being hard trainers, and I don’t question why. After a bunch of arm curls, jump squats, planks, samurai strikes and fish reeling with the Rip Trainer, sweat made a butterfly print around my midriff, and I could feel my throat fiending for a sip of water. We used our own bodyweight to do most of the workout, so every muscle was engaged at once.
Not only was my strength challenged, but my coordination and flexibility were put to the test, too. I was at least passing until we got down on the floor and put our feet in the TRX bands to do a series of exercises in which we pulled our legs up to our sides or contorted our bodies into an upside down “V.” I tried my hardest to do multiple reps, but I could only bust out one or two at a time.
Hooper and Moore ended class with “alligators.” With us sliding as far underneath the bands as possible, Hooper yelled for us to go, and we stretched the bands apart as far as we could so that our arms resembled the open mouth of the large reptile. The atmosphere was intense, but seeing how Hooper and Moore were willing to do every move alongside the class made me want to push myself. And after we were finished, I felt pride for getting through it, along with the overwhelming relief that it was finally over.
The TRX class offers a full-body workout. Here Asia Key and co-instructor Whitney Moore squat with the Rip Trainer.
I always anticipate the soreness that accompanies a good workout to determine just how hard I was going. So when I woke up the next morning and could only feel a minor burn in my shoulders I was disappointed. All of that just for a slight arm workout? As the day progressed, though, the soreness spread down my back, around my sides and through my whole core. The next day I could feel it in my thighs when I walked. Every move I made was an exclamation point. Sure, it was unpleasant to wince every time I got in and out of the car, but it made me value my strength. It feels good to know that if I can handle this, I can do just about anything.
TRX Training at Acacia Spa
4058 S. Lone Pine Ave., Springfield
Type of Activity
Full-body workout, strength and conditioning, core stability
New members can get an introductory unlimited two-week pass for $30. Drop in classes are $15 each. Other packages include a 10-class punchcard for $120, an unlimited six-month membership is $79 per month and a non-renewing membership is $99 per month.
Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5 p.m. and Saturdays at 8:30 a.m.
What to Bring
Water, a towel and a good attitude