Switch Playground Kicked My Ass Into Shape & I Think I’m Going To Be Sore Forever
Imagine for a moment, everything you could ever possibly do when you go to the gym -- running on the treadmill, resistance training, yoga, lifting free weights, battle ropes, stationary bikes. Now imagine doing all of those in one day, or rather, in one hour. If you feel exhausted just thinking about that, imagine how exhausted I was after doing exactly that at Switch Playground.
But hey, I lived to tell the tale.
In fact, I trekked all the way from Brooklyn to Soho at the ungodly hour of 10 a.m. on a Saturday to give Switch Playground a shot.
Switch Playground recently came to Manhattan all the way from Capetown, South Africa, under the guidance of its founder, fitness entrepreneur Steve Uria.
Their website describes the experience as "an experiential, total-body workout unlike anything else."
Every single day, the workout classes offered at Switch Playground are "rewritten and reproduced...ensuring you never repeat the same class twice."
When I first arrived at the workout studio, I was greeted by a group of very fit, and very energetic personal trainers in a dim, neon-lit exercise room.
Uria began the class by guiding us through some brief yoga stretches on his wireless mic, while a DJ in a slightly elevated back booth played some smooth, underlying tunes.
I was then paired with a rather studly skater boy (a stranger to me, but I guess a lot of people arrive in pairs) at "station 23," where we started with tiny squat jumps on some mini-trampolines, officially embarking on the day's brutal circuit.
The idea of rapidly switching to a new exercise every two minutes definitely seems chaotic and daunting at first.
But in the moment, I was surprised to find I wasn't feeling overwhelmed at all.
The exercises we did at each station were first quickly modeled by a trainer, who would then swing back around every 20 or 30 seconds to encourage us or correct our form.
As fast as the whole process was, knowing there was an end in sight made the usually difficult exercises -- like repetitive squats and lifting free weights -- a bit easier to handle, at least mentally.
Plus, I noticed there was no real pressure to perform any of the exercises with perfection. So, any time I needed a moment to catch my breath, to modify my movements, or to make sure I didn't collapse -- I took it.
Even the looming, Wizard-of-Oz-like presence of Steve Uria's voice alerting us to each two-minute switch kind of melted into the ambiance. You only have the brain space to focus on the task at hand -- nothing more.
About three-quarters of the way through, as I hit a medicine ball against a boxing bag, I started to get a little irritated -- not at anyone or anything in particular. This just kind of happens to me when I'm feeling physically taxed and people are telling me what to do.
(I've absolutely been known to loudly yell, “I can't!” from time to time when teachers or trainers tell me to keep going.)
That being said, when I noticed my partner was also getting tired, it gave me a bit of an emotional boost. It helped to have a buddy there with you in the trenches. We were both kind of suffering, but at least we were suffering together, right?
I'll admit, I felt a little shell-shocked by the end; but I was proud of myself for sticking it out through the whole experience.
After the class, I had a chance to speak one-on-one with Steve Uria about the whole evolution of Switch Playground, which he says has come as a sort of culmination of his 32 years in the fitness industry.
He tells Elite Daily he wanted to take everything he thought was brilliant and effective during a workout, and combine it all into a single class format -- with his own little twist.
The workout is different every day, and the two-minute intervals are meant to alleviate boredom and help keep focus on the task at hand.
It's taking the body on a fitness journey, incorporating all aspects of working out from core to functional to cardio and strength training.
He explains the philosophy was to work the body and mind together, and more specifically, to “free the mind, work the body, and revive the soul.”
So, once I was done, did my mind feel free? Did my soul feel revived? Did my body feel the burn?
Well, I'm not sure, but I do know I was totally wiped out.
I had a very hearty meal (or two) after the fact, I slept like a newborn, and you better believe, days later, I'm still sore.