Getting Blown Away by BLAST900

I never realized what a treadmill was capable of until I tried a BLAST900 class.

No offense to the treadmills that I’ve faithfully worked out on over the years. You know the ones. The incline goes up to about 10, there are some training programs to choose from, and it lets you know how many calories you’ve burned — it’s the old reliable treadmill version of a Toyota Camry.

But the treadmills used in BLAST classes are built for training, going up to inclines of more than 20 (amen for those handle bars). The speeds and inclines can be adjusted at the touch of a button that’s labeled with said speed or incline (as opposed to having to tap the plus or minus key multiple times to get to your desired location). I’ve loved my Toyota Camry treadmills, but I could get used to the Ferrari model.

I’d heard rave reviews about BLAST, which stands for “Balanced Level of Aerobic and Strength Training,” from Atlanta fitness concierge and 10 Pack founder, Cara Weaver, whose opinion I trust. And once I found out that your first class at BLAST is free, I decided it was time to give one a shot.

After booking my spot online, I headed over to Buckhead a few Saturdays ago for a 4 p.m. Blast Full Body class with Stephen. (In addition to the two Atlanta locations, BLAST is also in Athens and Charleston. BLAST offers a couple of class formats, so be sure to check out the schedule at each location to see what's being offered.)

In the moments before class, Stephen got me set up with water and a towel and showed me how to operate my “Ferrari.” Each class the format changes, but generally you can expect a mix of cardio on the treadmills and weights (on the floor).

This afternoon, we alternated between five minutes of cardio and five minutes of weight work, using a Body Bar and free weights for the resistance work. (The toys used from class to class change to keep things interesting.) Some people ran and others walked during the cardio portions, and Stephen taught to both groups in terms of providing speeds, etc. I’d NEVER been up to an incline of 20+ on a treadmill, so that was a challenging new experience, as was trying to shuffle on my right and left sides.

When it came to the weight portions of class, we'd flow from one exercise into the next. For example, we’d move from one shoulder exercise to another, which would be followed by planks, which would be followed by something else. There were a few people who needed modified versions of the exercises, and I was impressed to see Stephen walking around the room providing them. (He also made sure that our water bottles were never empty — even if that meant filling them up for us.)

By the time the hour ended and we’d stretched, I felt like I’d been treated to a satisfying workout that I would easily do again — another “fit” for the belle. The only problem is that all of these class-specific gyms (I also adore Flywheel and FlyBarre) charge per-class or package fees that I can’t afford on a regular basis. So as much as I enjoy classes like BLAST, it’s hard to make them a regular part of my workout schedule. Maybe it's better that they remain a special treat. Regardless, if you’re looking for a way to blast a few calories, get yourself to a BLAST900 class, and let me know what you think.

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