Last week, I took my first GRAVITY Total Body workout class at Mission Valley YMCA with my coworkers. My name is Sonia (you can see me in the blue Y shirt in the image on the right). I've been a Y member and staff member for over 10 years. I've always been active, from varsity sports in high school to club sports in college, and I enjoy a variety of fitness classes. All this to say, I usually like high-intensity workouts with bodyweight. So when my coworker suggested we take a GRAVITY class, I was interested though not sure what to expect. The usual attendees of GRAVITY were not exactly in my 20-to-30-year-old, high-intensity workout demographic. However, I'd heard about GRAVITY-like workouts from Chuck Norris, who uses a similar machine to stay in phenomenal shape, so I thought I would give it a try. Besides, who doesn't want to be fit like Chuck Norris?

As we entered the class, Health and Wellness Coordinator, Cara Beltran, and fitness instructor Fred Edwards were there to greet us and introduce us to the machines. Similar to Chuck Norris' home setup, the GRAVITY Training System (GTS) includes a rolling glide board, adjustable resistance levels and a dynamic cable pulley system that allows you to use your own body weight against the pull of earth's gravity. What’s even more impressive is that you can do over 250 different exercises using just this one system! From strength and endurance training to stretching, Pilates and core, GRAVITY engages all the major muscle groups with every move. The machinery looked complicated at first, but we all caught on quickly.

"You are looking great, but don't slide off the machine!" Cara advised I lower the height of my machine down to an easier level. I thought I was fine - I'm an athlete after all, I joked - but as we increased repetitions, I was grateful for her suggestion. The nice, older Y member next to me was also very helpful, giving me tips to make sure I wasn't falling behind. I tried not to take it to heart when I noticed his machine was set to three difficulty levels higher than mine. I had to stay focused on my individual process and progress. With more practice, I'd be like Chuck Norris in no time.

What struck me about GRAVITY was how effectively the machine targeted my different muscle groups with each movement. Each exercise worked to improve overall strength, endurance, coordination and balance, while targeting each specific area. We started with legs (demonstrated by my coworker Logan in the middle image on the right), then moved on to core muscles (both abdominal and back) and finished with arms (demonstrated by my coworker Nick in the image on the bottom right).

Throughout the entire 45-minute session, Fred was encouraging and motivating, offering advice and ensuring our form was correct to maximize our efforts. While my workout was low-impact and I barely broke a sweat, the member next to me had an entirely different experience and was using a towel to wipe his brow. This showed me the versatility of the machine and how the full back support and adjustable levels made it seem deceptively low-key for me, when I could have made it much more challenging. As Cara noted, many people are unaware that this training system is suitable for all ages and fitness levels. Even though it tends to be favored by older adults for its strength and flexibility benefits, it still delivers a rigorous workout for everybody. 

While one GRAVITY doth not a Chuck Norris make, I still ended the class with great spirits and sore muscles. My coworker agreed, adding she felt it working the same muscles as her yoga and Pilates classes. Next time, we would increase the workout level intensity. However, even after just one class, we all felt lighter and more energized. And we had a lot of fun doing a group class with other members — something even Chuck Norris doesn't have when he works out at home.

If you’re curious about GRAVITY training, we would highly recommend giving it a try. You can join the group classes that meet once a week on a monthly basis at Mission Valley YMCA or opt for personal training sessions at Toby Wells YMCA. Contact Cara Beltran at [email protected] to set up a trial class or demonstration. Check out the GRAVITY schedule on the bottom of the Mission Valley YMCA home page and take the first step toward your transformative workout journey!