New Haven Fave: Tuff Girl Fitness

Greetings from Tucson, AZ! I had hoped to finish up these last few posts before I left New Haven, but finals and moving got in the way. While it’s technically in Hamden, here is another special spot on my New Haven Fave list:

Tuff Girl Fitness
60 Connolly Parkway #6A in Hamden
(at the Wilbur Cross Commons Business Park across from Hamden High)

20140103-131634.jpgWhat It Is: Only the most awesome workout you’ll ever get. It’s a combination of weight-lifting, circuit-training and conditioning packed into 25-35 minutes of high intensity intervals. Lift heavy, train hard, prepare to sweat. While the gym is co-ed, some classes are designated for women only, which is a nice touch if you’re a chick who feels self-conscious about exercising or weight-training with dudes.

How I Found It: After finals last year, I woke up one morning ready to hit the gym, only to find out that it would be closed for the next ten days due to end-of-the-year cleaning. Annoyed, I did a Google search for something like “strength training CT,” and Tuff Girl was one of the top hits. I signed up for the next available class that morning and then hopped in the car to try to make it on time. I arrived a couple minutes before class started, introduced myself to the owner and coach Christa, and worked my ass off for the next hour. I was hooked immediately and signed up for more classes on the spot.

How Classes Are Structured: Classes are 60 minutes long. The first ten to fifteen minutes include a warm-up, followed by an explanation of the movements/exercises that you will be performing in class that day. The workout portion is about 25-35 minutes depending on how long the rest/transition periods are. The last ten minutes are cool down and stretching. Most classes are interval based – i.e. a certain amount of time is spent working (e.g. 35 seconds), followed by a certain amount of time to rest/transition to the next station (e.g. 15 seconds). There are also some rep-based workouts from time to time.

How To Sign Up: Tuff Girl is so awesome that they give you not one, but *two* free trial classes. Go here, scroll down to the “How Do I Get Started” FAQ. You’ll need to creat a MindBody account with them, then email their manager and she will add two complimentary classes to your account. Then you can sign up for classes through MindBody. Classes often fill up quickly, so it’s recommended to sign up in advance. However, they have a four-hour cancellation policy. If you don’t cancel more than four hours in advance of your class, you will still have that class deducted from your account.

How Much It Costs: It’s not cheap, but as they say on the website: “Price is only an issue in absence of value.” In this case, Tuff Girl is worth every penny. Drop-ins: $18; 5-class: $80, 10-class: $150. You can also do monthly plans – 8 classes/month: $109; 12 classes/month: $149; 16 classes/month: $179; 20 classes/month: $199.

Why I Love It: After my sister introduced me to weights a year and a half ago, I’ve never looked back. I love lifting heavy – I like feeling strong and being able to carry all my groceries, or lift heavy boxes. I love slamming a 20 lbs medicine ball into the floor, or finally, after months of training, being able to do a single, dead-hang pull-up. I love that training my body in this way has fortified me mentally to do other things. Those first few days on the Camino when I thought I couldn’t take another step? Remember feeling that way right before I pressed an extra 10 lbs. Every single tough moment at school where I wondered why I was doing this to myself? Remember feeling that way in the middle of yet another set of burpees. But more importantly, I remember how I felt after – that satisfied feeling of accomplishment, of knowing that I did something hard and didn’t hold back. And most of all, I loved being in an environment surrounded by some seriously Tuff women, who inspired me with their own strength and shared my goals and values.

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