Health & Fitness

By Leslie Rice Hart

Would you like to see what the professional athletes do to get into shape for their season? How do some of them get those tight, hard bodies? What exercises keep some of those football, basketball and baseball players in tiptop condition? You’ll find out when taking the Pre-season Sports Conditioning class offered at several New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Washington Sports Clubs.

I took fitness trainer Ray Wallace’s pre-season class. Ray has a loyal following, so his classes fill up quickly, and I know why: his class is an incredibly intense, challenging, and fun workout.

The workout consists of drills that emphasize agility, speed, and endurance. I was thrilled to see there were as many, if not more, women as men in this fast-paced class.

We started with a group warm-up and from there did everything from sprinting to hopping, jumping and running through flat agility ladders, hurdles over cones, leaping and squatting on benches, lunging with medicine balls, pushups, running sideways, backwards, forwards, you name it. Ray timed us through the drills, blew his whistle to start and stop, promptly moving on to the next drill. I really felt like I was at a sports boot camp. My adrenaline was pumping and I had a stream of energy. There’s no denying my heart rate was up; I was sweating profusely. A natural competitive streak came to the fore and I wanted to run faster, jump higher, and do more pushups than anyone else in the class. We were all working diligently – and having a blast doing it.

We ended the class with a cool-down, bringing our heart rates back to normal and stretching. I made sure I did some extra stretching for the next couple of days to ensure my ability to walk and lift my arms, sometimes a challenge after an intense workout. I drank a lot of water to rehydrate myself during and after the class, which is very important after any workout.

I felt fantastic. I highly recommend this class for those who are up for the challenge. You might just surprise yourself with how much fun you can have exercising. Don’t leave it to the pros, do it like the pros.

For information on classes near you visit the New York Sports Club website at: www.NYSC.com

Originally published March 2005
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