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Entries in Robert Wood (1)


Rebecca's GRAVITY-Defying Field Trip

By Rebecca Maverick

When I learned that we were launching a blog, I thought this might be just the excuse I was looking for to get out of the office and go “into the field,” to visit health clubs and try fitness equipment I’ve never tried before.

So, earlier this week, on Monday morning, I traveled by train into Boston to visit the Boston Sports Club location at Downtown Crossing, and take a GRAVITY class on the Total Gym GTS machine.

The purpose of going there was really three-fold: Not only did I want to have something interesting to write about, but I also needed some help breaking through a serious case of writer’s block that had plagued me for years, and, finally, I was hoping to jump-start my workout routine because I was in a slump and wasn’t exercising with much regularity.

The GRAVITY workout on the Total Gym GTS was just what the doctor ordered; I think it accomplished all three objectives. I worked up a sweat and burned off some steam. It was challenging, but not too tough.

When I arrived at Boston Sports Club, I was welcomed by two smiling, friendly trainers: Robert Wood, regional director of fitness, and Meghan Hughes, group exercise coordinator. Both Rob and Meg really seemed to “know their stuff” and were very personable and fun to be with.

I was initially worried that perhaps there’d be a big learning curve, and that I wouldn’t be able to perform the exercises properly on my first try, but I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to pick up each one fairly quickly.

Rob chose to work out alongside me, on another Total Gym GTS unit (the club has four, total). Having Rob there, next to me, not only helped to create a rhythm, but he was also able to demonstrate more difficult modifications to each move, in case I was inclined to “take it up a notch.”

The machine itself has a pad that travels up and down on a track. Depending on which body part you’re working, you can either be upright, lying on the pad, or you can have your head facing downward. Its pad is very cushiony and comfortable.

The Total Gym GTS is simple to get on and off of, and the smooth, gliding motion is soothing, partly because of the swooshing sound it makes, which almost reminded me of a heartbeat. The motion itself gives you a freeing feeling. Moving back and forth on the track creates a sort of breeze that blows through your hair.

But that’s not the only way you use the moving pad. You can also place one or both feet on it, and perform many different exercises that way. I was amazed at the vast number of different exercises you can do on the Total Gym GTS.

Performing jumps on the machine provides a little “fun” by making you airborne for a moment. It reminded me of how sometimes I’ll just jump up and off of a curb, and click my heels together, just for fun. Something about that feeling of being up in the air, albeit briefly, feels liberating. Not unlike the weightless feeling you have when you jump up in an elevator when it’s about to come to a stop.

The club, itself, was spotless, filled with light, and housed all sorts of beautiful state-of-the-art equipment. And Meg greeted each of the members with a friendly hello as they walked past. She mentioned that she likes working in that particular area of the club because that’s the route people travel as they’re entering or exiting, and she enjoys engaging them as they come or go, to say “hi,” and/or “have a great day.” It was really refreshing to see how she engages the customers and makes them feel like part of the family.

Both Rob and Meg seemed really enthusiastic about the Total Gym GTS, describing how they use it regularly not only with their clients, but on their own. I got the sense that Rob and Meg would love to have an entire room full of Total Gym GTS units, so they could teach group classes, including Pilates. And although Meg is already very familiar with GRAVITY training on the Total Gym GTS, she seems eager to learn even more and is impressed by some of the other trainers and how they use the units in their own way. She mentioned that one personal trainer there is a martial artist, and that he does some complicated martial arts moves on the Total Gym GTS with great effect.

Meg explained to me that the people at Total Gym seem more like friends to her than business associates. And I concur. Not only did Cassie Piercey, Total Gym’s communications manager, set up this appointment for me, but she (among others) has been a source of inspiration and encouragement over the past few weeks, as I prepared to begin blogging for CBI. She helped me to overcome the writer’s block by reminding me that it’s easy to write about something you love, such as physical fitness and working out—which I do.

So, all in all, it was a really nice experience. I’ve been working out alone for a long time. But now, after having this experience of working with trainers, I think I’m hooked on personal training. And I hope to do more of it. It seems like the kind of motivation I need to stay “on track.”

And I’ve worked out every day of the week since.

To learn more about the Total Gym GTS, check out this video:

And check back again to see the soon-to-be-released marketing video that was filmed at the Boston Sports Club Downtown Crossing, which features Rob and Meg in it!

- Rebecca Maverick is managing editor of CBI magazine and can be reached at