Nike Training Club started off as a very popular free app for workouts and is now movement of its own here in Dallas. Select Nike stores offer free workouts, inviting Nike+ members and the community to join in on the sweaty fun workout.
It wasn’t until November, right before the turkey carnage, did I take my first ever NTC class at the Nike store in Northpark Center. I’m no fan to the cold, but it turned out to be a perfect night, cool temps, and a killer workout under the stars followed by wine and great conversation with new friends. Wine and friends, not included.
NTC classes are offered on Wednesdays at 630pm and Saturdays at 9am. Just for the month of December, you can catch a Wednesday class at 630am instead and avoid the hellacious traffic and parking headaches that come with the shopping crowd territory.
The Location: The workouts take place outside in the center courtyard of Northpark Center on the grass. The section where the workouts take place are large enough for any size class. Up to 50 is a safe guess. For evening classes, they bring out lights, so no need to worry about being in the dark.
The Class: The beauty about NTC is that it can be done anywhere. The app itself became popular for providing super easy workouts to do at home. The format of the community classes pretty much follow the workouts on the app. Each class is a different full body workout that pushes you to keep moving and is lead by different instructors. One class I attended had everyone use the entire space of the grass to do speed drills and we even used some free weights (provided by Nike) to do weighted squats, lunges, bicep curls, and so on. In another class, we all stayed in one spot and it was all body weight movements and plyometric exercises like jump squats and burpees.
The workout is a circuit workout. It’s also time-based instead of rep based, asking all fitness junkies to do as many as they can of each exercise within a short period of time. There are also perfectly timed mini breaks that help keep the momentum going. Between each set, you are still moving in place as an active recovery to keep your heart rate up. The interval training goes by pretty quickly and before you know it, the class is done.
There’s also a really great team-vibe the classes create, asking everyone to chant motivational words to keep everyone going.
Sometimes, you can also participate in their shoe or apparel trials. One night I was able to try some new thermal gear and shoes for the class. And there are chances to win gift cards or grab some snacks before heading out. If you’re like me, I made a bee-line to Breadwinners.
The Instructors: So far, I’ve loved the energy of the instructors. They are so hyped up and excited to teach. I think they do a good job demonstrating the exercises. For one class, there were additional trainers walking around to check form, which I definitely appreciated.
Difficulty Level: The workouts are open to all levels. Since it’s time-based, you can go as fast or as slow as you need so long as you continue to challenge yourself. It definitely gets your heart rate up there, but if you’re looking solely for strength training, you won’t get that here. Being competitive, I tried to get as many reps as possible and was winded!
Favorite Part: The community is fantastic and fun! I had a lot of fun with friends who came with me. Some of the workouts do involve finding a buddy and it really pushes me harder.
Feedback: Wish there were cleaner mats to borrow. Maybe cover the manholes during the workout with a cone? This was helpful during sports practices in school. I think it would be safer especially at night.
Things to Know: Wear comfortable clothing and dress accordingly to the weather that day. It may be cold, hot, rainy, or windy. Also, try to wear shoes with good tread. Since the workout is held on the grass, it can get slippery so be cautious of that. I missed my footing once and slide on a covered man-hole. Fortunately I caught myself and didn’t roll my ankle. Bring water and your workout mat. Nike does have some you can borrow, but you aren’t guaranteed to get one. To sign up for classes, visit their site here and register to be a new Nike+ member. It’s free. When you get to Nike you can check in at the table right outside of the Nike store in the courtyard.
The Takeaway: NTC is a great gateway into fitness if you’re new to the game. Whether you want to use the app for at-home workouts or want to become part of a large community, it’s definitely a lot of fun. Definitely bring a friend or two. It’s nice having a familiar face pushing you as hard as you can go. If only I could visit Nike HQ, my dreams would come true!