Event Recap: Apogee Life Fitness Festival

This weekend, I had the opportunity to go to not just one, but two all-day fitness festivals here in NYC! Small wonder that I am so sore and tired today, but in a good way – they were fantastic :)

On Saturday, I had been invited to check out the first annual Apogee Life Fitness Conference. The three-day conference had mostly lectures, trainings, and certifications on days one and two, but day three was back-to-back workouts from 9am to 6pm. With three rooms in play, each hosting a different instructor every hour, there was always something to pick from!

Apogee Life Fitness Festival 2013 Schedule

For my first class, I went to Threshold Fanatical, with three totally ripped guys from ZFanatical Fitness. (Note: I picked the class before I saw the instructors, but with that kind of eye candy around, it was definitely great motivation to work out!) Their structure was ten minutes of all-out focus on one muscle group, then a quick rest before going onto the next muscle group. For the ten minutes, we’d do about four to eight different exercises in sets of ten, then jog in place for a few seconds before repeating again – five times. It was crazy intense (I’d put it on par with the Insanity DVDs I’ve tried), and the the best part was that like Insanity, all of it required no equipment whatsoever! I spoke with the owner of ZFanatical, Gene, after class, and he told me that they have workout videos, a book, and a nutrition plan. Given the no equipment-nature, I could definitely see myself getting these DVDs for hotel workouts while I’m traveling. I also liked that the ZFanatical guys were big on motivation, and used visualization techniques as part of the cooldown. As Gene told the class, “Exercise can’t be mindless – you have to focus on your goals.” Love it!

ZFanatical Fitness

This was not a press shot, nor was it retouched (I have no idea how to do that). I took this pic myself and this is really how they look up close and personal :)

Next up, I headed to “Kickhopping” with Fitness the Wright Way. Although I thought this class would mostly kickboxing with a few dance moves, it turned out to be the opposite – much more focused on dance than on boxing. However, it was while sweating during burpee sets in this class that I realized the one “downside” of this festival: every instructor wanted to absolutely kick our butts so that we’d think their workout is the best! I started to wonder if I’d be able to make it through the full day of workouts. Again, though, the instructor’s motivation helped me to keep pushing: “If you want something you’ve never had, you’ve got to do something you’ve never done.” True story.

Kickhopping - Fitness the Wright Way

After a fifteen minute water break (yes, please!) and some exploration of the booths of health/fitness vendors that had set up, it was onto class three: the Get Fit Challenge. I wasn’t quite sure what the Get Fit Challenge involved, but I liked their bio on the Apogee Life website so I decided that was good enough for me. The warmup started out easy enough – some squats, kicks, jogging in place, etc. But after a few minutes, the warmup was over – and we found out what we were really in for.

We partnered up and grabbed plates. By the time my partner and I got over to the stack, there were no more 10lb plates left, so we got a 25lb plate instead. This would prove to be my undoing. The workout? 30 minutes, as many rounds as possible (AMRAP, in Crossfit terminology) of the following:
-50 squat thrusts
-50 bent-over rows
-50 walking lunges (weight held overhead)
-50 halos (around your head)
-50 reverse woodchops
-50 situps (yes, holding the weight)
-50 plate push downs

Now, since this was a partner workout, we got to trade off after 25 reps each (or sooner, if we got tired – sometimes we switched to sets of 10 or 15). But still, that is a killer workout! I found the squat thrusts and the walking lunges to be the toughest, and by the end, I was barely able to get through 5 lunges without sacrificing form. Meanwhile, because we were using a 25lb plate instead of 10lb plates like everyone else, we only managed to get through 2.5 rounds in 30 minutes, while others racked up 5 or 6 rounds! In the end, though, we were rewarded for our efforts – the generous instructor awarded us second place based on the heavy weights we used! We won cute t-shirts… and a whole lot of muscle soreness.

I was really psyched for the next 15 minute break, but it went by all too quickly. Was the time really up already and it was time for our next class? I had planned on going to “Bootcamp Elite” with Jessie Green, but decided that there was no way my quivering muscles could handle another bootcamp. Instead, I headed for VBarre – a workout I’m quite familiar with. VBarre is definitely a good workout, but I thought the light weight / high-rep approach might be more feasible than the high-intensity / heavy weight approach I had been using thus far. Nope! I ended up having to drop out after about 10 minutes – my legs were literally shaking so hard I could barely walk. Yikes!

I realized that while the conference was amazing (and I can’t wait to go back for the winter version in December), there was a fatal flaw in how I appraoched it. Every instructor was trying to prove that their workout was the best and most effective – so every workout was a total workout where I sweated to exhaustion. Like running a marathon, this is definitely an event where you need to pace yourself, and I hadn’t really planned for that. Next time around, I’ll plan to go easier in the early workouts (I was trying to do everything all-out), and perhaps also do a bit of carb-loading beforehand for this bootcamp marathon :)

But before I left the event, I really wanted to check out one more class: Rachel Buschert‘s F3 Core Metrics. I knew Rachel originally from watching her hardcore performance in the Insanity workout videos, and I had also heard about her excellent reputation as a trainer in NYC. She even won season 1 of Fit or Flop! As it turned out, I didn’t have to wait for class time to meet her – instead, we chatted in the hallway along with the ZFanatical guys during my now-empty 1pm time slot! I really love the camaraderie of most people in the NYC fitness scene, and how everyone is generally so friendly and open to sharing with others. This conference was no exception – it offered an amazing opportunity for fitness professionals to network, while also allowing regular exercisers to chat with their favorite instructors. Both Rachel and the ZFanatical guys were incredibly nice to me, and I was really impressed with how they took the time to answer my questions.

I apologized to Rachel that I didn’t think I’d be able to handle taking her class after everything I had done that morning, but she totally understood, and was nice enough to explain to me a bit more of her fitness methods so I knew what I was missing. She told me that her programs (Core Metrics, which is bodyweight only, and Lift & Lean, which uses weights) are based on combining total body plyometrics with core work. Rachel believes that it’s really important to do workouts that are balanced between anterior/posterior work – so if you do lots of crunches, you also need to do lots of supermans to balance them out. Except Rachel calls them “superwomans,” which just made me love her even more :) I sat in on Rachel’s class for a few minutes before heading out for the day to rest up and refuel, and it looked awesome. If she ends up teaching at the Apogee winter conference, I’m definitely going to prioritize her class and maybe have it be my first of the day. (Hey, organizers, can you schedule her at 8am sharp so I don’t miss anything else resting up for Rachel?)

In all, I had an amazing time at the Apogee Life Fitness Festival, and my only regret was that my friends had been too swamped to join. It was really tough trying to do all these brutal workouts back-to-back, although I did enjoy it more than Workout in the Park, where each workout is only 15 minutes and seems to be targeting beginning exercises. Ideally, I would bring friends to hang out with in between workouts, and perhaps do every other workout (or drop out halfway through a class) instead of going all-out back-to-back-to-back.

So who’s in for the winter 2013 conference??

Disclaimer: I received a free ticket to the Apogee Fitness Conference as part of my affiliation with FitFluential LLC in exchange for posts inviting readers to attend and a post-event recap. All opinions stated in this post are my own.


  1. That sounds like a great event! Looks like you had fun hanging out with the shirtless muscle men too! ;) Thanks for sharing!
    Zaneta recently posted…A Runner’s Perfect Date NightMy Profile

  2. This sounds like SO much fun. Really hope to be there in December!!
    Jen @ Jens Best Life recently posted…Fit Blog Gear Review: Saucony Kinvaras, Reebok SubLites and Yoga LBTMy Profile

  3. Thanks for reporting on the event. I was interested in your opinion of the Fitness the Wright Way in particular because Leo W. has subbed and taught kickboxing classes at my gym a few times. It’s definitely a different approach than the usual taibo/kickboxing class!

    • Emily, I was actually not a huge fan – but I think that’s because I wanted it to be more kickboxing (75%?) and less dancing (25%). Instead, it seemed to me to be a mostly dance class (90%) with a few punches thrown in. What was your experience like, and which gym does he teach at?

  4. He took over a kickboxing class I really liked, so maybe I was a little biased because of that, but I also like ‘regular’ kickboxing classes better. It was interesting– a lot of people liked it because it was different, too, so it was a ‘love it or hate it’ kinda thing. This was at Crunch Park Slope, which overall has great classes (especially spin) and a good gym ‘culture’.

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