Gym: Speedflex Dallas
Parking: Anywhere in Preston Center (plenty of free, available parking)
Hours: 6 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday; 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday-Sunday
Price: $35 per session or $300 for one month of unlimited classes
Who's There: Many members of the Schlegel family, Larry North (though not a member, he’s said to love working out at Speedflex), John and Debbie Tolleson (who loved it so much that they’re doing a corporate account for their employees.)
Rush Hour: 6:15 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. to close
What To Wear: Grab some of the Speedflex gear lining the wall when you first walk in.
Best views: The TV screens that display you heart-rate information throughout your workout.
The Lowdown: Speedflex is set up in a circuit. You do each station for 20 seconds, take an eight-second break, then start the next station. You do the eight stations twice, take a 38-second break while the trainers reset the stations to new exercises, and go through the circuit two more times. Then repeat. And repeat again. The total workout is 27 minutes. Everyone in the room wears heart-rate monitors, and the readings are on flat-screen TVs spread throughout the room. You can see where your range is, as well as your neighbor’s.
The machines use hydraulics and body weight for resistance so you get a full-body workout without post-exercise soreness. These machines have been used for everyone, from Parkinson’s patients to professional athletes. All levels, ages, and capabilities can do the exercises and move at their pace.
I did the induction session, which is just four rounds on the circuit. I made it to the third station of the second go-round. When I started gasping for air, the other participant was able to keep going. At the end of my 15-minute session (which, really, when you take out the time I had to sit down and recoup, was only 10 minutes), I had burned as many calories as I would have running two miles. The concept is efficient, giving you a lot of burn in a short amount of time.
The gym in Preston Center is new. Speedflex started in Europe and has been making its way through the U.S. Right now it has 10 stations, and each class is scheduled every 45 minutes. When the staff gets the process perfected, they’ll be able to do classes every 30 minutes.
I’m dying to go back and give it another try. I’m sure I could make it at least 15 minutes this time. (And, in case you’re wondering, the claims about no muscle soreness the next day are true.)
Beware: It is a bit pricey. However, if you have a bad back or other injuries, it may be a great choice. Plus you get an instructor in the room with you so it’s almost like a personal trainer throughout your session.