Health & Fitness

Class Review: PRIMALfit at PARADIGM Gyms

Does the class really prepare you for battle?

The Class: PRIMALfit is a 45-minute class that hones in on primal movements. Cavemen preparing for battle? The instructor, Brian Casad, relies on steel maces, weighted clubs, and carefully orchestrated body weight movements to complete the exercises. You won’t see any treadmills or fancy gym equipment with this class. It requires focus on your core to hold everything in tight so you don’t lose your balance, especially when you have a heavy mace swinging around you head.

The Appeal: The class works your muscles in a way that most don’t. As we don’t live as cavemen and cavewomen these days, many of our workouts involve electronic apparatuses. But this class truly takes you back to the roots of physical labor. It doesn’t get more primal than a club.

The Instructor: Casad, who is one of the owners of PARADIGM Gyms along with his sister Kelli Casad, is a seasoned fitness professional. He’s graced the covers of countless fitness magazines internationally, so he’s on to something. He is thorough in his instruction and offers nuggets of information that explain the purpose for each movement. And trust me, I asked multiple questions for clarity, as so many of the movements were foreign to me. He was patient and helped me nail my form each time.

Who’s There: I liked that all PARDIGM Gyms’ classes are small. 10 students max per class. So it’s almost as if you’re getting a semi-private training session with lots of catered attention from the instructor. I saw an equal mix of men and women. I honestly thought it would skew more masculine-dominant, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the females dauntlessly swinging those maces with all their might. Many of the individuals were physically apt and you could tell they frequent classes at PARADIGM often. However, there were some fellow newbies in the class and I didn’t feel like anyone was inhibited or intimidated. The environment felt “come one, come all.”

How It Went: With any new fitness feat, there are some moves you simply can’t accomplish on the first try, and that’s expected. There were some moves that I thought looked intimidating and required more coordination than I could muster. But I tried them, and I tickled myself that I could actually do it. Maybe I didn’t glide through it as seamlessly as Casad, but I was proud I didn’t back down out of fear. With any workout class, it’s a plus when it goes by fast. I wasn’t feeling the itch to glance at the clock every five minutes. I was intrigued by the exercises I was being taught and eager to progress. I also liked that this class didn’t require 100 reps to feel like you worked your muscles. Just a few reps and you could feel the moves in your core, legs, and arms. Many of the movements required your body to shift from one plane to the other, so there was a lot of cross-body movement that worked the core in ways you can’t with crunches.

The Aftermath: Sore. Like I’ve never been before. Casad warned me that the first time you attempt this class, you would be sore in a different way the next day. He was absolutely correct. My forearms, which I never focus on, were aching and felt fatigued. I knew I did something right swinging those clubs.

Loved: I attempted movements that made me nervous, and I didn’t back down. When Casad was previewing specific exercises, there were some that I didn’t want to try. But he was very laid back and encouraging. I also love how it was a full-body workout that got me sweating while working major muscle groups. It was fun to switch it up and not be in a typical fitness studio. It makes you feel like you’re a die-hard athlete, training with the pros.

Difficulty Level: The weight of the mace and clubs you choose will determine the difficulty. Casad encouraged everyone to modify and do what felt best for their workout and body. There are exercises in this that you shouldn’t expect to nail on the first try, but that can be said with most group fitness experiences. I would recommend trying this class more than once to get comfortable with the foreign objects and movements, even if you’re not “preparing for battle.”