Discovery Suites offers exercise toys for the big boys

Exercise toys for the big boys
By Walter Ang
December 2009-Janurary 2010 issue
Garage Magazine

While working out in a gym can provide certain comforts and conveniences, routine can also quickly set in when you use the same machines again and again. Most weight-resistance machines only provide a singular, linear route of motion (either up and down, side to side, or front to back).

Balance Lifestyle Fitness Club of Discovery Suites now offers spanking new exercise equipment that allows for freedom of movement that is much closer to how we use our muscles or bodies in real life.

Cue the spotlight on the Kinesis One, a machine that looks almost like a space-age transporter with a collection of cables suspended from a metal frame. It won't take you back and forth in time, but it can give you one of the most versatile workouts in terms of providing a well-rounded, zero-impact session, regardless of your current level of fitness and ability, whether you're aiming for balance, strength, or flexibility.

The cables are strung horizontally above the head and in line with the feet while another set of cables are suspended vertically. The cables have handles for you to hold on to, so you can already begin to imagine the different possibilities of positions. The cables are mounted on a 360-degree rotating pulley system which enables movement (and providing weight resistance) in almost any possible direction of the human body.

You can push, pull, row, and swing or do combinations of these actions in one movement. Aluminum alloy arms support the cables and allow the cables to slide through during outward and return movements, providing smooth action for the user. There is definitely a child-like appeal in being able to pull and push the cables, adding an element of fun and a sense of play when working out on these machines

The sense of play belies how effective the Kinesis One can be for developing muscle tone. Specific muscles (chest, back, abs, glutes and quadriceps) are exercised in the standard movements whereas the combined movements work several different muscles synergistically at the same time.

It has two weight stacks, one for each cable, which allows you to set different weight resistance for each arm or side of the body. It allows for variable resistance depending on the range and angle of the movement.

The Kinesis One is manufactured by Technogym, the exclusive supplier of 1,000 exercise machines for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It will also be supplying the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympic Games. Its equipment is used by the Ferrari Formula 1 racing team.

Balance also acquired the Excite line from Technogym to provide users with multimedia cardio workouts. This line includes treadmills that have heart rate monitors, iPod compatibility, and video screens. There are also Cardio Wave step machines that allow users to stride from side to side, enabling more workout positions to change the level of involved muscles like the glutes, stabiliser muscles of the backbone, and lower limbs.

If these technical facts don't sway you to try out these exercise toys for the big boys, then some celebrity approval might help: Slyvester Stallone and George Clooney have their own Technogym equipment in their homes.

Of course, machines are only as good as the effort you put into using them. You have to make sure that your form is correct and that you still seek advise from, well, humans. Good thing Balance's staff use different up-to-date training programs backed up by the National Academy of Sports Medicine.

There are several Balance Signature Workouts which includes fat-loss programs and sport-specific programs such as their Golf Performance Enhancement, which focuses on often-neglected aspects such as muscle strength and flexibility.

They also have a Corrective Exercise program that helps rid the body of muscle and joint aches and pains and helps correct postural defects by correcting imbalances in muscle strength.

One can never look buff or cut enough without a shirt, so the Leonidas Workout is sure to sound enticing. A regimen inspired by the movie "300," this workout program aims to result in a Spartan-like body.

The Atlas Workout, on the other hand, is a program for achieving muscle-tone and build without resorting to use of steroids. Customized workouts are possible upon consultation with their trainers.

If you'd like to get in shape together with your friends, Balance offers group exercise classes from as meditative as tai-chi to as funky as hip-hop classes.

After a good session, you can wind down in the club's jacuzzi, steam room, or sauna room. There are even toiletries so you won't need to pack vanity kits when you visit the gym. A membership to the club will allow you access to the Discovery Suites pool.

If you need to check for that all important incoming email, you'll rest easy knowing that the entire gym is Wi-Fi enabled. What's more, it's right beside the Terra Wellness Spa, so a relaxing massage or spa treatment after a workout is only a few steps away.

Balance Lifestyle Fitness Club is at 4/F Discovery Suites, Ortigas Center, Pasig City.