We Did It: Cardio Mission

After my no-exercise, no-churro-left-behind tour of Spain last month, a class by the name of Cardio Mission sounded like the perfect (if not somewhat terrifying) prescription for a vacation well spent. My fellow greatists, Meg and Laura, were also game. Our mission: Cardio.

Taught by celebrity trainer Louis Coraggio at The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers, the class combined a healthy mix of running drills, balance moves, and power exercises. Utilizing high-intensity interval training (HIIT) throughout, the idea was to get more done in less time (which is never a bad thing!).

Louis, aka the Body Architect, kicked things off with a series of bodyweight exercises, including squats, curtsy lunges-to-side kicks, and sliding side lunges (made possible by placing a towel beneath the moving foot). From there, we moved right into core work, which meant two-minute intervals of mountain climbers, bicycles, and trickier-than-they-look T push-ups.

But things really got going once we pushed our mats aside for the traveling drills. High knees, karaokes, power skips, and full-speed sprints had us darting back and forth across the studio floor. By the fifth or sixth move our motley crew really found its stride, and something clicked: Yes, we were here to burn mega calories (up to 800 per hour-long class, according to Coraggio), but more importantly, we were here to have fun. Midway through the class, Louis opened the studio door to let us take an easy, breezy lap around the 400-meter track.

To a specially crafted playlist of Rihanna, Gotye, and other dance-ified tracks, we finished strong with a heart-pumping series of V-ups, leg raises, and front kicks. Then back to abs, drills, rinse, repeat.

In a nutshell: “I tried to put together all the right ingredients to make the best-tasting meal,” Coraggio told us after class.

Not gonna lie, after all that strength and core work, those sprints were definitely the cherry on top.

Not a member at The Sports Center at Chelsea Piers? Visit chelseapiers.com to inquire about a day pass. Or, check out Louis's website, Twitter, and Facebook for his latest workouts, workshops, and more.

What's the most challenging cardio class you've tried? Tell us in the comments below or tweet the author directly at @jshakeshaft.

Photo by Jordan Shakeshaft