Some people geek out over going to a concert or seeing the latest fashion trends on a runway. Me? I love visiting other fitness facilities – especially ones so highly recommended by my athlete friends. Enter Pursuit Athletic Performance in Chester, Connecticut.
I first heard about Pursuit from an athlete friend of mine. She’s an ultra runner, trail runner, runner runner and mom of two. I had seen a few posts on her FB feed about the place and it piqued my interest. Then, she teased me after a spin class with musings about a motor less treadmill. That’s right – you’re the motor! This particular one is called TrueForm and looks like this:
…and it basically forces you into proper running form. If you lean too far forward, the belt speeds up and you feel like one of those cartoon characters when their legs are a blur, because they’re moving so quickly. If you lean too far back? It slows to a molasses-like pace. In a word? Torture. We did a 45 minute class and I went about 3.5 miles. Now, we were walking for some of it because we were doing intervals, but still. I felt like I did at least six miles and then I took this afterward:
The thing about this performance lab is that a doctor and a scientist run it. You know what happens when you get that combo together? A hell of a lot of breakdown on form and function. You may have guessed that I don’t do well in a “take it slow and analyze the hell out of it” environment. But, it’s really what every runner needs. In fact, I wish I had this available to me when I first started running so that I learned to train my whole running body. It would have saved me a lot of injury, and rehabilitation from those injuries, over the years.
Take, for example, the kettle bell class we signed up for that day. I was thinking I was in for a sweat fest. I’ve never taken a kettle bell class and, I have to admit, those things kind of intimidate me. Well, there was no reason to fear because I hardly picked one up.
The best way I can explain the class is in a Karate Kid format. Remember when dorky little Daniel shows up at Mr. Miyagi’s sprawling home, and has a task each day that seemingly has nothing to do with karate, but then he can hit and block as if he were training with the Cobra Khan when Mr. Miyagi asks him to “sand the floor?”
It was like that.
We didn’t touch the kettle bell until our bodies learned how to properly pick it up. We spent about 15-20 minutes practicing the engagement of our core and squatting by sitting back and not leaning forward, and feeling our hamstrings engage. It had been a long time since I had done that, and it was pretty cool. You become very tuned into your body and how to fire each muscle properly. After all that, picking up the actual kettle bell lost all it’s intimidation. I totally made it my bitch.
We also learned some amazing swim techniques without getting wet. There were these hand dandy things (scientific name) called Vasa Trainers and can help you with that:
I’m not quite sure why she’s wearing a bathing suit. We definitely did not.
Deb also showed me how to work your stroke with bands. You know, for those of us without a Vasa Trainer:
The place itself is filled with inspiring messages, quotes and people. Deb even has her own Fathead!
From the people to the equipment and knowledge, PAP is a Shangri-La for any athlete. And remember, when I say “athlete” I mean anyone who is out there trying to be better at their sport or in their training regimen.
They also offer an in-depth gait analysis. I peeked into the room and there was a lot of fancy equipment. It looked very serious and I may have to do that next time I’m there. Of course, that would then mean I would have to work on my running form!
For anyone in the area, I highly recommend Pursuit Athletic Performance and no they didn’t pay me to write this. Although the owner gave me a very cool technical t-shirt and, as you know, runner’s will do almost anything for a t-shirt!
For those of you outside of Connecticut, I recommend you seek out a place like this, no matter what stage of training you’re in. We can all benefit from having a Mr. Miyagi in our lives.
Would you go to a place like Pursuit Athletic Performance?
What do you geek out to?
If you could ‘fix’ one thing about your fitness, what would it be?
Yes I would totally do a visit! The treadmill that corrects you sounds so interesting and I am a huge fan of motivational quotes. Thanks for the review, I think I would love a place like this!
You absolutely would! The treadmill was such a huge challenge for me so, of course I loved it!
Awesome! I would definitely love to go there…..if it wasnt in CT! I have been looking for a gait analysis place, and a good one, as Steve thinks I am too inefficient with my form. It may not be obvious to most people, but those little things make a huge difference over the course of a marathon, and for me, every little makes a difference. This would be a great place Allie, and looks like a ton of fun!
If you’re ever in the area, we will go! And yes, all those little tweaks can make a huge difference. I wish this place was closer to me (it’s an hour away) so I could go more often.
I actually would! That is so interesting to read about and honestly I didn’t know places like that existed! Thanks for sharing your experience with that. CT is not that far of a drive for me so something I might be interested in.
Let me know and I’ll meet you! It’s so worth it, for anyone who is training and racing.
I am in the minority, but not sure I would. Sounds amazing, but I don’t think I am in shape enough to try this at this point. So definitely a dilemma to me. But am glad you got to go and try this out.
If you ever wanted to try a class or start a running program, a facility like this is a great place to start. Maybe someday??? 🙂
I don’t think I could ever be in shape enough to go there. Which is why I will go there as soon as I get the chance!
Seriously! It’s even MORE important to someone who isn’t that serious – and who are you kidding – you so are. Let’s take a field trip!!
Ok, I am so, so jealous that you have this nearby. You know I hate the treadmill, right? But the True Form is the bomb–I would love to be able to get on one once or twice a week just to make sure the gluteus are being engaged. Mark Cucuzzella brought one to the Healthy running seminar I attended for everyone to try, and he also has one in his store in W. Virginia. Cool stuff.
It’s an hour away from me so there’s no way I will get there once a week, but I’m going to aim for once a month. It’s a VERY cool machine and was so challenging. I want to try an Alter-G someday! Maybe I can talk these guys into getting one…
Thank you so much for coming down to see us with Deb, and offering your thoughts here on your experience. We totally enjoyed have you in, and I for one, was stoked to have you in both the KB class and the TrueForm class.
So all of your readers know, you DON’T have to be “in shape” to come in and see us, take a class, or train here. We love athletes of all ability levels and sports. We DO try to train the right way, focusing on form over function at the outset of training, especially. Our goal is to train to the betterment of the body, not to its detriment.
We hope to see you soon! Be well!
Coach Al Lyman, CSCS
Coach Al, you were so great! You were also in my head today as I was running – hips forward, elbows back, stand tall!! Thanks for all the tips. I had a fantastic experience and I cannot wait to come back. I’m serious about that gait analysis!
And yes, I was trying to get the point across about NOT having to be in any kind of shape to utilize the facility and your expertise. I’m sure I’ll be bringing some friends there in the near future. Thank you again for everything and I hope to see you very soon!
Wow, that place is awesome! I had never heard of one of those treadmills before…I would be interested to try it out, but I think I would be scared that I would crash and burn and really realize how BAD my form is, lol.
It’s definitely an eye opener, but it’s ALL good and Coach Al was super nice about all the corrections. You would love this and any runner can benefit!!
I would absolutely love to go to a place like that! It looks AWESOME! Maybe they can finally figure out why my hip is still giving me issues! The one thing I would fix about my fitness right now is time! I want more time to get more fitness in!
Time is a killer! Just think that this phase will pass and you will once again have more time to dedicate to YOU.
I’m sure they would at least be able to find out where the hip pain is originating. These guys were ON IT!
I would love to go to a place like that!!
And now I want a new treadmill – I think if I did all my training on the motor less treadmill it would make my outside runs a breeze!!! You look pretty dang strong to me on that machine!
Yes you would and yes I was DYING to go outside just for the ease of it. The True Form puts you in a constant state of uphill running. Your HR shoots up so fast it’s ridiculous. I can’t wait to go back…
I think you have to have a lot of patience to learn all about proper form. I know it is important but I’m so impatient that I just want to DO stuff. I think my impatience is also a PTSD from 20 plus years of ballet. I was constantly corrected on form and we had to do things over and over to get it perfect. However, proper form is so important so this could be so helpful even for non-athletes.
I’m not that patient but, as I age, I’m more interested in doing things the right way instead of just doing them. I’ve learned a few things in almost 40 years on this planet and that is one of them. 🙂
I agree….it is good to have a Mr. or Ms. Miyagi in ones life! 😉
HAHAHA! I was so thinking of you when I wrote this. I miss your face!
OMG I would totally geek out over a place like that!! And I’m totally intrigued by both the True Form and Vasa Trainer. I kind of want those in my house. PS the video is awesome and you do look like a carton character running too fast!
Seriously, right? Too bad both go for about 5 grand each!! Not sure I can have Santa get me one…
SO COOL! We have that treadmill at our gym and I’ve yet to try it!
Oh I would love it if this was actually AT my gym! This place is an hour from me so I won’t be able to get there that often. You should try it out ASAP 🙂
I want that lil treadmill in my house!!! It looks FUN 😉
It only costs about 5K so order it up sister!! 🙂
This place sounds really cool! Like you, I geek out over new studios and workouts. And I really like kettlebell workouts! I don’t have kettle bells at home and haven’t belonged to a regular gym the last few months, but I use dumbbells sometimes to do kettle bell style workouts. Also, I’m laughing at that chick wearing a bathing suit!
I’m laughing at her too! I mean, we can understand what the equipment is for without the suit.
Kettlebell workouts are really great for the whole body! I will definitely go back to take that class again and do more with them…now that I have the proper form.
WOW! What an amazing facility! It looks fantastic.
On a side note, I think it’s absolutely adorbs that visiting fitness facilities is what makes you squee! I love it! (but seriously, this place looks so amazing even I am geeking out over it!) –Lisa
Hahaha!I know, total freak but what can I say? It really was very cool. Can’t wait to go back!
how interesting! and i think i would have forgone the bathing suit as well hahaha
It would probably be super uncomfortable in a bathing suit. Very odd.
That first machine looks totally intimidating, yet amazing! I have terrible form, and could totally benefit from something like that. Looks like it was a fun day!
Yep, it’s torturous but so effective. It was really fun being there and I can’t wait to go back!