We Tried It: Crunch Gym CUTT Fitness Class
Crunch Ultimate Team Training (CUTT) is a group fitness class designed for the serious athlete looking to get in shape and improve athleticism fast. Launched this summer at the 59th Street Crunch Gym location in Manhattan, New York, CUTT provides a functional workout using a combination of body weight, resistance, agility and stability exercises that is tracked via a heart rate monitor that each participant wears during the workout.
Each CUTT class contains no more than 10 members, on purpose, so everyone gets adequate mentoring and attention. The class is 50 minutes long and when you sign up for a package of classes, you get an Accuro heart rate monitor and T-shirt. Similar to the concept in Orange Theory Fitness, this heart rate monitor is worn throughout the entire class and your (and your classmates’) workout metrics are shown on a screen above you. Specifically, the visual shows your name, sweat score (effort over time), current heart rate, total calories burned, current percentage of maximum heart rate, and length of time in current heart rate zone. By having all of these numbers onscreen, it pushes you to workout harder than the person next to you.
“People love competition and group fitness because it provides a form of motivation,” says Edgar Lantigua, C.P.T. and CUTT instructor at Crunch Gym at 59th Street. “Since CUTT is seven people on average and a maximum of 10, the instructor can really focus on you and do some personal training as well.”
Like Orange Theory, there are different heart rate zones to try and be in. These are color-coded purple, yellow, orange, and the most intense, red. Lantigua says that the majority of time should be spent at the highest percent of heart rate maximum possible.
“You want to be in the red for 30 out of the 50 minutes of the class with the rest of the time being transitioning to the next station and catching your breath,” Lantigua says. “I’ve seen 950 calories burned in a 50-minute class.”
I used someone else’s heart rate monitor so it wasn’t calibrated to my exact age, height and weight but my post-workout readings were as follows: (my stats are under "Silent Assassin," the nickname of the Fitness Manager of this gym, Johnny Briones, Jr.)
Time in the red: 20 minutes
Average Heart Rate: 151
Max Heart Rate: 181
Average Heart Rate %: 80%
Max Heart Rate%: 96%
Calories Burned: 774
Sweat Score: 178
As for the workout itself, it started off with a dynamic warmup of walking frankensteins, jumping jacks, deep mountain climbers and more. Then, we moved into several circuits, which contained a combination of bodyweight and resistance exercises. The equipment used included battling ropes, a Prowler sled, an agility ladder that was pre-painted onto the ground, weight plates, slam balls, and kettlebells. I was sweating and pretty beat during and after the workout. This was a HIIT class with the beloved “No shame in selling out, in fact selling out is encouraged” vibe.
“The workout depends on the instructor but we have templates to follow such as 1:1 work to rest ratio with 30-60 seconds of work,” says Lantigua. “We use battling ropes, sleds, kettlebells, dumbbells, slam balls, weight plates, TRX, agility ladder and body weight moves.”
Lantigua was able to give me cues during the workout such as “Bring your hips down” during a plank and “Squat a little bit lower” during an overhead ball slam. These are the little things that make small group fitness more appealing than a 30-40 person class where you’re given very little room to move and minimum, if any, instruction.
“You don’t want to have back or knee pain after leaving class because the instructor was so overwhelmed with the size of the class that he/she couldn’t check out your form and help your experience,” Lantigua adds.
CUTT doesn’t incorporate treadmill running or rowing like Orange Theory-it’s pure high intensity interval training but for a full 50 minutes, and remember there’s only a few of you in class unlike Orange Theory. Endurance athlete such as runners, bikers, and obstacle course racers will likely see a cardiovascular and running/cycling economy benefit from this class since it will ensure the production (and control) of lactic acid. For gym-goers looking to shed pounds for the mirror, this class works too, as having the numbers in front you pushes you to watch them get larger.
“It’s motivating to see someone else working harder than you even though you’re doing the same workout. It pushes you to go for it, give it your all and burn more calories, which is what everyone wants to do.”
For more information on CUTT, visit crunch.com.