May 24, 2005 > A cut above
A cut above
by Venkat Raman
Although massive free weights are nowhere to be seen, this fitness regimen is no pushover. At Cuts Fitness for Men, busy guys can receive the benefits of a full cardiovascular workout that provides the benefits of aerobic exercise, strength training and flexibility exercises in 30 minutes. Hydraulic resistance equipment provides work for muscles in all directions of movement - pushing and pulling - maximizing conditioning. The Cuts slogan, "see it, believe it, achieve it" illustrates the positive attitude of the facility.
Duran Alvarez, opened the Union City facility last year and quickly attracted a wide range of clients. "We have a wide range of ages represented in our membership. My youngest member is a 15-year-old and the oldest is well into his 70s." Not only does age vary, but the layout at Cuts allows any fitness level to begin using the system immediately. Heart rate monitors at each station allow each client to measure and adjust their efforts for optimum, safe levels of use. Every 10 minutes, members on the circuit are prompted to check their heart rate and adjust their workout accordingly.
A circuit of 14 stations, each used at 40-second intervals, allows three complete circuits for maximum effectiveness. Many stations use a mechanical device to create resistance but some are a bit different. One station offers a punching and speed bag while another uses weighted (calisthenics) balls. Members are trained to maximize use of each station. "You are pacing yourself," says Cuts assistant, Fernando. He adds, "Some people underestimate these stations since they do not use free weights. When I first came to work here, I figured it would be easy and started out too fast. I was exhausted in about one and a half circuits. I have lost 23 pounds and feel energized now that I use Cuts training regularly."
Since members move continuously through the circuit, there is no waiting for a particular station; a circuit can be started at any station. A 30-minute workout allows people with busy schedules to stop in for a quick session. Once starting the circuit, a cue call comes over the PA system every 40 seconds urging clients to move on to the next station. Although some people begin using Cuts due to poor health or illness, that soon changes from a necessary chore to a welcome addition to their lives.
One client noted that simply adding Cuts to his schedule without changes to his diet has allowed him to feel better and lose weight. He commented that unlike some gyms where some equipment is very popular and often unavailable, at Cuts, "you do not sit around and waste 20 minutes before getting on to a machine." He added that the rapid movement between stations keeps things stimulating.
Cuts clients are of all body types and fitness levels. "First of all, we stress health," said Alvarez, "A lot of people come in here with health risks already in place - heart problems, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and so on, but our focus on achieving an appropriate target heart rate helps out all of them." He noted that, "The younger men are already fit but are interested in increasing endurance, staying in shape, or in specific conditioning for sports like wrestling. We even have an ex-Marine who came back from Iraq." Recent scandals involving steroid use among athletes has created concern in the body building community. As a result, Alvarez sees his core membership signing up with health and quality of life in mind rather than simply body building.
Fernando relates a trial of the circuit by a group of martial arts instructors. After a 30-minute workout, he says they had worked up a heavy sweat and were tired. The Cuts circuit was great workout, even for them! He emphasized that the Cuts circuit increases endurance, general health and strength, rather than focusing on bulging muscles. "You feel better and energized; you reduce stress." One station works on oblique muscles that can have a positive affect on a golf swing!
Some Cuts members begin training with little endurance. Each member is encouraged to begin at a safe level that may not include every station or even a full circuit. However, over time, endurance and strength increase and soon even those who begin at minimal level find they can go through a full circuit and work up to a full 30-minute workout. Frank Gates, a member who has been with the program for about two months, has seen his weight drop 26 pounds. "I would feel winded walking over to the mailbox. Now I believe I can keep up with any of the people doing these machines."
Regardless of a member's fitness history, Alvarez says the target is to get the heart rate up to at least 70 percent of the maximum heart rate for the client's age group. He adds, "Get your heart in shape, and it will translate to the rest of your body."
For more information visit www.cutsfitnessformen.com or call Duran Alvarez at (510) 489-3175. Cuts is currently offering a special free trial for one week.
Cuts Fitness for Men
34720 Alvarado Niles Road, Union City