Flint Fit = Fit & Fabulous!
When you take a circuit training class at SHAPE with Aimee Flint, you’ll immediately see what I mean by Flint Fit. Her 60-minute workouts are challenging and creative, with each station offering something completely different to keep your mind and body guessing what’s coming next. If you’re at all like me and can talk yourself out of even showing up for a workout if you know what to expect, Aimee’s classes are definitely for you. I love the variety of exercises — it keeps your mind occupied, almost like working a puzzle of sorts, and makes the time go by quickly. It also honestly makes exercising FUN. Each station is like its own self-contained challenge, and you’re checking them off as you go. You can count on a full-body workout, with lots of cardio introduced along the way.
Flint Fit translates to 15 stations of 90 seconds each that incorporate a wide variety of equipment. Then, between each station you’ll have a 30-second interval using a 10-pound plate — or your BFF as Aimee calls it, because that plate follows you around to each exercise for the duration of the workout. With the plate, you’ll alternate working arms and legs. At the stations themselves, chances are good that you’ll find yourself using traditional fitness equipment in non-traditional ways. Here’s where you’ll see Aimee’s creativity at work. No boring same-ol’, same-ol’ routines in her classes. Here’s a taste of a recent fitness boot camp with Aimee.
Station 1: Farmer Carry to Overhead Carry
Station 1 involves doing farmer carries with two kettlebells suspended from straps. Each time you complete a walk to the orange cone and back (outside), you drop the kettlebells and carry a 10- or 20-pound plate over your head and repeat the same route, alternating between kettlebell and plate carries, until the 90 seconds elapses.
Station 2: Battle Rope Jacks
Station two was a first for me. While I’ve done a lot of exercises with battle ropes, I’ve never faced AWAY from the anchor point, and have never done jumping jacks while holding them. I can honestly say this feels like an accomplishment when the minute and a half is over. And my sidekicks in class can attest to the fact that I have to take many breathers along the way! Kevin caught me flat-footed (resting) today, and said, “I think you’re supposed to do jumping jacks with those”. Thanks, Kevin. Busted! But thank you Aimee for showing me the ropes so to speak . . . my ADHD brain needs variety like this to keep it guessing!
Station 3: Elbow Bag Smack
Ever feel the need to take out your frustrations? Sure you do! And boy, this boxing bag is just the ticket. Elbow smacks mean you’re in a low squat position, raising yourself up just a tad and whacking the bag with alternating elbows while still in a squat. This is a great core exercise and makes you feel POWERFUL. And what’s really cool is how Aimee will help make sure you’re doing it correctly so you get the most bang for your buck (or whack for your smack :-). Today I was starting in a low squat and coming almost to a standing position when I did the actual elbow smacks. Aimee pointed out that if I maintained my squat (a tad higher than the lowest position), I’d get more “umph” from my midsection, and she was so right. She is great at giving pointers at each station. It feels more like a personal training session than a group fitness class because she meets you where you are, and encourages you to push yourself farther than you thought you could. There’s absolutely no sense that you have to match what others are doing in the class . . . only that you do your best for wherever your fitness level finds you. It’s very satisfying in that way. No intimidation whatsoever.
Station 4: Weighted Tricep Dip
Station 4 greets you with a weighted vest and tricep dips off the side of a bench. Again, if the vest is too much, Aimee introduces variations that will still challenge you, but she’s wonderful about encouraging you to give each exercise a try “as is”. There’s a delicate balance between encouraging and pushing too far, and Aimee is honestly just right . . . she respects your comfort level but knows how to help you get your mind right and believe in yourself too.
Station 5: Lateral Lift
With the lateral lift, we stand perpendicular to the wall using the barre for support and put an 8-pound weight at the back of our knee — holding it with a bent leg. With our bent leg in line with our hips, we lift our knee to the side like it has a string attached from the ceiling . . . using small movements . . . for 45 seconds, and then switching sides. Aimee is right there beside you to help with proper alignment, and WOW you can tell you’re doing it RIGHT when she makes her adjustments!
Station 6: Rower
Station 6 is self-explanatory . . . with special attention paid to maintaining a certain pace. Today I was pretty pooped out and didn’t keep the best pace, but Aimee reminds us to keep moving, and that the exercises themselves are more about quality than quantity. Fast is not always better. You can see Aimee in the background of the top picture, helping Martha with the lateral lift.
Station 7: Pick Up & Row
At SHAPE we keep a power bar in one corner for various exercises, and Aimee likes to use it for one of her stations. The bar itself, without plates, is heavy . . . I’m going to guess 40 pounds but I could be wrong. For this rotation, we squat with the bar on the right side of our body, holding it with our right hand, and take the bar all the way to the floor and “row” it all the way back up to our side. At 45 seconds, we switch sides. These workouts have a tendency to catch up with you, and this is one of those exercises Aimee refers to as a “creeper”. This is a perfect term. You start out thinking, hey, this is ok, I can do this, and then . . . you realize after a little while it’s not as easy as it seems! A fabulous bonus of a Flint Fit workout!
Station 8: Reverse Burpee Toss
This one is fun. Seriously! Although I have to cheat a bit because I have a gimpy right knee. But for those of you with GOOD knees, you start by sitting upright on a mat holding a medicine ball over your head. You roll all the way back with straight legs over your head, keeping your arms extended with the ball. You roll forward again and stand up with the ball, tossing and catching it at the top. I improvise a bit and stand up mostly with my left leg, which I guess means I’ll end up being lopsided, but it’s still a great exercise. Today when I got tired, Aimee helped me with a modification that allowed me to remain seated when I rolled up, and to toss the ball from that position.
Station 9: Ab Roller
Another self-explanatory station, but Aimee gave me a tip today that really helped a lot. She made me stare at a point in front of me to keep me from looking down, and reminded me to always look in the direction in which I’m moving. Her tips and tweaks may seem small but they make such a huge difference.
Station 10: Front Squat with TRX
Another first for me, and difficult to describe, as well as illustrate. This picture reflects an awkward vantage point from the good ol’ GoPro, but imagine grasping the TRX straps directly beneath your armpits, facing the floor, and walking yourself back to the wall. You’re at about a 30-degree angle, performing a front squat while keeping the same angle. A really cool twist on a traditional squat, and believe me, you’ll feel it after a minute and a half.
Station 11: Frog Leg Crunch
Here’s another “creeper” exercise for you . . . it starts out fine, but boy, it seems to catch up with you quickly. Lying down on the mat with your heels in the TRX, you keep your hips lifted, bend your knees, and push your legs straight out and back, like a frog. Hamstring hell! But well worth it. Hurts so good, I’d guess you’d say.
Station 12: Stability Ball Press
Here’s my friend Ben demonstrating the stability ball press. Exactly what it sounds like . . . while sitting on the stability ball, you’re doing overhead presses with dumbbells. Having to stabilize yourself on the ball is working your core while you simultaneously work your shoulders and arms.
Station 13: Split, Crunch, Pike
Another doozie with the TRX straps. With your feet in the straps, legs straight and your body facing down in a plank position, you have to do a sequence that starts with splitting your legs apart horizontal to the floor, bringing your knees in for a crunch, and then with straight legs, performing a pike. I can do about two or three sets before I have to take a break . . . but again, I try to remind myself that it’s better to have proper form than to try and crank out continuous but sloppy splits/crunches/pikes. Aimee intentionally offers the same stations in her classes for a solid month so you can see your progress and perfect your form, so I’m just going to try and do a little better each time. Slow and steady wins the race!
Station 14: Shoulder Bridge Squeeze
This exercise incorporates a Pilates ring. While lying on the mat on your back, you lift your hips in the air in a bridge position and keep them there, with your knees bent and your feet shoulder-width apart. The Pilates ring goes between your legs just above your knees, and you perform small pulses, keeping consistent pressure on the ring the whole time.
Station 15: Clean & Press
As you can tell, you’ll enjoy a little bit of everything in a Flint Fit class! If you’re tired of the same routine, shake up your traditional workout and try a session with Aimee at SHAPE. Your first class is free, and SHAPE doesn’t require long-term contracts or memberships. See you soon!
— Katharine Hesmer
Aimee Flint is an accomplished obstacle course race competitor, with World’s Toughest Mudder 2015 ranking as one of many impressive feathers in her athletic cap. Aimee brings her expertise to several SHAPE classes and meets you where you are, inspiring you to push safely and effectively beyond your comfort zone, but never to a place where you feel intimidated. She teaches a 60-minute circuit training class on Wednesdays at 8:30 a.m. and Mondays and Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. We are also lucky enough to have her teaching an awesome 30-minute abs class on Friday mornings at 9:30. Feel free to join Aimee at any of her classes, and try your first one free. You’ll be Flint Fit in no time!