When I heard there was a new Star Wars workout, complete with lightsabers, I thought I would die. Seriously? Are we 5 years old? Could I really walk in the gym with my plastic lightsaber in my hand without looking like a joke and feeling like a complete embarrassment? I just don’t know if I could bring myself to do that. However, to my amazement, people are doing just that.
Last week, I was approached by a reporter who wanted my professional two cents on gimmicky workouts. I believe that as long as we live, there will always be a new fitness gimmick. It is a requirement for business survival in this industry. People get bored, and they want something fresh and new to try, even if it’s a flop.
I admit that gimmicks help business, but do they help the customers? That really depends. After I agreed to do the interview, the reporter told me the article was about the new Star Wars workout, which evidently is a hit at a popular New York sports club. After I fell off my chair in laughter, I immediately looked it up online. Everyone was talking about this new “out of this world” fitness class experience.
How It Works
Before I can determine if something is a fit or a flop, I have to look at all the components. First, I looked at what makes the Star Wars workout “Star Warsy.”
The lightsabers are the most obvious component to the Star Wars role-playing exercise class. In order to do the class, you need a plastic toy lightsaber that lights up and actually makes battle sounds, and two spaceship discs (frisbee-shaped foot sliders to slide across the floor–like Valslides).
They even have fancy names for everything, like Lightsaber Leaps, Jedi Jacks, and Padawan Pushups. Even the Tai Chi-inspired cool down is called “Yoda Flow.” For the imaginative person, they make it easy to get in character. Although they have all the components for the fun factor, the real question is: Do they have all the components to make a good workout?
I was pleasantly surprised to see that they use very effective exercises such as burpees, push-ups, lunges, plie squats, and planks. It appears the training method follows a HIIT-like (high-intensity interval training) format, which is based on quick bursts of high-intensity circuits. After the Jedi Master (instructor) leads you through a heart-pumping exercise routine, he or she takes you through a sun salutation in a galaxy far, far away.
Overall, the workout seems pretty decent if you can get over the flashing lights, clanking plastic swords and battle sounds (not to mention the people peering in the aerobics room watching the freak show–I mean, light show).
Pros and Cons
If you have always wanted to be like Luke Skywalker and have been waiting for an excuse to play with lightsabers with other adults, then you’ll likely consider this workout a great success, because showing up is the hardest part. What you actually do in class once you get there is up to you, but that’s what determines if the class is effective for you. Will you be playing with your sword or really working out? Even the best of classes are not effective unless you go to them regularly and give each class your all.
If you already feel like Jabba the Hutt when you go the gym, my guess is that you don’t want to draw extra attention to yourself by walking into the gym with a plastic sword and spaceship discs. I’m just saying. If you would rather be caught with curlers in your hair than caught waving a plastic flashing toy around, then this class is an epic fail because you wouldn’t even attempt it to begin with.
Many people already feel pretty awkward going to the gym, and in my opinion this brings awkward to a whole new level. That is why so many “tough workouts” have been popular. People want to leave feeling tough. They don’t want to leave feeling like a Wookiee.
Of course, if you live life on the wild side and love trying new things no matter how bizarre, then this workout may be a fun change. A gimmick based on solid principles can be extremely effective. So I say try it. Correction. I think Yoda said, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
Fit or Flop
There are three questions to ask yourself before you can decide if a gimmick workout is going to work for you:
– Is the program based on sound principles?
– Is it something you would do on a regular basis?
– Is it a program you can stick with for the long haul?
If you aren’t embarrassed about bringing plastic toys to the gym, and the workout is solid, then you’ve got two out of three checked. But as much as I believe the actual workout taught by a really great instructor could be effective, it probably is something you could only enjoy for a short period of time.
Like any fad, I would imagine the Star Wars workout would get old quick. If you could only choose one workout, and this is what you decide to choose, all I can say is “may the Force be with you.” I call this a flop.