San Diego Fitness, Part 6: Renegade Fit Camp
Last year, I started a mini series on this blog that highlighted some of my experimentation with San Diego gyms and boutique fitness studios as a way to motivate myself to find some form of exercise that gave me even a fraction of the joy that running did.
Well, the series took a hard stop at some point because I ended up finding what I loved in a gym…and I haven’t really tested the waters too much since.
Meet: Renegade Fit Camp.
Just over a year ago, I was invited to take a class at Renegade Fit Camp with some fellow writers at a freelance web pub I contribute to. I was shocked to learn that Renegade was under a two minute drive from my then apartment in San Diego’s Ocean Beach/Point Loma neighborhood, so I gladly accepted the invite and headed off to the new gym for an early 6:10 AM class.
Well, over a year later and a regular veteran of the 5 AM class (early bird gets the worm, ya’ll!), it’s safe to say that accepting that invite was one of my better decisions.
Schedule & Structure
Let’s start with the basics. Renegade Fit Camp now has locations in both Point Loma and Hillcrest/Mission Hills. A North Park location is hitting the scene soon, and I’m pretty excited that I’ll be able to walk to workouts from our house.
Renegade offers about a dozen classes throughout the day - starting at 5 AM (my personal favorite) and finishing up at 6:20 PM.
Workouts are broken into three 15-minute chunks at three different stations: cardio, racks and turf. Cardio rotates between treadmills and assault bikes; racks utilize dumbbells, suspension trainers, pull-up bars and benches; and the turf uses kettlebells, battle ropes, glider discs and calisthenics. Each day is different - stations can be run on time systems, rep counts, intervals, but ultimately, it’s always 15 minutes of cardio conditioning and 30 minutes of strength and muscle development.
Monday-Thursday are all specific body-part targeted workouts (Legs/Back, Shoulders/Triceps, Biceps/Chest, Glutes/Legs), while Friday-Sunday are all full-body workouts. I tend to lift heavier throughout the week, while moving through more plyo, combination exercises with lighter weights on the weekends.
What I Dig
First and foremost, Renegade Fit Camp offers well-designed workouts that truly give you the most bang for your buck. I’m perpetually sweating, swearing in my head and pushing myself in class. And…the results speak for themselves. I’ve never felt stronger, more capable of functional movements, more aware of my body and more athletic. Plus, at the end of each workout, coaches explain the why and the how behind the workout. It’s helpful to know why and when certain exercises are used.
That brings me to my second point: the coaches. The coaching staff at Renegade is incredibly knowledgable and incredibly supportive. Coaches can speak to proper form and modifications (for me - that typically involves walking on the treadmill and modifying glutes exercises if my hip is acting up). Everything is demo’d before and during the workout to reinforce safe technique. Coaches also pump up the entire class. They understand how to push you to your limits so you reach your best, and they even get to know you personally as a member. While every single coach I’ve taken is fantastic, my favorites are Jamie, Kendall, Jimmy and Rawley.
Finally, I love the intensity. When I workout, I work out. I absolutely believe in the power of listening to your body and resting as needed, but I love a good sweat session that pushes me to my edge. The coaches and workouts at Renegade amp it up - and so does the environment. During the workouts, lights are low and rap/rock/electro music is blaring. The members around you are working as hard as they can too (especially the 5 AM crew…you know people that wake up that early aren’t taking it lightly!). It’s an intense and motivating collective energy, and I am here for it.
Most of all, I love the way I feel after a Renegade class.
Despite being a former distance runner and athlete, I wasn’t always too keen on strength training. I hit the gym here and there (mostly to work on abs and legs) during my running days, but I was more focused on cardio training than anything. Solo speed and endurance work trumped strength for me any day. So, if pre-fractures, you would have told me strength training at a group fitness gym would give me the same feeling as a long run or hill repeats did…I would have thought you were crazy.
But, here I am. Lifting heavy dumbbells, kettlebells and battle ropes leaves me feeling empowered, resilient, capable and tough. I never thought I’d feel those specific feelings again once I let running go. But, Renegade gave me the replacement I never knew I even needed. I can’t get enough.
PS - You know your workout is legit when you work out next to pro athletes.