Acclimating with Leah: Manic Training stays true to its name |

Acclimating with Leah: Manic Training stays true to its name

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Manic Training is like the conditioning your coaches in high school forced you to do against your will.

Only, now, you realize how absolutely necessary it is.

People wonder why they should pay x amount to come here when they can just go to the gym,” Manic Training gym owner Graham Muir said. “Well, my response is, ‘What are your results?’ We are results-driven here.

“People come in because they’re sick of seeing those Manic T-shirts running past them in the race, and you know a lot of our people are out doing stuff all the time, bigger needs, people talk.” 

I went to the 45-minute Manic Training class over lunch. I came in at noon and I was out by 1 p.m., maybe sooner if I hadn’t spent the final few minutes collapsed on the floor catching my breath.

My coach was Erin Nemec, a 2006 snowboard cross Olympian, multiple X Games medalist and six-year Manic Fitness veteran. Nemec is one of five trainers at Manic Fitness. To become a trainer, you need to master all the movements, so Nemec spent a few years gaining experience, then one year of shadowing Muir to be able to teach others.

Nemec jokes that she originally gained interest after asking someone at the pool where they work out because who doesn’t want a set of washboard abs?

But the real reason she and others fall into manic is because of it’s varied workouts and consistent timeliness.

People often say they haven’t done the same workout in nine years, it’s insane,” Nemec said. “I find a lot of people love the fact that they come in for the hour, it starts right on the hour, we have a 10-minute warmup, quick explanation of what’s going on, get right into it. It’s a 45-minute workout after the 10-minute warmup, so you’re really only possibly idle for five minutes.” 

Nemec led us through a dynamic, thorough warmup, which included three rounds of 12 box step-ups; six dive-bombers; six front and back lunges on each leg; six inverted rows; three instep reaches; six curl, press and extend and two hip rolls.

Like many fitness classes, Manic has its own lingo. Dive-bombers are similar to the Downward-Facing Dog yoga pose and instep reaches are a little difficult to put into words.

But yes, that was only the warmup, and the workout was 45 minutes of, “GO!”

We started with a series of kettlebell core exercises, worked our way into rows, ladder footwork, ski machine pulls, plank exercises and my all-time least favorite, airdyne (or assault) bike intervals.

Each were done in multiples of six, so if there were three movements within the category, we’d go through them twice, if there were two, we’d repeat three times.

The goal is to go as hard as you can for 25 seconds during each interval, then you, rest for 15 seconds in between. You get 45 seconds of rest when transitioning to a new category, so you have time to put away your kettlebells and set up your rower.

It’s fun because you’re changing up the movements every interval, but the 15-second breaks feel more like 2-second breaks and the 25-second intervals feel like minutes of suffocating.

But Manic doesn’t just do interval training, it does include strength days, but not in the form of Olympic lifting, which can cause structural injuries.

Instead, Muir said people will learn to generate power through movements like box jumps. (As if this class needed more cardio.)

We don’t go super heavy on weights,” Muir said. “Purely because most of the people around here are doing something else, they aren’t looking to carry a lot of extra weight around them as far as muscle.” 

It’s also because Manic is designed to prevent or rehab injury. Liana Jones, who was in my class, was working back from a knee surgery.

Manic caters perfectly to the Steamboat community, where endurance athletes take on ultra-marathons and bike races.

Every movement has a purpose. For example, I asked why the ladder agility footwork was necessary. I hadn’t done those since high school volleyball two-a-days.

But Muir said agility is important when it comes to trail running.

Since Manic caters so well to the mountain or endurance athlete, it has expanded to Fort Collins and Highlands Ranch. There are also locations in East Greenwich and Wakefield, Rhode Island.

Your first week at Manic Fitness is free, so you get a comprehensive idea of what you’re getting into. From there, you can choose from a variety of monthly memberships ranging from $120 per month autopay for unlimited classes, $130 per month without autopay and $200 per month per couple.

To reach Leah Vann, call 970-871-4253, email or follow her on Twitter @LVann_Sports.

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