I am a big fan of Gerren Liles' classes. As I've stated in a previous post, Gerren is an extremely creative group fitness instructor. His creativity is clearly on display in Whipped (which I previously reviewed) and also in VIPR. I am friendly with many of the personal trainers at Equinox Tribeca and since many of them take VIPR certification to use with their personal training clients, I suggest that they watch (or better yet-- take!) Gerren's VIPR class. Although admittedly I have taken VIPR only with Gerren and not any other instructor, like a creeper, I have peered in to other VIPR classes. What seems to set Gerren's VIPR class apart is the fact that he uses the step to make it even more challenging. So rather than simply shuffling back and forth with the VIPR, he has you squat and shuffle over the step and squat again on the other side or he has you squat, jump onto the step, and then lower the VIPR to your ankles. His creativity in VIPR seems unmatched and that is why I suggest that the personal trainers who want to use VIPR with clients check out his class. He should inspire everyone to get more creative in their use of this tool.
On a personal note to Gerren-- I suggest you register the copyright for your VIPR moves stat now that I'm getting the word out to RYB readers and every personal trainer I come in contact with. If you need a good lawyer-- call me! And since I'm all over your group fitness shizzle, if you need a good publicist-- call me!
I digress.... The use of the step doesn't just make the VIPR class more interesting, which it clearly does, but it makes it more challenging, which I think is the most important part! I was taking VIPR before Gerren started using the step, and don't get me wrong, it was still challenging, but once he added doing the moves jumping onto the step or squatting and lunging with the VIPR off the step, the class got infinitely harder-- and better! The class has a great deal of cardio, but you also get strength training out of it because the VIPR is obviously a weighted tool. You'd be surprised at how quickly your arms may tire using the VIPR. Also, Gerren provides modifications to make exercises more difficult for those, like me, looking for an extra challenging. He also provides modifications to make the workout adaptable to those with injuries, pregnancies, etc. I don't want to say that he makes the workout easier-- because I'm sure it's still not easy-- but he adapts the exercises to make sure that everyone can get a great workout. His music is also great. A personal fave of mine is when he played Cupid Shuffle and actually had the class shuffling, maybe not doing the exact moves but I love when he has the class shuffle with the VIPR to the beat of the music. I like to feel like I'm at a dance party in class.
The reason I took off half a point in my overall rating has nothing to do with Gerren, but with VIPR itself and my preferences. I prefer to change up the weights I use in class and with VIPR it is very difficult to do that. It is even more difficult to do in Gerren's packed-VIPR class because you don't want to be that girl (or guy) with multiple VIPRS when people are searching the gym floor for a spare. So that even if I wanted to have multiple weights at my disposal, I would likely have to give it up to someone else in the class. Although VIPR is not my favorite class at Equinox, it has nothing to do with the instructor because if anything, it's Gerren's creativity and energy that make this class. The man creates some ridic exercises... it is sometimes a challenge just to remember the sequence of the moves, but that could just be my own spasticness. However even if I mess it up, it's still fun and a crazy workout.
The proof that this class is an amazing workout with a great instructor is evidenced by the fact that his class is on a Friday night after work when many people just want to go home or to happy hour, but he gets the room packed! Gerren's class is my happy hour before happy hour! Check it out and once you do you'll deserve that happy hour cocktail.