Know how you’re not supposed to work the same group of muscles every day? But if you take fitness classes a few times a week, it’s hard to avoid routines that focus on the same muscles you worked the day before. And if you’re not careful, you could put yourself at risk for injury.
Trainers Chris and Alex Perrin are opening a gym this fall designed to solve that problem. Cut Seven, a boutique fitness studio run by the married couple, will offer classes targeting one of the seven major muscle groups each day of the week. In other words, the Perrins will get you “cut” — as in toned — by exercising the legs, hips, back, chest, abs, shoulders and arms.
“It’s not that we’re encouraging you to come every single day. You can choose which days make more sense for whatever your goals might be,” Alex said. “Or if you’re training for a marathon and you have a long run on Saturday, maybe you skip the lower-body day and come on an upper-body day.”
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends adults train each major muscle group two or three days a week using a variety of exercises and equipment. People should wait at least 48 hours between resistance training sessions, according to the group.
“The main reason for a rest period for the muscle groups is to allow the muscle to recover and to maximize the training effect,” said Carol Garber, professor of movement sciences at Columbia University.
Classes at Cut Seven will be made up of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and strength training, along with conditioning exercises to test your endurance. A typical workout might feature a circuit or stations of several exercises, such as push-ups or squat jumps.
The Perrins plan to rotate the schedule, so every Monday won’t be dedicated to shoulders or Fridays to glutes. That way, clients who show up on the same days each week will have an opportunity to mix it up and get a total-body workout.
To keep clients on their toes, the Perrins are leaving enough room in the studio to incorporate a variety of equipment in every workout. That means no endless rows of treadmills and ellipticals, but a good chance that you might have to schlep a weighted sled across the room.
Most classes will last about an hour, but there will be 30-minute classes tailored just for strength training or cardio. Cut Seven will also feature recovery classes using foam rollers to relax tight muscles.
“Most people aren’t going to work out seven days a week, and recovery is a crucial part of fitness, so we want to offer a guided recovery session, along with a guided HIIT session,” Chris said.
The couple found a space, at 1101 Rhode Island Ave. NW in the Logan Circle neighborhood, long enough to run sprints inside. Alex said the location has a floating floor, with built-in padding, that lessens the impact on your knees.
Hour-long classes will cost $25, while the shorter ones will ring in at $17. You can also buy packages starting at about $99 before the studio opens in October. In the meantime, the Perrins are hosting a series of $15 boot camps in advance of the opening.
Building a following shouldn’t be too hard for the Perrins. Chris, a former football player at the University of Connecticut, is one of the trainers at Nike’s popular boot camp classes in Georgetown. Alex, meanwhile, has taught at Flywheel and Solidcore. The pair have been working together as trainers for the past six years.
“Alex was actually one of my first clients when I moved to D.C.,” Chris said. “She was a regular at my classes, was always front row and doing everything perfectly. After about six months, I asked her, ‘Why don’t you start teaching classes for me?’ ”
At the time, Alex had lost 60 pounds working with Chris three times a week. She had spent years as a competitive cheerleader, “hitting the weight room with the football team” and developing a passion for fitness, but lost her motivation. That all changed once she teamed up with Chris.
“I was having so much fun and enjoying exercising,” Alex said. “Being able to lose all of that weight I gained, I couldn’t help but want to get on board as people started to ask me to train them.”
Alex said she wants to re-create the energy and camaraderie found in the sports she and Chris did when they were younger. Having people cheer you on during an intense workout can give you that extra push, she said.
“That team atmosphere is really important, so everyone from the most avid competitor to someone who is just getting back into the game feels supported,” she said. “It’s the kind of thing that keeps you coming back, that pushes you toward your goals.”