Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 8, 2013

SALISBURY — Clem Berger chanted the same phrase over and over again Tuesday while teaching his midday metabolic effect class at The Forum Fitness.
“Take a rest when you need it,” he said.
The rest-based workout requires participants to push as hard as they can before taking a short break.
“It’s all about resting,” he said. “The more I can get you to rest during the workout, the better. That’s when I know you’re pushing.”
The 30-minute class kicks off with a 5-minute stretching period and wraps up with a 5-minute cool-down.
“So you’re really only kicking it for 20 minutes,” Berger said. “We get the oxygen going, get you breathless, get you rested and get you right back at it again.”
Berger said the class is designed to boost participants’ metabolism and help them burn calories even after they leave.
“You’re pushing yourself and resting, pushing yourself and resting, so even after the workout is over, your body is still at the level where it thinks ‘Well, she’s just resting to go back and push again.’”
Berger said people are drawn to the 30-minute format.
“Quick workouts are in demand now,” he said. “I’m not going to lie, people don’t like working out and the fact that they can get a great workout in 30 minutes is great.”
It’s about quality not quantity, Berger said.
“You don’t have to be at the gym for two or three hours to get an adequate workout in,” he said.
Julie Burnham of Spencer said she likes that she can get the workout in during her lunch break. She’s been taking the class for about three years.
“It’s a good combo of cardio and weight training,” she said. “There are five or six people who are pretty much regulars, so we have our own little motivational group.”
Berger said those who attend the class will immediately notice a spike in their energy levels.
“They have a spring in their step,” he said.
The class also increases participants’ mobility and range of motion.
“It helps with everything you do,” said Chris McCullough of Lexington, who has been taking the class three times a week for the past two years. “I can tell a difference working in the yard, working on my car.
“It’s really, really helped my stamina.”
As a runner, McCullough said he was initially drawn to the class for the cardiovascular benefits, but at the time he was about 20 pounds overweight.
“I had to take a lot of breaks and drink a lot of water in between movements,” he said. “But, you know, the more you do it, the better shape you get into and the easier it gets.”
Since then, McCullough has lost enough weight to fit into his old clothes again. “The pounds came off pretty quickly,” he said. “That impacts how you view yourself.”
Berger said another perk of the class is the fact that participants can gain strength throughout their bodies by simply using dumbbells.
“After a while, they start bringing in heavier dumbbells, so you can tell,” he said.
The only bad thing, Berger said, is “once you get accustomed to taking this class, one-hour classes feel so long.”
Berger said the only requirement to be successful is willpower.
“It’s all about the intensity, it’s about your effort,” he said. “Don’t be scared, in order to lose body fat you’re going to have to think outside the box.”
In order to reap the maximum benefits, Berger said participants shouldn’t consume salt, sugar or alcohol for at least 24 hours following the class.
“At the very least the alcohol part,” he said.
Berger said no two metabolic effect workouts are the same.
“You can take this class every day because it’s different,” he said. “You can come in one day and we’ll focus on legs, the next day we’ll do stomach, it’s a shock to your body.
“When you don’t know what’s coming next, you have to be fit just to be ready.”
McCullough said he likes the variety.
“That’s my favorite thing about it,” he said. “It’s something different all the time.”
Berger said he transforms into the “biggest cheerleader in Rowan County while this class is going on.”
“One of the biggest parts of the workout is motivation,” he said. “I have to be able to push somebody hard enough that they need to rest.
“I have to be that gauge, that catalyst.”
During the class, Berger shows participants each move and then watches and yells out phrases like “The body wants what the mind believes,” “Listen to your body,” “Rest as much as you push” and “You look great, you’re doing a phenomenal job.”
“We as instructors can’t take the class because we are motivating,” he said. “It’s kind of like personal training, we are watching to make sure they are doing it right and helping them push through.”
Burnham was mum when I asked if the class was difficult.
I took her silence as a “yes.”

She did offer one piece of solid advice — use 3-pound weights.
Just my luck, all of those were gone by the time I made it out to grab my mat and dumbbells, so I was stuck with 6-pounders.
The pace of the class was the most enticing part for me.
I felt like I was moving constantly and the breaks gave me just enough time to prepare for the next set of movements.
Like McCullough’s first class, I spent a good amount of the class resting and drinking water, but mere hours later, my arms were already hurting and my legs were feeling the burn.
During the class, everyone seemed to be very focused on themselves, moving at their own pace.
I can see how this workout would be very appealing, the music is fun and it’s really over before you know it.
Visit for more information about metabolic effect or to view the class schedule.

Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.