Group fitness classes at the Lohse Family YMCA include Barre, Core de Force, boxing and more.

The Lohse Family YMCA downtown has a new class that — honestly — we were dreading. 

It's called Core De Force and is described in the class schedule as a total-body workout inspired by mixed martial arts that "uses core conditioning, combinations, body weight moves and cardio spikes..." 😨

No joke, we hovered outside the studio in the basement of the downtown YMCA trying to decide if we should go in or just skip it and do something easier next week. 

We went in. 

Unknowingly, we showed up for the debut of Core De Force, a workout created by Beachbody trainers that requires no equipment and lots of punching and ducking. 

And we actually liked it. 

Some background


Johanna Willett, left, and Angela Pittenger after the Core de Force workout. 

• Angela is a fairly active mama in her early 40s. She tries to hit the gym at least three times a week (ok, ok, it's usually like once or twice) where she runs on the treadmill, lifts weights and takes classes. She loves the post-workout zen she feels after a good sweat session.

• Johanna is in her late 20s and gets by with 20-minute workouts every morning. Don't be too impressed. She keeps her pajamas on and lunges and crunches to YouTube videos while binge-watching Netflix. Every now and then she goes for a run and remembers she hates running.

On the studio


It's not fancy, but it's perfect for a good workout. 

Johanna: This is the YMCA, so don't expect a breezy boutique studio. The room is in the basement of the Y downtown and has a full wall of mirrors in the front so when the instructor says, "Aim for the nose!" you're actually aiming for your own reflection's nose. Everything was clean and easily accessible and the music was loud and fierce. I especially appreciated the water fountains in the room, since I did not think ahead and bring my own water. 

Angela: Water fountains! Yas! Like Johanna said, it's not fancy. But, it's exactly what you need to get a workout in. It was super clean and there was plenty of room to practice jabs and kicks.

On the class

Johanna: This is everything I love about a workout. You're constantly moving the entire time, but the exercises can be as intense or high-impact as you want to make them. My heart rate rose quickly as we alternated between MMA combinations — jab cross duck cross —and cardio segments. Our instructor showed lots of modifications but also would say things like, "Keep going. You don't stop in the boxing ring!" Which made me want to punch the air even harder and took me back to my teenage karate days. The class is 45 minutes and even though we could only stay for 30 minutes, I definitely left feeling sweaty, winded and pretty pleased with myself. 

Angela: This class will make you feel like you actually have potential to be a badass.

I loved how every move exercised the entire body. Also, the instructor was awesome. Johanna and I decided she was "nice hardcore." She wouldn't let you quit, but followed those commands with, "But you can go at your own pace. Slow it down if you need to." Plus, there were always modifications. 

The workout was tough and I was red and sweaty when we left, which is what we want, right? Right. 

Would you go again? 

Johanna: Totally. I felt like I got in a great workout in a short amount of time without having to jump around too much. There was not a burpee in sight. 

Angela: Ditto on the burpees. Who does those? For reals, though. Yes. I loved it. I would highly recommend this class. 

Class details

What: Core De Force

Where: Lohse Family YMCA, 60 W. Alameda Street.

Cost: If you don't have a membership, you can get a guest pass from the website and try out a class for free. 

More info: Visit the Lohse Family YMCA website here.