Review: Alchemy 365

This past Saturday was the grand opening of Alchemy 365 in the North Loop neighborhood of Minneapolis.

This new gym promotes itself as “group fitness transformed” thanks to its unique mash-up of yoga and CrossFit. I decided to go check it out for myself and see what it was all about.

First, the space is very cool. I am a total nerd about gym layout and design and this place takes advantage of the historical warehouse building with its tall ceilings and brick exterior and adds a ton of style when you walk through the doors.

This is not your gritty muscle-head box with a leaky facuet and scenic views of a railroad yard. Rather, it feels more like a welcoming spa with a reception desk and small sitting area, plus a hip unisex bathroom area with individual toilets and showers. It’s in a hot trendy neighborhood and Alchemy definitely plays the part.

The two training spaces are pretty simple with equipment on either end of the room, pull-up bars extending across and concrete floors with the gym’s logo painted on top.

A chalkboard with the workout posted and a clock in the corner tells you pretty quickly that you are going to be moving.

The place was absolutely packed to the brim with lots of fit attractive young professionals when I attended the 10am class. I was told that the typical class is 8-12 people and I’m guessing that there isn’t usually a live DJ at every workout.

We were instructed that no shoes or socks were needed and to find a place under one of the pull-up bars. Shoulder-to-shoulder, there were probably about 60-70 all buzzing and ready to go.

The instructor Andrea grabbed her headset and told us that we would start with 10-15 minutes of yoga, transition right into a 20-minute workout (called an A20) and then finish with more yoga at the end.

Here was the A20 workout we all completed:

  • 1-minute Max Effort Burpees
  • 1- minute Plank Hold
  • 7-minutes: 7 air squats + 7 hanging knee crunches
  • 2-minutes: 10 situps + 20 mountain climbers
  • 7-minutes: 7 air squats + 7 hanging knee crunches
  • 1- minute Plank Hold
  • 1-minute Max Effort Burpees

It was a non-stop sweaty twenty minutes of work. Andrea was calm but motivating as she walked around the room letting us know how much time was left for each component of the A20 and helping people with their form or offering modifications.

As the clock ran down, there were no rests built-in, no water breaks. You had to just keep moving.

With little rest, we went straight from the A20 into a “cool down” of at least another 10 minutes of yoga.

We quickly transitioned from one pose to the next. Some familiarity with yoga was definitely needed, though I suspect with less people more instruction would be provided.

For the last minute, we had shavasana and it was wonderful.

Overall, I really enjoyed the constant movement and the fact that it was a solid satisfying workout.

They have a lot of strength equipment on hand that we didn’t use given the size of the class so it would be interesting to see how it is all incorporated.

The blaring music from the DJ was borderline headache inducing, but I understand it was unique to the grand opening celebration.

So was the total lack of personal space during the workout, which led to a foot in my face during the burpees.

But I’ve been invited to come back and give it another try on a normal day and I will definitely take them up on the offer.

And there should be lots of opportunities to do so as they are planning to open two more locations before year’s end.

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