Equinox rolled Firestarter out in January 2017 across the entire empire, making it the perfect class for Jeff to alert the FBI when they come looking at his iPhone calendar and see near-daily references to pyromania. I've now taken Firestarter with some ~40 instructors in the course of this odyssey, and it's well worth trying out for anyone new to HIIT or group fitness.
- 30-minute High Intensity Interval Training.
- Three pyramid intervals with active recovery in-between.
- All body weight. A lot of jumping, squatting and lunging.
- Only equipment is the step bench. For some reason, three risers was the default in CA but in NYC, it's two.
- Fixed format (including music) released at the beginning of each month.
- Generally "requires" advance booking (i.e. you're booked into it when you select it on the app, but it's rarely sold out).
WHY JEFF GOES SPICY WITH THE F-STARTER
- F-starter is a bit dancey. Jeff Does Not Dance. Jeff Does Not Have Rhythm. Jeff Only Hip Thrusts At Clubs. But Jeff Firestarts & So Can You.
- It's the most consistent HIIT class across Equinox, meaning it's an excellent way to see how each instructor teaches on a comparative basis. As you'll read elsewhere in this site, MetCon3 can be fairly varied. Tabata can mean a huge range of things. Ab Lab sometimes doesn't even work your abs. You know what you're getting with Firestarter from club to club, time to time, instructor to instructor.
- I've never seen a super high-level Firestarter class. Most tend to have newcomers. This is a good thing. Group fitness is scary enough if you haven't done it; one of the more cultish classes where everyone is like Jeff and only works out to the exclusion of a healthy balance of personal interests (again, like Jeff) is not the best place to get your feet wet (or hot or whatever). It's a low-pressure zone...
- But, if you choose, you can get an amazing workout out of Firestarter. Again, it's the base of my cardio nowadays especially when Jeff Is Giving it 300%.
- Alternatively, (not an excuse) 30 minutes makes this the perfect warm-up for a big lift day or other kind of Big Commitment Exercise Situation. You'll often get an abs class on the schedule right after.
YOU SHOULD KNOW...
- Instructors tend to "hack" Firestarter in two areas: the warmup and the active recovery. On the warmup, they may vary the jumping jacks and the "levitate/hesitate/whatever" (the final move with one step on the bench, the other foot above). Really good instructors will give you a sequence of active recoveries rather than just the plain step on/off the bench. See, e.g., Kristin Osbon @ Newport/Huntington Beach/OC.
- The level of each edition of Firestarter does vary. The August (seventh edition) was, according to Or Artzi @ Greenwich/Brooklyn, the hardest. I tend to agree in the sense that the final pyramid consists of front/back jumps + burpees, which are a full-out assault.
- The "signature" breakdance move we saw in the first few editions of Firestarter pops up from time to time. It looks fun (and slick in the promo) but it's not easy to get the form + speed down, and it's the move that slows everyone down consistently. Don't prioritize speed over stabilizing yourself.
- The active recovery (and...the...country...music) is a controversial topic it seems. Two minutes can be long for some, not enough for others.
SOME AWESOME PYROS
- Jayme Boyle (San Francisco) and Jai MacNeil (San Mateo/Palo Alto). High energy and great at revving up a sometimes sluggish crowd. I think Jayme once did the entire thing with us, instructions included, without even having to catch her breath.
- Kristin Osbon (Orange County). I'd say she's one of the best three or four in the country if I had to pick. Sets up the steps for you at the Newport location, offers the best sequences on the active recoveries of anyone and great with the demo.
- A lot of superstars in NYC, including Lewis McNairy, Lynze Schiller and others. I get behind Amanda Baker (Midtown), Amanda Young (Midtown) and Or Artzi (Downtown/Brooklyn) when possible.