Hello there, AFM readers! My name is Billy Bosco, and I’m obsessed with fitness. I do happen to be a personal trainer and boot camp instructor, so it is my job to love this stuff. That also means I know a great place when I see one.
One of my greatest pleasures in life is experiencing a new gym for the first time, so I was honored to get the chance to review a local gym on the east side of ATX called Squatch Frontier Fitness!
This city is changing, and so is the culture, but this place still holds true to the heart of Austin. It’s a 24/7 gym with a community that will draw you in and treats you like family! Much like a local watering hole, people come to this gym to workout, work, record podcasts and just hang out! You will find plenty of space here, all of your traditional strength equipment, a basketball court, a huge turf section and the ice bath for the truly adventurous!
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When I arrived at the compound, I was like a kid in a candy shop. The place is like a maze in that each room has a different purpose. The main action happens in the big room with all the equipment. It has two giant doors that open up to the basketball court and turf section. You walk through a series of rooms that take you past the community work lounge, podcasting room, sauna, ice bath and eventually, you find the boot camp section. It was here that I met my instructor Wladi. This is where the fun begins!
Wladi is incredibly personable and knowledgeable. He made time to talk to everyone in the class and made them feel comfortable. The workout started with light dynamic stretching to loosen any tight muscles and wake up the ones we’d be using. This is incredibly important as most boot camps rush the warm-up and skip to the workout. During this time, Wladi talked us through what we were going to do and why. He also cracked some jokes, got us all talking and made sure we were comfortable around each other. As an instructor, I know the importance of making your class feel comfortable as it creates community!
The format of the class started with dynamic stretching, then heavy compound lift and finished with a circuit burnout that hit the same muscles! After a quick warm-up, we started strength training! Wladi kept it simple for this leg day. The first move was barbell squats — four sets, three reps, with a minute rest in between. The goal was pure strength followed by plenty of rest.
The next move included lunges with the same format. Both of these moves targeted the major muscles of the legs and used a great deal of core to hold the weight. Once we completed the compound lifts, we performed four sets of circuit training. The circuits involved a slam ball, 40-second sets and 20-second rests. After the workout was completed, we did deep, long stretches and had friendly banter about what our plans were.
Then, the best part… the ice bath! This is complementary and available 24/7 to all members. Usually, people spend two to three minutes in the water, although beginners sometimes just spend 30 seconds to one minute. The ice bath is great for improving circulation and reducing inflammation. Once you step in, a chill runs through your entire body. The goal is to control your breathing and calm yourself down. I, personally, lasted two minutes before my toes went numb and I decided to get out. The feeling after the bath was pure bliss! I felt alert, warm and alive!
Squatch is a breath of fresh air in the fitness community. It’s not just a gym, but a place to hang out and connect with like-minded people. The workout was safe, effective and most importantly… hard! Wladi was a great instructor who made everyone feel comfortable and knew why we did each lift. When you search for a boot camp, you should make sure there is a proper warm-up that loosens tight muscles and activates the ones you’ll be using. You should make sure the class focuses on compound heavy lifts that will build muscle. Finally, you should make sure the instructor is attentive and personable.
Squatch Frontier Fitness nails all of these things and is a must-do! It’s places like these that make this city so special. Fitness is more than just lifting weights. It’s the entire mindset that comes with it! Squatch does a great job at incorporating mindset work and keeping you in tune with your total well-being. You will feel strong and happy with yourself after taking one of these classes, especially when you start meeting the community!