Ace of Heart
Rev It Up On The Court: Cardio Tennis
Bored by your current exercise routine? Creating a permanent indentation on the couch? Then consider heading over to Four Seasons Racquet Club for one of the most invigorating workouts in town—Cardio Tennis. Don’t be intimidated if you think your tennis game is not up to it, because this high-energy workout is for tennis players of all levels—from absolute beginners to seasoned professionals.
The Cardio Tennis program was created about five years ago by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) when research showed that the number of people taking up tennis each year was decreasing while the number of people starting fitness programs was on the rise. Looking to tap into this opportunity, the USTA created an hour-long fitness routine that combined fast-paced tennis drills with sideline cardio exercises such as jumping jacks and jump rope. At the time, the USTA asked Four Seasons’ tennis director Greg Moran to be part of a team that traveled around the country to teach other pros how to start their own Cardio Tennis programs.
Moran brought the program back home to Four Seasons. The club has several pros who each teach one class a week. Set to upbeat music selected for its number of beats per minute, the typical hour-long session consists of five to ten minutes of warm-up, forty to fifty minutes of cardio, and five to ten minutes of cool-down. While the focus is more on getting your heart rate up rather than improving your strokes, many players say that regular attendance has had a positive impact on their game.
Greg’s wife, Kelley Moran, along with pro Jonathan Buchman, has been teaching a class on Wednesdays for about a year. “Our goal is to make each session a good workout and for everyone to have fun,” says Kelley. Judging by the sweating but smiling faces of the students at the end of the hour, it is obvious they are succeeding on both fronts. One Cardio Tennis regular Yasmin Assef, a Wilton mother of four who started playing tennis about six years ago, credits the recent improvement in her game to her twice weekly Cardio sessions. “I am much faster at moving around the court now. I am returning shots that I would have let get past me just a year ago,” she says proudly.
Ritush Venugopal, another pro at Four Seasons, loves to push his students in his Friday morning class. He has been teaching Cardio Tennis since its inception. “It doesn’t matter what your fitness or tennis level is, everyone can go at his own pace,” he claims. He also says that “music is the key to motivation.” Some students have even been known to bring in their own CD mixes to the class. One example is Chris Friden, a Weston father of three, who has been attending Cardio Tennis classes twice a week for nearly six months. Chris is a lifelong athlete who has run marathons and plays pick-up soccer on the weekends. He was already a high-level tennis player when he first discovered Cardio Tennis while on vacation in Hawaii. “The class is so much fun and I was surprised that it is such a good workout, too. Cardio Tennis is a great way for me to round out my fitness program. What could be more fun than spending an hour hitting tennis balls?”
No matter whether you’ve just picked up a racquet or have been a level-5 USTA-tournament player for years, Cardio Tennis offers a fun and challenging workout to get you in shape. Classes are $20/$25 for members/non-members.