How Slow Can You Go?

How often do you need to work out each week to achieve and maintain a slim, toned body? The owner of Countdown Fitness, ANEL DZAFIC, has an answer so surprising it seems too good to be true: thirty minutes. Not thirty minutes a day, but simply a half an hour once a week. In his studio above Greenwich Avenue, he takes clients through a super-efficient routine that involves high-intensity movements and weightlifting at a very slow speed for maximum effort. The idea is to fatigue the muscles completely.

“We have to create stimulus for your body to change. Challenge happens beyond your comfort zone. That’s where you’ll see results,” says Anel, who has trained professional NBA and NFL athletes and also appeared on the Today show. When clients are lifting, the average speed is ten seconds in one direction and ten seconds back; these slow-paced moves require greater effort. And just when you think you can’t handle one more rep, Anel puts you into “countdown” mode. You lift a weight or do a movement and he creates resistance, pushing against you in a counter-movement as he counts down from ten, drawing out the maximum effort at the end of each set.

These personal training sessions are conducted in a sleek space above Greenwich Avenue that’s as unusual as the workout. Designed by Robert Passal, the studio features dim lighting and dark gray walls with vintage medicine balls and catcher’s masks as wall art. Each machine is custom made with black metal and leather upholstery.

“I knew I wanted different, a wow when people walk in. I told him, I want it to look like the inside of a Mercedes,” he says of the design. Anel has a background in nutrition, too, and works closely with clients to develop a plan for healthy eating and recovery on their days off. He says, “You can’t outrun a bad diet.” 409 Greenwich Avenue, 203-594-6684; countdownfit.com


A LITTLE MORE ABOUT THE SPACE

Good lighting matters—even at the gym. Dim lighting and black accents set a dramatic tone.
No gym smell here. Custom scents fill the air.
Sleek design. Machines are customized with matte black hardware and saddle- leather seats.
Flower power. Arrangements from Winston Flowers accent the space.


BENEFITS OF THE WORKOUT

• Slow lifting reduces stress on your joints, thereby decreasing the risk of injury.
• Literally anyone can find thirty minutes a week to work out.
• Muscles work harder during slow lifting, producing stronger leaner muscles.
• The customized workouts fit your specific lifestyle and fitness goals.

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