I love a good sweat sesh, team sports, and an interesting way to get in a workout. Sphere, soccer inspired fitness concept, hits all of those key points with its ingenious and distinctive workout classes.
Sphere’s concept is designed by Major League Soccer player Michael Chabala and incorporates high intensity exercises that create well-rounded athletes–both on and off the field. Having never played soccer in my life (okay, there was that brief stint of church league soccer in 5th grade), I was a bit nervous heading to the class because I don’t exactly have ball-foot-land coordinating. I typically stick to water sports, running and yoga, but I competitive and always up for a challenge!
Pulling up into QB Indoor in Spring Branch, I parked my car and entered a warehouse door marked for Sphere and other club leagues. I locked my stuff in a locker (no phones on the field!) and debriefed on the upcoming class. At it’s QB Indoor location, Sphere offers a various class types (check out the schedule) all with punny soccer inspired names–Bala, Sole, Sphere, 45–varying degrees of soccer skills required. Bala is a continuous pick-up game while 45 has no ball at all.
I had chosen a Thursday night “45” class with Coach Blake. He tossed me a jersey and gave me the run down for the class. Today’s focus was core/abs (earlier days in the week were endurance, sprints, etc.). The key thing he said to remember was when the lights go down to follow the beat of the music and if I get lost look for him.
Okay, sure. I’m a pro at Soul Cycle and totally get the matching my pace to the beat of the music. But stepping onto the brightly lit pitch with astroturf and bright pink goals on either side, I didn’t really understand what I was about to get into.
One of Sphere’s missions is to create a community around the game of soccer. They state “We’re here to change the game. We don’t care about the color of your cleats, style of play or position off the field. Check your ego on the sideline. We do more with a ball than just score goals. This is where players become friends, friends become teammates, and teammates become family.”
The class kicked off with a huddle. Everyone wrapped up into a circle, we said our names, high-fived, and resolved to “play a great game.” I felt that sense of community during the huddle–teammates, coach–I was ready to get started! I did not expect what came next….
We broke from our huddle and started to warm up with some “laps” around the field. I wish I could call them laps though, because as soon as we started, Blake turned off the lights and BLASTED the music. What was intitially a fully lit soccer pit became a dark field with a sparse spotlights shining into the corners. The veteran athletes started to run all over– there was no clockwise or counter clockwise lap circles. People were running up and down and left and right and as the music got faster we moved from a light jog into full on sprints. WHAT. It was like a spin class in the dark with bumping music, but instead of a stationary bike, we were all set free.
WHAT IS THIS MAYHEM. I love it.
Coach Blake had a mic and controlled the music accordingly to give us different exercises. The 45-minute class alternated between sections of ab exercises, partner sprints, and body weight workouts like lunges and push-ups. A few minutes in I was sweaty af, but inspired. We’d break up into “teams” based on our jersey color–black or pink–and alternate between sprinting and doing exercises like burpees or squats. During transitions, you’d high-five your partner, and even though you could barely see their face in the dark, there was a communal sense of
By the end, I was a tired, sweaty mess of accomplishment. The intervals kept me interested, the exercises were challenging but not impossible, and the team mindset and culture the Sphere team created was contagious.
Whether or not you’re an elite MLS athlete or just a regular human, you’re guaranteed to get a great workout and stay in shape. The class felt less like a competition and more of everyone marching towards a communal team goal. The dark kept everything slightly anonymous, so even if you wanted to compete against someone–it was somewhat difficult. The high-intensity cardio, muscle-sculpting strength training, technical skill work and rhythm-based create a class that’s unlike any other I’ve tried.
If you’re interested in learning more about Sphere, check out their classes at QB Indoor, their club soccer league or their Powa class at the Four Seasons Downtown. Check out highlights from the Powa class in the video below!