The Blitz 20-minute workout for men

“C’mon, you can do anything in 20 minutes!”

“Anything” at The Blitz 20-Minute Total Fitness for Men at Highcrest Centre includes two tours of the boxing ring-themed “Blitz Ring”—a combination of 10 hydraulic exercise machines and six heavy boxing bags. Recommended warm-up and cool-down exercises are also included before and after the workout.

The Blitz is an international chain of men’s fitness centers that offers men a complete 20-minute fitness and cardiovascular workout. The Blitz in the lower level of the Highcrest Centre below Sturtevant’s is the first Blitz franchise in Illinois.

Local franchise owner Louis Ferruggia said The Blitz workout helps build strength, tone muscle, increase flexibility, and lower blood pressure and heart rate.

“I think why people will probably join is it’s a 20-minute workout, and it’s a full-body workout,” Ferruggia said. “If you want to get a full workout without waiting for a machine, this is the place to be.”

The Blitz offers two-way (positive and negative) hydraulic strength training equipment. Most home gyms, which can range in price from $200 to $1,000 or more, offer one-way motion. The benefit of two-way motion is that the person doing the exercise is responsible for both lifting and “setting” the machine, which helps the exerciser gain more strength and keeps the muscles loose and warm, increasing flexibility.

Another benefit of the hydraulic machines is that they allow users to go at their own pace. The speed at which the exerciser uses the machine determines the resistance the machine puts out. The hydraulic equipment matches the strength of the user and helps prevent injuries that can often come from people attempting to do too much too fast.

As company founder Scott Smith said: “Hydraulic circuit training is now being used by Olympic teams, colleges and professional athletes because it is so efficient, and there is less risk of injury. Both young and old appreciate The Blitz workout because they can regulate the intensity of their workout to whatever level they want, at the same time improving muscle tone, bone density, joint motion and overall fitness.”

Ferruggia said his members range in age from 27 to 87. Speaking from my own tour of the ring as a 25-year-old recreational weightlifter, the workout certainly has its benefits.

As he does with all new members, Ferruggia walked me through the workout and answered any questions I had about the machines.

The ring includes (in order) heavy boxing bag, arm curls, seated row, heavy boxing bag, leg curl, ab/back machine, heavy boxing bag, chest press, heavy boxing bag, leg press, shoulder/lats pull, heavy boxing bag, pectoral machine, oblique machine, heavy boxing bag, squat machine, and heavy boxing bag.

Fist protectors, which are currently being offered free with membership, are needed for use on the heavy bags.

Each station lasts about 30 seconds, with a PA system that features a boxing ring bell and announces “Next station, please,” when it is time to move on. The layout of the gym and the set amount of time at each station serves almost as a personal fitness trainer as users don’t have to come up with their own fitness program.

For those who have their own workout or training program, The Blitz might not provide the kind of freedom they desire. Yet, Ferruggia said he does allow members to use machines longer than 30 seconds and said people can use the machines as many times as they want as long as they are not preventing someone else from completing their routine.

At the end of my tour of the ring, my body was much looser, and I could feel the burn in my muscles. Later that night when I began my free-weight program, I found I could lift more, and my body was much looser and more flexible.

The Blitz could easily serve as a full-body workout to help people get in shape, lose weight and build strength. Its mix of strength training and cardio exercises truly does seem to be a total-body workout. It must be noted, however, that the workout by itself will not turn someone into a muscle man or help someone lose weight, although it could be a perfect complement to either.

To gain muscle mass, The Blitz workout should be accompanied by a free-weight program. And, for those hoping to lose weight, the program must be accompanied by a proper diet. As Ferruggia said, “If you’re coming in here thinking that you’re just going to shed weight by doing this, then you’re fooling yourself.”

Ferruggia keeps a monthly track of the weight and heart rate of each member to help show their progress.

Lifetime membership to The Blitz is $124, although Ferruggia is offering a special introductory price of $62 (50 percent off) and a free pair of fist protectors. He said the 50 percent deal is only an introductory price. Monthly fees are $35 per month, and Ferruggia said members can take a month or a year off, come back and not have to pay membership fees.

For more information, stop by The Blitz at Highcrest Centre (lower level), 1680 N. Alpine Rd., Rockford, 61107, call 815-229-8503, or visit or Try The Blitz for free for a week with the coupon below.

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