South Carolina's Aliyah Boston is not going to let anybody catch their breath this season. The 2022 Naismith Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year didn't slow down after leading her team to a national championship win last season. Instead, she made it a point to stay in shape and improve her game during the offseason, which is making a lot of people sweat in a very literal sense.
Boston partnered with Orangetheory Fitness to create her own custom workout called the "Shot Clock," which is an hour long, full-body routine released on Nov. 10 in studios across the nation. Boston said she put a lot of thought into the workout, and she used a lot of the exercises she has learned from her team's sports performance coach Molly Binetti -- the mastermind behind
"It took a lot of thinking because I had to really get into the details about certain exercises and what I was hoping people would get out of the workout, but I like the way it turned out," Boston told CBS Sports.
Binetti said Orangetheory did its research by contacting her a few months earlier to ask about Boston's training and favorite exercises. Eventually, Boston's agent and Orangetheory representatives pitched Boston the idea, and she loved it right away.
"I thought it was just such a cool idea being an athlete and Orangetheory being about fitness and empowering women," Boston said. "I think it helps a lot with everything. This is what I did during the offseason to get me in shape and get me fit, so I've been giving it to people and letting them try it."
An Orangetheory representative who knew I was writing this story asked if I wanted to try the class. I do have a figure skating background, but I am by no means at the same athletic level as Boston. My editor said it was "gutsy" that I wanted to try it, but we both loved the idea of getting a firsthand look. Was I nervous? Absolutely, but I was mostly excited to get a glimpse into what top-level basketball training looks like.
Boston is not going around teaching each class across the nation, but she is shown on the screens demonstrating exercises while an an instructor wearing a headset tells you what to do next. She also came up with the playlist that perfectly fits each stage of the workout. It starts out with some slower beats during the warmup and floor exercises. As the difficulty picks up, so does the music. Jumping side to side while T.I.'s "Bring Em Out" blasts through the speakers makes you feel like you're about to go out and register a triple-double.
People in my class were all different ages and skill levels. I was the only first-timer at Orangetheory, but everyone was very welcoming. As Boston said, there really is a little bit of everything -- rowing, treadmills, lifting and even some partner exercises with medicine balls to keep each other motivated. The partner work had to be included as unity is something South Carolina coach Dawn Staley constantly preaches.
The format of the class is different from a regular training session for the Gamecocks, but a lot of the exercises they use were incorporated.
"I think it's a really cool opportunity for Aliyah, and I told her I was really proud of her. It was really cool to see the type of impression she leaves on people and the type of impact she has," Binetti said. "I think this partnership and this class is a really cool way to help promote healthy lifestyles and give a glimpse into her training as she continues to have an impact on people."
The class is challenging, and even Boston said it gets her "out of breath every time." That's actually a good thing, as Orangetheory encourages those taking classes to push themselves to elevate their heart rate to the "Orange Zone," which means you achieve excess post-exercise oxygen consumption -- thus making your metabolism faster for up to 24 hours after the workout is completed.
To track this, every participant wears a heart rate monitoring device on their wrist. You can track your hear rate through monitors during class, but you can also go through your results with the instructor after class.
Binetti tried the class alongside Boston before it was officially released. Boston didn't teach that one either, but Binetti said it was a great opportunity for them to push each other. She mentioned the timed 100-meter exercise on a water rowing machine in which each person tries to beat their own personal best.
"We were competing against each other and she only beat me once, maybe twice," Binetti said. "I definitely feel like I pushed myself as hard as I could. I left very tired but it was a lot of fun."
Boston said it was fun to see Binetti finally get a taste of her own medicine.
"It was like, wow some of these exercises that we've done, I've actually used them against her. Kind of funny," Boston laughed. "I told her this is what you get. This is what you get right here."
Neither Staley nor Boston's teammates have tried the "Shot Clock" at Orangetheory yet, but Boston already has an idea of how they might react.
"They'll probably kill me," Boston joked. "There is really not that much of a break as you go through the workout, so they might hit me with that question, 'Where is the break, where do I catch my breath?' Because that is what I was thinking during it. But it's ok, they'll all love it."
Although even Boston and Binetti were out of breath, the "Shot Clock" is not as intimidating as it sounds because each person gets to push themselves as much as they want and instructors give variations of the exercises to accommodate different fitness levels. Binetti said she is not a fan of running but she loved the treadmill exercise. I dislike running too, but there's an option to do a high incline with less speed. Boston received reviews by people across the nation who took the class, and the consensus has been that it's challenging but fun.
Orangetheory was Boston's most recent NIL deal. She has also partnered with several other companies, including Crocs, Bojangles and even Paramount's "Top Gun: Maverick." Boston has also hosted her own basketball camp, and her native U.S. Virgin Islands officially made June 4 "Aliyah Boston Day" in her honor.
The sky seems to be the limit for Boston, but for now she's locked in to help her team have another successful season while making others sweat.