Looking back, I definitely made a good choice. There was only a small group of us in the studio, half of whom were attending the class for the first time. The moves were all familiar, and a few felt a tad easy-ish, but overall I got a much needed ass-kicking in a way that eased me back into barre mode.
The teacher, Jackie, did a great job of cueing and explaining the moves, and it felt like I was really under the care of a bona fide Pilates instructor (which she is!) rather than some rando dancer.
My favorite part about the class was the dance-y warmup, which made it feel like I was in a jazz class and got my heart rate up. The warmup was followed by arms, thighs (sometimes WITH arms), glutes/seat (I muddled through the standing seatwork because of a hip injury but relished the extreme side-butt fire during the floor section), and abs with the squishy ball under the small of our back (also had some trouble with abs because of my bum hip, but I did my best). Each section was also punctuated by planks: regular-flavor, spiderman planks, mountain climbers, etc. There was definitely more of a cardio aspect to the class, and I found that both terrifying and delightful. One thing I’m glad that we didn’t do is “round-back” abs under the barre, which have felt gimmicky and potentially injurious in nearly every other Berk-based class I’ve done.
The class as a whole felt like an awesome hybrid of mat Pilates, sports conditioning, and Lotte Berk. This might have been a result of the class being beginner-level, but I also liked the slightly shorter sets…most barre classes I feel like I’m putting myself at risk for an overuse injury from all the reps, but this felt a lot safer.
Verdict: I’ll be back! Excited to try Barre Pro, 30/30, and Barre X (barre + TRX combo, what!!) in the future, too.
I would like to say that I’ve been so busy working out and practicing my home cooking that I haven’t had a single minute to update the blog, but we all know that’s not true. However, summer is in full swing, and with all of the moving, birthday-ing, and yes, workouts, I just haven’t been in writing mode… I’m hoping to get back into posting regularly, though, especially since I’m in the middle of a new fitness challenge and have so much to share.
The half-year milestone
I achieved my goal to work out 26 weeks straight (with affirmation coming by way of foursquare checkins) a couple of weeks ago when I checked into a Pilates class. Tonight will probably give me my 28 week shootout when I check into the Bar Method tonight–but more on that later! It feels great to have dedicated a full half year to sweating at least once a week– and usually more like 3, 4, or 5 times every week.
June workout goals
I vowed to work out 20 times in the month of June, 5 of which would be barre classes. Of course, life got in the way, so I didn’t quite make my 20-workout mark– stopped short at 16. However, that still works out to about 4 per week, so I’m satisfied. I did make it to 5 barre classes, including four at Physique 57 and one at the Bar Method. I discovered a favorite P57 teacher, but she unfortunately moved out of the city (I’ve since found a couple of other faves, though).
Try something new (and scary)
I ventured out of my usual habits and attended my very first Flywheel class in June, followed quickly by my first Bar Method class. These made for two very different, but equally positive experiences. Flywheel was first on the docket, and I showed up over half an hour early to a Friday night class with Ryan Makely. The front desk staffers hadn’t even finished setting up the shoes yet– yikes! As such, I didn’t get as warm a welcome as I’d come to expect from reading others’ reviews, since the staff was busy, but it was fine. Had a weird interaction with a fellow student waiting for class; as I took a couple of puffs on my albuterol inhaler, which I take prior to cardio workouts for my exercise-induced asthma, she asked me if the inhaler “helped.” I was puzzled and answered, “Yes, in that it lets me keep breathing…” Her friend jumped in and explained what albuterol and asthma were. I guess she thought I was taking some kind of performance-enhancing substance? Anyway, I started to get a little nervous when the door to the classroom opened and I saw that all of the students in the prior class were utterly soaked with sweat. It was a little comforting that there was a variety of ages and body types represented in the previous class, but on the whole I was a little terrified. When I got into the room, an assistant helped me adjust my bike, but I totally zoned out when he was explaining the settings to me. If I go back, I’m going to have to get more assistance with setting up.
As for the class itself, I have NEVER experienced anything like it. It totally blew me away. I was dripping with sweat 2 minutes in, and my quads were on fire at the 5 minute mark. Ryan had amazing energy, even though the crowd was pretty quiet, and I found myself letting out a couple of whoops along the way. He taught on the bike, which was really nice as a first-timer– I was able to see what first, second, and third position were, as well as proper form, even from the back row. Ryan incorporated a lot of jumps, tap backs, and hills in the class, which kept things varied. Even though I was always about 10 below the torque range he said, and 5 RPMs behind (and my stats afterward were super-pathetic), I got an amazing workout.
It definitely took some getting used to– I had a tough time balancing myself on the bike seat when I needed to sip my water, which was often. However, once I started engaging my core more, I was able to find my balance. I also had some difficulty figuring out how to stand during our first standing sprint, but I quickly got a hang of it. By the midpoint of class, I was looking forward to the standing parts! As I mentioned, my power, RPM, and other numbers were seriously pathetic (we’re talking 5th or less percentile) and I think I made a huge mistake in letting myself kind of stop pedaling during each transition. I think that’s something that I could improve with more practice.
All in all, I had a fabulous time at Flywheel, I conquered my fear of spin class, and even though I almost had two asthma attacks during class, my lungs and legs survived! I doubt my knees would like all the repetitive motion if I were to go regularly, and I think I might actually need to put some kind of orthotic in the cycling shoes for my wonky feet, but I would not hesitate to throw this into my workout routine for another change of pace in the future.
Stay tuned for my review of my first Bar Method class, and some thoughts on the couple of classes I’ve taken since then.