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.
This first month of summer has really been flying by– mostly because life has been so damn busy during the past few weeks. Boyfriend and I moved to a larger apartment last weekend– a real, live one-bedroom, woo! I’ve also been hard at work in class, although though this moving business has thrown a real wrench into my whole “20 workouts per month” plan. As of June 15th I’d only worked out a measly six times: 2 barre classes, 2 yoga classes, a dance class, and a Pilates class. LAME! (However, I did spend the entire weekend of June 8th packing, lifting, and unpacking giant plastic boxes of my belongings, so I’m inclined to count that as exercise as well.)
Luckily, last week I managed to claw my way back onto the wagon and completed 5 workouts almost by accident. At this rate, the end of the month will see me almost catch up to my stated goal of 20 workouts, as opposed to having the goal fly by, untouched. So that’s better than nothing.
First, I enjoyed a great, sweaty Simonson Technique class on Tuesday at DNA. On Friday I attended a great second class with Sarah G. at Physique 57 SoHo, but was crushed to hear her say that she”ll be moving out of the city soon. I suppose this will be my chance to branch out and try the classes with Lindi, Antonietta, Emily T., Cassie…all the instructors I keep hearing great things about but haven’t yet tried. Saturday brought me my weekly wonderful dose of Pilates with the equally wonderful Karina Michaels at Reforming New York. I sweated the hour out with Boyfriend and a former co-worker, after which we rewarded ourselves with ‘wichcraft in the park. Mmm.
Now, if you possess rudimentary counting skills, you’ll notice that I only worked out 3 times between Tuesday and Saturday. This brings me to my final 2 workouts of the week– two surprise bike rides on Saturday and Sunday afternoons! After lunch on Saturday, Boyfriend and I headed up north to visit my mom’s place. When we arrived, she brought out a couple of old hybrid bikes that had been sitting in the garage for 10+ years, and said we should try them out. If we liked them, she’d have them tuned up and would bring them to the city for us the following week.
The bikes seemed to be generally the right size for us, so we brought them to the gas station and filled the tires, before (at my behest) walking the bikes to a quiet-ish street to begin the ride. My cycling skills are, to put it lightly, MAJORLY WEAK. I can barely manage a hand signal without losing my balance. But after warming up for a few minutes in an empty church parking lot, I rode about 5 miles that afternoon. Not all at once, mind you…we kept stopping to check Google Maps. It’d been a long time since I’d navigated the side streets of my hometown by car, let alone bike. The following day, I defied my aching sitz bones to do another quick 3-miler to and from the beach. While I’m still a little shaky alongside cars, especially at intersections, I think with some practice I’ll be more confident on the bike. I’m definitely going to start out on the park bike paths and greenways in Brooklyn before attempting to ride on the street. It’ll be a work in progress.
My new bike is only an entry-level hybrid from 1997, so it’s going to need some modifications in order to be fit for even light city riding. I need to put a bell and lights on it just to make it legal, and I definitely want fenders and a rear rack. If I start riding the bike to the office, I’ll probably get some puncture-resistant tires (cream ones!) swept-back/North Road/townie bars instead of the standard riser bars, so I can sit more upright, and perhaps a nicer saddle. And in terms of theft-prevention, I’ll need to replace the quick-release levers on the wheels and saddle with locking hex nuts or something similar. Oh, look…now I have something new to obsess over in addition to my boutique fitness class schedule.
In other news, Boyfriend graciously agreed to sign up alongside me for our very first Flywheel Sports class. We’re taking a Friday evening class with Ryan, since every weekday evening class with Jesse, about whom I’ve heard so many great things, filled up so fast once the booking window opened. If it goes well, this summer may well be filled with more indoor and outdoor cycling than I originally anticipated. And if this is the case, I’m going to have to invest in multiple pairs of padded shorts. Or one of those donut pillows to sit on.