12/11/14

I'm Exercising my Way through the City

My Before Picture. After is yet to come. I like before pictures better anyway. 
After not exercising for around 6 months, I find myself heavily immersed in fitness. I used to run a lot, but I got bored with it. Running doesn't work for me anymore. I wanted to try something new so I decided to do some research. True to form, I took the research seriously. I signed up for 6 diverse classes across the city. Here's my thoughts.

Bikram Yoga: What Hell feels like. Literally, it was 105 degrees and humid and went forever (90 minutes). I kept hoping I would faint so I could leave. 60 minutes into the class, I started to feel light headed and I was ecstatic. But I never fainted. Or died. It took every bit of will I had to stick with it. By the end of the class, I had nothing left in me. I was exhausted. I was thirsty. I was starving so I ate a Chipotle burrito and large slice of cheese pizza. The sad part is, the calories I burned during the class did not justify this binge. I just needed something satisfying to make up for the traumatic experience that is Bikram Yoga is to me.

FlyWheel (stationary bike class): I enjoyed it, kind-of. The instructor was funny, the lights were low, and the music loud enough for me to sing without anyone hearing me. That was the biggest perk of the class. But mostly I didn't know what I was doing. I hate that feeling. I had no idea what the instructor meant when he called out, "First position!" or "Second position!" Am I at ballet class? And I peed my pants every time I had to stand and petal. I felt bad for the people around me. I must have smelled like a subway station by then end of class. The person I didn't feel bad for? Anna233. Even though it was my first time, I decided to include my name on the leaderboard. I was in last place the entire class no matter how hard I tried. Anna233 was always just right head of me in 12th place. I'm sure I made her feel super good about herself. And for that I'm happy. Always here to help.

EVF Performance: EVF performance? I didn't know either. I signed up for it and hoped for the best. The image on the website had a man smiling while lifting a small kettle ball. I could do that. I was 10 minutes early so I looked around the gym. There was a class finishing up their last rotation of pushups, jumping jacks, and squats. No one was smiling or enjoying themselves. There was a chalkboard listing the exercises. And the instructor had a shirt that read Crossfit in capital letters. Oh geez, I thought, I'm in a damn Crossfit gym. I'M IN A CROSSFIT GYM. I'M ABOUT TO TAKE A CROSSFIT CLASS. I stayed anyway. And learned it wasn't exactly crossfit, but it was. I squatted. I jumped. I lifted. The instructor for this class was new to NY, built like an ox and totally dreamy. Who knew I would find a beefcake dreamy? Not enough for me to go back though. This class was too intense for me. But out of all of them, it was definitely the best workout. I felt sore for the next few days.

Pilates Mat: If I didn't know what I was doing during FlyWheel, I certainly was lost in this class. Suck your stomach in, shoulders down, lift your back slightly. It all seemed more difficult than it had to be. And plus, the exercise I hate the most is a plank and that's all Pilates seems to be. One giant plank position. I get why. It works everything in the body and is the best exercise and hold it for 15 more seconds! It's so awful. I loved the music they played during the class, but it was actually a radio. So half way through a plank, a commercial came on and I wanted to die. I don't need commercials during a plank. I need freaking Talyor Swift telling me to Shake it Off. Something! My motto for this class would be, "Exercise is hard and not fun."

Boxing: Oh my God. I had to buy wraps for my hands. I had to wear fat red boxing gloves. I had my own personal punching bag. The kind Ali probably used. No matter how hard I tried, I could not take this class seriously. I kept giggling every time I hit the punching bag. Am I suppose imagine this bag is a actual human body? Like this is the ribs, this is the stomach. Bam! Bam! I'm going to get you human! The bag gave in a little every time I punched it. Is this what it feels like to hit a body? Do they fill it with just enough sand to make it feel the most accurate? I couldn't stop with these outrageous thoughts. I'm so messed up. The class ended with a plank contest. Of course. Whoever held it the longest won a free class. Even if I won, which there was noway, I wouldn't have gone back. I did feel tough when I washed my hand afterwards and my knuckles stung. Is this what warrior hands feel like? Am I a warrior now? My wacky thoughts continued for days.

King of the Jungle: Again, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. The class description mentioned something about swinging through the streets of NY like a monkey. Got it. It started with us all jumping and quickly moved onto forward rolls, then handstands, then cartwheels, then round offs, and within minutes we were all instructed to do front flips and back handsprings. There was no holding back. The instructor showed us how to do the trick once and then we were all expected to try. I was shocked. Whoa whoa whoa. Don't we have to build up to this? Apparently not. I followed the instructions and surprised myself the entire time. I could do everything he asked. I quit gymnastics when I was 14 and thought that was the end of it. Conclusion: Muscle memory is real.

My ego had be hurt after being the worst all week at my gym classes. I always think of myself as a moderately athletic person, but for years I had been going to the gym or running in races and felt like such a loser. But I'm not a loser! I can do back flips! Losers don't do backflips!


And now for a motivational ending. I'm not used to doing this, but I feel inspired today. I think it's really important to experience as much as we can in this life. All these Christmas presents and things around the house mean nothing. They all are going to break or get lost or get outdated. It's experiences that have the most value to me. Now when I see someone post their Crossfit goals on Facebook, I'll understand a little of what it took to get there. Or when I pass a bikram yoga class, I'll know what it felt like to be in a sweaty hot room with strangers. Or when I see a boxing match on TV, I'll know what it feels like to hit a punching bag. That means something to me.

I encourage you to look up the random classes your city offers and try it out this next week. Do it before all the new years resolution people come and fill up the slots. You might surprise yourself and be good at something you did as a kid like softball or soccer. If not, there's always laughing at yourself. Which might be better than anything else. There's nothin' funny about this though:

This whole post was written as another excuse to post this video.

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26 comments:

  1. That Bikram Yoga class sounds awful. Next time just skip to the Chipotle!

    I'm SO impressed with the back flips though! That's awesome!

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  2. I have done Bikram a couple summers ago out at Rockaway! I kinda liked it... but did 60 min classes! I am going to try Tia Chia soon!

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  3. Love this post. I did a Les Mills Body Pump class once when Julie was 1. I prayed the whole time that she would poop her diaper so they would come and get me from child watch! Oh, and if you ever feel bad about yourself, remember the time that we ran around central park and I was barely walking at the end of the 6 mile loop...and then you ran it AGAIN while I waited with Rob and the kids. You are amazing, then and now!

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  4. Wow, handstands, backflips, you are amazing :)

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  5. Hi there :) I don't know HOW I came across to your blog (completely random!) but I was sold immediately! You are soooo funny! I am at work now, but I can not stop reading your posts!.. If only you wrote a book, I'd get it first, many copies, for myself and to everyone I like!!
    Brilliant thought on the exercises! I haven't heard about half of them.. Thank you for the motivation! Also, hope you'll find something suitable for yourself!
    All the very best! :)

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  6. You should try pole dancing! I would love to read a post about that. Or water aerobics (once I lifeguarded for Water-zumba and that was very fun to watch as well.)

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    Replies
    1. Brilliant. Yes. I will write a follow up to this post. I've since taken a grassroots fitness class (???) and a barre class. I'll be on the look out for pile dancing for sure.

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  7. What a great takeaway! And so true…experiences are what it's all about. I can't wait to read about more of the classes you're taking.

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  8. Love this post. I've been doing ClassPass for a few months now, so this sounds like my typical workout mix. I really like Flywheel but I get ultra-competitive during the racing portion and then feel like I'm going to puke for a couple songs (which would be a disaster, given that I can never get my feet out of the clips quickly).

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    Replies
    1. yeah--me too. I'm on class pass. I was going to include that info but thought it would end up sounding like a sponsored post. haha

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  9. Holy S Sharon! I'm Super Impressed!!

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  10. Haha - love this post - I loathe Bikram as well. Maybe try Strala yoga - Tara Stiles - I love her style of yoga - you may too?!

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  11. ClassPass is awesome! I'm enjoying it in DC. Take a reformer class and report back to us. Oh and Bikram is THE WORST.

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  12. I totally busted out laughing while reading the FlyWheel segment. One of those unexpected laughs that come from the belly. Love those! Thank you! But made my belly jiggle which reminds me that I too need to get some exercise in STAT! Missed you!

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  13. You go girl. Update us on the barre class! And, what about soul cycle...? Maybe you'd like vinyasa flow better than Bikram? Thank you for the motivation!!

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  14. When I took yoga at my school in normal temperature, that already felt like hell so kudos to you sister. It was not relaxing at all and for every single class all I did to help me get through it was plotting different ways of faking my death.

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  15. I should really make friends with exercise again. Unless I'd like to live forever as a chubster.

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  16. What a shame, a big mess in the room. Is not it better to clean up before shooting?

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