DISCLAIMER- While I run cross country, I have never done a single workout class. Ever. I enjoy running, and that is my main exercise. I’ll throw in some weights at Sylvester Powell every now and then, but besides running, that is it. Until now, when I did three classes in the span of six days. See bottom of post for a breakdown of each workout place’s costs.
THE BAR METHOD
“Caroline! Everyone is so jealous of your muscles shaking because that means you are getting a really deep stretch!”
Kate, our peppy instructor, is yelling at me. I look down, skeptical, and I can’t but smile. My legs are shaking so hard it could be 40 degrees below zero. Everything in my whole body is burning, and we’re only halfway through this circuit.
Going to The Bar Method for my first workout class ever was probably not a great idea. It was hard.
Leg lifts, crunches, hand weights — you name it, we did it. We mainly focused on muscle strength, doing squats, pulses and stretches until we couldn’t go any farther. Even though I don’t have a lot of upper arm strength, I could tell we had done a lot when I felt my arms groan in resistance washing my hands 10 minutes later.
For about 55 out of the 60 minutes, I was lost. Terribly lost. The other women, who varied in age and athletic abilities, knew what they were doing, since it seemed to be the same “Mixed Level” class every time. So when Kate told us to “Push!”, “Squeeze!” and “Tuck!,” the other women pushed, squeezed and tucked, while I looked around confused. Luckily, the instructor was very good about coming over and fixing my pose or stretch. But since she still had to talk to the class with the microphone headset, she couldn’t explain to me exactly what she was trying to fix.
Still, I enjoyed it. While $24 for only one hour is a lot for the typical high schooler, the tough muscle-strengthening exercises combined with the deep, relaxing stretches after, made me glad I spent my hard-earned lifeguarding money. I’m happy I survived my first workout class in one piece, but I will build up my strength before attempting it again.
I nearly missed it. Actually, scratch that I did miss it. I drove right by it. The Overland Park Fusion Fitness is tucked away between a Mexican restaurant and a coffee shop, not visible from the street. But after doing a slight U-turn and swerving around a parking lot before scoring an open spot, I finally found it.
It was intense. The music was blasting, and our teacher, Anne, was yelling at us through her microphone headset. I must admit though, her motivation was great. Many times I felt myself slowing, slowing, stopping. But when she reminded us WHY! we were doing this class, I found myself lifting the weight again, doing another rep and pushing myself.
The class was fast-paced, focusing more on cardio, rather than the muscle-stretching of The Bar Method. I was sweating within 10 minutes, and by the end, I was dripping.
The weights were what really killed me. Over and over again, my arms struggled to bring it up, down, over, up and so on. But I kept going until I felt accomplished.
I started enjoying myself, just a little, by the end. The pop music was pumping me up, and the clock told me we were almost done with our hour. Overall it was a good workout. We used a variety of workout equipment — like weights, resistance bands and gliders — that added to the experience. And I knew, walking away, that I pushed myself.
Later that day my arms burned at the slightest movement, but that wore off a few hours later. The next day, though, I was sore. What really hurt were my legs, surprisingly enough. While not as painful as The Bar Method — I could actually move this time — I still felt it. But nevertheless, the motivating music combined with the quick exercises made me want to do it again.
I was probably the most nervous to go to Mojo. With horror stories of concussions after falling off the bikes fresh in my mind, and the fact I had just finished a cross country practice, I entered the spacious studio with some trepidation. But walking into the room, my fears were soothed.
Rows of bikes positioned on two levels facing mirrors greeted me. The lights were turned off, except for a line of neon pink along the ceiling. Two rows of bikes were already full and warming up, so my friend and I choose some bikes in the front.
Once we started the class, it took off quick. I had barely started pedaling when we were suddenly turning up the resistance and going fast. We pedaled the entire time, never stopping until our final stretches. We alternated between standing up, pulsing and pressing down into the handlebars and sitting down for a break. While standing, we moved up and down, from bending down low into the handles to going tall and straight.
I ended up really getting into it. The pop songs were chosen and timed to coordinate with how fast we were pedaling, which made it very easy to follow along. Once I caught the rhythm, there was no stopping me. I kept turning my little orange knob, pushing the resistance up until my legs were screaming for a break.
Our teacher, Sarah, was great. She was really into it, anticipating when we were most likely to slow and yelling at us to keep going. She even began dancing at times; her seemingly endless supply of energy encouraging me to keep going.
The class was hard, but it was doable. It was very easy to slow the pace down or slyly twist the orange knob back to the left. But I felt good by the end, and that is what counted.