Wednesday, April 10, 2013

exercise week with a broken elevator

Lately, I've been trying to get back on the exercise train. My friend Kimber is an instructor at a gym called Fuse Fitness, and Jon and I are sans gym membership right now, so I thought I'd try it out. Fuse is one of those one-room gyms along a strip, where they only do classes and personal training. There are no machines or anything, it's just a smallish floor that hosts one class at a time and some space for individual training in the back.

Here's a secret: Except for the occasional Church activity exercise class, I have never been to a one of those, and I have always been sort of terrified of them. At our last gym, I always would be on the elliptical or treadmill or whatever machines faced the class floor, and I would see everyone walk in with their yoga mats and towels and think, "It is going to take eons to work up the guts to go to one of those, because look at all their STUFF. I am gonna forget something and I'll look stupid in the first five minutes. And that's before they all notice that I am too out of shape to do hardcore exercise video work for a whole hour."

So after months of being interested in/scared of trying out this tiny gym, I just stopped thinking about it and went, last Thursday. And I got lost and couldn't find it, so I went home and went running instead, but then I found out they were doing a free intro class that night, so I went. (YES, THIS MEANS I WORKED OUT TWO TIMES IN ONE DAY.) It was a TRX class, which I had never done before, and there were three attendees and two instructors. This was excellent because I had awful form at everything, so one of the instructors was nice enough take breaks to solve my problems while the other one was leading things. For the uninitiated, TRX is a thing where there are metal rings screwed into the ceiling with adjustable straps hanging from them, and you hang from the straps in various torturous ways. I was sore until Sunday. It was fun! OK, really, it was fun. New twists on old exercises are always more fun, and it wasn't intimidating, because it was supposed to be an intro class, and it was, you know, three people. And the instructors were friendly, encouraging, not-businessy, human people I felt totally comfortable with, which I'll admit was something I probably have worried about in my class-avoidance mindset.

I paid for a trial week, so here's how it's been. My first class, Monday morning, was called Metabolic Surge, and it was a lot harder than the TRX class, probably because there was cardio, and cardio is hard. At the end, I was exhausted, but I didn't feel stupid or underprepared. It was nice, because it was set up so you did a certain exercise for 50 seconds and then rested for 10 seconds, and then did another exercise for 50 seconds, etc., but you could go as slow as you needed to, and there were lots of modifications.

Tuesday morning was the devil class. I went to an early class, because I had other commitments during all the other class times. (It was really early. This time, four attendees and one instructor. When I walked in, the instructor said, "Thank you [for showing up for this early class]!" Haha.) He was nice and bantery and then we did squats and pushups for twelve minutes straight, and I couldn't think about any mannerisms at all anymore. Next came some ab work, and then he dropped the bomb. We were all going to sit on the wall, and we could have a break from it while we took turns doing 20 pushups. So, there we are, four of us sitting on the wall while the fifth is doing pushups, and then as soon as they finish the next person's down. Until when? Until, collectively, we had done five hundred pushups. That is a lot of sitting on the wall. We finished up with more ab work, and then this quivery version of me walked to the car and drove home.

When I go running, I usually try to run extra fast for the last stretch. You know, pour in all the rest of my energy. My goal after Monday's class was to apply that principle to the classes, so I showed up to Kimber's core class today with that goal. In some ways, I achieved it; we had sets of exercises to do with 100 times of jumping rope in between each set, and I was pretty terrible during the first set (and maybe didn't even get to 100 ... shhh), the second set I did 33 jumps at a time and finished to 100, and the third time I did 50 at a time. So there was improvement. But my muscles were so done from the other classes, that by the time I got to the end of this one, I realized that attending the class at all was kind of my last master push. I felt super wimpy because my muscles felt so weak and shaky that sometimes it was all I could do just to stand up again after floor stuff. I still did almost everything, though. (And the last straw was that our building's elevator was broken this whole week, and we live a lot of stairs away from the ground. It took me probably three times as long as usual to get up the stairs all this week.)

I took a rest day on Thursday (to give me some hope of completing Friday's class). Which was smart, because on Friday I did TRX again, and there were a lot of hamstring workouts. When I did my evaluation at my last gym, my hamstrings were the only abnormally inflexible muscle I had, so they get sore easily when I do much with them. What with sitting around all weekend for General Conference, it was Sunday night again before I could stretch my leg out straight without feeling it all down the back of my legs. Ouch.

But, I did get the weekend off. I left Monday and Tuesday this week for homework and chores and stuff like that, and headed back today... because I signed up for a month this time! I went to Kimber's core class again, which I was better at this time because I wasn't super sore.

**EDIT** I should mention that Kimber is awesome at this. She is great at showing people how to do things right in a way that doesn't make them feel bad for doing it wrong, totally patient and encouraging, and every time I felt wimpy, she would come by with a well-timed compliment on my form or ability to do something I didn't actually think I was going to be able to do. Hooray for positive reinforcement! She also picks the best music.

They tell me I'll never be as sore again as that first week - wish me luck!