08 May 2009

class act - the bar method

school's out for the summer. for me at least. 

after a loooonnnngggg semester, and with a year of classes under my belt, i've decided to take the first summer semester off of school to study for a state test, and have 5 weeks of uninterrupted, stress-free bliss. i've also titled this time off as "Laura's Summer of Fitness 2009". don't laugh, i'm serious.

there is a lot of talk in the fitness world right now of "re-engineering" and changing your muscles. as someone who sometimes has more body issues than oprah, i'm all over this trend, trying to elongate my short, stalky self, into a lithe, long and lean athlete. it's a work in progress. but that brings me to: the bar method....

after a short bit of research, i decided to take on a popular class here in L.A. this class was what i thought was supposed to be a mix between yoga and pilates. i've done my fair bit of yoga, and i love it, and pilates is...well, ok...i can see the benefits, but i've never stuck with it long enough to see any. still, i thought i was well-versed enough between the two of them to be just fine with picking up this new trend. 

i was horribly, horribly, wrong.

i walked in, i admit it - just a little bit cocky. i can imagine what it looked like to the other students when i strutted in with my yoga mat and smug look on my face, only to replace it with a look of horror when i saw that i was walking in to what looked exactly like a ballet studio. by the way, you DO NOT use a yoga mat. 

i sat in with the rest of the group, and asked the girl next to me what exactly this class was about...she told me that the work was definitely dance and ballet based, but that dance experience wasn't necessary to reap the benefits of the class (turns out to be true, but it would still be helpful). 

to avoid looking like a complete idiot, i ducked my yoga mat behind a chair and decided to stay. to keep this post less than the size of a short novel, i'll just say this: that the movements are small and intense. you will move the whole time, causing you to sweat. the music is motivating and peppy. the instructors are strict - they point out everything you do wrong (she was frequently trying to get my legs to move in places they just wouldn't, no matter how hard i stared and focused on the muscle). standing at the bar for releves (heel raises to work the calves), and then squats on the tips of your toes immediately after, causes your legs to shake violently once you stop to lie down for leg lifts...if you are a beginner like myself (i was kind of embarrassed). 

the competitive nature in me sometimes tries to keep up with others, refusing to do the easier, modified version of the moves. still, there was point in the class where we lifted our arms to stretch over our leg rested on the bar, and i felt like a ballerina. as i glanced at myself in the mirror, i didn't look like one exactly, but still felt it. this motivated me to keep going...for a little bit.

at 44 minutes and 30 seconds (i thought the class was 45 minutes long), i was ready to jump up and book it out of there (as if i could jump), but came to find out that this class is an intense 60 minutes long, ending in some ab work. much different than any ab work i've ever done - they were burning, but the burn feels good - and i was appreciative of my instructor who came over to put some big spongy things behind my back to keep me from falling backwards in defeat (she called them "beginners-helpers"). finally, as the class came to an end with some "butt dancing" (yes, you heard me right), i could feel my glutes pulsating through my stretchy pants and what would turn out this morning to be some use of muscles that I didn't know existed. actually, they don't exist... yet. 

i hobbled out of the class, deflated, humiliated from my lack of dance skills and a little humbled. ok. a lot humbled. i have a new found respect for dancers. 

so what did i do?

i immediately bought a month's unlimited pass. 

i'll show that bar who's the boss. there may be a ballerina in me yet (but probably not)...

overall rating:
Level (1 being easy, 5 being the hardest): 5 (for me at least)...even my teeth hurt this morning. i must have been grinding them during the leg lifts or something.

**as a part of the "Laura's Summer of Fitness 2009," I may do random reviews on new fitness trends i try. so stay tuned. i had every intention of doing a hot power fusion yoga class today, but i can't move. maybe next week.


Ashley Engar said...

ha ha...now that's the post I've been waiting for!!! That's awesome. I wish I could be there doing it with you. Remember when Augie came with us to Bikram Yoga he literally almost died from exhaustion...and the instructor kept getting mad at him because he was dying and disturbing the "yoga peace/silence". Loved it.

Erin Bradley said...

Great, I am sitting here eating a bowl of captain crunch berries and there you are working your little buns off. Tomorrow Erin, Tomorrow.

Krista said...

i wish i lived near enough to go with ya. i'm such a chicken when it comes to trying new things on my own...although, maybe the pregnant belly wouldn't cut it anyway.

Amy and Anna said...

you're a rock star. I'm also in pursuit of a longer/leaner body...i'll let you know how that goes for me. First I have to kick the chocolate milk addiction.

joncampbell21 said...

Impressive that you made it through the class. I definitely would have walked out. You might be the first Campbell to get some dancing skills

whit said...

Thats awesome Laura..i'm glad that you wont let them defeat you...Can't wait to hear more.

Lisa Marie Trent said...

I'm moving to LA soon. Will you be my friend? I'll go and look stupid with you. I haven't danced in years and I'm sure that would kill me in the first 15 minutes.

But I'll stick it out for 20.

Ashley and Ezra said...

Yep, that's the Laura I know and love! You walk right into a class you know nothing about, and you kick the trash out of it! Im such a pansy, and would never make it though... Im glad I have you to live vicariously through! I cant wait to hear more and more about this summer of fitness!

Carlee said...

I wish I could do the classes with you!! Who's know if even having dance experience it would help me!