Superhero Transformation, Part 5: The Ball Escapes Me

Having some experience with Pilates, and looking for a new challenge, I took a chance on the “Pilates with Props” class.  (From the title of this post, you can probably guess where this is headed.)  Going in, I felt like Pilates was something I had a good grasp of.  I studied theater in college, where our stage combat/movement professor insisted on almost an hour of mat work daily, before we even began with foam sword in hand.  It felt like pure torture back then, but after weeks and months of practice, I recognized the difference it made in my body, and (to my own surprise) I continued it later on.  Still, I had never experienced a Pilates class with props.  I decided to give it a try – happy to feel confidence in a familiar exercise, but looking forward to a challenging twist.

Well.  The “twist” turned out to be a totally embarrassing newbie moment.  We were told to select a ball and small hand weights, and we were given a rubber resistance band to work with.  For the first exercise, I squeezed the ball between my knees (as instructed), only to have it shoot away from me like a watermelon seed.  (Sigh.)  I skittered across the room, fumbling to catch my runaway, only to have it knock into three or four nice people who were just trying to pay attention and follow the instructor.  I recovered my ball, got back to my mat and reset. All was well.

Until it happened AGAIN!  Same ball, same exercise, same nice unsuspecting people who were practically bowled over by my second runaway ball.  I laughed it off the first time, but now I was just plain embarrassed.  For the second time, I tried to minimize my disruption of class and return to my mat quietly.  Once I did, I put the ball aside and finished up the exercise without it. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes, and reminded myself just to focus on what I was doing. Once I was able to calm myself and focus on the movement, it was MUCH easier to keep hold of that ball.

After that, the rest of class went really well!  Our instructor was great; giving us clear, concise direction and motivating encouragement.  She took us through a huge number of exercises, but I never felt rushed, and I certainly never got bored.  The hour flew by faster than I imagined it would, and I had a great sense of a full-body workout that focused on my core.  The small hand weights and the resistance band were a great addition to the standard Pilates exercises – each made slightly more challenging and also more rewarding.

So, despite my awkward prop recovery, I ended up having a great class. Later on, when someone else’s ball rolled over and nudged my shoulder, and it was no big deal, I didn’t feel so bad after all.

Superhero Transformation, Part 4: In Deep Water

Whenever I’m away for exercise from a period of time and find myself needing to “get back in the swing of things”, I always return to the water.  I have always loved swimming (and hated sweating) so an aquatic workout is always ideal for me to begin again.  Instead of just laps, I challenged myself this time to try something new, so I took a chance on the Deep Water Workout class.

Our instructor Carol was fabulous, and I was surprised to find out how much of a full-body workout it was!  From far away, I’m sure the small group of us looked like a school of bobbing heads, but underneath the surface we were working hard!  I know from my swimming days (long ago) that moving through water offers twelve times more resistance as moving through air, so every single move you make underwater is twelve times more effective, making an aquatic workout both cardio and strength training at the same time.  The best part was that there was no impact on my joints (a nice break), and I could go at my own pace. An extra bonus is that the water keeps you cool during your workout.

Also, my inner child needs to tell you that the floaty-belt is super fun. I highly recommend this class for all superheroes-in-training. (And really, isn’t that all of us?)

Superhero Transformation, Part 3: TRX

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with strength training (or what I call “eat your spinach” exercise.)  Cardio is almost always entertaining, even when it’s hard work.  There’s energizing music, instructor support, and motivating group effort.  Strength training, in my book, is a less enjoyable combination of sweating and grunting.  I have never really enjoyed working out on weight machines.  With free weights, I always fear going too light and not making good use of my time, or going too heavy and dropping one on my toe.  (Ouch.)   After touring Club Fit and learning about all the different strength training options, I decided to try TRX. I thought it was fresh, different, and it looked fun. I can honestly tell you, it’s a FANTASTIC workout!

I took an evening class led by Ian, who was a great instructor, especially for a class full of first-timers.  He really took the time to explain the hows and whys of each exercise, and took us through a basic circuit two times.  It sure was a lot harder the second time around!  Ian joked that he was being nice to us because he wanted us to come back, but at the same time pushed us to challenge ourselves, even with the basic moves we were working on.  There was no music, and there were no flashy dance moves, but there was plenty of motivating group effort and positive instructor support.

By the time we were done, everything hurt (in a good way.)  I mean everything, including muscles I didn’t know I had!  Ian explained that because these exercises are performed standing, you’re automatically working more muscles than usual to help stabilize your body, which results in a better workout.  He’s definitely right – I have never sweat SO much in such a short period of time without cardio.  I feel like I squeezed an hour’s worth of free weights and machines into 30 minutes, and got even more out of it.  Love/hate no more!  I can’t wait to take another TRX class.

Superhero Transformation Checkpoint: Momentum

I felt inspired today to write a piece about the momentum of a workout routine, because I learned a lot from a recent experience where my own routine was interrupted.  I’ve always heard people give different advice about starting a workout routine and/or/vs. maintaining it.  Some people say “going once is easy; going regularly is hard.”  Some people say the opposite: that showing up on Day 1 is the hard part, and the rest just falls in line.  Everyone is different, but for me, the latter is usually true.  When I first felt inspired to begin my Superhero Transformation, it took me a long time to get my feet in motion.  Once I did, the positive feeling I got from exercise was amazing.  After only three workouts, I already felt taller, leaner, stronger, more comfortable in my skin and more in control of my body.

Then I went on vacation. (Sound familiar?) I intended to take power-walks on the beach and swim twice a day to keep up with my new routine, but several things went wrong. The water turned cold, the weather turned bad, a family member fell sick, and none of those exercise plans ever came to be. When I came home, I felt rested and relaxed, but I also learned what that “I haven’t exercised in too long” feeling was. I was happily surprised to find myself wanting to get back to it ASAP, instead of what I’ve done in the past, which was to avoid showing up on Day 1 all over again.

Before I started my fitness journey, I had placed exercise in a mental category of time-consuming things that I wouldn’t have room for in my already crazy life.  I was so, so, so wrong.  I can’t say that it will be the same for everyone, but I found that exercise has given me the “me time” that I was so desperately trying to make room for (on top of everything else!)  I’ve started to view exercise as a genuine act of caring for myself, and realizing that I deserve that care and the reward that it gives me. That kind of inspiration definitely helps me keep a good momentum going.

The Fastest & Most Effective Way to Get & Stay in Shape

Kids are back to school and now you’re beginning to settle into your busy Fall routines. Have you scheduled when and how you’re going to workout?

Did you know that your most effective workouts and results can be achieved in just 30 minutes a day! A new study from the American Journal of Physiology concludes that 30 minutes of exercise a day is good, and 60 minutes less effective. Check out this Runner’s World article click here, then don’t waste another minute before signing up for our new Club Fit HP30 classes.

HP30 small group classes (maximum of 6) provide participants a high intensity workout based on athletic training methods. Each class is broken into a series of short interval training segments that focus on dynamic balance/coordination/& strength while improving endurance. This athletic training approach will help enhance any other class or training you partake in at Club Fit, or activities outside the Club.

Besides being both efficient (30 minutes) and effective, you can also create your own class with up to three to five of your friends or workout partners, at a time and day that’s convenient to you. Otherwise check out our HP30 Fall Schedule on the Club Fit website, click for schedule.

If you have any questions or would like to sign up please call Scott Lancaster at 914 245-6993 or extension 1234.

Ally Klauber’s motivation to fitness!

Club Fit staff member, Ally Klauber, has been with us for nearly six years, but it was just last year that she felt the motivation to get fit and get on track with wellness. After graduating with a BA in communications from Franklin Pearce, she realized that she needed to get in better shape, lose weight and start eating healthier.

Her first move? Spin class. “I found Spinning really motivating. It is something I enjoyed but it also got me motivated because I saw results. That led me to try other group ex classes.” After Ally saw great results right away with Spinning, she worked up the confidence to branch out taking Kickboxing, Body Pump, Boot Camp and now TRX. All of these classes are free for members. She then incorporated weight training and continued to see steady results.

It’s important to understand that the journey to fitness isn’t one of those “instant gratification” situations. It takes hard work and discipline. That’s why Ally put herself on a schedule and literally, went to work. It might be hard but anyone can do it. What’s the payoff? Increased confidence, self-awareness, weight-loss, healthy choices, increased energy and a better sense of body awareness. The mission will never be easy, but she will become stronger with every workout and every challenge she sets for herself. That is true of anyone living a fit lifestyle. You can’t see results if you don’t push yourself.

We are proud of Ally for challenging herself and finding the motivation to change. We’re there for you every step of the way, Ally! Keep pushing the limits! One last thing that we want to share about Ally, is that she is now working in the fitness department and studying to be a personal trainer! Her fitness journey changed her entire life. Not just her image, self-image, but also, her career path. Stop by the Fitness Center in Briarcliff and say hello!

Superhero Transformation, Part 2: I Go Spinning

I am trying really hard to resist sharing all the terrible, awful spinning puns I came up with in my mind when I took a spin class last night.  (“If I throw up in this class, do they call a spin doctor?”)  Forgive me: it was only to distract myself from the intense burning in my legs. Holy bicycles, what a workout!

I have to be honest.  It wasn’t pretty.  In fact, it was pretty ugly.  I was breathless, panting like a dog and sweating more than I have in years.  I had forgotten what it was like to get sweat in your eye.  (Ow.)  In the first ten minutes of class, I came to a crashing realization that my fitness level has decreased significantly in the past two years that I’ve been ill.  In hindsight, I can’t imagine why I expected to be able to pick up where I left off in terms of ability.  I guess that’s always been the case for me.  Suddenly, it wasn’t.

Suddenly, I was having to sit down in the seat of my bike while everyone else was hopping up and down.  Suddenly, I found myself having to turn down my resistance because I’d overestimated what I could do.  I felt awful.  Our instructor was incredible – every few minutes she found a new way to verbally coach and inspire us to turn that resistance knob up and challenge ourselves.  I shamefully turned mine down and hoped no one would see.  I struggled with self-evaluation.  “Am I being responsible, or am I being a quitter?  Am I doing the right thing by listening to my body and doing my best, or should I really be pushing myself into the unknown?  Should I be pushing myself yet?  Should I stay here or should I go elsewhere?”

An incredible thing happened.  A mountain of viable excuses were piling up in my brain, but I didn’t give up.  I didn’t walk out halfway through class and console myself by saying I’d start with something easier.  I stayed, and told myself that even if I couldn’t keep up with the class, I would just keep pedaling at the highest resistance I could.  When the time came to push myself, I turned up that knob as high as I could and pedaled as fast as I could.  Finally, when it was all over, I felt amazing.  When I got to the stairs, my legs felt like jelly and I had to carefully hold the handrail on my way down so I didn’t fall.  Still, I felt incredible!

Spin class was more than a lesson in fitness.  I learned how emotional a workout can be.  I know that I sweat my face off, got great cardiovascular exercise, and helped tone my leg muscles, but the most personally rewarding thing I took from class is that I did my best and didn’t give up.  Also, I know that next time, I can do even better. I feel good that I’m on the right path, and I definitely feel like a Superhero today.

 

UPDATE: Two weeks later, I have tried two more spin classes, and I’ve felt remarkably better each time! I’m amazed at how quickly I improved. It was such a pleasant surprise, and so inspiring, to exceed my own expectations of my abilities. My advice to anyone trying spinning for the first time would be to try it more than once. You may surprise yourself!