“W” is for Workouts

Post #23 in the Blogging A to Z Challenge.

So I think I’ve finally found a fitness class that works for me! 2 weeks ago I decided to try out a Bar Method class. I first heard of the Bar Method last fall when one of my colleagues at Automattic suggested it as an activity during our all-company meetup. I remember loving the workout even though it was challenging, and made  a note to try it out again at home.

Well, like I said, I got around to trying it out again 2 weeks ago, and I love it so far. I’ve been going 3 times a week and am going to increase to 4 times a week. I’ll also be shifting my work hours to accommodate the class times.

The Bar Method is an hour-long, total body workout that’s inspired by yoga, pilates, and ballet. Most of the exercises use body-weight alone, but some do use light hand weights. The moves are easy enough to do at home for extra practice.

I love the classes for several reasons:

  • Low-impact — so very minimal risk of injury.
  • The workouts are challenging. There’s a lot of room to grow.
  • The friendly, zen-like atmosphere at the studio. At first I felt a little like a bull in a china shop when I walked in (excuse the cliche) but over time, I feel more and more comfortable. The ladies at the front desk are always warm and friendly, and they make a point to remember your name.
  • The instructors also learn everyone’s names. During the classes, they’ll call you out if you need to make any corrections. In some cases they’ll come over to you and correct your form. But they do so in a respectful, non-embarrassing manner. Unlike the instructor I had at the Crossfit gym earlier this month, no one at The Bar Method puts folks on the spot or makes comments about the structure of someone’s body in front of the class. It’s a calm, peaceful place to really enjoy a workout.
  • The studio is spotless. Everyone wears socks on the workout floor, which is a thick, plush carpet.
  • The instructors use headset microphones during class! So far, I’ve had no problem hearing and understanding the instructions. Even if I don’t wear my hearing aids, I can still hear everything! Major stress-reliever.
  • The workout is strangely addictive. I don’t know what’s so addicting about it since it’s difficult, but I enjoy the whole experience. It’s like crack.

Not surprisingly, I’m the worst person in all of the Bar Method classes I’ve been to. I need more corrections than anyone else, even folks who are newer than me. But I’ve accepted the fact that I’m just not a natural when it comes to physical performance. I never liked P.E. class much as a kid, now that I think about it. I’m getting caught up on the skills and essentials I missed out on learning as a kid.

The only reason I’m good at dragon boating is because I’ve done it for nearly 3 years. I was abysmal when I started. It took me 2 years to get somewhat decent, and 3 years to really get a handle on it. And I know I have a lot of improvements I could make. I’m by no means a master paddler.

So even though I’m not that good at The Bar Method, I’ll keep going. I’ll learn eventually, it’ll just take me longer than it takes most people. And I’m OK with that.

What’s really motivating me are the following changes I’ve already felt in my body:

  • After about 6 classes, I became aware of how much more easily I can breathe! My entire core feels longer and more open. There’s no outward difference, but definitely an internal difference. I didn’t even realize how tight everything had gotten. Now, thanks to all the stretches from class, it’s like my entire mid-section has opened up. I’ve been taking deep breaths all the time because I apparently haven’t been able to for years! Wow!
  • I haven’t done much cardiovascular exercise lately (besides dragon boating), but I’ve noticed that I feel less winded walking up hills and stairs.
  • I’m starting to feel more connected with my body.
  • I’m more motivated to make time for stretching during the day, outside of class.
  • I feel less brain fog when waking up in the morning.
  • This should help improve my running and paddling performance in the long run.

So far I’m on a one month new student trial. When the month runs out, I’ll have to make a decision on whether to become a full member. Right now I am thinking of committing to 3 months before reevaluating again.

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