Barre Boot Camp

This is my second boot camp class, which I enjoyed significantly more than the first.  It was less militant, more intense actually, and left me sweating.  I usually am not much of a sweater.

This is also the first class where I got progressively more sore as the day went on.  Is this supposed to happen?  My friend Jenny, who has been into health and fitness all of her life, said that sometimes it take up to two to three days for full soreness to set in.  I have proven her correct.  I was actually pretty excited when I woke up today because I wasn’t nearly as sore as I thought I’d be.  I had some soreness in my glutes and hip flexors, but very little in my quadriceps.  This has been evolving, especially as I reached 7 PM tonight.  This thought has actually been a relatively common occurrence throughout this journey, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised each time by how not sore I have been.

This has not been one of those times.  When I say this class thoroughly kicked my ass, I am not exaggerating.  I may not have drank enough water beforehand, but still.  The soreness I feel right now is both reassuring (for some reason) and a reminder of how far I still have to go.  It’s reassuring because it means I’m pushing myself past the limits that I thought I could go.

I think it’s like personal development.  One doesn’t simply reach the pinnacle in fitness nor in personal development.  There’s always another milestone, another goal, and another obstacle.  I am loving what all this has brought to my life.

I am truly craving it now.  I went three days without going to a gym, and my friend Maria and I both said on Sunday we were going to do 6 flights of stairs.  Yes, six flights.  Both of us willingly did them because we were craving exercise.  This is a high-class problem that I am loving.

Fitness, welcome to a permanent part of my life.  Love, Lex.

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20 Gyms in 30 days-summary

It turns out the 20 gyms in 20 days was a bit unrealistic, but you never know unless you try.  It’s better to aim high and fall slightly short, then aim low and miss completely.  This challenge did as I intended it to do, which was develop discipline, get toned, and in shape to go along with the weight loss through the Arbonne nutrition and clean eating program.  Now part one of my mission is complete.  I have picked out a gym, it’s Sphericality in Flemington, NJ.  In the end it came between Cornerstone Fitness and Sphericality.  Here are my synopses of the two.

 Cornerstone Health and Fitness in New Hope, Doylestown, and Warrington, PA.

cornerstone

This was my first gym I went to, and if the location was more convenient to where I am moving to shortly, I would join this gym in a heartbeat.  It’s about 30 minutes from where I currently live, but will be almost an hour from where I am moving to.  I can’t travel an hour to a gym, no matter how good it is.

Here are my reasons why it would be my first choice.  It has both kickass classes, and your traditional style gym.  The gym I joined in Flemington seems to be class based, and not open at anytime with equipment I can just use whenever the gym is open.  This could be a misunderstanding on my part for Sphericality.  It is also locally owned, very affordable for everything you get with your membership, and it has a definite community feel to it.  This is amazing since I only attended one class.  I truly do like the place, and if things were different would be joining there instead.  The atmosphere, camaraderie, the people, and energy of the place is perfect.  The locations are just not convenient for my life right now.

Sphericality

There are a few things that pushed Sphericality ahead of Cornerstone.  The convenience of the location, 5 minutes from where I work, the schedule of classes was convenient, and the overall vibe of the place.  I’ve taken two classes there now, and when I came back tonight the instructor, Kelly, said, “I’m soo glad you are back!”  It made me have a huge smile.  I had told her what I was doing, the 20 gyms in 20 days things.  She said, “you will come back here because we are the best.”  She didn’t mean it in a bragging, superior way.  She said it from a place of knowing her worth and the gym’s worth.  It played a role in my decision.

I will keep you guys apprised of my progress with the gym, results, and affects in my life.  I am truly hooked now.  I went like 2.5 days without going to a gym, and I was practically tweaking for a gym fix.  It’s one of the reasons I started to do this, to develop discipline and commitment to something outside of paddling and Arbonne.  I have found another niche to love and develop.  I can safely say, I don’t think I’ve loved my life more than I do right now.  It feels damn good.

Day 18, Gym 17

My friend Krissy is an instructor kickboxing at Freedom Xtreme Fitness in Branchburg, NJ.  I had done a one kickboxing class at Sweat Like a Girl which incorporated other things, but this would be a strict kickboxing.  I was both a little nervous and excited at the prospect of it. 

post workout

A much needed Arbonne After Workout drink to prevent soreness.

The class did not disappoint, and it kicked my ass.  I’m not just saying that because she’s my friend.  If the class was less than stellar, I’d still be writing this and saying so.  One of the best workout classes in terms of whole body workouts, cardio, abs, and oh my fizz legs.  There was an abundance of leg work.  Favorite quotes of the class:  you can do anything for 30 seconds; no one brags about a small butt, and when it hurts that’s when growth happens.  We did everything, squats, lunges, burpees, pushups, laps, and of course bag work.  The class pushed me to my limits, and past them at times.  It is dead true that it is when growth happens, and not just in terms of the physical..  She was great mix of motivator and encouragement without being military style about it.  She was full of tough love, encouragement, and “hate me now, love me later” attitude.

If you are in the area, and enjoy something that is both fun and sweat-inducing, this is for you.  The drop-in fee is usually a very reasonable $12 for an hour class.  You will not regret dropping in for this.

Day 16, Gym 10

I was looking to get into a kickboxing class, and found one in Flemington, NJ at MMA 10 at 6 PM.  I was really excited to try it at a real martial arts school.  Their website was fully functional when I signed up for the class that afternoon, and thought it was slightly odd I didn’t receive an email.  I got to the address a little before 6, and found that the school had closed.  At that same address, however, I did find a volleyball center with open courts on Fridays 8-10 PM.  I am excited for that because I played on a recreational (more like pick-up) in college, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  The universe conspires.

So, I thought it’s now a little after six and most classes start at 6 and run for an hour.  I had a business appointment at 8, so even if there was a 6:30 class available, it wouldn’t work.  I checked out the schedule I had for Health Quest, and saw there was a class called CXWORK that ran from 6:30 to 7.  Perfect!  I had no idea what the class was, but I thought I’d try it and give Health Quest a more rounded perspective.  The class was focused on core toning, while using your legs and some arms, too.  I got there a little early, and had the previous class instructor get me set up with the equipment needed.  She wasn’t teaching this class, but usually did.  She said, “focus on your form.  You could end up hurting yourself if you don’t.”  I agreed, and said thank you.

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The class itself was a honed, efficient workout that really did what it said it would do. The instructor was decent, but I wish she would have focused a little bit more on the newbies (myself and another woman) form.  My coordination is getting better, but it’s not my strong suit at this point.  I will say towards the end of the class, she was watching my form and giving some instruction as to how to improve it.  There was another student who about halfway helped me with my form, and I was thought why is she helping me and not the instructor?  At the end of the class, I find out that she also teaches the class.  So, that made me feel a bit better.

At the end, the instructor said, you did really well, especially since it was your first class.  This class is one of the most awkward you will take, and it takes some getting used to.  This made me feel a bit better.

Overall, still not super impressed by Health Quest.  I did enjoy the class, and it really is a tremendous workout, especially for 30 minutes.  The gym may not be my preference, but it’s hugely popular in the area.  I may take another class or two since I have a 5 day pass.

 

Day 14, Gym 13

I travelled to upstate New York for an Arbonne training, and an incentive power hour.  It was pretty incredible.  Regardless of the training, I woke up early yesterday and hit the  small gym at the Hotel Hyatt in Balston Spa, NY.  There were some free weights, and four pieces of cardio equipment (2 treadmills, 1 recumbent bike, and one elliptical).  Since the elliptical was taken, I hopped on the stationary bike for about 15 minutes.  The hotel also had a pool, which is a very nice accommodation to have for a relatively small hotel.  The fitness room was open 24/7, and the pool from 6 AM to 10 PM.  As far as hotel exercise rooms go, it got the job done for me.  If you were there for a week, one might get bored.

Update on my TRX class from the other day.  A friend of mine told me that sometimes it takes a up to two or three to be sore.  Well, she was right.  It wasn’t the day after that I was sore, it was two days.  My legs, shoulders, upper back, and abs were a bit sore.  Nothing extraordinary, but I suppose I should have used my Phytosport line the day after, as well.  It’s a good sign.  It feels really good, both mind and body, to be getting back in shape again.  This time, just like when I did the clean eating challenge, it will become a lifestyle, not just a temporary phase.

Day 13, Gym 12

I am becoming obsessed with the TRX system, and thought it was about time to get a formal instruction.  I found Sphericality in Flemington, NJ, which is a fitness studio with all sorts of classes, one of them being the TRX.  I spoked with Maggie, who very nicely waived the fee for the class so I could get an idea of the studio.  I was thrilled, and was excited to finally learn how to best utilize the TRX.

dinner and arb

Gearing up for workout with eggs, and Arbonne Phytosport hydration and fizzy stick.

The class was small, only three students, including me, were attending the class.  The room was clean, and had a great energy to it.  It had a community feel, which I am realizing is becoming a key factor in my decision when I do chose a gym to call home.  There were mats laid out, and the TRX was set up.  This class was going to be no joke, and I could tell that I was going to like the pace and just the general set-up.  The instructor Kelly was fantastic, and definitely did not take it easy on me just because I was new.  She pushed us, but it was more like nudging and providing encouragement.  She made sure my form was correct, which is so important when working out.  This is especially true for this type of equipment where you are using your body weight to develop muscles, which stretching muscles, tendons, etc that do not necessarily get tested on traditional weight machines.  We alternated from arms, to core, to legs, and then back again so we weren’t targeting one group of muscles for a prolonged period of time.   I can feel it in my back muscles more than anything, because I think almost every exercise involved shoulders and/or upper back.  I will be curious to see how sore I am tomorrow in that muscle group.  I haven’t worked my upper back that intensely so far, so I will keep you guys posted.

Update on my overall fitness and results.  I have broad shoulders to begin with, and have been known to rip suit jackets (literally).  I put on a somewhat tighter fitting shirt, and when I flexed my arms across my body I could feel the slight pull across my shoulders.  I haven’t been doing anything extreme, but it reinforced that consistency in anything leads to results over time.

Day 11, Gym 10

I headed to the Flemington, NJ area.  I went to one of the most well-known and popular gyms in the area, HealthQuest.  After my pleasant experience with LA Fitness last week, I was determined to have no preconceived notion about the place.  The lovely woman at the front desk let me do a workout, despite membership not being there which is usually a requirement.  She was quite nice and informative, so I asked about classes.  She got a schedule, and started to go through them with me because they were lacking a description sheet.  However, after this interaction, I had my first disappointing experience at a gym that I had worked out in.  I will touch on why, but first the positives of my past 11 days.

I have noticed a few things about my body progress so far.   My little pudge is just about gone, and my abs are somewhere in between slightly squishy and firm.  This may not sound like an improvement, but when I started 11 days ago there was just stomach flab.  Most of my small pants still fit, but I could feel the little distended pudge and didn’t like how it had crept up on me again.  My cardio fitness is slowly improving, along with muscle tone and endurance.  I weighed myself at 138 pounds, and was quite pleased with the number.  I, unfortunately, didn’t weigh myself when I started because it just wasn’t on my radar.  It may have been around 143.  I think I am most excited about the cardio fitness, and I’ll explain my progress in the next paragraph.

I started off with some light cardio at the rowing machine, which I wrote about in Day 6, Gym 4.  There I did about 12 minutes and almost 2000 meters, which is approximately 165 meters per minute (mpm).  Today I did 18 minutes and over 3,000 meters, approximately 172 mpm.  I wasn’t as tired, winded, and actually increased my rowing speed towards the end.  I am inspired to see tangible results so quickly.

I did my TRX routine, which is going to be a gym requirement.  I then went to the free weight area, since I hadn’t done that in a few days and wanted to work on my arms and core.  This was my first true disappointment in a gym.  The free weight area machines I have used have been mostly by a company called Hammer Strength.  They have either all or mostly been labelled at what muscle groups are targeted on the machine, how the machine works, etc at the other gyms I have been to.  At HealthQuest, this was lacking on a good number of the machines.  Some were labelled with print that said what they were, some of them were partially worn off, and I’d say about one-third to a little less than half were not labelled at all.  More than half did not have a diagram of the muscles that the machine targeted, and while I could guess at most of them, I find this is unacceptable for a gym of this size and cost.  It is not the gyms responsibility to be equipment police in regards to people, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try to make it as user-friendly as possible.

On my way out the door, I asked for the membership price for a single membership.  I was astonished at the astronomical price of $93 per month.  This does include all the classes,  but not children’s programs or some speciality programs.  This is according to the little brochure I was given.  She almost looked apologetic when she gave it to me.  I have not taken a class yet, and would like to take one before passing on a final judgement. This is an incredibly popular gym, and I would like to think there’s a reason for it.