The beast of all classes left me shattered and in pain, but strangely wanting more.
Yesterday I took a beating.
A major beating that left me a broken woman.
I ventured home this weekend to visit my family and my mom has been talking up this new workout called Body Design. She takes it several times a week and drones on about how it’s the ultimate challenge.
She asked me if I would go with her and I was like, “Heck yes – let me show you how it’s done!” I thought to myself, no offense Mom, but I teach five classes a week and this is going to be a piece of cake.
So I went.
And oh my gosh – stop me in my tracks. I was far from a pro and I am in amazement that my mom voluntarily endures this abuse on a weekly basis.
So we rolled out of bed on a Saturday morning and rolled into class. The room was packed and I could feel the energy bouncing off the walls. I jumped to the front row right next to the madre, thinking how impressed she would be with my cardio skills. She explained the format to me: we would alternate between bouts of cardio and strength training moves with the body bar, weights, step, and tube.
The music started pumping through the speakers and our instructor promptly spouted off commands. Maybe she was a robot because she made every execution look flawless, like she was skipping along to a game of hopscotch.
I knew I was in trouble before the warm-up was even over.
My heart rate began soaring when she had us performing some sort of frog jumps on our steps. I looked at my mom and thought, what the hell did I get myself into? I guess I got a little too big for my britches and was definitely taken down a couple notches when the serious muscle work began. I suddenly had flashbacks of my experience with the Jay Johnson Boot Camp in Dallas. Some of these moves looked all too similar and my smile turn into a look of pain.
As the class progressed, the instructor was whipping out moves I had never seen. I looked around the class and my classmates were pumping it with all their might. There was quite a collection of folks in there — from tiny teens to a chap in his 60s. I was pleased that there were a good mix of men and women; we were all in the torture chamber together and we had a full hour to endure.
The trickiest, most painful move was one that included the body bar. I opted for a 12-pounder and that was plenty heavy for me. Others in the room had 18-pound body bars and trust me, we were doing what felt like a million reps. A couple times I had to drop the bar and just focus on the leg work as my heart felt like it was going to beat out of my chest and onto the floor.
Although I was miserable and screaming cuss words in my head, I was grateful I was getting that shock to the system. It’s so common for me, and I’m sure many others as well, to just get in the groove of a weekly routine. As a result, we may not see improvements in our fitness level as we hit a plateau. Well, yesterday my ass definitely got bumped off the plateau and up a mighty hill.
About halfway through the class, I was so tortured I began fabricating excuses in my head to escape the class. Should I say I have a stomachache? Side cramp? Leg injury? Just as I was about to run out, faking a headache, trusty ol’ Enrique Iglesias made a debut in the class. His pipes started bursting through the room and my energy level peaked. I am basically obsessed with his summer smash “Baby I Like It” and he inspired me to push through all the reps.
There is definitely something to be said for music and working out. They complement one another so well and I feel like I could never workout in silence. Even if I am just doing crunches in my living room, I have to crank up the tunes and get the adrenaline going. I credit my iPod for helping me survive the marathon I did in March – without that sucker, forget it!
So you think I am complaining about this class? Well let me paint you a little scene here:
Imagine a set of risers, piled about 6-8 inches high. All your weight is on one leg and a body bar is over your shoulders. Now give me a big squat, trying to touch your buns to the step and then lift up and curtsy lunge back with a bicep curl. Now do that about fifty times. And just when you think you’ve had enough of that, it’s time for the cardio section. This ranged from jumping off the step to basketball shuffling combined with super high jumps. You name it, we did it.
This cyclical process lasted for an entire hour and we used every single second. When we got in the car I felt like I had just run a marathon and was absolutely spent. It was all I could do to hop in the shower and get ready for the day; not to mention I was absolutely famished and could feel my metabolism burning it up. We moved around that step in every possible position you can contort the body into and every single muscle was aching.
This format of workout is incredibly intense, but I didn’t feel like I was just hopping around for an hour, putting pressure on the knees. I performed some incredible strength training while my heart rate stayed elevated the entire hour. Those intervals of cardio were plentiful but didn’t last more than three minutes each set. The benefit of the alternating is the class passed by incredibly quickly and I never felt bored. I might have dreaded what was ahead but I certainly didn’t stare at the clock the entire time.
Also, with an elevated heart rate through the session, more work is performed in less time, resulting in more calories burned. I kept thinking, I wish I could do this class several times a week- love/hate relationship to the max!
Check out your local gym and see what kind of cardio/strength combo class they have to offer. The names will differ from gym-to-gym but look for a description consisting of the following words: interval, circuit, cardio, strength and/or drills. This would be an optimal class for men and women so go give it a whirl.
Even if you hate it and it sucks, at least you tried something new and can feel a sense of pride. I know I was darn proud of myself that I didn’t cower away and that I made it through the entire session. I am definitely proud of my mom and think she is a workout warrior, even if she enjoys the self-inflected pain.
[Editor's note: The pictures above are not necessarily of "Body Design" workout classes. I couldn't find any that 100% fit what Kimberly described, but the images give you some kind of idea.]
Kimberly Westphall is the author of Blogging Fitness and a regular contributor to Midwest Sports Fans.
She attended the University of Kansas where she majored in Journalism. She participated in a podcast with Jerod, which will help you get to know her even better. While at KU, she was an anchor and online web producer for Jayhawk Sports Talk.
Kimberly made her MSF debut in 2009 discussing the fight between Kansas’ basketball and football teams and also had her column about the Dallas Stars Ice Girls featured at Dallas Sports Fans.
She also is a reporter for DFWreporting.com where she reports on positive, uplifting news in the DFW Metroplex.
She has a passion for fitness and is on the lookout for emerging fitness trends and workouts. Her favorite group exercise format is kickboxing, and when she’s not hitting up the aerobics studio, Kimberly is training for her second marathon: Disneyworld 2011.
Follow Kimberly on Twitter: @Fit_Trip_Kimber