Yesterday, as I was about to hit “publish” on this ode to my hatred for cross-training, I saw that Colby had published a new post – about her love of cross-training. Oh, Yin and Yang we are, Young Grasshoppers! Here’s my take…
Have I mentioned that I hate to cross-train?
In case you haven’t caught the last 500 times I have mentioned it: I hate to cross train.
First, because whatever it may be, it isn’t running (duh). If I am doing something that falls under the category of “exercise,” I want it to involve running. Or cycling. Cycling is ok. But it’s gotta be something with forward motion – weights and the like are lost on me and doing them just makes me wish I was running instead.
Second, because no matter what I choose to do, it hurts. A lot. Because whatever it may be, I never stick with it. Muscles are so funny like that. Drag them from their slumber and make them perform like Marines 3 times a year and they will complain loudly each of those 3 times (duh). Wimps.
Every year, I resolve to cross-train. I know it is good for me, my overall health and even my running. And every year, other than riding my bike to train for the Pan Mass Challenge and some wintertime sessions on my bike trainer, I fail miserably in the resolution. This year was no different, so in a last-ditch effort to squeeze something in before 2015, I signed up for a month’s worth of unlimited classes at Pure Barre.
Oh. My. God.
It is so hard.
Satan himself could not design class more likely to push me out of my comfort zone. I am neither flexible, nor coordinated, nor strong. If I had any one of those attributes, maybe I could lean on that talent and get through the class without crying inside. But I don’t, so I can’t. I am such a square peg in this round hole of a class, it isn’t funny. Well, kinda funny. But mostly painful.
I also don’t have any cute workout clothes, so I’m like the Rudolph of the class. All these years, I have walked through Lululemon looking for running shorts with hidden pockets and wondered where the hell people wear all of those wraps, circle scarves and leg-warmer-y type socks. Now I know – they wear them to barre class. I, of course, show up for barre class like I show up for most other things – in running tights. (And so far, they are still letting me join in all of the reindeer
games torture! Probably because I am paid up through 12/31. Let’s see what happens if I try and re-up come Jan 1.)
The class brings you through a series of exercises that target pretty much every muscle below your chin. It is a combo of pilates, yoga, isometrics, Lotte Berk method, and whatever else the sickos can incorporate into each 55 minute class. You do work on a mat, at a barre, standing, sitting, you name it. Sometimes you use specific instruments of torture: a ball, weights, elastic bands, and sometimes you are forced to torture yourself without any props. The goal is to work your muscles to the point of fatigue, which generally takes me about 3 seconds. It is so freaking hard. And made all the more difficult by the fact that I can barely touch my toes, let alone “shake things out with a split-stretch” after a particularly rough circuit. Are they serious? I’m pretty sure I couldn’t do a split when I was a toddler.
I cannot believe I just ran a marathon with this body. I must have run it solely on willpower, because I am so very weak I can’t believe I can stand up unassisted, let alone run a marathon.
My abs are abysmal. My lower back is even worse. My arms and shoulders are in better shape but nothing to brag about. Not even a little. Even my legs get crazy-sore and wildly shaky during class. Et tu, Hamstrings?
The only part of my body that isn’t bothered by the exercises is my “seat,” as they call it in Pure Barre lingo. Gluteus Maximus for you science folks. I assume that this is either because I am constantly forced to run hills in my hilly neighborhood or, more likely, because I am doing the “seat” exercises wrong. shhhhh. don’t tell! If the instructor notices, I will get an “adjustment,” which involves her touching my “seat” to move it into position – kind of unpleasant for both of us, don’t you think?
Don’t let the legwarmers and cutesie accessories fool you – this class is not for the faint of heart, or muscle. I hate it. But I need it. So I’m going to keep going – at least until the month is up.
Am I the only running junkie who hates to cross train? Has anyone else tried a barre class? What did you think??