Sometimes I just want to be left in my comfort zone - you know, stay in my box. That is exactly how I felt this morning when I woke up. My mouth hurt and my body was begging to lounge in bed. The last thing I wanted to do is go to the Pilates Barre class that I had signed up for with a friend. New places, new people make me super self conscious. But the money was paid and the friend was waiting.
I really had no idea what to expect from this class. Sure I have heard of Pilates and have even thought I wanted to try it, but honestly I have no idea what it really entails. This particular class was a Pilates Barre class. According to the course description this is what I signed up for:
The Pilates Barre signature workout class that combines ballet, weights, and Pilates for a low-impact, fat-burning workout. Plan to do some free-standing lifting using light weights, some mat work, and plenty of barre work. The class also incorporates stretching segments after each strengthening series, so you'll also lengthen your body and increase flexibility while you tone.
Maybe the description means more to some people, but I was still pretty clueless. My heart was pounding as I pulled into the parking lot to meet up with my friend.
Here are where some of my mixed feelings come in. The instructor was nice enough, but I did not get the impression she was happy to see newbies. She took one look at us and said we could "modify," but then when we got in the classroom she made it pretty clear that the other people were there for a "challenge" and to just do what we could. I totally understand and don't want to take away from other people's experience. However, I think it may have been best if when my friend emailed about the class specifically asking if it would be appropriate for beginners, that they said "no" it wasn't for beginners.
As the rest of the students filed in I felt more and more like a big clumsy lump. They were all slim and strong looking and wearing their cute workout outfits. I was in workout capris and a giant t-shirt because my cuter workout clothes don't currently fit. I know everyone says no one is looking at you cause they are worried about themselves. But since I am looking at everyone else, I have to wonder if that is entirely accurate.
The instructor suggested we work in the back corner of the room. My friend had to work behind that post you see in the picture. To be honest, I was probably more comfortable in the back, but the way she said it I felt "stashed" in the back corner.
Our class started at 9 a.m. and I kid you not by 9:15 a.m. I was ready to bolt! There was near constant clock watching :)
I found most of the exercises to be a little awkward. I just couldn't get my body in quite the right positions. I am one of the least flexible people I know. I am just going to say this...when you have excess "meat" on your bones there are just some moves you can't do. I can't sit all the way back on my heels because my butt, thighs, calves do not fold into nothingness allowing my butt to rest on my heels. I am not good at getting up and down off the floor. At times, I felt ashamed as I heaved my hiney off the floor. Again, I found myself taking notice of those strong slim ladies who moved effortlessly from position to position - clearly not for the first time. Okay, okay, I know I am looking at them again. The main reason I was looking at them was because I was trying to figure out if what I was doing was remotely.
I think the instructor did a decent job of coaching us through some of the exercises. It was definitely helpful to have some adjust your positions. Honestly, I felt like I was doing pretty good. Then she would come by and tell me to put my shoulders back (or something like that) and it would totally change the way my body felt and what was getting worked.
I think the easiest exercises were for the arms. They were not as awkward and more like exercises I was used to doing in other settings.
It felt like we spend the majority of our time on thighs and glutes (for obvious reasons). I was not a fan of trying to hold this ball between my thighs while I worked out. There were a couple of times I put it aside cause it was just too much for me to finagle. There were plenty of ballet moves thrown in - plie, releve, etc. The squats in a plie position were not the most fun and my poor knees were showing off a significant case of crepitus. Crepitus is my new favorite word - it is the crackling in your knees. I really don't know if it is good to work through crepitus, so I stopped to be safe.
On the upside, my chubby legs did get my feet up on the barre to do some stretches. I think I liked the stretching parts a little better than the strengthening parts of the workout.
I thought of my awesome ladies group when we were doing barre push ups. Some of us admit to a complete lack of upper body strength. The barre push ups were tough but doable and I think with enough of those someday I might actually be able to complete a "real" push up. Anyone up for resurrecting our push up / plank challenge?
All in all, I definitely worked up a sweat. I am not sure why, but that surprised me. Did I think if I wasn't doing cardio I wouldn't sweat? There were times when I spent an extra moment on the mat trying to catch my breath.
Mercifully, 10 a.m. finally arrived and the class was over. It was a bit awkward when we were leaving. I thought they might try to encourage us to come back...not so much. Well, they did mention an equipment class and suggested we do a duet. I googled Pilates duets - no thank you. Truth is, the the classes are more expensive than I want to spend right now...especially if I keep our gym membership.
Back in the car I was mostly grateful it was over, but was a little proud of myself for giving it my best.
What I can do in the meantime is get my butt to classes that are free with our current gym membership. I learned that I am definitely the type of person who needs to be in a class where I will be pushed and I won't quit before it is over. I know from experience when I am doing workouts at home by myself there is a good chance I will totally bail before it is over and not push myself as hard as I should.
One question remains...will I be able to get out of bed in the morning?