"I've got to go work-out, but I can meet you after?"
I say to a buddy after an invite to happy hour. They give me an odd look, as I would rarely skip the opportunity for happy hour, but I made a commitment to "the gym" and decided to follow through.
Little did they know, "Work Out" was a barre class and the gym was a "Define Body" studio where I had signed up for only hours before, with little more than the intent to prove this couldn't be thaaat difficult. Little did I know, I'd become a believer shortly thereafter. I know what I thought. I thought I'd be able to do all these exercises and impress my lady with my fitness level, no problem. #dudeseverywhere. Nope.
Barre Class picture of women that hopefully got you to click on this story and then find the rest entertaining and informative....
The truth is, I've always excersied. I played every sport as a child including baseball, basketball, football, and even pursued football through high school. I've spent plenty of time in weight rooms and doing boot-camps and sprints. However, none of that prepared me for a cracked L5 vertebre senior year of high school followed by years of premature back problems. So, when I get to my early 30's and threw my back out on a business trip, I stumbled into the physical therapist's office barely able to move. It was there that I learned the problem was in my hips. As it turns out, I've been exercising alot of different muscles, even stretching muscles, but nothing could make up for how ridiculously unflexible and immobile my hips were. Because of that my back was overcompensating, and so, back problems.
So, in PT, I start doing hip exercises. When i come home and show the girlfriend what I'm doing, she laughed and said, "You can't do that?" I look dumb-struck and slightly annoyed... but also curious. She proceeds to explain those are the warm up exercises and stretches for Ballet, at least, if I could do them 100% they would be, but I was getting to about 30%...
So, why? IT turns out this has alot to do with a muscle called the transverse abdominus, which as it turns out, I wasn't using much...
The Transverse abdomnius, and other muscles I don't use.
Well, the girlfriend and I got engaged, and she wanted to join a barre studio for pre-wedding workouts. I thought, no problem, go for it. Turns out, she wanted to me to go with her, and me being curious, agreed to join her for a "Define Body" class in Houston, TX. Didn't know what I was in for.
The class was full of fit women all laying on their mat, doing some stretches. I go in to be next to my lady. Had to buy some socks that have stickies on them, which are always a really great deal when bought in studio....
In any case, they say grab some light weights and heavy weights. Choices range from 1lb to 10lb. I grab some 8's and some 5's.... (1st mistake). Head into class and wait for the start.
So at first the class starts with something like high kicks, but you point your toes. I couldn't help laughing because i felt so ridiculous (and still do to this day) but I will say it worked to warm up. That was the end of the stuff I was able to laugh about (although some of the exercises do still make me chuckle).
Well, you immediately move into plank positions and assorted mountain climber type activities. With no break from anything you do pushups, negative pushups, and ab workouts in a "C - sit" position that worked out parts of my abs I had never touched before. These exercises are so light, they are meant to be repetitive. The thing was, many of the muscles needed to do these exercises I didn't have. So I wouldn't even get tired, I just literally couldn't do the exercise for more than a second. That was my first surprise. It wasn't that I thought it would be easy, I just never imagined that I would be finding muscles and parts of me that hadn't ever been worked out, and were pathetic, for lack of a better word.
Thereafter, we move to so many different types of pulses, standing on your toes alot, the "plie", and 4th position (still not sure what that is) and practically always using some type of bouncy ball to squeeze or hold or just torture yourself with. As a side note, there are a ton of "Thrusting" excerises in barre class. This, as I said still makes me laugh, but not while doing it. They make these things difficult and tiring, but every time in hind-sight, its a funny site. Especially the one guy doing thrust exercises with like 12 women... In any case, did you know that this type of thrusting, really, any type of thrusting, is great for the transverse abdomnius....
Even the weights, all exercises I was familiar with, were very difficult. I just never thought I woudl be doing 5 or 8 pound weights for 40-50 reps. It was a bit humilating, a bit embarassing, but a good experience.
what's Actually Happening in a Barre Class Part 1
Imagine standing like this and just pulsing up and down for like 10 minutes. Then grab some weights and keep going.
what's Actually Happening in Barre Class Part 2
Good luck doing this. My leg came up like half that distance. Not to mention, i couldn't keep my back straight. This is literally designed to work your ass. If you do it wrong, you work your back, hence my back problems. If you do it right, you stop after like 30 seconds and laugh cause the girl next to you can do it for 10 minutes without quitting....
what's Actually Happening in Barre Class Part 3
The ball, oh lord the ball. Stand with your feet making a "V", heels together. Then, up on your toes, back straight.... here put this ball between your legs, now do squats for like 10 minutes. That's not enough? Okay, switch it up and alternate between thrusts and squats... your legs shake, that's what they want."
How I thought I would dominate barre class
How I felt during the barre class (although not me, some other poor sap who tried barre)
Barre-ly made It
Because I love puns
Well, By the time the hour long class was over, I could not do alot of moving. I was covered in sweat (easily 2-3 orders of magnitude more sweat than any woman in the class) and I was definitely out of water. I was exhausted, hungry, and embarrassed. The next day, I was jaw-droppingly sore, and for those of you who exercise often enough to get sore, the 2nd day was the peak of those issues.
Okay, all hardships accounted for, I had commited to this class, so I kept going. I got better at it, but I made peace with the fact that I'm not going to do the exercises with as much grace or confidence as the women in there, mostly because I feel ridiculous on some level no matter what. I can say this though. I dropped some fat weight, maybe a couple percent, and most of all, the most amazing part, was I finally was sleeping peacefully, with no back problem. All those core exercises actually targeted the part of my back that no amount of my normal workouts could ever do. For that reason alone, i go back, and suffer through the workouts. To be honest though, I actually enjoy them now. For those of you that like to take a class every once in a while between Steem posts, definitely worth a try. I'm a believer now. I'm sleeping better, and still go to class when I can. If you can muster up the courage, go check one out.