leave your inhibitions at the door
In the less than two years this blog has been around I’ve managed to crank out about 300 or so posts. In all that time I’ve posted dozens and dozens of recipes, went to countless restaurants, and reviewed close to 50 burritos. A lot of those meals aren’t exactly what dietitians (or any sane person) would call “healthy.” And portion control? HA! Is that a new word for a government budget-cutting thingy?
The problem is that you can’t just eat whatever you want, whenever you want. It’s gotta go somewhere and that somewhere is usually in body parts you don’t want that extra weight to go. For me, that’s the gut. So what’s my secret for staying relatively healthy? Two words – Exercise.
But out of all those posts, I’ve only mentioned the word “exercise” less than ten times. And the latest mention of it was calling something “an exercise in futility” – not anything about exercise itself. By comparison, I’ve mentioned or posted a picture of Lindsey Lohan eleven times.
Make that 12 times.
Over the years, I’ve usually just done some combination of straight up cardio – jogging, walking, cycling – and weight lifting. The problem is that with all of those, it’s pretty easy to plateau and you end up having to do more and more of the same. That means tacking on additional miles and time at the gym. That’s not a problem when you don’t have kids and are living in an apartment. But anyone who has kids and a house can tell you that all that free time you had makes like those American Idol runners-up. It just disappears, never to be seen again.
And don’t get me started on the time-suck that is this shining beacon of a blog….
Enter Pure Barre
I recently hit my two-year anniversary of going there and I’m still not anywhere near plateau-ing. Pure Barre started about 12 years ago in Michigan and has spread to over 100 locations in about 30 states. It’s been featured all over the place and is growing by leaps and bounds. It’s a one-hour class that features a lot of different moves to build strength, endurance, and bone density. It’s a total full body workout that combines elements of yoga, pilates, and ballet. There’s a ballet barre there, hence the name, but there’s no dance choreography or dancing involved.
I think the mere mention of ballet turns off a lot of guys to the workout. In the time I’ve been doing it, there have been only one or two other guys who do it regularly. I thought the lack of guys was just an Ann Arbor thing until I took a class in Denver. At that one, I don’t think they’ve EVER had a guy in there. I’m really quite surprised that more single guys haven’t joined simply for the opportunity to be in a room full of women. Many beautiful women.
Of course, it could very well be that guys are afraid of the opposite. They know that women can handle a helluva lot more pain than guys so they’re afraid of getting their asses kicked by the workout. And even worse – getting their asses kicked in front of that same roomful of beautiful women.
How tough is the workout? There was an article in the Huffington Post where their fitness writers tried it out. Here’s what they said:
My abs and hamstrings wobbled so much during some of the exercises — more than I’d ever experienced before — and by the end of the class, I was completely exhausted and sore. I must say, it was the good kind of sore, though — the kind that comes with working out parts of the body that probably don’t get worked out enough.
Ay, chihuahua. My body has never experienced this kind of intensity. I felt a bit disheartened that some measly two-pound weights were murdering my arms and that a flimsy resistance band could make me shake so uncontrollably. Within the first two minutes, I knew there was going to be some soreness in my future. The class made me feel out of shape, something I hadn’t considered previously.
The pain is like having your insides twisted, pulled, and squeezed. If I fought it, the pain became worse. Once I surrendered to and accepted the pain, it was more bearable. It is like getting caught in the undertow of a wave.
Ok, that last one was actually one woman’s description of childbirth. But it pretty much sums up how I felt in my first class.
But if you can stick with it and go 2-3 times a week, you’re going to see a noticeable difference in less than a month. I got The Sicilian hooked on it and she said she saw a difference in less than two weeks. The first change I saw was in my posture, which in itself is a gut-reducer. Over time, I’ve developed a lot leaner muscle and improved flexibility. I also have a lot more definition than at any point in my life – even after running a marathon years ago. I can actually see abs, where before it was just some big mass of undefined flesh with a few stray hairs.
What’s more important to me is that it’s a great “functional” workout. With running and lifting weights, I found that I didn’t necessarily get better at anything except running and lifting. With Pure Barre, I’ve gained a ton of lower body strength and overall flexibility which is needed in just about any sport. It’s given me more power in tennis, but the biggest impact was in my golf game. The lower body strength has added 20-30 yards onto my drives alone. And the increased flexibility allows for more control through the swing, which helps in consistency and accuracy.
So thanks, Pure Barre, for the killer workouts! I’m going to head over there pretty soon because I got big ‘ol slab of pork belly in my immediate future.
Stay tuned – tomorrow’s post is going to feature some of the awesome tunes from PB. It’s HERE
Have you tried Pure Barre or anything similar? What do you do for exercise?
health and wellness