You need to understand, after 12 years in the military, I have a lot of complicated feelings about instructor led group exercise classes. Maybe it was all the yelling or being at the back of the pack but I learned I was much better off exercising on my own.
Of course there are other components to the typical class that simply irritate me. The uptempo dance music, the overly perky instructor who clearly maintains their fitness doing something other than jazzercise (or whatever aerobics fad is in). There’s a language and culture to each class, a dress code and the message that the goal is weight loss.
So last month I finally caved and joined the gym at work. A couple of my teammates raved about cxworx, a 30 min cardio class. I was super skeptical but decided I’d give it a try, actually 6 tries, before writing it off.
My colleagues made sure I had the weights, tension band and mats I needed before class (thanks Jess!). The instructor gave clear direction about the moves. They were a series of exercises paced to 90 second long song clips. The songs serve as a mnemonic for each set of exercises. They are based on yoga and Pilates moves with resistance elements and a hi-tempo rep.
I spent the first class making my WTF face while trying to follow along and didn’t get much of a workout.
The second class I was starting to get the postures and transitions. By the fourth class I was staring to sweat and figuring out how to modify or scale back the intensity. (Thank you for the tips & tricks Carrie!)
The 30 minute series seems to be designed to help compensate for sedentary deskwork most of us do. There are leg lifts, crunches, planks and squats as well as some upper body resistance sequences.
My favourite exercise is a one legged squat that seems to be based on the yoga posture Warrior III. It uses balance, strength, flexibility and endurance and engages nearly every muscle.
In short, I’m a fan. I was looking for a core muscle workout but I found a lot of great things in this unusual class. The instructor focuses on the functional fitness of each move and enhancing strength and flexibility, I’ve not heard weight loss mentioned once. I love the scurry from my desk just before noon to change and get downstairs to the gym. I love the nudge emails from my colleagues (thanks Amanda!). I feel refreshed after the class and my head is clear for the afternoon. It has helped me integrate into my new team at work by providing a concrete common thing that is not just work.
It’s twice a week and a hard enough workout that for two days after stairs and getting up from my desk hurts.
The only downside is those dang 90 second music clips give me ear worms and I’m more of a rock and metal music type.