I had hoped to start going to fitness classes on the regular (twice a week is good enough, thank you very much) but after the kickboxing class I could barely get up a flight of stairs without crying much less get into another class.
So, in an effort to pretend like the idea of regularly going to a work out class doesn't make me want to barf, I signed up for a few at an all ladies gym. Because YAY PINK WORKOUT STUFF!
I really wanted to only attend the fun, dance-specific classes (remember how great I was at Zumba?) but of course those happen to fall on days of the week that make me want to go home and lie face down on a couch for six hours. Instead, I registered for the balance ball hour and maybe only because I once saw a picture of Carrie Bradshaw doing it in heels. I mean, if she can wear heels and workout, I could be barefoot and kill it right?
As usual, I appear to be the least prepared woman in the class. I'm in leggings (and not even work-out leggings, get your life together, Bianca!) and am barefoot. Everyone else is in a pair of super cute and colourful running shoes. Does it look like I'm a loser newbie or a total rule-breaking badass? Your call.
Balance Ball classes get you working out to fast-paced music and with an assortment of differently sized and weighted balls. Tiny, cute (and inherently evil) pink three pounders, volleyball-sized squishy ones and my personal favourite the huge bouncy ones that you can sit on and giggle at how many times people said balls in the class. (Oh by the way, I'm super juvenile about words that are even the tiniest bit sexual. I'm not proud.)
What you'll need: Workout clothes, water and apparently running shoes. I must have missed that part of the pamphlet.
We lift, we squish, we sit, we bounce and we lift some more. We use actual barbell weights and I wish death upon them and their ilk. We lie on top of the big balls and lean over to do plank pushups. A pox on the ball. We even tuck the tiny weighted balls behind our knees and lift our legs back into the air. I want to slap everyone near me.
Here's a snippet of my inner thoughts:
5:30 pm -- Lotta balls in this class. Teehee.
5:35 -- Jumping jacks I can do...jumping jacks while holding weights balls I cannot do without mentally cursing everyone in my vicinity.
5:36 -- Wow that's an overwhelming burning sensation. Six minutes in. Spectacular.
5:45 -- Squishy ball! I will call you Squishy and you will be mine. You will be my Squishy.
5:50 -- Why am I always in classes with preggos? Why are they still so good at working out? What if she goes into labour? Do we have water to boil and sheets to rip?
5:51 -- Why DO people always ask for ripped sheets? Are regular, sewn together sheets too mainstream? Oh crap...yup 7, 8, 9, 10. Whew that was tough.
6:00 -- WAIT WAIT WAIT. This is a LIVE class? As in people can log in and watch it online? Sweet, merciful Jesus.
6:05 -- Weight should be level with my nipples? Why are my nipples the topic of conversation?
6:15 -- Maybe if I tell her I have hip issues I won't have to lift my leg as high...WHAT?! Did you just say that means I should lift it higher?! Son of a...
6:20 -- All I want to do is sit on the huge ball and bounce happily. Why can't anyone just let me do that?
End Result: Maybe it's because I've done a few killer work outs by now (Oh these guns? Don't even worry about them.) that this class didn't feel as kill-myself-crazy. My heart rate is normal and I'm not grotesquely sweaty but my arms are sore after all that lifting. God I hate those balls! Teehee.
Effort: The instructor let us know that we could slow down, drop the weights or take a water break at any time. As hard as I tried to make it through without doing any of those, I did have to drop the weights at some point or else risk losing my arm mobility. How would I type this?! The effort you put in is entirely up to you which is true of any workout. Except this one specifically did not have someone smacking you if you underperformed.
Return Trip?: While I'll definitely be back to the gym, I don't know that I'll sign up for this specific class. The music wasn't my particular taste and I depend on music to continuously keep me motivated. Also not keeping me motivated: burning in the arms and legs. That made me stabby.
First up on my fitness calendar was hot yoga. Regular yoga was out of the question since the prospect of searing heat makes my heart flutter. (No seriously...tropical temperatures are a dream). Setting out to find a yoga studio that offers the sweaty class was easy and I settled on Hot Yoga Toronto in the Annex. You have the option of taking either a verbally taught or silently lead class. Personally, I opted for the class with words...it was going to be hard enough to follow. Read the full story
This week I decided to sign up for a spin class at Quad on King Street West. While I had no illusions about being a yoga newbie, I always like to think that I'm an excellent cyclist. Every summer on schedule, I decide to use a bicycle as my mode of transportation and pout until my dad unhooks his from the garage ceiling and cleans it up for me. Newly pumped and shiny, it will sit in my hallway unused because cycling around the city is dangerous and it's so much more fun to walk. But somehow I still like to think I could cycle if I really wanted to. Read the full story
When I first heard about the Aerial Strength class offered by Brass Vixens on Queen West, I have to admit, I pictured something totally different. Read the full story
When I decided to start writing this column, pole dancing was the first and foremost workout that I wanted to try. I enjoy a good night out at a club and might have even won a dance-off or two. So, yea I like to think that I can dance. I always figured that placed in front of a pole, I'd do better than alright. Read the full story
I should point out that two years ago, I decided hula hooping was the best way to achieve abs so I bought one, set myself up outside, began to hoop and as soon as it dropped to the floor (which was almost immediately) I said "Nope, this sucks" and left the hoop outside. Luckily for me, Toronto has classes to turn me into my pretend alter-ego of a hippie hula girl. Read the full story.
I signed up for a Barreworks mixed level class and am told it's a good choice for a newbie like me. The instructor promises an hour of fun, serious core work and ballet-inspired barre stretches. Only opened since June of this year, the studio is the first of its kind in Canada. Developed from the super popular trend in the US, Barreworks promises a lean dancer's body through muscle sculpting, cardio training, core conditioning and deep stretching. Read the full story.
A few weeks into my quest for the best workout, a workout buddy mentioned a machine called The Reformer. While describing its uses, I could not get the picture of an 18th-century torture device out of my mind. This week I was excited to try out MisFit Studio after being recommended by a friend. The studio can be found in an alleyway in a stunning converted old coach house. I initially signed up for a "Kick Ass Mat" class with no expectations whatsoever. When I arrived I was taken for a tour of the studio (did I mention it's gorgeous?) and came face-to-face with The Reformer. Read the full story.
Zumba. Everyone is always talking about Zumba. Whenever I mention my workout quest to friends and family they practically unite in saying "Zumba! Have you tried Zumba yet? Why haven't you Zumba'd?!" Well, listen up you guys, I finally went out and tested Zumba. Read the full story.
If you haven't heard about Kangoo don't worry, you're in a huge group. Not one person I've told of my escapade knew what I was talking about. You've probably seen women at trade shows standing in a booth repping the new workout wearing boots that resemble ski shoes with oval springs attached to the bottom. If you haven't, go to more trade shows! Free swag! Anyway those ladies sell Kangoo Jumps boots to be used while you run, walk or generally work out. Read the full story.
Months and months ago, I attended a show in Toronto where Billy Blanks was appearing for a motivational speech as well as autograph signing. For those of you who don't follow the lifestyles of the fit and fabulous (of which I am not, nor do I follow) Billy Blanks invented the workout known as Tae Bo. A fusion of tae kwon do and boxing, the workout is done to a hip hop soundtrack for extra energetic movements. There's punching, kicking, stepping, crunching and a lot more. Since 1975, Blanks has touted the workout as the "future of fitness" and comes complete with an incredible backstory that made me tear up during his speech. So I bought the DVD. And got it autographed. Sometimes I hate me. Read the full story.
Follow Bianca Teixeira on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BeeLauraTee