I was asked to check out the Precision Running class at Equinox when it first came out. I had declined the invite because I was still struggling a lot with my running. Now that I’m making my way back into running, I thought it would be fun to give the class a try–especially since I always enjoy taking class with Ali Baldassare.
I finally made it to a morning class. I don’t know how long it has been since I have but it sure has been a while! I have been really struggling with getting to the gym. I had every intention to go to spin class last night but I just wasn’t motivated so just didn’t go. Like I said before-exercise is hard!
While I was on my T ride home, I really gave myself a hard time about skipping the class. I felt so bad about not going that I made myself practice a little yoga with YogaGlo and went for a 2 mile jog. The workout motivated me a bit to get back in my old habits. Not to say it will be easy to get back to it, but I was at least motivated and inspired.
I sat down and adjusted my workout schedule to try to help me get there. Maybe I was setting myself up for failure by not thinking about the schedule I had planned for myself. I realized that I used to workout in the morning and this would help me feel more awake and ready for the day. I know that I needed to be strategic about what classes I picked. Trying something too new may make me second guess myself so I was going to pick classes I knew I would want to go to.
Ever since my Pan-Mass Challenge training, I really grew to love spinning. The music and the workout just makes me feel good both mentally and physically. I really love The Handle Bar and would love to go to some of my favorite instructors but I need to make sure I get the most out if my 3 month membership to Equinox.
What is nice about Equinox’s classes is that there are different categories of spinning classes not (CrossCycle®, Breathless the Ride, Studio Cycling, Detox Cycle and more) not just different instructors. I had no idea what CrossCycle® would be like. I figured it would be a spin class that focused on using your muscles in different ways and maybe a weighted bar like I have used at The Handle Bar. I was kind of right….but in a way completely wrong!
What was my CrossCycle® class like?
CrossCycle® mixes endurance, strength and conditioning all in one class with intervals both on the bike and off the bike. I didn’t expect to get off the bike at all but it was a pleasant surprise.
We started with a warmup and then played with resistance and position (seated and in third position standing).
We did 3 intervals of work off the bike. Intervals included a mixture of exercices like jumping jacks with the weighted bar over your head, and jump squats, mountain climbers, burpees, pushups, planks and lunges. These are all exercises that my body needs to build all around strength. I was pretty excited but also nervous. I haven’t done any workout like this in a long time and was not sure how my body would react post-surgery. I ended up doing well! My core wasn’t too irritated and I felt energized.
The Instructor – Chris Gagnon
In general, any class really depends on the instructor. I have also found that sometimes what I like may even vary with my mood.
Today Chris was perfect for the my mood. I appreciated that he asked if there were any newbies in the room to his class or just to spinning in general. He came over and introduced himself and asked if I had any questions.
Before and throughout the class, Chris reminded us to listen to our body and do what we need to. He wasn’t yelling at us to go harder, but motivating us to work our personal hardest for our body today. He would also give reminders about good form if he saw people in bad form.
Chris didn’t ride his bike when he was teaching-he walked around the room telling us what to do. The last spin class I went to at Equinox I wished the instructor rode their bike with us. But with Chris, what he was doing worked. His direction was good enough that we knew what we were supposed to be doing, what was coming and when we should be doing it. I have found with spin classes I like to have a forecast of what is to come. It allows me to mentally prepare for the intervals and get the most out of it.
I really liked CrossCycle®. I think that it would be perfect for that person that wasn’t sure about spinning. It gives you enough time on the bike and off. I think this will also be a great way for me to get back not only some of my cardio but also strength that I have lost with being a slug for the past 5 or so months.
GIMME MORE SPACE! The thing I really didn’t like about CrossCycle is that there is such little space in the studio that the intervals can be really difficult to do. I was next to a girl who was next to the wall. This meant that there wasn’t much space next to her bike for her to do the exercises off the bike. She ended up doing them in the aisle right next to me and her butt was literally in my face. It was really awkward when we were doing plank or push ups and I was pretty sure I was going to get my face butted by a real butt.
I wish I had my spinning shoes. Last night when I was packing I didn’t want to have to bring 3 pairs of shoes with me (my boots for the day, sneakers and spin shoes). I decided to forget the spin shoes. If I couldn’t get into spin class for some reason I could still run on the treadmill or do my own mini workout. Bad choice. Next time I’m going to bring my spin shoes no matter what. I realized how much more stable I feel and more power I can get when I wear the shoes. They allow me to get a better workout and they are also easier to deal with when you are getting on and off the bike (which is a necessity in CrossCycle®!)
JUICE! I ended the workout with some green juice from Squeeze Juicery. Sometimes after a hard workout I crave more than some water and I like that there is a juice bar in the gym. It’s pricey, but kind of worth it for the freshness and nutrients! It was the perfect end to the morning workout…okay maybe the perfect end was when my coworker brought in the infamous yeast spheres (…this is what he calls donut holes).
I’m sad to say that yesterday was my last day of the trial at Equinox and I haven’t felt this sore in a long time!
Initially I had the intention of getting up early and running before I attended Ali Baldassare’s Hard Core Cuts class and then Barre Burn. After talking with Kristina, I realized it might be better to run after strength versus before. In yesterday’s case, I decided to skip the running all together. I wasn’t too sore immediately after Spring Breakthru on Tuesday, but let me tell you..my butt and thighs were dying! Running probably wasn’t the best idea.
Since my schedule changed anyways, instead of heading to Barre Burn I decided to go to Ali’s Cardio Pilates class that was earlier. The class alternated cardio and strength sequences. The cardio portion was always the same with the option to modify to make more difficult or easier depending on how your body felt. Throughout the class, Ali always was encouraging you to try the more difficult move if we were feeling up to it, even if it wasn’t for the entire time. Unlike the cardio section, each strength session had a different focus, arms, legs, core, etc. We didn’t use a lot of equipment-just a set of light weights and the Pilates circle-but Ali made you work. I was proud of all the progress I made with my push ups through the Pure Barre challenge. The push ups were still really difficult, but I could do more full push ups vs. on my knees than I could ever do!
I really liked Cardio Pilates because it was pretty much non-stop movement and I could feel the burn. There was a time we were working on our hips that was so tough for me and I kept thinking, “I am stronger than this move.” Unfortunately, I had to rest a few times because my hips weren’t feeling pain in a good way. I hate getting these reminders that my hips had an overuse injury. They have been pretty good lately, but as I introduce new workouts they can get irritated at times. These reminders, though frustrating, inspire me to go to these types of classes even more so that I can work my hips. I am excited for the day that I can say, “I used to have to stop during this move because my hips hurt so much but now they are SO strong that I don’t need to!”
After Cardio Pilates was finished, I stayed for Ali’s Hard Core Cuts class, an intense 15 minute class focusing on your core. I have such a hard time consistently doing core work so it is nice that they offer this class and right after and before a class that I would go to if I were a member. The class didn’t disappoint and I was so tempted to stay for her Barre Burn class that was immediately after but my body might hate me if I did. I am dying to try Barre Burn, so I’ll have to find a way to do that sometime!
If I did attend Ali’s Barre Burn, I would have completed a Ali Baldassare Challenge…similar to a Tori, JJPilates Assistant Extraordinaire, who completed a JPPilates challenge of THREE Jennifer Phelan classes in a day! Tori was at Ali’s classes with me. I didn’t know why she looked so familiar until we were tweeting yesterday and she told me she was Jennifer’s assistant! Tori seems like my kind of gal! She is intense, a runner, loves Pilates AND is a mechanical engineer as well. Fate put us in Ali’s class that morning! Though I probably shouldn’t be so surprised, because as you get more involved in the fitness community it becomes a smaller world!
I had dinner plans last night so knew I had to get up early if I wanted to get a workout done. I managed to catch the first train and made it to the 6:15 am Spring Breakthru class with Shandell Raposa, Group Fitness Manager at Equinox.
We warmed up by jogging in place, jumping jacks and a few other moves like high knees and butt kicks. Then we moved into strength that included arm exercises, squats, burpees, and core moves-all very dynamic to include that cardio factor. The music selection (which I loved working out to) and a few of the moves actually reminded me of Pure Barre. For example, the bridging and some of the core exercises were similar but were a bit more dynamic. The bridging moves made my hips scream, “See!! I’m not strong enough yet!!” I am glad I am doing some different exercises to help strengthen them. I NEED to get back to my first love-marathoning.
The class made me sweat and kind of reminded me of one of Jillian Michaels workout videos. The only thing I wasn’t used to was there was no cool down and stretch incorporated into the workout. I don’t mind that it is not included-I just have to be more disciplined to do my own cool down and stretching…which…not going to lie…I didn’t do! In my defense, I might have skipped the cooldown because I wanted to try to beat traffic to the showers. I wasn’t sure how busy they would be but there were actually quite a few open. The shower itself is nicer than my shower at my apartment! They also have Kiehl products which makes the experience even better.
I wonder if it always is that easy to get a shower. The class after mine (Shockwave) seemed to have quite the crowd waiting. Shockwave includes “extreme” cross training through different circuits. Some of the girls in the class with me said it is a really tough but great class. It made me almost want to stay or a double workout session but I knew that probably wouldn’t be the best idea-I needed my second breakfast ASAP! Maybe some other day I can drop into that one and give it a try.
Unfortunately, today is my last day of the trial period of Equinox, but I’m going to make the most of it! My work’s PMC happy hour is tonight which means that I need to do an early workout again. Even though my arms and glutes are super sore today, I am off to Ali’s Hard Core Cuts and Barre Burn class! Making it count!