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Posts from the ‘Classes’ Category

TRX: Rip Trainer Demo And MORE!

We want to show you how different parts of the gym can integrate with each other to help you become a better, more well rounded and physically fit individual.

So we got one of our lovely members Kristen to wear our demo Polar Heart Rate Monitor for Ashley’s Cycle Bootcamp Class and we let Jay Tate, our Fitness Director, set up a special demo for the first half an hour of class.

We split the class in half at the beginning and let Jay  demonstrate how to use the TRX Rip Trainer as well as the TRX Suspension Training system.

The Rip Trainer is a new addition to our facility and it really helps work on your core because at all times your body is resisting rotation.

Here is a Video Link from TRX on the Rip Trainer if you want to check it out yourself.


Jay gave demonstrations of moves at each of the three stations. One for the Rip Trainer, One for TRX and one for Abs. Our participants rotated through each station- doing several different moves in their fifteen minute session while Jay and two other Personal trainers watched and made adjustments to form as necessary.

Kristen had previously tried Personal Training and loved it but she’d taken a break and had never tried the Rip Trainer before. She said she really enjoyed the TRX moves and was surprised by the difficulty of the Rip Trainer.

809 calories burned later!


Thank to the Polar Heart Rate monitor we also learned that Kristen burned 809 calories in her hour long class.

She had no idea her body was capable of burning that much and she enjoyed wearing the heart rate monitor as well as knowing that information.


The Heart Rate Monitors are available for Purchase in the Cafe and we have a stand with the different models as you walk in at the front desk.  If you are interested in TRX or Rip Trainer training schedule your free PT consult with Jay Tate today! Just call (804)364-1200!


My First Time: BodyPump

Sorry it’s been a while since I have posted a class workout. I have been so excited about food blogging I completely forgot to put these up!

I tried BodyPump for the first time with Kim Hale. She’s pretty much amazing and I enjoyed every second- but I have to admit I was a little apprehensive going into that classroom.

BodyPump is a class that works different muscle groups using weights and hot tracks. And All I could think of was man… I hope I don’t drop a weight on my foot or someone else’s.

Thoughts Prior to Class:

It’s going to be too difficult.

Can I lift that?

I know I am going to need: A step, Mat, bar with two or three sizes of weights.

The Class Itself:

We need a mat, a step  and a bar with weights. I am newbie so I choose 2.5 lb, 5 lb, and 10 lb weights.

Kim Hale started us off with a decent warm-up. The music was popular and familiar, and the moves were easy enough to follow. In a way the warm-up gave you a false sense of confidence because you were like, “Oh hey- I got this.”

Now BodyPump focuses on different muscles groups. So there is usually a: warm- up track, squat track, chest track, back track, biceps track, lunges track, shoulders track, abs track, and then the final cool down and stretch track.

So naturally we moved into the Squat track next.

Kim made sure to point out correct form for squats multiple times throughout the track in order to get people into the correct position for this move. Squats are one example of a move that is best taught to you by a Personal Trainer (USE YOUR FREE CONSULT!) so that you can make sure that you do not injure yourself.

The squat track feels long. Mostly because your glutes start to burn after the third set of pulses. And the slow drop and slow raise segment doesn’t exactly feel like a breeze either. As someone new to the class I suggest not overloading your bar and really just focusing on getting the correct form. Because even with a light bar- the correct form will make you feel every second of that track.

Our next track focused on Chest. So we took a few second to re-arrange the bar for the correct weight and get into position.

The chest track was not as long as the squat track- or at least it didn’t feel that way. There were several moments of rest as well which really helped. In Chest Track you are using warm-up weight if not a little bit more and you are holding your grip a little wider then you would for biceps or triceps. You focus on pushing straight up and down, doing it in counts of 3:1, 2:2, and 1:1.

After Chest we moved to the Back Track. So you again re-arrange your bar weight and then stand back up.




Back focused on “clean and press” and rows.  Clean and Press is another move that I STRONGLY suggest you work with a Personal Trainer to get the form down correctly. (USE YOUR FREE CONSULT!) It’s a move that can be hard to master in such a large classroom setting, but once you get it down you will not regret it.  The great thing about rows and dead lifts is that when you do them correctly you feel them! You know you’re working the right muscles because they let you know!

Back Track is pretty fast paced and easy to follow. The hardest move to pick up is the clean and press, but if you pay attention you can catch on.

From Back we moved to the triceps track. Awesome. (Mine are not exactly in great shape…)

Triceps involves moving back down to the ground and using free weights to do a few non-bar related moves. At this point in the class you are sweating and starting to feel a little sore. There are definitely muscles you are not used to using. We started with the bar and did a few “skull crushers” and a couple of other tricep extensions, once again using the 3:1, 2:2, 1:1 ratio for the movement.

Then we stood up and grabbed our weights and did the tricep extensions behind the head. If you have ever taken a gym class you have seen these done.

After your arms feel like rubber you get the joy of picking the bar back up and doing biceps.




Biceps focus on full bicep curls, bottom half curls and top half curls. And we do those in multiple variations. 8 counts are not uncommon in biceps. Kim Hale’s peppy voice starts to sound like nails on a chalkboard because you just want to put your arms down and have them not burn. And then the track is magically over. And you shake your arms out and feel magical.

At the end of Biceps you’ve decided that you have the same muscle tone as Gumby.




The worst part of the class for me was lunges. I have knee issues so I can get sore very quickly. But it wasn’t the lunges that did me in. It was the fact that my legs were shaking like one of those “Jello Jigglers” commercials and I was plum worn out by the end of the track. If you are new to the class- do lunges without any weight.  Do not push yourself until you know what you are getting into.

Lunges involve pulsing, pulling your knee up into your chest, Deep lunges on one leg for multiple 8 counts and then switching. There may even be a few additional squats in your lunge track.

This is the point of time in class where you are officially tired.

Which of course means you still have three tracks left to go.

After lunges you focus on shoulders. Usually this means you get out of the bar and are once again using the weights in your hand to work those muscle groups. The shoulder track is not very long and is pretty tolerable because at the end you get to lay down for abs.

Kim combined our abs with some push-ups. Do not tell Jay I did “girl” push-ups. We then got to do some oblique crunches, some normal crunches, bicycles and one or two more assorted abdominal exercises. We finished with a little bit of plank.

And then thank heavens. We got to stretch- which you MUST stay for. Otherwise you will be unbearably sore the next day. Like hobbling around like a penguin sore.

Final Thoughts:

I LOVE BodyPump. Because at the end of this class you KNOW you worked out. You can feel it. My one caveat for BodyPump would be to take the time to sit down with a Personal Trainer or even grab one on the side and get them to assist you in form ahead of time so that you DO NOT injure yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that- PLEASE do not weight the bar until you get comfortable with the motion of the moves and can do so correctly.

Kim Hale is an excellent instructor and she is not the only one. Emilie, Kathi, Shelle- all of them do a wonderful job teaching BodyPump. (Kathi even throws a little CXWorx in every Friday at 12:15)

BodyPump is on the schedule daily and is worth taking a trip to try out. ALWAYS let the instructor know it’s your first time. Do not over do it. And you will have an amazing workout experience.

I hope to see you pumping some iron soon.


My First Time: Power Yoga 90

WOW. Just WOW. I can’t tell you how excited I am. I went in to Power Yoga today knowing nothing about the class and I am SO glad I did. This is my new go-to class. This is my new favorite. I swear it.

Thoughts Prior to Class:

I knew it was a yoga class, so I expected slow and steady. Although, I had also heard that Kim loves the chaturanga pose and my arms might get tired.

The Class Itself:

Kim had us grab a block and a mat and she made us move our mats against the wall so that all the belongings fell to the center of the room to start.


We started off class like any other yoga. We began with Child’s Pose and worked our way through some sun salutations to warm up our body. It probably took a good 15 minutes or so.

Throughout the class our default position was plank and downward dog. And chaturanga (which I attempted and failed quite miserably).

Mmmm. Plank. My favorite.

Chaturanga is not my strong suit. I am not good at hovering quite yet. I mean really, I did more of a lay flat and push back up number then I did achieve hover.


We did several other moves, warrior poses, some twists and items of that nature and then….

Then we started to do some fun things. (This may not be the best visual- since I am just standing against a wall- but don’t worry it gets better….)

First we back as close as we could to the wall and walked up with our legs. I am upside down people. I have blood rushing to my brain and a terrible fear of smashing my face directly into my mat. But I am also triumphant- because I am using my big toe to keep me “balanced” and I am pretty much doing a handstand otherwise, a feat I have never managed to handle…ever.

Unfortunately on this attempt I was WAY too far forward with my hands. So I corrected it the second time around I pushed myself a little closer to the wall and  Kim Ward came and assisted with my posture so that I really got what I was supposed to be doing.

She then changed the posture a little bit to be more difficult. This is dolphin pose and we changed to using our arms in a forward plank motion.



I am obsessed with being upside down. I think it is SO much fun. The head rush from this made me a little giddy. Then we got to try back-bends, which required a lot of faith in oneself and the ability to come back out of the back-bend without self injury.



Well I am not going to lie, I was a little afraid of the back-bend. It just seems scary and possibly another near death experience.  So Kim came over and gave me some instruction  and helped me do it successfully on my own. Ashley Gibbs was with me (she took all these photos) and she told me that I just had to get out of my head and let go of the fear. And with both their help- I got it.



Sadly, we moved from back-bends to things that caused less of a head rush. Kim was very helpful, spending a lot of time working with us to correct our poses and to help us push just a little bit further each time.



We finished off with some minor ab work, using our core to pull our leg forward to the opposing elbow before resting in savasana and thanking the divinity within all of us with namaste.




Final Thoughts:

Take it. Fake sick at work (ok don’t do that). Plan your Friday mornings around Power Yoga. Being upside down is liberating, defying gravity with backbends is mind boggling. And it’s fun! You get a head rush and an adrenaline spike and you are sweaty and giddy and you can’t wait to do it again. Kim is a knowledgeable and AMAZING instructor who truly makes you feel like you can do anything. If you have not taken this class- you are seriously missing an opportunity to have a great fitness experience.

Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. The best hour and a half of your life.

See you there


My First Time: Yogalates with Kim Ward

I have tried Yogalates before- but a little birdie told me that Kim Ward was hard and that she had a completely different approach to the class then Ashley. So I thought I’d try her class and see what the difference was.


Thoughts Prior to Class:

Supposedly a more broken mixture of yoga and then pilates instead of incorporating both.


The Class Itself:

We began class with Yoga. Child’s pose to be more specific.  There is something fabulous about warming up with child’s pose.

We then pushed into what became our fallback position of the day. Plank.  We constantly came back into plank in both the pilates and yoga segments.

We moved through plank into downward dog and from downward dog we transitioned into Warrior 1 . Kim really focused on how we brought our foot forward from downward dog, ensuring that it came through to the fingertips and came through quietly.


From Warrior we moved to Warrior 2, first by opening up the hips in downward dog and then pulling the foot through the arms, planting it softly and solidly on the mat and drawing upwards into Warrior 2.

Next we moved to a standing split. (As you can see it is impossible for me to straighten my legs all the way). Then we finally took a moment to sit and prepare for Pilates.



I really enjoyed the Pilates segment. It was a very different style from my previous class experience. We started with a move where we really focused on reaching towards the ankle of the extended leg before moving into more traditional bicycles. These were just two examples of about 4 exercises we did in this position and we did multiple sets of exercises.



We really focused on balance and core engagement with this balanced scorpion style move.  There were several modifications to this move to suit all levels of class participants.

Then we moved from the floor to a standing dancer move using the strap.

This was about two seconds before I fell out and almost hit the deck.

Finally we ended Pilates with side planks where you dipped your hip down.


Final Thoughts:

Now I don’t want my pictures to betray the class set up. It was very much a 15 minutes of Yoga then 15 minutes of Pilates then 15 minutes of Yoga and finally 15 minutes of Pilates. There were several yoga moves we couldn’t capture accurately due to their fluidity.

Kim Ward has a very strong body and so some of the moves definitely felt more advanced then I was prepared for, but you definitely got a great workout.

I would recommend taking Kim’s class if you really like a strong Yoga and strong Pilates differentiation.  There are less modifications in her class, but more clearly distinct segments.

I truly enjoy Kim’s teaching style and I have to admit, I also loved that Enya’s “Orinoco Flow” was part of our soundtrack.


House Rules or “Don’t throw ‘bows to claim your spot.”

Ladies and Gentleman of West End.

I adore you. Your energy is infectious, your attitude is always upbeat and you are always ready to workout.

Now we know some of the evening classes can be fuller then most and we are always working to improve our service.

But we need your help.

I am writing as a person who takes classes as a “first timer” and blogs about that experience. And I have witnessed some pretty hilarious things.

It’s become obvious to me that we need to come up with a “house rules” list for crowded classrooms.

My first suggestion?

  • Don’t come in late and expect to get a prime spot. We all have things that get us caught up, traffic on Broad street, a meeting that ran late, but you can’t walk in and shove through the already established crowd to take your place in the front of the room.
Then I believe these also hold true:
  • Don’t hold a line for your friends. I know how fun taking classes is with a good friend. It’s a great experience and you always feel better for it. But you can’t reserve a 30×20 foot space for your friends,who said they might make it. Its unfair to other first timers who might be trying to get a prime view so they can learn the moves.
  • Don’t get aggressive. When we first moved to Virginia, we went to church the first Sunday we were here and sat down in the pew of this amazing little church and got ready for the service. And ten minutes prior to the start of the sermon, a woman stood at the end of the pew, threw her hands up in the air and screamed that she had been sitting in that EXACT spot for 40 years. “THAT IS MY PEW!” Needless to say, we were terrified and we moved. But this is a family friendly environment and as dedicated as you are to classes and instructors- you cannot claim the floorspace. Change it up every once in a while, you might be surprised that you like the view better or meet new people.
  • Do not revert to the third grade. And by that I mean- do not push or shove. Do not give someone the hairy eyeball. And do not tattle to the teacher that someone stole your spot. You are amazing and educated adults who have come together to celebrate living a healthier lifestyle. Act accordingly.

We all want to get fit and we all want to have a good time! So let’s try and remember to be courteous and friendly in our classes and I am sure we will continue to have successful fitness fun here at AFF West End!

My First Time: Functional Training (FT)

I am trying to fulfill all the requirements of the CORE Program which started today at West End. It’s a program that shows classes that improve your core and helps to reduce that pesky middle weight. So I wanted to make sure to give it a try.

Thoughts Prior to Class:


  • I have heard that Kim is difficult.
  • Varies from class to class.
  • Small class size.

The Class Itself:

I don’t know what I was prepared for this morning at 11:00 am but apparently FT was not it. Although  I think I fake it pretty well in this picture.

We warmed up with a combination of jump rope and push-ups.

Jumping rope from side to side is not as fun as it sounds. I am sorely out of jump rope shape, no longer doing the Jump for the Heart as I did in elementary school, my skills have become poor. And standard, two feet together seems to be my safest and least trip worthy option.

We worked on our arms for a bit, doing push-ups off of the bench. I haven’t been training with Jay much lately so my arms have lost some of their push-up support. This was a solid minute or so before we moved to the BOSU.

We started by picking the BOSU up and over our heads before jumping down to a push-up position on the BOSU and then back up. We did that for roughly 30 to 45 seconds before we moved to single legged power stands. We used one foot for balance and launched ourselves from that BOSU planted foot up into the air. Some of the more successful class participants were able to add a jump into that motion and land back on the BOSU. I can’t walk up a flight of stairs without falling, so I erred on the side of caution and instead just stayed planted. This motion definitely works your legs and arms. And at the end of the minute my leg was fried. Which after three rounds was killer.

Between the left and right leg we did a set of fly’s. Balancing precariously on the BOSU you bent over at the waist, arched your back and kept your shoulders pinned together and keeping your eyes on the floor, raised and lowered your arms. Then we switched to three-minute segments on the right leg.

We moved from the BOSU to the Step to  perform several Step movements and to do step dips to work our tricep muscles. I am starting to fade a little at this point and I am definitely sweating, but Kim had way more in stock for me then I realized.

We did lunges onto the BOSU while doing bicep curls, switching legs,  and repeating several times.

We then jumped from the ground onto our BOSU, did a squat, jumped off, and proceeded to hop to either side of the jump rope very rapidly.

Finally we got to do some abs. We lay back over the BOSU and stretched our backs while doing some crunches. As well as some additional weights and squats before we FINALLY moved to stretching.

I am a little worn out.


Final Thoughts:

This class was a little harder than I expected. Kim kept talking about working to muscle failure and unfortunately I picked too heavy weights at one point and almost reached muscle failure at the very beginning.

I loved the class because I felt challenged. It was not easy and I was struggling through it. My co-classmate was also having a rough time trying to work through the class as well. But we spoke to another newbie, who had taken the class by accident the week before, and she says she has never felt better than she did the second day. And I have to agree. My legs were SORE but I felt accomplished.

Kim is a tough instructor but she moderates to help individuals push through, her timing was very good and helped you not to get bored with movements. She required your concentration and your dedication to making it through and it was rewarding. She played some fabulous music and really inspired a great workout.

FT is every Thursday at 11:00 a.m. I hope to see you try it out soon!



My First Time: CycleAbs

I thought I was taking Cycle with Ashley. I was prepared for Ashley’s class. Excited even. Then I walked in and saw Brett and had NO idea what I was in for.

Thoughts Prior to Class:

  • Probably a mixture of cycle and abs, so I won’t be on the bike consistently
  • Might need a mat and some weights.

The Class Itself:

We started with a warm-up song, getting your body used to the seat and the height of the bike. It took me a few minutes to figure out that not only can my bike adjust height but I can also move the seat forward. Once I established a comfortable peddling position I was much happier.

The next song was a climbing song  so we spent the majority  of the song standing up. Brett made sure to keep us in the correct form. I have a tendency to let my elbows rest on the bike, however, elbows up makes you engage your core more and the work a little tougher.

Like I said, I have a tendency to place my elbows on the bike. Cycle is not my favorite of all classes, personally, because I find it uncomfortable. My shoulders get very sore and my rear hates that bicycle seat like no other. But every one I have talked to that either teaches cycle or takes it consistently says that it goes away very quickly with consistent classes.

The class was 45 minutes of cycling and 15 minutes of abs. The 45 minutes were spent alternately climbing, sprinting for endurance, or adjusting gears to increase resistance. The cycling was not easy. I typically stay in the lower gear range as a beginner, I find it a little too hard to up the gears constantly, but that is where cycle can be customized to you.

At the end of the class we moved to the floor to do abs exercises. I was ready to be off the bike and give my body a good stretch. Brett is a CXWorx instructor so he incorporated a lot of his CXWorx core routine into the abs portion of this class.








We worked our obliques using bicycles and stretching our arms past our knees on each side.

We did several exercises involving  pulses, crunching up and pulsing and then lowering down to a half crunch and pulsing.

Again we worked our sides with Side crunches as well as side plank. Obliques were a big portion of our abs workout.

Final Thoughts:

CycleAbs was a great class. Brett was an awesome instructor and the music he chose for the class was fantastic. It was upbeat and not the typical class music. I liked that he incorporated CXworx into the abs portion because it gives people a taste of the class and it’s a great abs workout, as well as hips, obliques and a little of arms as well.

Brett is upbeat and knowledgeable, he pushes without making you feel like you are being drilled by a military boot camp leader.

I would definitely recommend CycleAbs as your midday workout on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. It combines everything you need for cardio and core and leaves you time to hit the weights after if you wanted.

12:15 every Tuesday and Thursday- make sure to try out all the great instructors including Ashley Gibbs and Kathi Sheffield.

My First Time: BodyStep

So the Tuesday prior to New Year’s I took a moment and thought to myself- you know what sounds great right now? A good cardio session. I didn’t want to just sit on my standard cardio equipment however, I wanted to do something a little more challenging.

I had taken some step aerobics classes in College, but nothing like this….

Thoughts Prior to Class:

  • I knew it would take me a couple of minutes to catch on to the choreography
  • I knew a step would obviously be involved

The Class Itself:

We started right on time, as Emilie stated- “Start on time, End on time.” We had to get mats out as well as steps with 4 risers. As usual I am always excited for the start of a class.

We started with a very fast paced warm-up. It’s been about 4 years since I have done Step and so it was a definite shock to the memory to try and catch on to the choreography. Even for the warm-up. Emilie made sure to comment that BodyStep is difficult and takes about 3 to 5 sessions before the choreography really begins to stick.

We moved from the warm-up to the first real track pretty quickly. The thing you have to keep in mind about step, is that while the choreography is fast paced, it’s generally a repeating set of steps. So after the third time, your brain starts to get it and your feet seem to go in the right direction even if you are not sure if that’s the move.  This pattern stays the same, generally, for the whole song.

Demonstrating the step power move, but not the step hop.

I was working up quite a sweat, as you can see by my quickly reddening face, even through the first track. The choreography increases in difficulty throughout the class. On this track, I was having significant issues trying to get my feet to tap in the correct place on the step.

But I definitely got the jump squat portion (Thanks Jay!) and managed to make sure my knees were not over my toes.There is always a moment in doing these photos that you have to hold a pose, so that you don’t look like you are  legless and in motion. Blurred pictures don’t give you an accurate idea of the class.

We took the risers out from underneath our step and turned it lengthwise for a harder section of choreography. And this is where I will admit to being frustrated 100%. I can remember my jazz hand motions from show choir and I felt comfortable with those slight add -ins, but I don’t like the feeling of stumbling around and this segment of choreography just WOULD NOT sink in.

As you can see in the above pictures, I am staring because I can’t follow the footwork. Which is why I was extremely grateful that we moved to stretching at the end of this track. I needed a cool down.

We did some more stretching, a few push-ups,  and some core work to finish off the class and to bring our heart rate down.

Final Thoughts:

This class was not an easy introduction to Step.  It was a fast, hard and intense cardio workout. My heart was racing, I was sweating, and I was working to keep up and to keep focused.

This is not a beginner step class, but if you have ANY sort of dance background at all, the choreography is not impossible. I agree that after 3-5 classes I would be on par with the BodyStep elite, those intimidatingly good people in the class who seem to know the moves before they happen.

I wasn’t fluid and I certainly didn’t look smooth and accomplished. But I got ina  great workout, and so did the girl beside me who also took the class for the first time. She did a lot better then I did at the end with the final track choreography and she was also talking about how great of a workout it was.

Emilie is a very enthusiastic instructor. She talks her class through the choreography and makes little comments about family or her life to keep people engaged in the steps and the music.  She’s extremely energetic and so you almost feel willed to keep up, even if your energy starts to flag.

I liked BodyStep and I think it’s a great cardio workout. If you have NEVER taken a step class I might suggest an intro to step or a basic step class first and then give BodyStep a whirl. Otherwise the class might seem a little intimidating, but trust me, once you get in there it is worth it.

BodyStep is tonight at 5:30 p.m. or Thursday at 4:00 p.m. or Sunday at 11:30. Come on in and give it a try!

My First Time: BodyCombat

I have been promising Brett I would go to BodyCombat for months. Telling him that I would definitely be there.

And then I would take one look at the class and be like, nope. Not doing it.

Well- guilt finally ate away at me and I decided to follow up on Brett’s class. And actually take it. So I surprised him last Monday and showed up.

Thoughts Prior to Class:

  • I thought it was going to be a lot like the Tae-Bo classes I had to take in Gym in Middle and High School.
  • I expected to sweat a lot because everyone always comes out looking drenched.

The Class Itself:

As you can see I am already well prepared and excited for this class. I really enjoy a good workout and  I am hoping I will get one with BodyCombat.

We started with a warm-up move of sorts, where you balanced on the balls of your feet and kind of bounced back and forth and then moved up three steps, jabbed 3 times, and then stepped back. We also did some additional warm-up moves such as side lunges.

The class started to pick up pace quickly. We went from doing jabs, to adding in kicks VERY quickly. In the pose above we did lunges between sets of kicks and finished up with crosses and jabs (boxing moves).

In this section, we were pulling our knee towards our chest and kicking back. Trying to balance was extremely difficult for me. This move was in a segment of moves, where we really focused on legs. The song seemed very, VERY long.

Kicks were probably one of the biggest elements of the class. I struggled with getting the proper form and height. However, Brett was really encouraging and came around and gave us some suggestions and corrective feedback which helped me get more of a handle on it.

In this move we were doing uppercuts and hooks as well as bouncing on the balls of our feet. A lot of our moves mimicked boxing moves and also some of the Muay Thai martial arts moves. Also at this point of the class I am starting to get extremely tired.

Which is good- because we moved to the floor to do abdominal exercises. I am here in the “lady” push up position. Prior to class I had done about 75 of these so I was feeling a bit tired. But we did push-ups as well as opposite leg/arm extensions and  few other core exercises.

We finally moved on to stretching. Stretching may be my favorite part of this class, because we’re not moving. And my muscles can relax a little.

I made it! YES!

Final Thoughts:

I want to start off by saying I liked this class but I wish I had gone to the Wednesday at 10:15 session or the Saturday session for my first time. This class was a little more geared towards intermediates and so I was a little off the majority of the class.

Brett did his best to help me follow along, but it was clear everyone else in the room was a BodyCombat expert and so they needed no help getting into the positions fluidly and easily.

The class required a lot of core strength and leg work. I felt mildly prepared thanks to my work with Jay, but I have been a little out of Practice and it showed. My knees started to hurt about 40 minutes in and so I was really grateful for the cool down abdominal section as it gave me a chance to recover.

Brett did offer modifications to the newbies and he was very clear with his instructions and follow through. His cuing was great and his energy was up 100% of the time. He was always yelling something inspirational whenever the group energy level started to flag.

I would definitely try BodyCombat again- more so if I had the basics down and start with one of the more beginner classes offered. (If it says family friendly it’s a good bet that it is beginner friendly as well.)

So come and try one of our beginner classes: Wednesday mornings at 10:15 or Saturday mornings at 11:30! And get the feel of BodyCombat- a little self defense, a little kickboxing, and a hard work out all rolled into one.

My First Time: Yin Yoga

So I slept funny this week and woke up and I couldn’t turn my head to the right. Not a little. Not even at all. Up and down wasn’t working for me either. So I thought maybe a peaceful and relaxing Yoga class might help me be a little more flexible and a lot less stiff.

Thoughts Prior to Class:

Yoga mat will be necessary and possibly a strap and a block.

I heard they hold the poses for FOREVER.

The Class Itself:

We started off laying down. Which for me was kind of painful, my neck wasn’t too happy with me. But after a few minutes it calmed down enough for me to feel normal-ish. Kathi had us lying on a block to keep us more comfortable.

We then sat up, placed the strap around our feet and worked on leaning forward. These poses were all held for about two minutes.

This pose had us opening up our hips by leaning forward, either on the ground or on the block. I found it more comfortable as a beginner to use the block ( by block I mean big black pillow).

We then placed one leg out and leaned towards it, placing a forearm on the ground and opening up the ribcage with the other hand pressed first to your head, and then placed behind your back when you could hold the position comfortably.

This was a less timely pose that we used between switching legs in the pose above. It was a quick stretch and didn’t hurt at all.

We elongated the above stretch by leaning over to one side. Kathi came around the room and adjusted positioning until it was correct. She checked on us individually and made sure we were feeling ok.

At this point in the class we were given a couple of different modifications. I was sore and so seal was the best I could do. But Kathi gave several other suggestions, some more difficult, some less so. I switched from seal to child’s pose in order to rest my neck a little while others progressed into Downward facing dog and then back again to seal.

This pose involved grabbing one leg with the opposite arm and praying that you wont collapse directly onto your face and injure yourself irreparably.

We then the strap and placed it around one leg, leading it out to the side and holding it in place  for a long stretch. My legs don’t straighten very well because of a knee surgery I had when I was younger, so this was probably my least favorite pose.

However, holding both legs straight, wasn’t as bad. I liked the feel of my hamstrings slowly relaxing and my calves and my legs felt wonderful when we were done.

Our final pose was happy baby. Which looks really awkward and uncomfortable, but it wasn’t. A little weird, and definitely a throwback to childhood, but also a great stretch.

Final Thoughts:

I went in knowing I would have to hold poses a little longer then usual, but I was unprepared for how relaxing the class was. Holding each pose for two minutes or so felt great and the atmosphere was the perfect blend of light music and soft light to make you feel like you could just drift off at any second.

Kathi is very good at being a yoga instructor and her instructions were clear and easy to follow. She came around and made adjustments and checked on all of the participants throughout the hour.

The room was warm, although for the final resting pose I suggest you grab one of the blankets. I got REALLY cold in that last few minutes.

I loved Yin Yoga and I will actively be putting this in my exercise regimen.

I hope to see you there next Thursday at 4:15 p.m.