Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mama Fitness: My First Weight-Training Class

I joined the Y, three weeks ago. Today, I took my first-ever weight training class. My life is forever changed. I walked into the 8am class with a fierce expression on my face, hoping to look BA enough that no one else would even look twice at me. (Please don't watch as I drop a weight on my foot or trip.) Perfect posture (well, I tried), no new kid "uuums?" I had no idea what I was doing, but a nice woman helped me set up; you need platforms, mats, barbells, weights, clips and hand weights, the whole thing would need three suitcases to carry and they would have to be very odd-shaped ones at that. The instructor, Stacia Carroll, helped me find the right weights for a beginner and gave me options each time a new move started. 

So, the class, Les Mills Body Pump, is, from the Y's definition: "the original barbell class that strengthens your entire body. This 60-minute workout challenges all your major muscle groups by using the best weight-room exercises like squats, presses, lifts and curls." It was great! 

The repetitions were easy to understand, not fast or complicated enough to lose me, but continual and flowing and kept us moving the entire 60 minutes. I felt that I was working hard, but not to the point of needing to quit. The teacher was informative and clear, but not chatty or annoying. The music was loud: remember, I am a yoga or walk through the woods person, but the beat helps you keep up with the movement. I did not use heavy weights, so I was easily able to do all of the upper body movements, but the legs!!! My knees are still wobbly from the squats and lunges. Stacia told me to sit back more for the squats; "you will feel like you are almost falling backwards." (and end up on my derriere, I thought, since it is round. And does she not get that there is about zil counterweight on me?)
Why did I wait until now to ever try strength training?! I guess I thought years of carrying babies around was resistance and endurance enough, and it was, then, but I am no longer lugging around infants and toddlers. My friend, Melanie Moore (you can find her on FB with great photos and stats of her own fitness journey), was my inspiration for starting now, as well as my son, D. who has been trying hard to get us to do his favorite "insanity" routine. They are both looking so good after months of working out that I started to have toned-arm and back envy. I'm on my way.

The YMCA: Up until this week, joining a family health club has had no impact on my fitness. I've been taking the kids to the pool and knitting while they swam.  My hands were pretty much crippled with eczema, so the pool was out, weights were out, zumba has never even been an option (see posts on Jazzercise and lack of coordination.) From the first day I read the description of the classes, Pilates and Body Pump were my choices. 

Yesterday I met with my wellness coach for our first one on one, current perk of Y membership. When I walked in to make my first appointment, she asked if I knew which trainer I wanted to work with. I sighed and asked if they had another mother of five who would "get my life." I wasn't serious, but she was! She offered, as a working mother of 3, to try and help. Joan is great; she helped me come up with a plan and will help me learn the different ways I can implement it through exercise and nutrition (which is, by the way, 80% of weight loss). She is encouraging and positive...and realistic. She and I do have a lot in common; we both run, we both hate it while we are doing it. She spent a weekend becoming a certified zumba instructor, just to prove to herself that she could do it. She has never used that training since; zero coordination, but she thinks Body Pump is a fantastic class. I have been attending belly dance classes, which I love,  for over two years, but have no confidence to dance in public; not even for an audience of sleeping old men. You never know when they might wake up and look. So it is partly, at least, beginner's enthusiasm, but I am excited about the changes I anticipate!

For the locals: I go to the Bettendorf Y, and the fabulous trainers I have worked with are: Joan Rusk and Stacia Carroll.

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