Thursday, June 28, 2012

Physical Fitness

I have decided to dip my big toe back into the world of the physically fit.

I used to work out a lot. In college, worked very hard to change my body from that of a swimmer to that of a thinner normal shouldered person, but then I went to law school and it was too cold to walk to the gym. And then I had Landon, and for whatever reason, my metabolism skyrocketed and my appetite decreased and suddenly I was a size 2. Actually, I know exactly why all that happened and it has to do with the hell that was the later half of 2007, but even as life got better, my new smaller pants size stuck around.

And I can admit that hitting the weight I'd lied about on my driver's license without working out pretty much removed any desire I had to work out. JP could not understand this. He exercises because he loves it, because he is a slave to anything promising better cardiovascular health, and because it makes him feel good. He could not imagine stopping whereas I didn't see why I'd bother to keep going if my pants weren't going to make me- besides, I had a baby and a law degree to earn, it's not like I was looking for extra things to do.


Fast forward five years and another baby and my size/weight are still the same, but going up a flight of stairs winds me. Winds me. This is ridiculous. I'm active. I'm never still. I eat well. I don't snack. But the winding issue, the fact that I'm turning 30 in 8 months, and the jiggle I saw on the underside of my arm when I lifted it in my wild gesticulations that must accompany any re-telling of the cockroach story (and the fact that I now have free time and was honestly starting to miss the act of working out) all led me to believe that it was time to head back to the gym.


But I must tread carefully. I'm mindful of the mind warp that takes hold any time I think about the calories associated with anything (whether burning or eating), and I absolutely will not join any program that is going to tell me what to eat. Normal people can probably adopt that in a healthy way, but I know from past experience that I am not one of them. I loathe running, mildly despise the elliptical, and refuse to acknowledge the stair stepper. I have no self-discipline and won't work out alone. I still don't miss swimming enough to actually do it. It can't be far from home, can't be expensive, and can't be boring. It must involve stretching because it appears I won't do it on my own and every doctor I've ever had has told me I absolutely must start stretching or face dire consequences in my hips and back. I enjoyed the yoga classes I started attending in Austin and found them very helpful for my headaches and insomnia, but I'd like something with a little bit more of a physical workout (see arm jiggles).

Enter Barre class. I love this. Looooove it. It's yoga, pilates, and ballet- all things I'm really bad at- all rolled into one. It makes no sense that I love it so much, but I do. And sure I embarrassed myself and lost the senses of sight, vision, and touch in my first class and turned a near-faint into a "drop to the ground and put my head between my legs" schlump that I like to pretend looked very graceful and was perfectly timed to the music, but this class is exactly what I'm looking for. Toning, stretching, light cardio, and a fast-pace. I'm going to try to go twice a week, maybe three times if I can work with JP's work and swimming schedule. It's good for me. It feels good. I made it through the second, much harder class without any blackouts at all!

I have always loved watching dance- movies, live performances, SYTYCD on TV... I love them all. I'm also really bad at it. But in barre I can pretend I'm good. I get to hear French ballet words and do them! We do long sets of leg strengthening exercises at the bar and though my legs shake uncontrollably, if I close my eyes, I can pretend I look exactly like this:


Unfortunately, when I open my eyes to check my body position in the mirror, it becomes clear I look more like this:


Everything that felt so graceful looks significantly less so in the harsh reality of the reflection, but still, it feels great.

I've bought a 10-pass class and a hot pink yoga mat, so I'm hoping my hatred of wasting money, and my genuine excitement about this class will keep me committed. I've also promised myself a new workout outfit if I finish the punch card- and since new clothes of any kind are firmly in the "No" category of my "Do I need it now?" purchasing standard, that might be sufficient motivation all by itself. Fold-over cropped yoga pants and no more arm jiggles during roach stories here I come!


  1. I've been wanting to try one of those classes! I did Zumba earlier this week and I loved it. There is something about dancing- it doesn't feel like a work out, it feels like a party! But I'm a runner at heart and no matter if I just had the hardest workout of my life, if I'm not running, I feel like a slacker.

  2. bravo! i've got a number of friends who teach or take barre classes and really love them.

    funny-that hippo picture pretty much sums up what i saw in the mirror while i was having my own ballroom dancing lesson tonight :)

  3. Sounds like an awesome class! I am feeling mildly inspired to see if such a thing exists in my area.

  4. K loves those classes! I'm always eyeing the Groupons, but I still have a Bikram one that I haven't had the guts to redeem yet. Let us know how you're able to keep up!

  5. I think one of the owners was in the Fort Worth magazine as one of the 10 most beautiful women in Fort Worth. Classes look interesting, but I'm going to stick at the Arlington Y until I lose some weight. I can't imaging barre work right now.

  6. I also hate exercise but I'm obsessed with barre class--I started a month ago and see definite change in my body! I'm already slender but depressingly flabby, and the class has firmed up my thighs, upper arms, and butt. I haven't blacked out yet, but I am still the worst one in the class and can't do all the moves correctly, so I identify with the hippo in a tutu picture. :)