A girl walks into a barre… class

Ah, the trials of trying to slim down for the upcoming nuptials…

Remember my excitement about going on the 4-Hour Body bean-based diet? That affair didn’t turn out quite as well as I’d hoped. I definitely lost weight – up to 9 lbs, at one point. But the 9 lbs was an anomaly – I generally hovered between just 3 and 6 lbs below my original weight. Admittedly, although I attempted to follow the diet for over two months, I did not follow the diet “to the letter,” so I’m not even hinting that the diet doesn’t work. It probably does. Just not for me.

In June, six months out from the wedding, I decided that swimming laps would be my best bet for getting in shape. TYRAlthough I don’t truly enjoy swimming laps (or any type of exercise, whatsoever), I do love being in water. Discovered a local, outdoor pool not too far from my home and nabbed a great teal-blue TYR athletic swimsuit at Marshall’s. Mixing up breast-stroke, freestyle, torpedoing (it’s a synchronized swimming thing), kicking and underwater lengths, I felt good every time I got out of the pool. Also, it didn’t take very long for my body to remember the drill and each time I swam was easier and faster than the previous visit. And then I got breast-strokers knee. Seriously. That’s actually a THING. Did my due diligence (Google search) and learned my form was probably off. Made some changes and the right knee recovered. The left knee improved.

Unfortunately, swimming, although it made me feel stronger, didn’t seem to be changing my shape. In July, I made a decision that I never could have predicted. I decided I was going to have to start running to lose the weight. Earlier I mentioned not enjoying exercise. It’s a little more emotional than that. I hate exercise. Always have, and likely always will. And of all the potential exercise regimens, my deepest loathing is reserved for running. Unless I’m being chased by someone with a reasonably intimidating weapon, I see no point for running. But the wedding kept getting closer and my body wasn’t changing. Several friends have had great success on the Couch to 5K (C25K) Running Program. More due diligence (yes, more Googling) led me to Carli’s C25K podcasts, which were perfect for my low-end mp3 player and have really great music. Picked up some new kicks and took the leap.

Now, not having moved more quickly than a runway-stride since… oh, 2003, I had a rough start. Every single muscle within my legs seemed to be screaming at me, even when I was no longer moving. However, I pushed through Week 1 and looked forward to Week 2 (not for the running, just for the potential weight-loss). NewKicksMonday of Week 2 I set out on my brisk walk. When Carli told me to begin my first run, I pushed off… and nearly fell down. Apparently, all the aching muscles from the previous week had caused me to overlook increasing pain in the joints of my knees. Now, any pressure beyond a walk caused excruciating pain to shoot throughout my entire leg… which caused near-collapse of said leg. Runners knee! My first instinct (stupid instinct) was to push through it. So I did. I forced myself to go through the entire workout for that day. By evening I could barely bend either one of my knees. Luckily, I had a wine and cheese date with a runner friend. She advised me to avoid running until it felt better and add glucosamine supplements to my daily routine. Long story short (too late), after a week and a half of rest, I attempted running again. Then began a series of: day of pain and a day trying to run, on repeat. By the time I finally realized I should not be running… I’d seriously screwed up my left knee. Standing, or walking, for more than 10 minutes would cause searing pain to run through my leg. For about 6 weeks I was upright as little as possible.

Not only did my hiatus prevent additional toning or weight-loss… you guessed it, I gained weight. And it was bad. At my first dress-fitting (held during initial running attempts) the tailor took in the dress. At my second fitting, he had to let the whole damn thing out… possibly more than the original measurements. (Also a mitigating factor – Monopoly at McDonald’s. The fiancé and I were convinced we were going to win… so we were eating McDonald’s at least once a day. Yes, at least. Yes, I know.)

So in early September, I finally got back on track for making healthy food decisions (97% of the time). However, I know that if I didn’t try just one more thing to lose weight for the wedding, I would kick myself later. There were still about six weeks left! I’ve been hearing wonderful things about Pure Barre, and heard that a studio was opening in my general area. Unfortunately, as of two weeks ago, it still wasn’t open. But during my due diligence, I ran across Above the Barre Fitness, which practices the BarreAmped method – think dance, pilates and yoga. They allow newbies to come in and try a class for free, so I geared myself up for one last effort. The owner, Maria Gerelus, was running the class I chose. She was welcoming from the moment I walked in the door. She also kept an eye on me throughout the class, making sure I was catching on and encouraging me when I couldn’t keep up. The focus went from arms to thighs to glutes in a very streamlined way, always focusing on the core. It was an eye-opening experience in that I found some of my muscles really were in okay shape… and others were acting like they’d never been used in my life. Since I felt moderately competent, but obviously have a long way to go, I signed up for a month. The second class was still hard, but felt a little easier. Then the weekend passed… and this morning felt like the first class all over again. Maria says her students love to hate her. I don’t hate her, yet, but let’s see how things go…

Inspiration from Above The Barre - photo borrowed from Above The Barre Fitness' facebook page

Inspiration from Above The Barre – photo borrowed from Above The Barre Fitness’ facebook page

Have you ever taken a barre class? How was your experience?


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