Bar Method

December is officially my month of health. It wasn't really planned to be that, but it has slowly become evident that after this month I may gorge myself and become lethargic on the couch for many a nights to make up for December. I've decided to do a mini cleanse in a week or so and Aaron is going to join me. Yep, I said AARON is going to join me in a cleanse. This time it's much shorter, we're going to start with only 2 days, but it's a little tougher. Liquids only. And the liquids are going to be mixes of things like kale, celery, parsley, aloe vera juice, chlorophyll, you get the picture. If any of you want to join me let me know! I think it'll be fun and 2 days is totally manageable. In addition, a few months ago I mentioned to Aaron that I was going to look into taking a ballet class. Just for fun and a little exercise. He kind of looked at me with his normal look that I'm up to something. I did some research and then spoke to a few people. Then a client told me I should try The Bar Method. I had never heard of that.

I do pilates twice a week and I love it. In the year and a half I have taken it I have become really good at it and so far there isn't anything I can't do, just things that are harder and more laborious. Some things take me a little longer or more concentration, or weight adjustments, but eventually I get it. But I don't like not being good at things, so I've worked really hard for the last 16-18 months and am so glad I did. But now I want to add a little more challenge into my schedule. Thus came The Bar Method. Think part ballet, part core, part torture. And that is The Bar Method.

I decided to sign up for a one time class and take the Level 1/Intro class. I arrived on time, put my stuff in the locker, got a rundown on the weights to bring into class, put my socks on, tied my hair back, and went into the studio. It was a full class of about 12-15 women and right off the bat I thought this would be okay. I was one of the youngest women there with an average age range of 35-50. The teacher of the class was in her 50s. No problem I thought. I thought wrong.

She came up and asked my name since she didn't recognize me and that's when I noticed her little microphone piece next to her mouth. Immediately we went into some intense arm workouts that had me breathing deeply and opening my eyes quite wide wondering if I was the only one who felt my tricep was going to detach from my body and fall into a crumbly mess beside my feet. The teacher repeatedly said that if you didn't feel that crunchy feeling in your tricep then you weren't doing it right. And crunchy is the exact adjective to describe it. So crunchy that when you relax your arm your arm is in pain and you want to immediately flex it again because it hurts to hold it in a normal position again.

The class was an hour long and I think she said my name about 28 times. She would say things like, "half inch wider stance Deborah", "lift your back leg higher Deborah" and I heard "nice shaking Deborah" about a dozen times. You see it is their philosophy that if your muscles are not shaking then you are not changing them. And I was shaking. They have the room surrounded with ballet bars and mirrors and you do ballet stances and then immediately go into strength training from those positions. I have never ever had my legs shake so violently.

I must also tell you that I hate pushups. I hate hate hate hate them. And pushups are a big part of this class. In the Level 1 I did 20-30 of them and I did it the girl way on my knees. But the girl way isn't enough because you have to have your knees so far apart and your toes pointed. Pain. Torture. I was pretty thrilled when we got on our mats only to then follow with the intense ab part. The whole technique is to target the areas that women want to change. Your arms, thighs, butt, and abs. And boy did they hold up to their philosophy.

The next day I thought I had gotten ran over by a truck. I have never been so sore in so many places in my life. And so what did I do? Since I didn't think I was that great at the class and my positions needed so much adjusting? I signed up for an unlimited amount of classes for 30 days.

Monday night I went to my first mixed class of Level 1/2 and if I thought the first class was hard, I was an idiot. This one put it to shame. The girls in there were serious. I mean they were intense. You could hear their grunts of pain and puffs of exhaled air quite loud. And since it was a mixed class you were always shown two ways, one normal, one advanced, and 3/4s of these girls did the advanced moves. I should also mention here that I am not very flexible, which is really sucky when you are doing ballet moves. I cannot do the splits, I cannot touch my straightened leg to my forehead, it just doesn't work. Different instructor, same microphone, but this time instead of just telling me to adjust my hips or soften my knees, she would just come over and grab the part that needed adjusting and move it to where it had to be.

Just a peak at one of the exercises. You can hold onto the back of a chair (ballet bar in class), feet hips distance apart, roll up your feet so you're on the balls of your feet, heels as high in the air as possible(as if you're wearing 5 inch stilettos), bend your knees down about 6-8 inches, tuck your rear under/forward, and then hold it for about a minute, then you start to go down about 2 inches and then raise two inches, up and down up and down for 4-5 minutes. No breaking, no readjusting. No moving your hips, just up and down using your abs and thighs. That my friends is torture. And then after that torture, worse torture. You pulse up and down for 20, and then hold again for a minute straight. Pure unadulterated torture.

Torture apparently equals a challenge to me and I am going to see it through for these 30 days. I can't do it more than 2-3 times a week, since I still want to keep pilates at 1-2 times each week. But my goal is after the 30 days to see how I feel and if I notice a difference. I can tell you this, Monday night I came home and within 2 minutes of crawling into bed I was asleep. Unheard of for me.

So December may be full of angry, hate filled, raging posts where I complain and am mad but don't worry, it's just my sore aching muscles doing the typing.