Posts Tagged ‘24 Hour Fitness’

bilbl_superSo far this summer, I’ve been doing great with my cardio workouts.  Even last week while traveling for a teaching conference, I got up at 5:25am to make sure I got in at least 30 minutes.  The thing I’ve been lagging on is my toning workouts.  Even though my TIU workouts have been in my plan each week, I haven’t been doing them for the past two weeks.  So, that’s what I’m going to focus on this week.  Here’s this week’s plan:

MondayMaking Waves Cardio (home elliptical) + TIU: Summer Abs Playlist
Tuesday: swimming + TIU:Spankin’ Booty Routine (3x)
Wednesday: Biker Babes routine + TIU: Bikini Yoga
Thursday: Insanity class at 24 Hour Fitness + TIU: Bikini Arms + Sunkissed Abs (Beach Babe 2 DVD)
Friday: TIU/Fitness RX Summer Meltdown Bikini Body Routine + swimming/elliptical
Saturday: BodyCombat at 24 Hour Fitness + TIU: Bikini Abs + Bikini Arms (Beach Babe 2 DVD)

And don’t forget that I’ve started a little challenge of my own – getting in 150 miles by the time I have to go back to school for my first teacher workday on August 15. I’d love for you to join me.

I post my daily workouts on Instagram, so follow me (or look at the sidebar of this blog) to see what I’m doing!


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bilbl_superThis morning I woke up in just enough time to head to the spin class I’d been planning to attend for more than a week.  Actually, today’s spin class has been years in the making.  I’ve wanted to try spinning forever, but was extremely intimidated by the proximity of the bikes to each other.  When I was over 300 pounds, I was worried that I’d spill over into my neighbor’s personal space.  Not a great feeling.

There was the time, back in August 2011, when I went into the empty spin room and spent 5 minutes on the bike.  I know I didn’t even get “out of the saddle”/stand up on the bike, because I had no idea what I was doing.   I also didn’t change the tension at all.  I do remember that I felt the pain in the pubic bone that comes with spinning.

So I prepared for that pain by buying some padded spin pants that had a skirt overlay.  I’d first seen them on Emmie’s blog, and because I was convinced I was eventually going to try spinning, I decided the investment was worth it.  I remember in August 2011 that I was embarrassed to wear them in public because of how tight they were.  The skirt was almost indecent because my big booty was causing it to ride way up in the back, barely covering. Here’s the post from December 2011 where the pants showed up again.  This time, I actually missed the spin class because I was fooling around with the fit of the pants, trying to camouflage how tight they were on me.

I haven’t tried spinning in all this time, but today was the day.  My gym offers lots of spin classes Monday-Thursday: at 5:45am, 9am, and 6pm.  I figured the 5:45am class would be packed, as would the 6pm, and since I was off, 9am seemed like the ticket.  Because I’d heard all the horror stories about how much the spin seat hurts the pubic bone, I decided to wear the padded, skirted pants even though they were way too big.  Like at least 3 sizes too large! Let’s compare the fit, shall we?

Left - 12/2011 Right - today, 2/2014

Left – 12/2011  Right – today, 2/2014
The difference in these two photos is really striking, especially because I’m sucking in my stomach in both shots. Dramatic difference!!

I don't know if you can tell, but the skirt was way, way longer today.  Less of a booty keeping it up!

I don’t know if you can tell, but the skirt was way, way longer today. Less of a booty keeping it up!

And here’s a front view picture, just for good measure.

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So many of my workout clothes are just way, way too big. This top is supposed to be one of those snug, dry-weave tanks, but you can see that it’s super loose on me. I’ve gotta hit an activewear sale soon.

Anyway, back to the class.  I got there about 10 minutes early, just to make sure that I had time to chat with the teacher and make sure I had the bike all set up.  I found out that the seat should be set so that it’s in the middle of my hip when I’m standing up next to it.  I also made sure that when I sat on the bike my legs were still slightly bent, not completely straight.  The teacher showed me how to change the tension, and told me that I could stay a “half step behind” if I wanted to; meaning I could take it a bit easier than the rest of the class since it was my first time.  You guys know that there was no way I was going to take it easy, right?!

The class itself was so great!  The teacher started off the class with Pharrell’s “Happy,” which couldn’t have been more perfect! In fact, take 4 minutes right now and listen to it.  It’s guaranteed to make you feel fantastic!

The teacher immediately turned off the lights in the room.  I’m not really sure why – maybe so that we wouldn’t focus on how we looked in that room which was surrounded by mirrors?  At one point during the class, I caught a glimpse of a girl in the mirror across the room and my first thought was how good she looked on the bike, how confident she seemed as she pedaled.  Only, she didn’t look like any of the women in the class.  I went one by one trying to figure out which one she was, until I realized – SHE WAS ME!  I can’t tell you how amazing that felt.  That I thought that I looked great during an exercise class is a new first.  That and the fact that I wasn’t the biggest girl in the room.  And I wasn’t worried at all about being too big for the bike – there was plenty of room on either side of me today.  NSVs abounded!

I felt empowered by how strong my legs were, and how well I kept up, even when we were “climbing.”  Climbing is when you slowly increase the tension in the bike higher and higher to mimic climbing a hill or mountain.  Sometimes these climbs were done “in saddle” (sitting down) and other times the climbs were done while standing the entire time. She also had us go on “mixed climbs” where we alternated between sitting and standing as we increased the tension.  I really enjoyed how the teacher used the music to help us get through the tough parts of the workout, and I can see that a really great playlist can make all the difference.

To be honest, the worst part of the entire class was when we were “in saddle” because my pubic bone just killed me.  I kept squirming and moving around as I sat there, trying to get in any position that would relieve a little of the pain.  I can’t imagine what it would’ve felt like without the padding in my pants!  I’m still slightly sore right now, 8 hours later, as I write this.  Everyone says the pain goes away and you get used to it the more you do it.  Still, I’m going to have to dig out that bike seat cover that I’d bought a few years ago, because I will take any extra padding I can get.  Even with the pain, I absolutely loved the spin class!

This is the photo I posted on Instagram this morning.  See how big that smile is in both of those photos?  That’s because I felt so accomplished, so proud.  I finally did something that I’d been wanting to do forever.  And not only did I do it, but I loved it.  I was good at it.  My strong legs took me through the entire class, and while I was “glowing” within 10 minutes, I felt beautiful.

2014-02-18 10.04.51Today’s Adventure in Fitness was amazing! So much so that I’m going to start going to spin classes at least once a week. And I’m going to treat myself to a session at Soul Cycle sometime soon, to check another thing off my Fitness Bucket List.

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February – love is in the air, and this month is going to be all about loving myself enough to continue making 2014 my year to shine. I’m vowing here and now that I will reach my goal weight in 2014. What an amazing accomplishment it will be! To achieve my goals, I’m going to focus on the basics – eating well, drinking lots of water, taking my vitamins and getting in 5 cardio workouts a week. I’ve started strength training with #ToneItUp and their #LoveYourBody series is helping see just how strong I am as I change my body. Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend. This month is going to be all about loving all the little things that make life special. My Sunday progress updates will be called Fabulous February Weigh-Ins.

Week 38 was stressful and challenging, but I’m happy to say I made it through better off than I began.  It wasn’t a terrible week, just one where everything seemed to be running at a fever-pitch.  I did get my workouts in, and I’m noticing some great changes in my body.

So, what did the scale show?!

When I weighed in this morning, I was 193.8, which is a loss of 0.8 pounds this week, and a loss of 83.2 lbs since surgery! I’ve lost a total of 121.2 pounds from my highest weight!! I have 43.8 pounds to go to my ultimate goal weight of 150 pounds. I’m really thankful for a loss this week, because of my poor choices on Friday.  Let’s be honest, it was one meal, and I still stayed under my calories for the day.  I made good choices the rest of the time, but with the challenges of the week, I’m happy to see a loss at all.  Plus, last week I had a big loss, and that’s usually followed by a smaller one.

One of the things that struck me this week were the changes I’m noticing in my body.  When I’m laying flat on my back about to do some ab work, I can really see and feel my ribs, and my hip bones are becoming apparent.  When I look at myself from a side-view standing at the mirror, I can see the start of definition in my stomach, and I’m definitely seeing a very slim profile. All of these changes are the result of my weight loss, sure, but I do think it’s because of the toning I’ve been doing with the #ToneItUp program.  I started four weeks ago, and I really wish I would’ve taken measurements at that time, but I didn’t.  Today the ToneItUp trainers will be sending a new set of workouts to get ready for spring, and I’m going to make sure to take measurements and photos for comparison at the end of the 6-week plan.

On a side note, I’m really upset that I haven’t been taking measurements all along since my surgery.  I meant to, but one thing or another would distract me and then I never did.  I do have some measurements from way back pre-op, March 2012, when I weighed 297 lbs or so. I just went back on this blog and I noticed that I wasn’t weighing in regularly at that time, probably because I was having such a hard time losing weight and regular weigh-ins were stressing me out.  Plus, there was more than a bit of denial there – if I  wasn’t seeing that the scale wasn’t moving, I wasn’t having to admit to my failings.  Regardless, when I take my measurements later today, I’m going to do a major comparison just for fun. My plan is to start taking measurements every Sunday, along with progress photos, so that I can start recording the changes in my body, and post about the progress once a month or so.

This week I have the entire week off, and since I didn’t end up going to Tahoe (I decided to save the money I would’ve spent and put it towards my Hawaiian vacation in April), I’m going to spend the week trying out a bunch of fitness classes that I can’t normally attend.  Here’s my cardio plan for the week (I’ll add in the toning once I get the week of workouts from ToneItUp):

  • Sunday: Run/walk with Di. She and I have been meeting up every Sunday morning, and I really look forward to this time to catch up and then get our sweat on.
  • Monday: Pilates. I tried Pilates a long time ago, and liked it for the first 10 minutes, but my almost-300 pound frame just couldn’t do most of the moves, so I left the class early. I can’t wait to see how much more I’m able to do now.
  • Tuesday: Spin. This is the class I’ve been dying to try, but was also completely intimidated at the same time.  Not because I didn’t think I could keep up, because even at my heaviest weight, I had so much strength in my legs/thighs, but because of my girth and the close proximity of the bikes to one another in the spin room.  The bikes are literally on top of each other, and when I was at my heaviest, I felt like I’d be overflowing into my neighbor’s space, and that just wasn’t something I wanted to deal with.  So I’ve avoided the class for all this time.  I have a feeling I’m going to love spin and it’s going to become one of my regular things.
  • Wednesday: Warm Yoga Flow. This is a vinyasa yoga class done in a room heated to about 90 degrees.  I love taking heated yoga because you feel so much better afterward.  In the past I avoided any sort of vinyasa or flow class because the poses moved too quickly for me to keep up with, but I think I’ll be able to keep pace much better now.
  • Thursday: Zumba Step. I love Zumba and haven’t been a class in a really long time.  I somehow got out of the Saturday morning routine of going.  I think the fact that one of my favorite teachers stopped teaching at my location also had something to do with it.  When I heard that 24 Hour Fitness was featuring this new class, which includes a step, I thought it sounded like a fun thing to try. Right now the Zumba Step class is only offered in the middle of the day during the week, so this is a rare opportunity for me to try it.  If I like it, I’ll definitely seek it out once summer starts.
  • Friday: Body Combat. This is a Les Mills class and the description taken straight from their website says, “This fiercely energetic program is inspired by mixed martial arts and draws from a wide array of disciplines such as karate, boxing, taekwondo, tai chi and muay thai. During this ultimate warrior workout, you’ll strike, punch, kick and kata your way through calories to superior cardio fitness.” I’m not sure if I’m physically ready for the class, but I figured it doesn’t hurt to try.

All of these classes are brand new to me, and I’m excited to try them.  You guys know how much I love variety in my workouts, so this is something that I’m really looking forward to.  A few of the classes, like Spin and Body Combat, are offered several times a week at the gym, so if I like them I can take them regularly. Warm Yoga Flow is offered a few times throughout the week at the yoga studio I like to go to, but I only have a limited number of classes that I’ve paid for, so I’ll need to space those classes out a bit if I like it.  Pilates and Zumba Step are only offered in the morning during the week, so I’ll have to wait for summer if I really like those.

I really can’t wait to see how I perform in these classes, and I think each of them will offer a challenge, but one that I can achieve. So many times in the past, I had the desire to take classes like these, but physically I just wasn’t up to the task.  Not to mention that feeling of “other” that I got whenever I looked around a room and saw that I was, by far, the biggest person in there.  What a different experience it will be this time! Just another way that this weight loss has transformed (and is transforming) my life.


Until next Sunday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

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275915914640549962_2UJuW9EG_cI feel so totally and completely motivated today! I mean, I feel invincible, and it’s completely fantastic. I’ve been eating completely on plan, drinking lots of water, and got back to the gym today. Part of it is that everyone else is in a healthy mode, but the main thing is that I have a new buddy.

B aka Tinkerbell is a kindred spirit that I met at the hair salon that I go to. She’s the manicurist, and I have to say, I am so glad I indulged in that mani over the summer, because I knew she and I would become fast friends. She’s also enrolled in the Kaiser WLS program, waiting to get VSG, and has 20ish more pounds to go to meet the surgeon’s goal. She actually has the same surgeon I do. Besides the fact that she’s fabulous and fun and we have a ton in common. It all just feels like kismet.

Tink reached out to me on Sunday, checking in after the holidaze, and as were chatting and comparing notes, I suggested that we workout together, and we set up a session for this afternoon.

I can tell you that after two busy days at school beginning the new semester and preparing to be gone for 5 days as I work from home, the last place I would have found myself is at the gym. Especially since I stopped home first to change into gym clothes, grab water, and eat a quick pre-gym snack. The pull of the couch might’ve overtaken me, had it not been for the fact that we had our workout date, and I knew Tinkerbell was waiting for me.

She doesn’t belong to 24 Hour (although I wish she did), but she got a pass, so we were able to try a few things out together. I started off on the treadmill, just to see how my foot/heel did, and I lasted about 10 minutes at 2.5 mph. I think working up to walking faster and longer is going to help in my recovery. Afterward, we hit the recumbent bike. All told, we worked out for a bit more than 30 minutes and I burned 418 calories. I left the gym feeling tired, but amazing.

We made plans to try to workout together at least once a week. Tink lives in my neighborhood (I didn’t realize this until today, since I usually see her at the salon), and has a bike, so we’re going to ride bikes as often as the weather permits. We’re also going to go to the WLS support groups together. I haven’t been attending because the one that I went to was “meh,” but Tink says that she likes the meeting at another location, so I’m willing to try it out. I’m open to all the support I can get.

I’m so excited that Tinkerbell and I are really getting to know each other and becoming great friends. We have SO much in common, and I love that she’s another strong woman. I know that we’re going to cheer each other through these 20 pounds, and I have a feeling we’re going to get to our surgeries very close to each other. How cool would it be if we were in the hospital at the same time? In any case, we’re going to be “sleeve sisters,” and I couldn’t be happier to have someone so close whom I can share this experience with.

Side note: the buddy workout was so fun that Ani and I are going to go to Zumba together this Saturday.

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Autumn has arrived! Which means that life is back to normal – school’s in, my schedule is busy, and obligations abound. But I won’t use those as excuses to slack on my goals. The great thing about fall is that the weather is cooler and there are no holidays or other social commitments to derail me from strictly adhering to my food and workout plan. I’m determined that fall 2012 will be when I achieve my pre-surgery weight loss goal. Since weekday mornings are hectic, I’m moving my weigh-in day to Sunday. Sundays are the perfect day to weigh in because I don’t have any other morning obligations and can focus on my weight loss. Plus, Sunday weigh-ins will keep me accountable through the weekend. Throughout the fall, I’ll be giving Sunday progress updates called Fabulous Fall Weigh-Ins.

This week was fantastic!   I stuck to the plan all week, got some great (sometimes frosty) workouts in, and just felt really motivated and proud of myself.

That’s wonderful Bella, but what were the results on the scale?!!

This morning I weighed in at 303.6, which is a loss 2.8 lbs this week. Which means I now have 23 pounds to go to reach the pre-surgery requirement. Even though I didn’t lose all of the weight that I’d gained last week, I did lose more than half of it, and 2.8 is completely on track for my December goal.

All week I felt confident and happy about what I was doing to promote my weight loss.  I didn’t let the pain of the plantar fasciitis get the better of me, and I braved the freezing pool twice.  I also got in a dance party and a kickboxing workout.  I tracked my food, stayed on plan, and drank my water.  My goals were to get back to basics, and that’s exactly what I did.

This morning I went to the new JC center, and I love it!  The center itself is bright, clean, and very organized.  I felt happy just walking in the door.  My consultant, Sherri, was wonderful!  She’s energetic, knowledgeable, and so confident in the information that she’s giving.  As she was asking me questions about myself and my weight loss goals, her responses let me know that she really cares.  Their scale had me down almost 4 lbs today (I think the two scales must be weighing differently, which is another reason why I’m glad that I do my official weigh-ins at home), and Sherry was so enthusiastic and positive.  She high-fived me!  Talk about a turnaround compared to my old consultant – night and day!!  I am so happy that I made the change, because I know that I’m going to look forward to my Sunday morning JC weigh-ins now.

Sherri also gave me a really great tip that I thought I’d share:

Another great thing that happened this week was that I woke up pain free this morning – that hasn’t happened in more than a month!  I took two rest days in a row on Friday and Saturday where I didn’t even give Sofi a walk, and I think that did the trick.  I’ve also been good about doing the stretches and taking Aleve to help with the swelling.  Even though I know I might have lost more weight if I’d gotten two additional workouts in, I think it was more important to get some relief  from the pain.  I feel like a new woman, ready to get out there and tackle anything that comes my way.

My workout plan this week is to continue with swimming, but rather than fight the elements at the unheated, outdoor pool, I’m going to start swimming at 24 Hour Fitness.  I avoid swimming there because it is so heavily chlorinated, but with my foot being the way that it is, swimming is one of the best options I have.  I will also ride my bike (or the recumbent bike at the gym), and go to Saturday morning Zumba.  5 workouts equaling at least 225 minutes of exercise this week.

Until next Sunday, my friends. I hope the scale treats you well, and that you have a wonderful week!

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Last Saturday I tried a new class in my ongoing Adventures in Fitness (AIF): Aqua Zumba!  It seemed like the ideal combination of two of my favorite activities – Zumba and aqua aerobics.

Even though I’ve  taken many Zumba classes, I still didn’t know exactly what to expect from Aqua Zumba.  But I knew that if all else failed, I would just move my body in the water and have a good time doing it.  Luckily, I caught on quickly, and I did really well in the class.

The music was amazing, as it always is in Zumba classes: upbeat, high energy, and fun.  The instructor, Miggy Zumba as he’s known on FB, was absolutely the best.  He kept it fun, but pushed us at the same time.  He made sure to move around the pool deck so that everyone could see his instructions, no matter which side of the pool we were on.  He encouraged, motivated, and made us laugh, and when I can do all of that while I’m moving my body, I can forget that I’m “working out,” and I just enjoyed myself.  Here’s a clip of Miggy Zumba teaching an Aqua Zumba class (not the one that I went to) to give you an idea:

The pool at my gym is filled very high at about neck level (it doesn’t help that I’m a shorty at 5″3′), so some of the moves were more difficult to master because I was trying to keep my head above water, but now I know to get to the more shallow section of the pool next time where the water only reaches about chest high. It will make doing the footwork that much easier, I think.

Someone asked me to compare the Aqua Zumba to both Zumba and aqua aerobics, and I’d say that I still like regular Zumba more, because there’s nothing like moving your body to the rhythm of the music, while pushing yourself to get the footwork down.  But I liked the Aqua Zumba 100% more than standard aqua aerobics, which can get really boring; it all depends on the teacher.  You can tell from the smiles of all of us in the pool that we really enjoyed the class and the hour flew by.

Can you find me in the photo? Hint: I'm one of the shortest ones. BTW - those are my yellow weighted gloves in the foreground. 🙂

The class was a 1-day trial at my local 24 Hour Fitness to see how much interest there was.  Well, with 72 of us in the pool that day, I’d say there was interest.  I would absolutely take Aqua Zumba again, especially if Miggy Zumba is teaching it.  I enjoyed his style so much that I’m going to go out of my way to take a regular Zumba class from him later this week at a location a bit out of my way.  He was that dynamic!

If Aqua Zumba is offered near you, I’d absolutely give it a try. It will be 60 minutes of non-stop fun, I’m sure of it.

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Before I get to the food, I thought I let you know that this photo to the left is extremely appropriate today, since I just got back from a really long walk with Sofi.  I didn’t intend to take her out for more than 30 minutes or so, but once we started out and I made the decision to take an entirely new route, we were off and running walking. We walked through a gorgeous neighborhood, filled with huge houses and amazing landscaping, and we kept on walking and walking and walking until I realized we’d been gone for 45 minutes.  So all told, we took a 90-minute walk, and I think we’re both feeling great (and tired) now.

But back to the food. I’m three days into my decision to eat more real food, and I couldn’t be happier!  I feel fuller longer, feel more satisfied, and simply enjoy my food much more. I am so glad that I listened to Kim and my sister.  Sometimes the best decision really is the simplest.

I’ve been trying to snap a few photos of my meals, but I’m so bad at remembering!  I just have to get into the habit.  I have taken a few here and there, so I’ll write a quick post toward the end of the week so that you can see what I’ve been eating.

One thing I’ve been absolutely loving is my new version of the green monster smoothie.  I decided to add a scoop of protein powder, and it has really made all the difference.  I always loved the flavor of the green monster, but it didn’t stay with me for more than an hour so.  Adding in the scoop of protein powder adds 150 calories, but it also adds hours of staying power.  Kim gave me samples of several of the BSN Lean Dessert and Nectar powders, and so far my favorite to add to the green monster is the banana nut bread flavor.  Yum!  I bought that one and it arrived today, and I know that it’s going to be in heavy rotation from here on out, whether I’m trying to lose weight or not.  It’s that good!  All of the protein powders really help to add a thickness to the smoothie that I’m loving.

I’m keeping lunches simple this week with salads and fruit, and I love the crispness they offer.  Dinners are easy for me, because I’m still eating the Lean & Green that I’ve been doing for months. I’m always open to new recipes and meal ideas, so if you have a favorite lunch or dinner, please let me know in the comments.

Another major piece of the puzzle is water.  Well how appropriate that today I found out about a Tag-A-Day Challenge 24 Hour Fitness is hosting on FB every day throughout February, and today’s was all about H2O.  I look forward to completing as many of the challenges as I can this month.  I’m glad they waiting until February to do this, so that the “bandwagon-ers” are gone and the truly serious “challengers” remain.

I’m so thankful that February is here!  It feels like a breath of fresh air in so many ways, so I’ll happily “release” January.

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Another installment of AIF (Adventures in Fitness): today I decided to try a new class  called UJam Fitness.  I’d heard about it a few times but never seen it before, so all I had to go by was this description from the 24 Hour Fitness website:

This class unites world beats with urban flavor and takes you around the world from hip-hop to Bollywood with an intense cardiovascular workout! Easy to learn dance steps choreographed to high energy music that makes you sweat, tone your body and leaves you craving for more!”

  I wish I would’ve done a bit more research and looked up their website or watched a couple of videos before heading all the way over to the club location that’s about 20 minutes away from my house.  With gas prices being what they are a 40-minute round trip has to be worth it, you know?

From the description, I thought the class was going to incorporate old skool hip hop (cuz that’s how we spell “old school” in the ‘hood) and some Indian dance beats.  I thought it was going to be more like Afro Belly Boogie, which I love.

The class was really sort of chaotic.  The music wasn’t old school hip hop; I’m not sure what it was.  I didn’t hear one Bollywood beat.  No world rhythms, either.  The instructor was another bouncer.  {Sigh. I’m not sure what it is about this club, but they definitely hire overly perky teachers}. And, ok, I know that perkiness is a good thing in a dance class instructor, but not so much so that she can’t modify the moves for the new students. And yes, I raised my hand when she asked if there was anyone who was new, although that didn’t really seem to matter.

To be fair, the class seemed really in-sync, which means that once you learn the moves, it must be fairly predictable.  I have natural rhythm, and I was keeping up alright for about 50% of the class, but some of the moves involved footwork that was just too fasted paced for me (at least at my current weight).

I’m not sure that I’d take this class again, even at my goal weight, because the moves didn’t flow like they do with Zumba and Afro Belly Boogie – they’re sharp, jarring, and not at all appealing to me.

I’m glad I tried it, even though I left after 30 minutes.  I just couldn’t see myself fumbling around not enjoying myself for the rest of the 60-minute class.  The thing I like about all of the different classes offered at 24 Hour Fitness is their variety – something for everyone.  Which also means that once in a while, I’m going to go to a class that just isn’t my cup of tea.

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I love Zumba, because the music is hot, I get to work on my natural rhythm, and I burn an insane amount of calories in the class, all while having fun.

I’d been going to a Saturday morning Zumba class with Lollo that I loved, but I haven’t gone to that one in awhile, for a few reasons – Medifast (too few calories for that intense workout), LC cancelled her club membership (no partner in crime), and the club is being remodeled (it opens again tomorrow!). I went to one class the week before last where the instructor was on speed, and then I decided to try a new class last night at 6pm, because I figured it couldn’t be any faster/harder than that one was.

Zumba on a Friday night at 6pm had to be either really fun or really lame, right? Either there would be a fun crowd of people or it would be like crickets because everyone with a life was out with other plans. Am I ever glad that I gave it a try and found the former to be true!

I knew it was going to be an interesting class when I saw the neon bricks and stage.

And say what you will about the bricks, cuz I was thinking it ;), but the stage itself was great because I could see the instructor no matter how tall the person in front of me was.  The room itself was huge, too, which was a big surprise because this club is actually one of the oldest I’ve been to and I wasn’t expecting much.  It’s got the best group exercise class room of any of the clubs I’ve been to.


Getting ready to take the class. I'm getting so tan!

I also really loved the mix of people who were taking the class.  All ages, sizes, shapes, and colors. That big, African American guy was so light on his feet and really new the dance steps, so I spent most of the class following him.  I thought he’d been dragged there by his girlfriend, but I think he might’ve been the one to bring her, judging from how good he was.

Joe Valdarrama, Zumba instructor extraordinaire!

When you really get down to it, the instructor is what makes the difference between a class you look forward to and one you can’t wait to finish.  Joe’s class is fun and lively, just like him.  One of the regulars in the class said that he’s got over 3000 FB friends, and I can see why.  He pumps the music up loud and never says a word, but is able to model the moves better than most instructors I’ve taken.

The class is fast paced, but not ridiculously so.  The moves are very club-y, which was fun; I got to bring back some of my ghetto-fabulous dance moves from back in the day.  (Not that I was ever ghetto; I just dance that way, LOL).  I am sure that once I take the class a few more times I’ll have the moves down pat.  The music was fun – everything from Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita” to the latest Reggaeton hit, and everything in between.  Plus, it seemed like Joe was just back from a Zumba conference, and had a bunch of new music, which means he keeps things fresh.

So while I’ll always love Lollo’s Saturday morning class, and I know I’ll attend it from time to time, I think I found my new Date Night activity, at least until I have a better offer.  And who knows, if I keep going to a Zumba a  couple of times a week, maybe I’ll eventually fit into the cool Zumba-branded clothes.

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On Monday I went to my first class at 24 Hour Fitness.

I almost didn’t make it because of parking.  My usual club is closed for remodeling so I went to the next closest location who just so happened to have several lanes of their parking lot closed because of repaving.  Nice.  It’s hard enough to park there without this obstacle.  As cars circled and circled the lot, I decided to take a risk and park in a “30 minutes only” space; I’d worry about a potential ticket later.  I’m glad I did, because I made it to the gym in plenty of time to get in line for the class.

I’d been wanting to try it for a long time, but hadn’t geared myself up to take this high-energy class until this week.  I had no idea what I was in for.  CTLB talked about how much she loved kickboxing, but that she left the classes in a pool of sweat.  I read this on the 24 Hour Fitness website:

Learn kickboxing skills choreographed to energizing music. Using no equipment, this kickboxing workout incorporates a number of upper body punches and lower body kicks.  Most suitable to participants of medium to high fitness levels, but newcomers are always welcome – just let your kickboxing class instructor know.”

So when the teacher asked if there were any newbies, and I raised my hand along with a few other brave souls, she warned us that this class was much faster than a regular kickboxing class.  “Oh, great!” I thought to myself.  Still I was there, I needed this workout to stay on target with my plans, and I wanted to see how much I could do.

I’d watched the Turbo Kick class a couple of times as I was waiting to take other classes, and while it looked high-energy, it didn’t look more intense than some of the other classes I took.  This video shows an example of what I’ve seen, and what I was expecting:

Oh, if only that was the class that I was in!  I don’t know what it is about teachers at other clubs on “speed mode,” but this woman was so fast that even the regulars didn’t always keep up with her.  There was a girl in front of me who was really good, so I did my best to follow her lead, and I think I kept up pretty well.  Lots of bouncing, jumping, and running, and since my fitness level isn’t quite there yet for all of that, I did the lower impact version as much as I could.  I did watch that girl in front of me bouncing around and think to myself, “someday, that will be me.”  And I can guarantee that it will be.  Someday.

The moves in the class are repeated throughout, so once you learn them, and remember the combination of punches, kicks, etc. the class isn’t hard to follow.  It’s just fast!  Full impact jumping, punching, and kicking was too much for me to try to do at this weight, so I liked that the teacher showed the modified, lower impact moves to the class, probably because there were so many newbies.  But she was a drill sergeant – much more Jillian Michaels that I would have liked.  To me, if you can make a class fun and encourage the people to push themselves, that’s much more effective that screaming “PUSH!  C’MON, DO IIIIIITTTTTT!” at the top of your lungs.  But maybe that’s just me. Bottom line – I am looking forward to taking the class from a different teacher, but if this was the only class available, I’d take it again, because I really liked it.

I think that the more I take it (because I will be taking it again, weekly), the better I’ll get.  Even though I breathe harder (think: gasping for air) in that class than I’ve ever breathed in any class, I left the room feeling amazing.  About what I’d asked of my body and what my body was able to accomplish.  Those endorphins were running strong.  Plus, burning over 1200 calories wasn’t bad, either.

Oh, and the best part was, I didn’t get a parking ticket!  🙂

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