It’s January. You know what that means...a new year, a fresh start, and the inevitable New Year’s resolutions. For so many of us those resolutions focus on losing weight, working out, and engaging in a healthier lifestyle. However, despite our best intentions, the long-term commitment to working out on a regular basis often proves quite difficult. Whether it is due to busy schedules, tight budgets, or sheer boredom, those gym visits and treadmill sweat sessions seem to dwindle faster than the pitcher of mimosas at your last Sunday brunch.
In an effort to make my healthy lifestyle resolutions stick this year, I decided to embark on a calorie burning, muscle building, sweat inducing adventure. I joined ClassPass and forced myself to only attend workout classes that I had never tried before. My hope was to infuse some new energy and excitement into my workout regimen (shedding a few pounds and gaining lean muscle wouldn’t be so bad either).
What follows are honest reviews of my favorite workout classes. These are the classes that I actually looked forward to attending again (after the soreness subsided and I could actually move my limbs again). My hope is that my adventures might encourage anyone who is feeling hesitant about being the “clueless beginner” in a new class to get out there and give it a try. It’s time for a new year, a new workout, and a new you!
Name: SESSION Pilates
Locations: Fitzhugh Ave., Dallas
Walking into the bright, open SESSION studio, you immediately feel energized and ready to put in some work! The studio is large enough to not feel crowded and claustrophobic, but small enough to still feel intimate and cozy. As though you are working out with a few of your close friends. The majority of the studio space is taken up with reformer machines, contraptions that look deceptively like comfy, padded lounge chairs. Do NOT be fooled-- you will experience zero comfort while working out on these machines. What you will experience, is an awesome full body workout.
The instructors at SESSION utilize the sliding carriage and metal rope resistance system of the reformer to deliver an intense workout for your legs, glutes, and arms. While the classes I attended contained both upper and lower body components, there seemed to be a definite focus on the lower body (the type of “focus” that leaves your glutes on fire and your legs shaking).
Some of my favorite aspects of this particular class include the variety of exercises performed each class to prevent boredom, and the ability to obtain an intense muscle burn while also engaging in low-impact exercises. This is a class where the time flies by and I leave knowing I worked HARD, and my muscles will be reminding me of this work for days to come.
Name: Title Boxing Club
Locations: Dallas, Southlake, Plano, Allen, & McKinney
From the moment you step foot into Title Boxing Club, it’s clear that you need to prepare yourself for a tough workout. Your formidable opponent...a 100-pound heavy bag suspended from the ceiling. Admittedly, the rows of hanging heavy bags upon entry can be slightly intimidating to a novice boxer (I was somewhat terrified). However, any anxiety will quickly be dispelled by the warm welcome offered by the friendly staff and your fellow boxers. The staff will be more than happy to walk you through pre-class preparations (the magic involved in properly wrapping your hands and wrists still completely mystifies me) and introduce you to the instructor.
Once class begins it is GAME ON. Class begins with a “warm up” that might be more appropriately entitled burn up, as your muscles will be much more than “warm” by the end. Next, you move into boxing, performing various combinations of jabs, crosses, hooks, and upper cuts (if you have no idea what any of these terms mean, do not fear! I had ZERO idea how to perform any of these punches before class.). In the 60-minute boxing class, there were eight rounds of boxing with approximately three minutes of continual punching per round. In between each round, you will experience “active rest” periods. Again, “rest” is a complete misnomer here. You will be squatting, lunging, and performing ab exercises during these alleged rest periods. Class concluded with one last set of six-pack carving, fat burning, ab exercises.
Needless to say, this class is an excellent upper body workout (your arms and upper back will be feeling the effects of this class for days). However, what I found most surprising about this class is how completely and efficiently your legs, glutes, and abs were also worked (thank you active rest periods!). Waking up the morning after this class with sore arms was to be expected; however, the muscle pain and fatigue I experienced when attempting to sit or stand for the next several days was a welcome surprise!
If you have been considering a boxing class, but have been intimated to step “into the ring” for the first time, don’t be! I had zero prior experience, which I am sure was extremely evident by my first flailing arm attempts at punches, but both the instructor and my fellow boxers gave me extremely helpful tips to ensure that I had a great workout while also keeping my hands and wrists safe. So, grab a pair of gloves and get out there! You won’t regret it!
To be continued...part 2 coming soon!