I have always resisted getting involved in any sort of exercise class in the past. I am not much of a joiner. I’m not really a “group activity” sort of a guy. I did my first High Intensity Interval Training class at Redbird on Monday, and it showed me the real reasons I don’t want to do classes. Boy did it.
I had no idea what to expect from the class at all. All I knew was that there had been some talk about needing to make sure there were “modifications” for each exercise. Now I know that modification means easier, and I’m not stupid, so I had some fear going into the class. You know, the basic stuff… “Will I be able to keep up?”, “Will I look stupid?”, “Will I die?”… (I didn’t).
The class started with about 15 minutes of “warm up “exercises. This consisted of some of the most strenuous Pilates exercises I have ever done, one after another. Warm up… got it. After the warm up the instructor showed us the 6 exercises that we would be doing in the class, and then we got to it. Two kinds of pushups, 3 kinds of squats and a running/jumping in place thing. 20 seconds apiece with a 10 second recovery period between each exercise. Six sets of six exercises, one after the other as strong as you can go for a solid 18 minutes. Of course I learned this after…
As we got going I could feel my resistance start to come up. I wanted to bail. I was sure I wasn’t going to be able to keep up. The first set went OK. I spent most of each exercise trying to figure out how to do it. And 10 seconds isn’t recovery time – at least not the recovery time I usually take (which can be measured in minutes, hours and weeks…), it’s just enough time to get to the next exercise. By the end of the second set I was starting to get seriously winded. How many of these are we going to do? At the end of the third set I looked at the clock and saw that there was still nearly 30 minutes of class time left and began to panic a little, but I kept on going. By the end of the 4th set I had finally gotten familiar enough with the routine to not be confused anyway. And then, during the 5th set something began to change.
As we started the 5th set my heart rate and breathing began to settle down. It took 2/3 of the workout for my body to get hot and start firing on all cylinders, but it eventually did. I was able to push through to the end of the 6th set at a steady pace, and as we slowed down and started to recover and stretch I actually felt pretty good. Well, pretty good for a 53 year old 288 pound man who just did a HIT class.
I think I avoid classes because I don’t want to relinquish control. This class (along with the Pilates classes) definitely made me do things that I would NEVER have done on my own. I can see and feel the effects of the Pilates workouts I have been doing, and I guess the HIT class will show me something with time as well. Gotta do something different if I want different results. And that sure was something different.