Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Getting Blitzed!

My latest class in my YMCA experiment/adventure was the lunchtime Y-Blitz class at the Downtown Y. It was my first time taking a class at this location and I went with my friend Sun so she could show me around bit before the workout. I have to say, this branch is pretty darn nice. It's newer and definitely has a more modern feel to it- although the layout that winds it's way through the Grand Avenue Mall building had me feeling a little bit lost at first! I especially was interested in the 1/6 mile track that goes loops through the whole facility.

But back to Blitz-ing. This class was BANANAS. I'm not even exaggerating. You only have 35 minutes to work but you better believe there is serious sweating being done every single second of your time there. Our workout that day was called "The Gauntlet". (Eeek!) It started with a sprint around the track followed by some jumps over stacked steppers and shuffling through hurdles. Then the really fun part: Each round we were given 4 different movements to perform. For example, 20 burpees, 20 squat jumps, 20 mountain climbers and 20 jackknife sit ups. Yes, that you read that right. 80 reps. Then repeat the whole circuit again and again as many times as you can. Every time we finished the track sprint and jumps we were given 4 new things to do. (Push ups, jump lunges, etc.) At one point Sun and I were doing dead lifts with gigantic kettlebells and slamming battle ropes in unison!

You can probably guess that this class is not for a beginner. I feel like I'm in really good shape and this was still a real challenge for me! I'm also pretty sure though that you would start to see results very quickly working out like this. It seemed like a lot of people there were used to this type of workout and they were performing like rockstars- although I didn't feel like there was a competitive vibe to the class at all. Everyone was just there to work hard and get it done.

So to sum up, if you're a newbie I'd wait before diving into the Blitz. However, if you're looking for a new challenge to conquer and enjoy shorter duration, high-intensity training, then you may have met your match.

Next up: Body Pump

Friday, February 21, 2014

Friday, February 14, 2014

Body Combat: Boomboompow!

I think I found my favorite Y class! (At least so far.) Sunday morning I took Body Combat for the first time at the South Shore YMCA and I feel like this class totally gets me. It's a super high energy cardio class where you punch, kick, shuffle and jump your way through choreographed movements set to some heart pumping music. There are no gloves, boxing bags or other equipment, but your body is working HARD for the full hour.

I have to say a class like this may take a little bit of brain work and coordination at first but I feel like there was a lot of repetition with the movements so you have time to figure out what your body is supposed to be doing. The instructor I had took some time right at the beginning to go over proper form for all the basic kicks and punches we'd be doing. Also, each song seemed to have a "theme" of some sort where you focused on one type of movement in particular (squatting, kicking or punching, etc.) By the end you are throwing everything you've learned throughout the hour into one intense circuit. I felt like I was dancing at one point as I really got in a good rhythm with the music! At the end we finished up with a push up and core circuit on the floor.

I'd highly recommend this class to anyone who likes cardio-focused classes without the frills of tons of equipment or workout "gear." I also think it was a fun way to get some aggression out. The instructor, Sara, at this class was really motivating throughout and had us working hard. I will definitely be back for this one down the road.

Video from the New Orleans YMCA on YouTube.

Next up: Y-Blitz!

Friday, February 7, 2014

I Have Confidence in Me

Where to begin. This post has been percolating around in my brain for a week because I have a lot of feelings about this but sometimes it takes a while for me to extract all the feels from inside my head and make sense of them all. Here we go.

A lot of people know that I got my personal trainer certification last year. The one thing I didn't want to do upon obtaining my certification was to walk into a big name gym and get put an a virtual hamster wheel- training people who get a one *free* session with their membership and never seeing them again, leading huge classes where I'd never match all the faces with names, and putting all the focus on selling memberships instead of building relationships. I also wanted to have control of when and where and how much I worked as a trainer. Honestly, this is not something I decided to do in order to help put food on the table. We're good over here. I chose to do this because I have a genuine interest in the field and think that I have something to offer people.

So that's why I had my own business. My own sad, small, half-ass little business. And here's what I learned:

1. Marketing is hard. Business-ing is hard. And I am terrible at it.
2. It's even harder if you're marketing for a business you really only want to do part-time.

After a couple of weeks I wanted to block MYSELF on social media with all the shouting about bootcamps and incessant retweeting invites and reminders about classes I was teaching. I also had no idea how to reach out to people outside of my own personal network, which is why I mainly ended up teaching classes to friends, and friends of friends.

Not to say I didn't learn a lot of useful things. Once I started training actual people instead of memorizing facts and figures from a big book, things started to come very naturally to me. I even picked up some one-on-one training clients where I really felt like I learned a lot about modifying exercises to suit a person's specific needs, and getting to know them on a more personal level. I remember when I was first considering getting certified I asked a trainer (again a friend of a friend) what advice he had and he said, "Listen. People really just want to be heard." That advice really stuck with me because as I taught more people I realized that it was much more than just presenting some movements and shouting out numbers of repetitions at them. People hire a personal trainer or go to a bootcamp class because they're looking for some kind of motivation outside of themselves. They need someone to listen to them and help them find their path to success.

ANYWAY. Back to me and half-assing my way through my business.

I decided to take a hiatus from training over the holidays (except for the one client I was working with in-home.) It had gotten too cold and dark to host bootcamp classes at the park anymore and I hadn't secured an indoor space for the winter. In fact, I wasn't sure it was even worth it for me to try and rent space for the number of people I thought I could potentially get into a class over November and December. After the new year I was feeling kind of down about my prospects and was procrastinating about taking action when I saw that a small personal training studio in the neighborhood, Wild Workouts and Wellness, was hiring trainers. The owner, Amber, is a person with whom my social circle overlaps with a lot and I've always had my eye on her as someone I was impressed with in the Milwaukee/Bay View fitness community.

So I submitted my application. She called me. We met. And I got the job.

I feel like a weight has been lifted. Like I can finally get down to doing what I want to do. No messing around with sales and marketing and spreadsheets. I show up, I meet awesome people, and we get to work. I feel very lucky that I stumbled upon his opportunity and that I've been welcomed fully onto their little team. During this past year I had bouts of feeling like I wasn't a "real" trainer because I wasn't out there enough "in the field," so-to-speak. I was even pretty nervous walking into her gym and presenting myself as a real deal, legit trainer. But now that I've started coaching the workouts it's like everything is starting to fall into place. I really DO know what I'm talking about. People can ask me questions and for the most part I KNOW THE ANSWERS. And if I don't- well I then have the opportunity to learn something new. I've got tons of room to grow and I'm looking forward to growing it.

I've been doing this thing lately where I say to myself, "All you have to do is be yourself and everything will fall into place." It's a little Maria Von Trapp-ish but hey, it works me for. And it probably helps that being myself is also not being a jerkface. (At least I'm pretty sure I'm not a jerkface.)