I had my first weight-training class ever on Saturday morning. This was a free trial class for a neighborhood gym. The club is just three blocks away. You walk through the main door, which is modern, go along a narrow corridor made of large stones which feels medieval, pass through a cobbled courtyard, and then finally enter the actual building where you can find the front desk and changing rooms on the ground floor, exercise equipment on the first floor (equivalent to second floor for Americans), ballet and martial arts on the second floor, and workout classes on the top floor.
The class was advertised as BodyPump which is one of several different choreographed workouts (BodyAttack, BodyCombat, BodyBalance) branded and sold in forty-five countries. I thought this was going to be an aerobics class since I was really looking forward to working up a sweat and burning lots of calories. But when I saw the regulars start picking up a plastic platform (like a step for aerobics) and a bar with some weights, I realized I had made a mistake. Oh well -- I'm up to new adventures. So I pretended I knew what I was doing (I'm very good at that) and followed suit.
Our instructor was incredibly strong, carrying at least eighteen pounds on each side of her dumbbell. It was a rather aerobic workout in the end since we did many repetitions, some of them being quite fast. I thought I had weak arms so I started out with one kilogram (2.2 pounds) on each side, changed to two kilograms, and finally progressed to three kilograms per side for the biceps and legs portions of the workout. I didn't realize I had so much strength myself. I was able to complete the entire workout, losing it in just the last few seconds. You could tell I was working really hard by the end because I was grunting and contorting my face like those super weight-lifters.
The BodyPump class is choreographed to specially selected music which I found very energizing. Perfect tempo, good beat. Mostly American popular songs. Even our teacher was singing along with her booming alto to the B-52s "Love Shack." That was a riot. For three months, they teach the exact same class -- same choreography, same music. I believe this week they will be beginning a new routine.
Lifting those weights to the great music and the encouraging words of the instructor made me feel unbelievable. Sweating a lot, pushing myself, not letting myself give up when it got too difficult. It was such an empowering experience. Made me feel like I could do anything. I imagined how great I'd look and feel if I joined the club and did all their classes. It's a bit pricey, but I think it's worth it! It's an investment towards my health and well-being.
And I still think it's worth it even though I could barely make it down three flights on the tight, circular staircase. My legs felt like they were trembling inside. Today's the first day they're not sore. My biceps are another story. Today's the first day I can straighten my arms without saying "ow." I might take it a little easier the next class.