Friday, July 28, 2017

So a girl walks into a barre. Literally.

I'm doing that thing where you try to get in shape. You know, when you don't eat candy at every meal and you try to exercise. Apparently people actually live this way.

I do love to try to eat healthy. I swear by a farmer's market to stock up on fruits and veggies and I avoid highly processed foods. But I have a sweet tooth like you've never seen, so it's a constant battle.

I like exercising too. I just don't always get around to it. Ok, so I don't enjoy exercising as much as I enjoy a trendy work-out to karaoke-worthy soundtracks. I've written about this before, I think. Probably long ago on one of my many previously-failed blogs. I love sweating it out to some Whitney Houston or Ariana Grande. Don't give me a generic techno soundtrack. If I can't sing it, then I also can't plank to it. I need those sweet Justin Timberlake lyrics to soothe me while my muscles spasm and I sweat more than any 5'2" female should.

So, I'm back on the exercise train. I promised myself I would not get stressed over dieting or losing weight for the wedding. I think that's stupid and causes unnecessary anxiety during a time that is supposed to be happy. But I am going to try to tone up and get in shape. If it happens, then great. If not, then that's OK too. I purposely picked a wedding gown I felt beautiful in now, so then if I have Michelle Obama arms and Carrie Underwood legs by the big day, then that's just icing on the cake.


The only exercise I've ever done that I've noticeably and quickly seen results from is barre. It's the only workout that I actually enjoy, but that also seems to work for me. (Calm down, you CrossFitters and SoulCyclers, leave your disagreements in the comments). For those of you who aren't constantly exposed to the trendy barre studios on every corner, barre classes  though different depending on your studio  fuse ballet with pilates and strength.

The thing about barre classes is that they are deceptively hard. The instructor looks like a dancer and makes every movement appear graceful and easy. Meanwhile, you move your arm, like, one inch for four minutes and are all of a sudden you're contemplating if you'll ever be able to use that arm again because the burn is so intense. While she's counting reps of eight, I'm thinking, "I can probably drive left-handed. I don't need to ever hold my own future newborn child." And don't even get me started on the squatting. So. Much. Squatting. You start to hurt in areas you didn't even know you had muscles.
(photo: Xtend Barre)

But it burns so good.

At least that's what they say so that you forget the pain.

Nonetheless, I love it and I keep going back. It's easy to get intimidated by barre classes. Though there are people of all shapes and sizes, a high percentage of my classmates look like former dancers and have a physique that makes you wish you'd never eaten a jelly bean ever in your life. But just as you're getting intimidated by how you may look in the mirror -- oh yeah, the studio is surrounded by mirrors, so that's always fun -- you realize everyone else is so focused on the workout that they don't have time to notice that you look like you've never heard a tempo in your life. I'm like Phoebe in that episode of Friends when she runs and flails but is having the very best time.

I've gotten better in my third decade of not comparing myself so much to other people. When it comes to working out, the important thing is that you're there and you're doing doing it. So what if you're supposed to do ten push-ups and you only do eight. Eight is more than zero, am I right? And, do you know the difference between first, second, and fifth positions? No, really, I'm asking you. Because I always seem to be pli√©-ing when they are relev√©-ing. But that's ok. If nothing else, I've learned those two fancy ballet words and can feel better about myself when I opt to spend a Saturday morning watching three hours of West Wing on the couch. I've got the burning abs and sore thighs to prove I earned it.

Update: I can't in good conscience post about my new dedication to working out without also letting you know that I just cancelled my barre class for tonight because I heard there is supposed to maybe, possibly be "a chance" of torrential rain and I don't want to walk in it so I need to cancel before the cancellation period is up. *sigh* Baby steps.