Update: I no longer take barre classes religiously. Here’s why.
It’s funny, before starting the Core Fusion Challenge, I always had a gym membership. I’ve been a member of a few different gyms over the years. I went religiously and never noticed any change at all. No changes in my body, in my strength, in my flexibility or my overall outlook.
I also did a lot of cardio. I mean, a LOT. At the height of this craze, I remember going to spin class 4 or 5 days a week. I thought I needed to burn a lot of calories so I “wouldn’t get fat.” I would wear my heart rate monitor and wouldn’t be happy until I hit the 400 calorie mark during a spin session. I would think about which food I’d eaten that day that I was “canceling.”
It was unhealthy and it was obsessive. And my weight was at its highest. Spin did not change anything about my body, yet I still thought I had to keep doing it. I didn’t know any better.
I suffered an overuse injury in my knee and had to stop spinning. In fact, I quit the gym altogether. While I healed, I wasn’t exercising much at all. I thought I’d gain more weight, but I ended up losing. Shows how much I needed that crazy cardio, huh?
My attitude toward food improved as well, and my thoughts became much healthier. I started to take up running, which ended up being amazing for me. I loved being outside, I loved falling into a groove, I loved running at my own pace and not having an instructor there to force me to sprint or raise my resistance on the bike.
Even though I improved immensely, I still wasn’t totally healthy. I was lacking one very important thing, and that is strength. I still had some knee pain when I ran because my muscles in my thighs and glutes were too weak, and all the weight of my body was being forced onto my knees. I was in physical therapy for my knees for a few months, and one of the exercises we did was exactly like the glute exercises in Core Fusion. In fact, my homework was to do more butt exercises like that!
We also did thigh and core work during PT. Having a strong core is essential to preventing injuries all over the body.
However, I had no way to really structure myself to do the right types of exercises on my own. Physical therapy ended when my insurance wouldn’t pay for it, and I neglected my exercises. I was scared to do Core Fusion because I thought it would get in the way of my running, and I ran 5 races last fall.
Of course, I was wrong.
When I got the opportunity to do this challenge, I figured it was as good a time as any. It was winter and I hadn’t yet decided to run the NYC Half Marathon. I also felt soft all around and just wanted to tone up a bit, improve my horrid flexibility and get stronger. And I wanted definition in my arms.
The changes were almost immediate. Nothing like spinning where I worked and worked and never saw any improvements. With Core Fusion, I saw improvements in the first week. In the second week, other people noticed improvements as well.
I started running again to train for my half marathon and my bad knee did NOT hurt at all. My “good” knee started hurting, but that is because my right calf felt exceptionally tight and just needed to be stretched more. That knee no longer hurts.
I did tighten up – all over. My pants fit much better. I know I look better and I feel a thousand times better. I’m more positive about everything and I just feel strong. I work so hard in Core Fusion and as much as I don’t always love it, I never regret going when it is over. As this challenge goes on, my body continues to get even better.
A Core Fusion class will not burn as many calories in a one hour session as something like spinning, but it will give you the lean muscle mass needed to burn more calories overall – even when you’re sitting around doing nothing. And take it from me, you do not need to torch 500 calories a day doing cardio to see the changes. You will see the changes from Core Fusion and you’ll feel them too.
That said, I went to Kate’s class on Friday morning in a good mood. The good mood might have been because the train came early and I had time to drink coffee first. Ah, what a big difference that made before a 7 am class! Kate’s classes always kick my butt. I always feel like I got the workout of my life after.
When I got to class I told Kate about some pain I was having in my foot. She sat with me and looked at my foot and gave me advice and tips on how to avoid foot pain during class, modifications of exercises and suggestions on how to get better. This is something else amazing about Core Fusion: the teachers really want to help you. I never got such attention in a spin class, and I don’t know anyone who has. My knee was blatantly bending inwards during spin and not a single instructor ever corrected me.
At exhale, from Kate who gave me special modifications during class for my foot to Tammy who sat with me after class to help me with my C curve to Barbara who suffers an injury herself and is always so accommodating, the teachers at Core Fusion are nothing short of amazing.
At the end of Kate’s class on Friday, she alerted me to something I never realized. I was doing the butt lifts at the very end of class all wrong! I was going up way too high and putting unnecessary pressure on my neck. Once she fixed me and I did it right, I felt the burn so much more. Wow! Glad she noticed that.
On Saturday I went to Catherine’s class – another wonderful teacher. I told her about my foot and she was so concerned for me and wanted to make sure I took care of it. During thighs she came over to me and gave me different movements to do than the rest of the class to make sure I was not hurting myself but still getting the most effective workout possible.
Right before we started butt, this woman at the bar next to me reached over to my side of the bar, took my strap, and put it on her side. WHAT! I couldn’t believe it. And then I was so distracted about it that I don’t think I got the best glutes workout I could have. I need to learn to not let catty things like that get to me. I just couldn’t believe it.
After, I walked over to the strap bin to get myself another strap.
Oh, well! The best part of this class was actually C curve. I am improving! With Catherine’s great instructions, I was able to hold myself in a position pretty close to the correct one and even lift an arm off for extra challenge every now and then. Catherine’s encouragement and nods throughout the entire abs portion really pushed me through. I wanted her to see how hard I was trying to make this work and it was the best C curve experience I’ve had in class since this challenge started!
I can never go back to having a regular gym membership again. When this challenge is over, I’ll have to stick with Core Fusion because the results are just so . . . real. And should you need extra help, the teachers are there to help you. I can run outside for my cardio, which I prefer to a treadmill anyway. And as I said, I look better and feel better. My outlook is more positive. I don’t think about calories the same or about “canceling” food. Core Fusion helps body and attitude. I don’t see how I could ever replicate the workout or the feeling I get from it at a gym.