This past Sunday, I was not motivated to workout for no reason in particular. It was just one of those days when I needed another person to get my butt in gear. A group class, “The Challenge”, at my local YMCA peaked my interest. The description “90 minutes intermediate to advanced workout that improves muscular endurance while maintaining a target heart rate.” Sounded like a good way to get my body moving and I could always swim or run afterwards.
The class consists of five moves focusing on maintaining a consistent heart rate while using a combination of fast and slow twitch muscles fibers. The core, calves, and hamstrings are engaged throughout the entire workout. Within five minutes, my body already warmed up to the point of breaking a sweat and I could tell this was way different than any group fitness class.
The instructor immediately pegged me as a newcomer and paid special attention to perfecting my form for each of the five moves. Don’t ask me to demonstrate or describe the moves because I’ll just make you laugh or confuse you. I’d say they were similar to plyometric exercises done over and over and over again for 90 minutes. There were all shapes, sizes, and ages in the class. Most everybody had great form and were successfully accomplishing the moves I struggled to get right the entire class. I was definitely humbled by the 70 + year old couple right next to me.
At the wise age of five, I realized my future career in dancing was dim and therefore stayed far away from any sport that involved a ball or rhythm. There are videos of me at recitals dancing to my own moves because I couldn’t stay with the other dancers. About once a year, I’ll attend some type of strength aerobic class just to remind myself and be humbled. The reality is these classes are terrible forms of exercise for me because my lack of coordination inhibits me from ever getting my heart rate high enough. Enter the beauty of “The Challenge”, all I have to master are five moves, which the instructor says will take one to two months.
After class, a few participants hung out and started talking…triathlon. Ahhhh my heart swooned…group rides and open water swims, I’m in love. Little did I know, my new place is exactly one mile from the meeting location for multiple South Tampa rides that hook up with group rides in St. Pete. Basically, I could ride any morning or late afternoon of the week with strong riders. Did I mention I’m in love?
South Tampa is a fun place to live and there are tons of active people but the riding has been dismal for me since I moved here. Too many stop lights and traffic. It’s a concrete jungle with few, if any, open roads. I been yearning for long stretches of road with minimal cars. This morning, my newest triathlon friend, the class instructor, took me on a 20+ mile route through St. Pete and told me about all the various rides, routes, and good people to meet in the South Tampa/St. Pete community.
While it’s a little late for me to just now get pumped about riding seeing that tri season is gearing up, at least I’m there. Running has been great since moving thanks to a few motivating women running partners. Swimming has been great whenever I’m not working because there’s a solid group of triathletes meeting MWF. The missing component, biking, finally took a positive turn thanks to my Sunday workout whim.
As for “The Challenge”, I’ll be back this Sunday even though the past few days consisted of hobbling around on sore calves. There’s something about this class that brings out my competitive nature and desire to be pushed.