Day 10 - Take THAT President's Fitness Test

Pure Barre - Coral Gables

I might be dating myself here, but do you remember the President's Fitness Test back in Elementary school? Where you had to do stuff like pull ups, sit ups, a "shuttle run" where you sprinted with erasers to the free-throw line and back, and then did a V-sit and reach? And if you did really well you got, like, a free pizza? Yeah, let's just ignore the logic in rewarding fitness with pizza for a second. It was a Reagan program, just go with it.

And it's not MY generation that suffered with childhood obesity.

ANYWAY I was a fat kid growing up, so I was pretty shitty at all of them except the sit ups. But my absolute worst was the V-sit and reach, where you sat with your feet in a V and got points for every inch you could get past your feet. I think the best I did was a -6.

Fast-forward about 25 years and I'm going to Barre class for the second time ever. It's definitely been the most different of any of the workouts I've done, and the most surprisingly difficult. At any rate I ran into a girl I vaguely knew from UF before class, who had just finished telling a friend on the phone that "guys never come to barre class." Not until now anyway. I was once again the only guy in the class, and once again it was a serious strain.

The workout started pretty fast with an aggressive warmup, then moved into some pulsing holds while standing on your tiptoes. The amount of stress this workout puts on your hips and thighs is unbelievalbe, and by about 15 minutes in both were on fire. I have no idea how girls do this every day. The toughest part of the workout came when he had to stand on one leg, using the bar for balance, and lower and raise our other leg in short little pulses.

That's the thing with barre: All the movements are really small so you never get a chance to fully relax. It's all just an inch, and not only was the leg I was pulsing getting tired, but the hip on the leg that I was standing on gave out at least four times during the workout. Which goes on for a 15--minute loop of Whitney Houstons "It's Not Right." I hate that song now.

Add in a weight routine that had us holding our arms in the air with 5lb dmbells for the better part of 10 minutes, and I was easily looking like the fat kid again. All these girls could keep their arms up the whole time, but I guess this is the part where you realize having 20inch biceps is pretty impractical.

But my validation came during the final stretch out, where we put our feet in a V, and were told to reach as far as we could. And flashing back to 3rd grade gym class, I thought, aw man, here we go again., more fat kid shit. No pizza for me.

But, after an hour of this muscle legnthening work and because it was almost 8pm and I'd had the day to stretch out, I got far. Really far. Like a good 4-5 inches PAST my feet, amazing even myself. Now, full disclosure, I've been taking once-a-week gentle yoga for almost a year now, but still this was an unprecedented feat in flexibility for me.

Needless to say, I treated my self to some pizza for lunch today.

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