No Rest For The Motivated: Kira Stokes Joins BFX Studios

Kira Stokes has taught a killer “Stoked” series of classes for years at Reebok Sports Club/LA, the super swanky and expensive UWS gym, developing loyal and rabid fans of workouts that kick your ass from head to toe. The problem was that really only the people at Reebok had access to that awesomeness on a weekly basis – this week that all changed.  Kira joined the new Boutique fitness venture BFX, which offers both monthly membership options and single classes.  This is a VERY good thing.

Kira Stokes BFXInvited to preview week, I didn’t even think twice & signed up immediately for both of her Monday night classes. It’s been ages since I’ve taken even one of Kira’s classes and even longer since I’d tried a double – I don’t know what I was thinking! On Monday nights she’ll be teaching her C3 Barre Max class and her signature Stoked 360.  I’d taken 360 (and loved it) but her Barre class was the wild card, so I knew I had to try it.  In my head I figured it would be just a lot of barre with Kira’s spin on it but that I would be fine.  I was wrong – those 3 C’s stand for Core, Cardio and Conditioning.  In the first few minutes of class, she told us that this class used to be 75 minutes, so really, she just had to make sure that we thoroughly felt it in 60.  10 minutes in, when we were still on planks and pushups, I knew that this double would be much harder then I’d anticipated.  My recent Pilates work made the roll-up/c-curve portions of the class my strongest part. We planked, did multiple variations on push-ups, did mountain climbers on sliders, c-curve pulses with weight, and did a few plyometrics for good measure. It was about at the halfway mark before we even touched the barre, and I knew I was in trouble with this double.  The barre work really consisted of maybe 6-10 minutes, because really, Kira didn’t need that prop to get to every tiny little muscle in your body. I was sweating buckets by the end of that Barre class.

1623678_1494765160740176_5429448453707692703_n I steeled myself for the next class, Stoked 360, and tried hard to regroup. There were a group of us doing the double, mostly Kira’s diehards who would follow her anywhere and trained with for years, and then me, who hadn’t been to a class in ages.  I’d taken it before and knew that on it’s own it is tough, but with all of my training recently, assumed I’d be fine. The idea of 360, is to hit all of your muscle groups with compound movements done in sets, then repeat it three times before moving on. One: first to learn the move, two: to understand it and three:  perfect it.  As Kira would explain each new set, we would jump rope. It was that cardio spike that made it so there were absolutely no breaks built into the workout.  As Kira said in the middle of class “I don’t cue rest breaks”- if you needed one, you had to take it yourself, she wasn’t going to give you the permission.  Stoked 360 is awesome because it hits everything – and is constantly changing so that you are always challenged. Half an hour in, Kira announced, “We have 45 minutes left and we have a lot to get done. Don’t stop now.” I must have looked visibly stunned, since she looked directly at me and said “YES, this class is 1 hour and 15 minutes and I expect you to give it your all.” Everyone hooted and hollered but I literally wondered if I would just fall over before that full 75 minutes ticked down. It was amazing how many people had followed her to her new spot… but really, considering how good Kira is at challenging you in a way few can, it isn’t THAT surprising.

She's Mad but she's magic

Kira’s BFX classes are going to be capped out at about half of the size of some of largest Reebox classes.  They are going to be hard to get into because Kira’s crew will follow her there. That said, now there is at least FINALLY a chance of training with this master in her field – and really is there better fitness news than that?

 

Top photo from Kira’s Facebook page and bottom just a little internet goodness.

Pretending To Be Graceful: Absolute Beginner Ballet With Finis Jhung

AlvinAiley

When I was little I loved ballet classes. I was never good but I did LOVE being at a barre and pretending to be a beautiful ballerina. I hadn’t thought about it in a long time until a few weeks ago, when I got a card in the mail from my mom with one of my old dance pictures on it. Then while watching So You Think You Can Dance last week, I decided taking an Absolute Beginner Ballet class was an awesome plan.

Ballet with FJ1-930

Having taken an Absolute Beginner Hip Hop class at Alvin Ailey a few months ago, I was on their website looking immediately for something that would fulfill my ballerina itch. I signed up for Absolute Beginner Ballet with Finis Jhung since it was on Monday night at 7pm and given that the classes are 90 minutes, it was the only option that worked with my schedule. The Pilates studio I work at is filled to the brim with former dancers and when I told them about the class after I signed up for it they all gasped at the fact that Finis Jhung was teaching it. Reason? Since 1972, he has been a mainstay of the New York dance scene. Finis has taught at all the major New York studios and was a Soloist with The San Francisco and Joffrey Ballet Companies. “His life-long love of theatre and dance has led him to re-evaluate ballet teaching and to develop innovative teaching methods which make ballet easier to understand and more enjoyable to learn, while preserving the essential qualities that make ballet a great performing art.” As a non-dancer, I had no idea but I was suddenly a little nervous about what this class would actually be like.

ringer dancer at absolute beginner

In the description, it says “for your first time you are allowed to wear socks” but everyone else should have ballet shoes. After checking in, I went to wait by the big, main classroom and got my first peak at my classmates… who all were obviously dancers. There was one other lone sock-er but everyone else was not only sporting the shoes but doing very dramatic dancer stretches in the hall while waiting. I immediately steeled myself that this was going to be a much more advanced class than I was prepared for. As we moved the free standing silver barres into the center of the room, I snagged a spot in the middle corner, so hopefully I could follow along with the people in front of me but not so far back that I couldn’t see Finis in the front of the room. Even though the class was filled to the brim with almost 40 dancers and me, Finis thankfully taught what really was an “Absolute Beginner” class. We stood at the barre for most of the class, learning hold ourselves like a dancer, how to shift our weight so that our movements with the out stretched leg could be more graceful. I loved being at the barre and going through the movements to the classical music. He mostly called out the names of the footwork we were going to be doing, gave a quick demo and then we were off. Since I don’t know the names of any of the positions, it was completely lost on me when Finis said the proper names but it was easy enough to follow along. I got scolded a few times with a very firm “chin up!” since I was almost always staring at the feet of the ringer of a dancer who always seemed to be at the front barre.

I mostly didn’t talk to anyone, but during the short break we took in the middle of class, an older woman decked out in a beautiful flowered dancer’s skirt, glasses and grey hair in braids came over to me “I don’t think I’ve seen you here before.” My response “No, it’s my first class, nice to meet you though!” She clapped her hands together and exclaimed “Do you like it? It really is just the best isn’t it?” I responded with “Yes. It really is great, I’m so glad I came. How long have you been coming?” She shyly replied, “It’s embarrassing but I’ve been coming for three years. I love dance so much but I really have NO aptitude for it!” Relieved to have a kindred spirit in the class, I smiled and said “I think that is awesome. I LOVE that you keep coming because you adore it! Being good at something isn’t the important part, it’s the doing something you love even if you aren’t good at it that matters!” She beemed and walked back to the barre, we were about to get started again.

maggie ballet

 

The first hour of class is all at the barre but when he had us clear the floor for the last chunk of class I had a momentary panic that there would be some big grand runs across the floor. I was fully prepared to just run out of class if that happened. It turned out the final 30 minutes would be spent doing a little floor stretching and then trying to master gracefully gliding across the floor with a few short combo steps. In Absolute Beginner Ballet there were no big moves across the floor but for a full 90 minutes, I felt graceful. I seriously couldn’t have asked for more and I would totally go back. But I would still wear the socks since really… I don’t want to give anyone any ideas that I know what I’m doing!

 

Photo of Finis Jhung teaching from the Alvin Ailey website.

The Inspiring Weekend Kickoff – The Kara Liotta / Kate Hickl Double Burn at Flywheel Sports

One of my favorite things that I learned in the recent Flybarre Challenge was how much I loved the Flybarre/ Flywheel double. For me, the key to a good double is when the Flybarre come first. My body just responds better when the conditioning/toning part comes before cardio – there are others who feel the exact opposite but I need my double to start with Flybarre. Before the challenge, the few times I tried a double, it went the other way and I was miserable – however when Flywheel is the second class, some how my legs get a beautiful second wind moments after starting to pedal and I FLY.

Kate Hickl’s Saturday 9:30am Flywheel class has long been one of my favorites but getting up to get to Kara Liotta’s Flybarre class before just always seemed impossible. Between the goofy train schedules from Brooklyn and my love of sleeping in, getting to an 8:15 on a Saturday morning always seemed like just a daunting prospect. However, Saturday’s double was the only one that worked for my schedule, so I sucked it up and set my alarm for 6am. Turns out it this slightly infamous “KK Double Burn” is just ridiculously good.

As Kara was getting ready to start the class, she asked us if we were ready to really work since it was so many people’s first class back, to which one of the regulars said: “What I am hoping for is that you take it easy on us!” The whole room erupted in laughter, since I am pretty sure Kara’s version of “easy” would still be a killer. We all knew what we were in for, an awesome, super challenging and fun class where Kara would systematically kick our asses. She really is so brilliantly good at keeping every single class fresh and challenging, it is really amazing. I always feel lucky to get to be in a class with a master of any method and Kara really is a master at Flybarre. As the class settled in to get started, she introduced Emily Sferra, a Flybarre Seattle instructor who was in town for the holiday and was going to be jumping in to teach us the arms section. In my slightly sleepy state I was irked by the fact that we were going to have someone else teach part of the class.  Dang it! I woke up early for Kara! However, as soon as Emily hopped up to teach, I was immediately won over by her charm, easy command of the room and fun arm section. She even managed to make the dynamic arms section completely make total sense and easy to follow along – which is pretty much a miracle for me.  I was still terrible at it but I felt much closer to on than normal! The biggest sign that Emily is a star Flybarre instructor is that by the end of the section, I was like “Wait, can we steal her from Seattle? Just once in awhile at least?” She was GOOD – Seattle really has a star over there. Kara jumped back in front and proceded to teach one of the most challenging and fun classes to date. We even got to try a new seat movie that was awesome.

The nice thing about the way these two classes fit together is that really, by the time you have collected your stuff and gotten your shoes from your little bin, it is time to set up your bike. Kate’s Saturday class is always something special. It has been since the Flatiron studio opened. It’s funny, I sometimes forget just HOW great Kate is and then I end up in one of her classes and am blown away again by just how good she is. There is a reason I refer to her as Kate the Great. She is always so supportive while really challenging everyone – Kate truly believes in the Flywheel method and pushes people to get better each time.  I almost always do just a little bit better than I thought was possible when I walked in. On Saturday, Kate was on fire and blew the room away with her drive. I walked out totally inspired and grateful to get to take class with one of the greats. 

By the time the classes were over, I was wide-awake, blissfully happy to have gotten to take such amazing classes and totally convinced it was worth losing sleep for! The Kara/ Kate duo on Saturday morning was so amazing, inspiring and kick-ass, I might even have to do it again next week….

 

Top photo from Flywheel’s Facebook page, photos of Kara & Kate from Flywheel Sports website, bottom image just a little internet goodness.

Finding Joy At The Barre & The End of The Flybarre Challenge

Last Sunday, I took my final class of the 6-week Flybarre challenge with the ridiculously charming Kolina Nouhan. One of the best things about the challenge has been the fact that it forced me to try out more Flybarre teachers.  As a group, they are an amazing, vibrant crew and I have loved trying the different instructors.

One of the huge treats though, has been getting to take a class every week with Kolina. She is an absolute treasure of a teacher and before the challenge, I had somehow missed that fact. For some reason, her classes were always the ones I went to when I was just trying to squeeze in my 3rd or 4th of the week and was slightly grumpy about it, when it is the last place I want to be. That said, I’ve never walked out of Kolina’s class without a smile on my face and glad I got to spend an hour with her. She is so positive, sparkly and charismatic that it is fully impossible to remain grumpy. Her classes are so surprisingly hard, and yet her overwhelming sweetness always seems to wipe the ass-kicking from my mind as soon as I walk out. She also is so sweetly, genuinely concerned about any injury that not only does she check up on you before the class starts but continues to check in with you in any position that seems like it might stress your injury. It is so thoughtful, that half the time when she did it, I just wanted to hug her for remembering my random gimpyness.

At the after challenge meeting, Kolina was the leader and asked us what was our favorite thing about the challenge, I didn’t answer because really, my favorite thing about the challenge was finding the amazing Flybarre teachers like her. Without the challenge I would have never spent so much time in her classes and found out what a treasure Kolina is.

People keep asking me if I am going to keep up with going to Flybarre now that the challenge is done, and the simple answer is absolutely. I haven’t been a huge barre class fan for the last few years, the challenge helped me get over that and finally try this awesome method. Flybarre is an athletic, always-changing version of a barre class and was constantly challenging. I had always sort of lumped Flybarre with the more standard barre classes, this challenge allowed me to figure out how different it really is…

In 5 weeks, I lost 8 inches – and have seen some amazing changes in my body. In my waist alone I lost 3 inches. Due to everything being closed last week, I didn’t get a chance to do my final 6-week measurements with my team-leader, the inspiring Kara but the 5 week total to me is just crazy. Tighter arms, waist and a lifted butt is such an amazing result from any exercise and to see that kind of change in such a short period is just flat out awesome. So will I continue, hell yes.  Will I do it 4 times a week? No – but 2 times a week or so, absolutely – I don’t want my hard earned results to go away!

Photos from the challenge final meeting by Eric Stafford. Bottom quote just a little bit of internet goodness.

Finding Magic In Week 1 Of The Flybarre Challenge: The Ridiculously Talented Todd Allen

All of my favorite Flybarre people have been telling me for ages how amazing Todd Allen is but I just could never bring myself to take one of his classes. It wasn’t that I didn’t believe what people were saying but after a bad experience in another Barre studio years ago with their beloved male instructor, I have just avoided taking any male taught barre class. Which I knew was lame and unfair but it meant that Todd languished on my “to-take” list for a ridiculously long time. Last week, I took my very first Todd Allen class and immediately loved him. His hype is deserved and I feel like a fool for not making it to his class sooner. Todd is that amazing treat of an instructor – sweet, encouraging, funny, exceptionally good at verbal corrections and even better at physical ones.

This week was my second class with Todd and being one week into the challenge and my fourth day of class in a row, I was wiped out. After last week’s amazing class with Todd that seemed to fly by, I was just hoping to make it through his class this week. As I made my way into class, Todd stopped me to find out how my measuring had gone the day before.  When I told him that I had lost 1/2 inch on each arm, both legs, and 3/4 off my waist (which is insane to me in only a week but awesome) – he was almost as excited by the news as I was! That sort of enthusiasm is infectious and was just what I needed to refocus on getting the most out of the class in front of me. Plus, there is a part of Todd’s class where you feel you somehow have gotten to be in the practice room at a Broadway show – as he dances his way through the class, it makes me feel like I stumbled into a musical. Todd’s banter through the class is funny, with lots of great visuals for some of the crazier moves you do in a Flybarre class.  Not even Todd can make me actually rhythmic enough to not be embarrassingly bad at the dynamic arms, but he makes it so fun that I don’t care that I suck! Which every time seems like a huge gift. Tuesday’s class FLEW by – one of my favorite things about Flybarre is that there is so much latitude given to the instructors to mix and match in each section of the class, which means you never really know what is coming next. I love being kept on my toes (well not literally, I am not so good when we are supposed to do that) and having each class feel so unique. On Tuesday there were at least 6 moves I had never done in another Flybarre class but were fun & HARD! Todd has a masterful talent at sneaking hard in, while masking it with a great grin and funny imagery – it’s sneaky and I love him for it.

Todd is an ultimate showman who reminds me of Gene Kelly, because he can make a mundane movement – something you have done a million times – suddenly seem like part of a dance. It makes me so happy to watch, I forget how badly he is kicking my ass and spend the entire class just being glad to get to be around someone so magical …

Image of Todd Allen from the Flywheel website  and the bottom image just a little bit of internet goodness.

Fall Flybarre Challenge: The Kickoff to Exactly What I Needed

Last week, I got the news that running, jumping and anything “impactful” had to be tabled for “at LEAST a few weeks” – which means that some of the things I HAD planned for the Fall just weren’t an option anymore. Then, almost the very next day, I got an email about the Flybarre Fall Challenge starting and immediately emailed saying I wanted in! It’s the PERFECT thing for following the Doctor’s orders while still getting to really challenge myself – because without a challenge, the foot prognosis was going to make me nuts!  It doesn’t hurt that I think Flybarre does some crazy good things to women’s bodies and I really wanted to know what actually dedicating myself to it would do. It was the challenge I didn’t even know I was waiting for!  So for the next 6 weeks, I will be taking 4 Flybarre classes a week. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little worried about that, since it seems like every time I take one, I am sore for days.  I’m hoping that the sore part doesn’t last all six weeks!

On Sunday afternoon, we had our kickoff meeting at the Flatiron Studio. We learned the ins and outs of what the Flybarre Challenge entails. The cool thing is that for the challenge, you are given a “Team Leader” – one of the awesome Flybarre instructors who will be the point person for 6 weeks. As we got into our groups, I was giddy that I got Kara Liotta – who I adore, and who always pushes me to work a little bit harder, which really is exactly what I need.  I can already picture her giving me “that” look if I don’t give it my all and knowing myself, that alone will make me focus harder on getting the best results!  As we split into groups to meet and talk a little bit, Kara pulled each person off to the side to measure us. The thing I didn’t realize, was that we are going to be measured EVERY week.  Oh, buddy.  For some reason, this snapped me to attention, since I sort of assumed that it would be a before and after thing, just like the pictures. The reality is that in one week, I will be accountable for some sort of change and it made me realize there will be no easing into this Challenge. It’s go time. NOW.

Monday morning bright and early, I was on a mat in Kara’s class. It was the “Power 45” version and unlike the 1 hour version, this one zipps through the moves. I really like the speed of it but am always surprised by how much harder it seems – somehow, that stretching bit in the middle really makes a difference! I was still embarrassingly bad at the dynamic arms but luckily, the class was the “wild card” arms (the week where instructors choose a random arm routine, instead of the one that everyone has been practicing).  So, no one was really perfect at it and it was slightly less noticeable exactly how off I was! Maybe 6 weeks of doing the dynamic arm thing will make me less spastic looking? A girl can only hope….

After class, I hustled into Holly Rillinger’s always awesome Flywheel class. The class was packed with some of my favorite folks rocking the front row with me, including my awesome team leader, Kara. That kind of morning, filled with such amazing, inspiring people is hard to top… and for the next six weeks, I know where I will be every Monday morning!

Top picture from Flybarre’s Facebook page, middle picture by Eric C Stafford and bottom picture from FlywheelSports.com

Punching & Pulsing: Flybarre for Men with Kara Liotta & Khori Petinaud

Last Saturday afternoon (after an amazing morning yoga class at I.AM.YOU studio) I made my way up to Flywheel Flatiron to try a class called “Flybarre for Men”. Given my non-male status, it was one of those classes I went to only because I was specifically asked to attend, by none other than the amazing Flybarre instructor Kara Liotta – who I basically can’t say no to. She called out my friend SINworkouts and I on twitter and it quickly became a big group of some of the toughest & most inspiring women around- Lacey Stone, SIN, Kindra from Peak Performance and Kate Hickle. Seriously, that is one fierce, fun group and if I could workout with them all the time, I would. When we all got there, from our various other workouts, SIN made quick work to rearrange us so that I got to be over by the group since apparently, I totally booked the wrong mat.  Kara just looked at me and said “So you want to be with the loud ones, huh?” The answer to that question is always a rousing “hell, yes!”

Kara Liotta and Khori Petinaud, who co-created the men’s Flybarre variation taught Saturday’s class. A powerhouse of a team, they are strong, skilled, and have an easy ability to take command of the room. Kara, who I have written about before (here) was amazing of course – but it was my first time taking a class with Khori. I immediately liked her – she has an infectious grin and didn’t allow anything to throw her off her game, plus, she was so obviously amused by my group’s loud enthusiasm that went along with our complete lack of skill, that it totally endeared her to me. Not the easiest thing to do when greeted by a room full of people who, for the most part, where complete newbies to the method, and who cheered at the end of each section. Kara and Khori are serious about what they do but both handled the rowdy group with a joyful ease that only the great instructors ever seem to be able to do – allowing fun to be had while still staying completely on task and never letting up about form. They were a brilliant pair!

I have taken a handful of Flybarre classes and am always left feeling like the most uncoordinated person on the planet. Seriously, while pulsing at Flybarre is always fun, I can’t follow a dance count to save my life. The men’s version of the class, however, was hands down my favorite version so far and not just because of the loud hooting and hollering of my cohorts.  This version includes lots of pushup variations, jumping jacks, a couple of killer ab sections but also less work actually AT the barre. My favorite change though was that the dynamic arms section was boxing move based – now THOSE are counts I can follow! I loved the change up of that and can totally see why they did it to appeal to guys but it also did wonders for my enjoyment of the section. Kara was totally right to call me out on coming in to try this version. it really was totally up my ally. So, although our class had 5 guys, which is definitely more than have ever been in any of the other Flybarre classes I have taken, I just wish it was called something else!

Top image from Flybarre’s Facebook page of Kara, Khori and Kate practicing the Flybarre for Men’s routine, middle image of Khori from Flywheel’s website, bottom image just an awesome bit of internet goodness.

Brynn Jinnett & finding the church of the Refine Method…

Wednesday night on a whim, my friend and I went to try a Refine Method class uptown. We had been in one of those twitter chains where EVERYONE seemed to be raving about Refine Method and specifically about how amazing Brynn Jinnett is. I had been to a class before, in the then under construction new studio in Union Square but it wasn’t with Brynn, the founder of the method, and I REALLY wanted a chance to get to take class with her. So, when the opportunity popped up to take a class with her, I jumped on it – for both of us! Luckily, my friend is game for almost any fitness class, so I knew it was safe to rope her into this one.

With the address to the studio in hand, I headed to the UES. I knew it was little and in the bottom of a building, however, when I got to the address, I was faced with a church.  Thankfully, there was a plaque on the window for Refine but no separate entrance to get into it.  I braced myself for seemingly breaking into a church as I walked in, but then I heard my friend laugh through the first metal door on the left and knew that I really was in the right spot. Phew – no altercation with an angry church worker for me that evening! Seriously though people, that is worth mentioning… “studio is in a church, don’t be weirded out by walking right in!”

The studio itself is tiny – like a NY studio apartment tiny- and every inch is used. As I walked into Brynn and my pal chatting, I tossed my stuff into a locker and sat down at a station.  In a few minutes the room was packed and every station was full – and almost all were regulars. As soon as we started, I knew why everyone raves about Brynn.  She is funny and slightly relentless in her teasing about the correct form. It is done with love, but it took me a minute to get into the constant teasing about form – you have to love her or you would just want to punch the beautiful, graceful, former ballerina. I chose love and by the end, I am pretty sure my friend did too – although it was touch and go there for a while when Brynn kept taking about her “pregnancy Lululemon top” making it too hard to see her form. I really like the basis for Refine, the move away from the barre to more functional fitness. Bynn is very good at transitioning people in this way, she absolutely knows her crowd and how to motivate them to move away from the barre! As someone who absolutely prefers functional fitness over most barre classes , I think that is a very good thing. The class consists of lots of cardio circuit moves mixed with lots of lunges with kettlebells and work at the specialized pulley system and planks for good measure. Brynn is amazing about form, shockingly good at corrections (one of the best I have seen) and passionate about her method. It was inspiring to watch her and I can see why she has a devoted following. It was a challenging, fun method – midway through the class I was dripping sweat and ran to the bathroom to grab a towel – that is always a good sign for me!

I am glad I got to see the original home, and will definitely be taking Brynn again, but I will be going back to the spacious Union Square studio for my next session!

 

(Top image of Brynn Jinnett from the blog section of the Refine Method site which is full of interesting back story on the development of the method and bottom image a little internet goodness)

Flybarre with Shay and the moment of believing…

On Tuesday morning, not so bright or very early, I showed up at Flywheel Flatiron for another session of Flybarre, this time with showstopper Shay Kostabi. I have wanted to try one of Shay’s classes for a while now, after stumbling across her blog “Shay’k It Up” a few months ago, and hearing raves about her awesomeness from Jesse Alexander.  She just seemed like someone I would like. However, until recently, I had been actively avoiding Flybarre (and every other Barre class out there.)  But after my great class with Kara last month, and my goal to get more barre class into my schedule this year, it suddenly seemed like the perfect time to get in a class finally with Shay. I settled onto my mat a little early and waited for class to start. I was surprised by how full it was for a 9:30am class on a Tuesday, with only a few mats open. Maybe I shouldn’t have been, since the newest round of the Flybarre challenge had just started. The class was filled with Challenge people committed to getting their 4 classes in a week, and so I had a moment of “Oh, damn! I really am going to be the clueless ass again!”

Shay is stunningly charismatic in person and the whole class seemed to hang on her every word. There is an “I will be whisked away any minute to make a fitness video” quality to her that is palpable – she just has that “I should to be on camera” quality. Shay is a dynamite, engaging, group instructor – every explanation was clear, right on the money and I never felt lost. However, when we got to the arms section, I was fully expecting to be totally, embarrassingly lost again.

The Dynamic Arms sections are routines that you learn and do for 3-weeks at a time, however, it turns out this week was “wild-card arms” – meaning that every teacher would be teaching a different dynamic arms section.  As Shay was telling us that, all I could think  was “sure, still going to feel like a spaz” and while I am really ok with spaz-dom,  that first class of Flybarre dynamic arms made me feel really uncoordinated. So, as she started, I just steeled myself for embarrassment and mistimed moves. Then, an amazing thing happened. As I listened to Shay’s instruction and watched, I was almost right on-time for most of the moves!  Shay made me believe, for at least a brief moment, that if I had time to learn the moves, I might actually be able to do the dynamic arm sequence and look like I had MOVES.

Thank you, Shay, for giving me a moment of believing.

(P.S- Next week, a new arms section is happening, just in case a little slow breakdown is right up your alley too! Maybe with a full three weeks of training, I can have moves too! A girl can dream, right??)

 

(Quote a little internet goodness, image of Shay from her blog )

Finally trying the pulse: Flybarre with Kara Liotta

I have been checking out the Flybarre class through the windows every time I have taken a class at the Flatiron Flywheel for what seems like ages – so very, very curious but I never could get myself to actually sign up for a class. There is no good reason for not doing so, I have been hearing so many good things about it for so long that I knew that EVENTUALLY I would take one. Then, one day not too long ago, I was introduced to Kara Liotta – and knew that I was going to take my first Flybarre class with her.  In almost every new class I try, I try to take one from the trainers’ trainer. I feel like it’s the best way to know what the class is really supposed to be like. For Flybarre, that trainer is Kara.

On Saturday, walking into the room for the first time, I expected her to be a good teacher, but I wasn’t prepared for how warm and sweet she was. I went from being slightly nervous to being really excited about finally trying Flybarre. I have to say, I really loved the class I took, even though in general, I was TERRIBLE at it. Well, not at the whole thing, but there were definitely moments that I was embarrassingly bad. For me, the best thing about Flybarre was how athletic it felt, and how much sense it made as a companion to Flywheel’s core program. I really enjoy barre classes but I wasn’t really sure how a barre class and spinning programs really fit under the same roof. Flybarre though, seems less ballet-based and more tailored to just making you lean and strong. We spent very little time at the actual barre, which I really liked. We did lots of sections away from the barre or using the barre to anchor our feet during an especially challenging ab section. I was stunned at how hard the class was and LOVED it for being so challenging. Kara was great at explaining all of the “pulsing” moves and made some perfect corrections that completely upped the ante on the movements. I loved the multiple Abs sections too –since they were so varied and hit EVERYTHING. The arms section, though, was just embarrassing. I am really just not a coordinated human being, so the arms section, while fun, I was exceptionally bad at. The arms section is basically a choreographed dance routine, it looks awesome when you are doing it right, but I would say maybe once out of every 5 moves was I doing the right thing at the right time. Right now, the dynamic arms section made me feel more like Napoleon Dynamite than “So You Think You Can Dance.”

The class FLEW by and by the end I was sweaty, sore, and happy. Kara was inspiring, charismatic and just so very good. I had so much more fun than I thought I would in Flybarre, although for the last few days, I have been seriously SORE!  In fact, the Fella’s favorite joke has been “the ballerina broke your ass!” Yet, even with the sore and being embarrassingly bad at the arms moves…I can’t wait to go back.

( Image above: This picture of Kara, is hanging in the Flatiron location, back by the lockers I always use, and every time I see it, it has motivated me to work harder – and that was before I even knew her. I mean seriously, look at that picture! Damn. Now that I know her? I really have to get back to work now… )