On Monday morning, bright and early, I went back to As One and brought a friend with me. I had thought the class would be totally up her alley and even after reading my post about my first class, she was totally game. I love that! I knew we were in for trouble though when George said with a glint in his eye “Good news: no stairs today! Bad news: no stairs today!” Although he looked deviously amused, he wasn’t kidding at all. I will say up front that while I didn’t think it was so at the end of class, this one kicked my ass even more than the first one – it just sort of snuck up on me as opposed to being totally wiped out at the end like the first time.
We started with the same dynamic warm-ups while holding a wooden pole: roll-downs, side lunges, squats and then jumping jacks and planks for good measure. My friend had that “I am so not sure about this” look but it quickly changed as we got into the real deal of the class.
At As 1 most things are timed, for short bursts of maximum effort, so basically, you go all out for 20-30 seconds, rest for 10 and repeat, trying to get more reps in each time. On Monday, each of the exercises we did 5 times. First, there were squats with sandbags hoisted up on our shoulders. George made sure all of our forms were perfect, which of course meant that the squats really got HARD after about the 3rd round! Then we moved on to the section that destroyed me: pull-ups. I really suck at pull-ups. We were all in pairs, so one round you did pull-ups, then off the bar for sit-ups. Each of the bars had bands attached and standing on a box in front of the bars, you stepped into the band, either one or two of them depending on how much assistance you needed. I, for some reason, chose one band and in each round it got harder and harder to get myself over the bar. George of course came over to correct my form and it helped a lot but I still sucked at them! I managed to get at least 5 in all 5 rounds though… which isn’t totally shabby. But the next day, my shoulders, lats and even armpits hurt! I obviously really need to work on pull-ups more…
The next section included bent over rows with the sandbags, then split squats and pushups. During the split squats, George came over to adjust my back heel since I have a tendency to drop it – apparently you are supposed to be more on the ball of your foot with your heel up. That slight adjustment made the exercise so much harder but also obviously more effective…which I loved! It is so easy for things like that to slide and not be noticed in a group setting and that just doesn’t happen at As 1. Everyone is watched and corrected and it makes all the difference.
The final rounds included box jumping, jumping rope, this crazy bike with arm levers and my very favorite thing – the ropes! The sound the ropes make when you whack them against ground is completely motivating. My friend after class told me “I read what you wrote about the ropes and it really is true! The sound is the BEST!”. It’s nice to know that it isn’t just me!
It was a great class and was surprisingly harder than the class with the stairs last week. I didn’t think that was possible. It is truly amazing what a great trainer can get done in a small space and George Vafiades really is one of the best I have ever gotten the chance to work with. He truly knows his stuff and obviously adores what he does, and for me, it doesn’t get better than that.
(Photo: The As1 Studio via Facebook)