On Monday morning, I met up with three of the fittest women I know at one of my favorite spots in the city, As 1. Of the 4 of us, we had two newbies, but I was absolutely sure they would both love the workout. I knew they would kick ass! I found out that George wasn’t going to lead the group this time, Mark Merchant would be. It would be my first time with Mark. I had heard he was amazing but tough, and I was a little nervous about whether or not this would change my love of the As 1 experience. In pictures, Mark looks far more like a drill sergeant than George does, and I was a little worried that he was just going to be very, very serious. Turns out, in person, Mark is very warm, open and just very committed to what he does – exactly what I should have expected from one of the founders at As 1. I liked him immediately and then he proceeded to kick my ass.
The first half of class we did a routine based on a plan Mark had designed for Esquire magazine. It was 5 rounds of 20 seconds-on-5-seconds-off of the following moves: squats with a sandbag on your shoulders, push-ups, sit-ups, burpees, split squats, bent-over rows with the sandbag, a move called the Dolphin (basically a plank with a raising up to a pike –over and over), and then another set of burpees. It sounded simple enough, but proved to be a killer! As with every workout, there we were, all watched like a hawk and throughout the whole thing, Mark made constant corrections to form as we went through each round. The second half of class was made up of another 5 rounds. This time, it was pull-ups (to failure or 8,) one-armed rope whacking while squatting (this was virtually impossible for me, sort of like patting my tummy and rubbing my head is,) switch arms-repeat, then end the round running down 7 flights of stair and back up. Those stairs ARE hard, but the best part was that my partners in crime kept hooting and hollering as they passed one another – which made it wildly more fun than it should have been! Plus, I was really grateful every time they passed that they weren’t just cursing me for getting them into that crazy stairwell!
I was crazy wiped out after class on Monday (As 1 was my 5th class in just 48hrs) and was really sore and really just wanted to lie down. Instead, I headed off to see Dr. Gregory Shure at Madison Square Wellness to talk about the importance of stretching and preventative wellness care. Turns out that really, it was such a random stroke of good fortune that his office had contacted me about coming in to talk to Dr. Shure last week! I have a lot of people I know and trust completely who have been saying pretty amazing things about Dr. Shure, so I jumped at the chance to go talk to him. I was fully expecting an office lecture (I don’t stretch nearly enough) and that maybe if I looked like a total hot mess, maybe he would crack my back (I have never been to a Chiropractor, so really, I didn’t know what a first appointment would entail). I just really didn’t know what to expect but knew it would be interesting at least. Mostly, he didn’t lecture me at all, but gave me a lot of solid advice. He also didn’t call me a hot mess but did go on to give me a massage/realignment thing that was just out-of-this-world amazing. It wasn’t scary or aggressive cracking that I thought might be what happens in a chiropractic office, but more pulling and pushing to straighten me out a little. It was amazing!
I left feeling a hundred times better than I had when I walked in and feeling like I had found a really great resource for staying healthy and on my feet. The very next day in my mailbox, I received an email from Dr. Shure as a follow-up that included a variety of stretches that I should incorporate into my daily routine, with links to demonstrations of the moves. It was such a cool and thoughtful follow-up and I was shocked – and completely grateful. I totally see why my friends have raved about him, since obviously, now so do I!