On Monday morning, I headed to one of my favorite places to kick off the week: As One’s 8:45am class. Not only are George Vafiades and Mark Merchant so very good at what they do, but that specific class on Monday mornings is filled with a group of kick-ass, inspiring people. Between George and Mark kicking my ass every single time and that great group, I always leave completely inspired. Is there a better way to start a week? Every time, though, I leave and think to myself – “That was the hardest class EVER.” One of these times, that has to give but for this last class, George and Mark once again planned an amazingly intense workout that tested my limits. They are so good at keeping an eye on form and keeping the workout safe that every single time I go as hard as I can to try and live up to their challenge. I don’t always succeed but I try.
This week, the workout was called “The Power of Ten”, or at least, that is what I think Mark said at the beginning. They don’t normally give fun names to their routines, so I might have made that up, since I am never fully awake when we start! As with most As One classes, we were paired off, with each partner sent to their section to start in. I started on the floor while my partner, my awesome super fit friend, started on the evil Airdyne bike. The floor section was 10 reps each of squats with the sandbag, a split squat (10 per leg) where your back foot was up on a box, alternating back lunges (10 per leg), burpees, pushups, pull-ups, weighted back rows with the sandbag, rotational planks, and situps. The ten pull-ups smack in the middle of the rotation were killer from the very start. We moved from pushups to the bar but we were given our own bars to go back to every time, so we could have the right band to help us. Mine was a heavy, single black band and the first set I flew through, only lightly cursing the last rep. In that first rotation on the floor, I was super confident in my ability to rock this workout. When we finished, we then swapped out with our partner, who moved to the floor. The Airdyne section was a deceptively simple 30 seconds of going as hard as possible, 30 seconds off, and then repeat until our partner was done on the floor, again, the first round of that section gave me a bout of “Oh, I’ve got this!”. That didn’t remotely last through the next round, though. By the middle of the second round on the floor, my cursing on the last rep of the pull-up had gotten a little more intense and I was sweating up a storm. My super confidence was fading fast and by the time I moved through the Airdyne section and back to the floor for my 3rd round, I was totally wiped out and only 1/2 way through. My new goal, get through the workout without throwing up, suddenly seemed like a really solid goal. The fourth and final round was brutal but I made it through, and more impressively (for me anyway), completed all 10 pull-ups… although,they were accompanied by a very loud “fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck” as I struggled to get my chin over the bar that final time. Thank goodness, George was there to help me get my foot out of the strap at the end since I was pretty stuck, too tired to manage to pull the strap down to lift my foot out of it. As he helped me, George did a mighty fine job of not actually busting out laughing at me being totally stuck. I managed my final round on the Airdyne with slightly more grace and was grateful for my speedy friend who was the first to finish of her group, meaning we were totally finished. After a high five, we toweled off and went over to grab our foam rollers. It is always amazing to me how rolling out after class feels like such a sweet reward for all of your hard work! It doesn’t hurt that it basically means you get to flop down on the ground, and really, at the end of one of As One’s classes, I almost always just want to fall down. Rolling out is so much more dignified than the falling down that I envision in my head every time!
I am inordinately proud of making it through that class… and those 40 pull-ups. My goal is to be able to do them without the band. For the first time ever, I think that goal is totally possible… Mark & George make me believe.
(Top image, one of my favorite quotes, bottom image of the new As One space from a recent Daily Candy deal)