Feel the Burn

As I struggled to open my eyes this morning the first thing that struck me was how much I hurt. Every muscle in my body screamed out in pain. Naively, I had planned to get my weekly run in this morning. It was immediately clear that couldn’t happen. The second thing that struck me was the time – just gone 7am on a Sunday morning! I’m never awake at this time at the weekend. Except when I’m woken by pain ripping through my body! Tackling two flights of stairs to get down to the kitchen to make coffee was probably quite comical and I’m glad there was no one around to laugh and point at me. I felt old and broken this morning.

The reason for all these aches; the beginning of the second part of my get fit campaign. I haven’t given up on running (yet) but it is becoming increasingly difficult to fit running into the few hours of light and decent weather available to me. So I need a new fitness plan.

While drinking wine (alcohol has a lot to answer for!) and surfing the Angels Without Wings online charity auction a few weeks ago, I decided to bid on 10 piloxing sessions with Alison Benford. I’ve known Alison for years; our daughters have been best friends for what feels like forever. Ever since she set up her piloxing classes over a year ago she’s been nagging encouraging me to come along. My dislike of exercise means I have, until now, dug my heels in and rejected the idea out of hand.

Abbie needs to commit to regular exercise for her bronze Duke of Edinburgh award – so we decided to support each other and do this together. She has to stick to this for at least 3 months so it ties me in to do the same. I now have no choice but to give this a proper go.

There are several classes during the week but we found ourselves planning to be at the early Saturday morning class. Not good. During the week I’m up at just gone 6am and at the weekend I don’t exactly rush myself out of bed. I really wasn’t looking forward to being out the house by half past 8 on a Saturday morning. But, surprisingly, I woke up extra early, full of beans and managed to get the ironing done before we left. Result.

The journey there was way more eventful than it should have been. It’s a 10 minute drive through the lanes to Burcot village hall. At the point where the road turned single track a second car was heading towards me. Naturally both he and I stopped. Unfortunately the car behind me didn’t! Fortunately, damage was minimal and although a little shook up we carried on to class. For a second, I did consider what an excellent excuse this would be to wimp out and go back home to bed. But, I’m proud to say, I didn’t give in to the voice in my head that urges me to quit at the first sign of any obstacle, and we made it just about on time to class.

So what is piloxing? It’s a heady, full on, mixture of boxing, dance and Pilates. It combines the power and high-intensity cardio from boxing with controlled movements based upon Pilates. It also incorporates interval and barefoot training to burn maximum calories and increase stamina. Sounds like bloody hard work to me.

And it was. But you know what – it was also fun. Mainly because Abbie and I spent the hour laughing at each other. She has inherited my poor coordination so we both struggled when trying to get arms and legs doing different things at the same time. It also quickly became apparent that my core strength is anything but strong, so my balancing was very dodgy. I was hot and sweaty in no time and I’m pretty sure I used every muscle in my body – evidenced by today’s pain! But that means I worked hard, right? No pain, no gain…

So I’m now thinking that piloxing classes could give my exercise “regime” some balance? It would compliment my running – my cardio, general fitness and stamina should improve, my core should strengthen and, hopefully, this will make running a little easier and therefore more fun? I’m not giving up on running just yet. I have to give it more of a chance. It’s hard work and really, really not yet fun, but I’ve realised there is a benefit for me. I’m a born worrier. My head is often over full of stresses and concerns and I find it hard to switch off. However, when I’m running, I find it impossible to think of anything other than my breathing and how long before it’s all over. My mind empties completely. I de-stress as I run. And that’s a very good thing. But so is fun and enjoyment. So maybe I’ve found that in piloxing? The jury is still out, but so far so good!

Of course, if you want to come along and laugh at me…

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