One of the first places Stephen and I explored after arriving in El Paso was the gym at Fort Bliss. Bliss actually has something like 8 gyms (!) but the one closest to us is the biggest and the newest. How can you argue with a 10,000 square foot weight room, a cardio room with over 200 machines, a steam room, two basketball courts, a snack bar, an indoor track, group exercise classes at all times during the day, and it’s free! (Well, you gotta pay for your own snacks, but everything else is free free free!)
The gym. Oooh. Ahhh.
I was most intrigued by the group fitness classes. The one and only time I ever did a group fitness thing was the summer between my sophomore and junior years of high school: The Athlete’s Course (TAC). While TAC was awesome, it was also really hard. I think it’s probably comparable to boot camp nowadays. We did sprints across the football field, weight lifted, did resistance and agility training. It was mostly attended by football players with a small spattering of us female athletes. And the guy who was in charge yelled at us. A lot. I got in awesome shape after doing that two hours each morning week after week, but I have no desire to repeat it, thank you very much.
Thankfully casual drop-in class at the gym are not quite that scary. I got my first taste with a 30 minute class called Hardcore. As the name implies, it’s about ab work. I was talking to the trainer before class started and she was so sweet. I expressed to her that I was nervous that I couldn’t keep up, but she encouraged me to just give it a try.
Class began with us leaving the fitness room (huh?!) and going downstairs to the TRX straps.
TRX straps – also known as the torture chamber for your abs.
Whosawhatsits? I like to think I’m informed when it comes to exercise trends (I do read healthy living blogs after all), but TRX straps were new to me. TRX straps use suspension training and your body weight to incorporate balance, flexibility, strength, and core work into one.
There are a million ways you can use the straps, but for the most part, we put our feet into them and then assumed plank positions, did crunches, did push-ups. The grand finale was a plank/push-up/crunch combination.
This is exactly what I did! Only my form didn’t look quite like this.
Every time the trainer would demo or explain a new move, I would say, “holy shhht” or something equivalent. The other people in the class (thankfully there were only five of them to witness my struggles) seemed to just go with it. They were strong-abed workout drones. I was the first person to take a break when we’d do planks, I had to do modified push-ups, I’m certain I was red-faced the entire time. No abs of steel for me.
For the next week few days, I felt my abs with every little movement I did. Taking dishes out of the dishwasher? I felt it in my abs. Rolling over in bed? Hello abdominals! Petting Geronimo? Bring the abs along with you! My muscles were making themselves known. I was sore sore sore. But I loved it. I don’t like struggling in class, but I like knowing that my body got a killer workout. Would you believe it, I even went back on another day to use the TRX straps by myself.
I already told the trainer that I’ll be back in her class. I foresee it taking me many moons to actually get a hard core, but I’m not giving up!
Have you ever done TRX workouts? What’d you think? Any group fitness fans? I’m not much of a joiner but considering how good this workout was, I’m contemplating attending some of the other classes.