Tried a New Workout: STRONG by Zumba®

It’s been a few months since we’ve had a post on a health or fitness topic, so I thought now would be a good time to share information about my experience with STRONG by Zumba®. You’ve likely heard of and maybe even tried the Zumba program.  I started taking Zumba classes somewhere around 2010, long after the craze had hit. We had an awesome instructor and I loved the class, but have since moved on to functional fitness classes.  Since then I’ve sampled various Zumba classes and even became certified to teach Zumba in 2017.  Zumba classes are a fun, upbeat break from the norm and, even if you usually don’t like aerobics classes, you’ll probably like Zumba.

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Image from Strong.Zumba.com

STRONG® seems to be Zumba’s attempt at fitting in with the functional fitness “bootcamp” style classes that are popular now.  The moves include squats, lunges, pushups, planks and burpees (yes, the dreaded burpee!!) to the latin and hip-hop  rhythms you’ve become accustomed to in Zumba classes.

The class involves a warm up of approximately 5 minutes before diving into about 20-25 minutes of HIIT routines in which each movement is synced to the beat of the music. This is not a dance aerobics class, though. The movements are functional and plyometric, with a few calisthenics and cardio kickboxing moves thrown in for variety. Follow that with about 10 minutes of arm and core-focused work on the mat, like planks, mountain climbers, and several ab-specific exercises, then a few minutes to cool down and light stretch.  Class structure flows in the familiar pattern of most aerobics classes, but with more exciting moves and music to keep you focused. If you enjoy workouts driven by the beat of the music, this may be the class for you.

Here’s the catch: This is a fairly intense workout.  While most of the class seemed only moderately intense to me, the arms and core segment became briefly challenging for me in a couple sections.  I took this class once a week for six weeks. By the last two classes I was the only student left, out of several who had signed on to try this new class. My instructor was happy to show progressions and regressions for all the movements as needed, but it seems that most people dropped out, perhaps due to the challenging nature of the class. (It does not have to be this way. Your instructor is trained to incorporate movements for all fitness levels into the class, so don’t be intimidated if you are just starting out!)

This class is not only demanding for your cardiorespiratory system, but it incorporates body weight training, which is effective and recommended for general good health. Interested in finding out more? Check out a sample workout on the STRONG by Zumba YouTube channel.

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Image from Strong.Zumba.com

Like most franchised workouts,  STRONG by Zumba® has a DVD series available for those that can’t make it to class or prefer at-home workouts. I recommend the live class if you can make it, though, where the instructor can help you with form as needed, which is so important for healthy joints and injury prevention!

Note that I’m no longer certified to teach Zumba (I did not renew my certification) and have no affiliation with the company. I’m just interested in health and fitness, trying new workouts, and helping others find workouts they love! 

Have you tried any Zumba classes or DVD workouts? What did you think of them? Let us hear about it in the comments!

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Tried a New Workout: Walk 15® live class

I rarely post about fitness topics on this blog anymore, but in honor of new year’s resolution season I thought I’d let you know about a great new workout I tried recently. It’s called Walk 15®, and it’s the brainchild of Leslie Sansone, who you may know from her popular Walk At Home® workouts on VHS, DVD, and now YouTube.  The program started a couple years ago and you can now find classes in most states. (Group fitness instructors can find out more information about becoming an instructor on the W15 website.)

Walk 15 is a live indoor class in which you walk one mile in 15 minutes. The classes are run in 15 minute segments, and the one I took was about 50 minutes long. We aimed to walk about three miles with a few minutes to warm up and cool down added on.

I took these classes twice a week for six weeks. The classes included not only walking but also some band exercises for the arms and legs, and some standing ab exercises. Honestly, none of it was nearly as hard as my regular workouts, but it seems ideal for athletes who don’t want to take a day off from working out and need a lighter workout. (I also highly recommend restorative yoga for those “off” days!) There were women of all ages in my class, and people of all ability levels are welcome. My instructor was happy to show progressions and regressions for all the movements as needed.

If you are:

  • just starting out on your fitness journey
  • looking to add to your current fitness routine
  • bored of treadmill walks
  • searching for a simple, yet effective aerobic workout without a lot of choreography
  • in need of a fun way to workout indoors after dark or during the winter
  • an athlete looking for a light workout for your “rest day”
  • recovering from illness or injury

…then this class might be for you.

After the six weeks I dropped this class due some scheduling difficulties (the classes were only in the evening, as this is the most convenient time for a lot of people). However, I’d love to get back into it. In a perfect world I’d be doing this when it’s too cold or dark outside to get my steps. Ideally I’d do it at lunchtime, as a nice break from desk work, or at the end of the work day, to loosen up before going home for possibly more sitting.

Finally, let’s recognize that walking is the ultimate exercise. Athletes and weekend warriors are probably laughing at me for saying that, but think about it – walking is the foundation of our movements from the time we are one year old until we are elderly. Walking is great for everyone – young, old, fit (it’s a great restorative workout for an active rest day), unfit (what better place to start on your fitness journey than with this useful and time-efficient exercise?), men and women. It’s a natural motion that’s easier on the joints than running, and improves cardiovascular fitness almost as well. The AHA found that “…mile for mile, brisk walking lowers the risk for diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure as much as running does.

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Courtesy of Prevention.com

Whatever you do, please walk more throughout your day. If you can’t make it to a Walk 15 live class, here are other FREE resources for getting your walk in at home:

  • Leslie Sansone walking videos on YouTube
  • Jessica Smith TV walking workout videos on YouTube
  • WalkingOnlineWorkouts is unique because they offer walking workouts with great music and cool scenery (you can sample parts of the workouts on their YouTube channel, or buy the full video on their website)
  • If the weather is nice and it’s safe to do so, there’s nothing better than a refreshing walk outside…
  • Or, just stand up and walk during your favorite TV shows. You’ll get in a half hour of walking that way!

And Leslie Sansone also has:

  • An app called Your Daily Walk, which is pretty cool because it has a calendar that dictates which of the walking workouts you should do each day
  • Miracle Miles walking workouts on DVD, for those who don’t want to use a streaming service

Have you tried any of the Leslie Sansone workouts? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

Spartan Sprint – Wintergreen, VA: Recap

A couple weeks ago I completed a Spartan Sprint with a team from my gym, and I thought I’d share a few of the details in case I have any readers thinking about doing one of these races.

A Spartan race is a mud and obstacle running race that includes both weighted and body-weight only challenges such as carrying heavy objects and swinging on monkey bars. It also includes mud pits, because obstacles are just a bit harder when you’re muddy and your hands are slippery.

First of all, I had an awesome team of about 15 people, most of whom I work out with regularly. Many of us trained together, and we had a great coach who led us through workout that had similar obstacles to the ones we encountered during the sprint and, for the obstacles we couldn’t prep for, exercises to strengthen muscles we would use during the race.

We got to the event two hours before our start time, as instructed in the packet we were sent before the race.  That meant I had to get up at like 4:30 AM to drive to Wintergreen Ski Resort, but I guess that’s part of the deal when you go to big races like this.  Parking at the event was basically in a big field. I was a little concerned because it had been raining, but it turned out to be fine.  A shuttle bus took us from the parking lot to the check-in area. I had heard rumors that the shuttle time was around an hour, but it was only maybe 20 minutes.  So that turned out to be fine, too.

Once you’re in the check-in area you can sign a waiver, get your packet (which includes timing chip, drink wristband, and headband/bib #), and have plenty of time to contemplate what you’re about to do… I mean, take photos from the outside of the course looking in. There were also restrooms and porta-johns in several locations, which I definitely took advantage of several times.

Two hours is plenty of time to do all these things plus check your bag (which costs $5) before lining up for the race. When we finally headed to the corral at our start time – make sure you get there for your start time! It will affect your finish time if you don’t. – we had to jump over a small barrier to get in the corral. Then the MC started through this speech about how “today you are Spartans”, and you will not give up, etc.. At certain points you’re supposed to respond with “Aroo!”  I had no idea what was going on so I just followed along with others who seemed like they did!

Finally they will blow the whistle and you can start, but there is no running yet because you’re all jammed like sardines into this tiny corral.  By the first obstacle we were able to run if we wanted because everyone had finally spread out. However, the Wintergreen course is basically either uphill or downhill the whole time, very little flat or semi-flat, so we did not do a lot of running.

We encountered some easy obstacles, which I was able to complete alone or with only a leg up: 6 foot wall, mud pit, vertical rope net climb, a wall over muddy water ( you have to complete submerge yourself very briefly to go under the wall), through wall, 2×4 mounted about 5′ high (and you have to go over it), a slanted rope climb and a slanted ladder (you climb up one side and down the other), barbed wire crawl, slippery wall and a 7 foot wall. Seriously, just about anyone can do this stuff.  These obstacles are basically there to slow you down and break up the running up or down hills.

There were a few obstacles that were not as easy, but I completed them – bucket carry, rope climb (usually I have no problem with rope climb but the Spartan Race uses a thin rope and it was wet and slippery from previous racers), sandbag carry, sandbag hoist, and uneven monkey bars.

The hardest obstacles for me were: the Z-wall because it was slippery and the corners of the footholds were rounded off by previous racers (I slipped on one of them and got my only serious scrape/bruise of the race). I was able to complete this obstacle, however; the spear throw – I threw wide left, barely missing the target; and the multi-rig, which was a nightmare for everyone, it seemed. So technically I failed two obstacles and I was supposed to do 60 burpees… but I only did 30.  That was because I ran out of time before my team was ready to move on, and you’re supposed to stay with your team.  (I guess the team could have waited for everyone to do burpees, but the refs don’t count your burpees if you’re not in the competitive class so people just tend to carry on with the race after about half their burpees are done.)

The last “obstacle” is the fire jump. You’re supposed to be jumping over a small fire before hitting the finish line. This is a Spartan standard. I was pretty bummed that it was so rainy for our race, because it meant we basically jumped over some smoldering logs…

At the finish line there were several Spartan volunteers waiting to hand us our medal, give us a t-shirt, food, recovery drinks, and take a team victory photo.  It was all really cool and the lines went very fast. The cool and overall swag makes it kinda worth the $100 I paid to enter the race!

Then, we headed off to the clean-up area. Spartan-provided showers after the race basically amounted to some in garden hoses on the ground, and they had very little water pressure in them.  So I ended up just cleaning off the worst of the mud then heading to the changing tent and putting on the extra clothes I brought.

After the race you also get a free beer, but I don’t drink so I handed my wristband off to someone and headed home. By this time it had been a long day, but so much fun. In short, I really enjoyed myself and would totally do it again. I had built the Spartan up a little bit in my head but the worst part of it, really, was trudging up and down steep hills for almost two hours. That can really wear you out!

If you’re thinking of doing a Spartan Sprint, I highly recommend that you do it.  There’s a hefty fee and a lot of training to do in preparation, but it’s all worth it. Besides, it’s good to have an event to train for, right?

Looking for more info on the different Spartan races? How to eat while training for a race?   Check out the Spartan website. 2017 races are now open!

 

Review: Zumba B1 Training

Back in April I took the Zumba B1 training and became an Official Zumba Instructor. I had wanted to take this training for a long time but was very apprehensive because 1) I don’t like being in front of big crowds and 2) I have no intention of teaching Zumba classes anytime soon.  I did want to take it because so many people in my Zumba classes told me I should be an instructor. Before I took the class, I wanted to know what I should be prepared for, but I couldn’t really find any answers to my questions.  For those of you out there in the same boat, I hope this post will be exactly what you’re looking for!

Deciding to take the class –

Let’s start at the beginning – you’ve taken a few Zumba classes and you are interested in becoming an instructor.  You can find a training and register for it on the Zumba website. Unless you like in a fairly large city, you’ll probably have to drive at least an hour to get there.  I live in a small city but was lucky enough to find a training in a bigger city 40 minutes away, so I jumped on the chance to take a training that close by!  You’ll need to create an account in order to register, of course. Once you’re registered you should receive a payment receipt and link to the training manual from Zumba via email, and then another email from the Instructor containing directions to the facility, itinerary and general instructions.  Just read the email thoroughly to familiarize yourself with where to go and what to bring.

After registering –

You’ll need to download the B1 manual, which is very short and basically introduces you to the Zumba brand.  If you are not already ACE, AFAA, etc. certified, it also provides some exercise physiology basics as they relate to Zumba as cardiovascular endurance training. If you are already certified, it’s worth it to read through to find out how Zumba sees itself as fitting into the physical fitness spectrum.

I packed the day before the class, and brought pretty much everything that was on the list.  Make sure you bring your ID, which is how they verify that your the person registered. My instructor suggested a change of clothes, which I brought and used but were not absolutely necessary. Bringing food was key because there was not enough time for a long lunch break, and you are on your feet pretty much all day. My steps for the day added up to about 10 miles and had about 1400 active calories! I tried to get a good night’s sleep, then left early so I had an extra half hour of driving time in case I ran into traffic or got lost.

Training day –

It did take longer to get there than I expected but I still had about 15 minutes to get signed in, which is the first thing you do.  You’ll present your ID and they check your name off the registration list. They’ll give you a couple forms, one of which is your standard activity waiver (you have to fill this one out) and the other is a Zumba Instructor Network (ZIN) registration form (you don’t have to fill this one out yet).   After taking care of paperwork you should get settled for the day – have a snack or drink, find a cubbie for your bags, check your phone, etc.

My class was scheduled to begin at noon, and we started pretty much on time with a live Zumba class. If you’ve already taken Zumba classes, this should be pretty standard for you except that may be longer than usual. Mine was a little over an hour long. I’m not sure why they start with a live class… maybe to get you in the mood and warmed up.

After the live class we had a short break before discussing and practicing the “warm up” section of a class. This is where things got a little nerve-wracking for me because a few people were randomly chosen to come up on the stage individually for about 30 seconds and lead a warm up move. The instructor divided the class into groups by row and gave directions about what types of steps each of the rows were supposed to do if they were called up to the stage. The first row was only allowed to do a march in place or some variation of that, the second row could add arms, and the third row could do both of those plus double steps.  I was in the first row and, of course, was the first person to be called up.  I started out with a single step touch but quickly got bored and instinct kicked in… and I started a double step touch.  The instructor had to tell me to take it down a notch. Whoops!  She was very nice about it, but the moral of the story is that you should really pay attention when the instructor is explaining.

The third section of our class was to learn the first of our Zumba Basic 1 steps: Merengue. The instructor broke down the step into levels of difficulty and showed several variations.  If you have taken a Zumba class, you have likely done a variation of this step and will recognize it right away. We practiced this (and the other 3 steps I describe later) in place; no one was called up onto the stage for these sections.

By this time in the class we were scheduled for a lunch break (though it was around 3 or 4 in the afternoon), so we had about 45 minutes to eat and get back to the facility.  Some people chose to leave, others sat on the floor and socialized while eating, but I was seriously in need of some quiet time and decided to just eat in my car.

After lunch we practiced the second of the Zumba Basic 1 steps: Salsa. Again, the instructor broke down the step into levels of difficulty and showed several variations, but you will likely already know this step. Nothing too challenging here…

Then, as an interlude to break up the B1 steps training, we focused on cueing.  After the instructor talked about the various types of cueing and demonstrated each, we partnered up with the person next to us and practiced verbal vs. non-verbal cueing (hand gestures) on each other.  It was somewhat awkward at first, but the exercise definitely demonstrated how much less effective verbal cueing is for Zumba.

The third of the Zumba B1 steps that we did was Cumbia, which you probably already know and love. By this point we had been in the training for over 6 hours and I was starting to get tired, but the instructor did her best to keep everyone involved and smiling.

The fourth and final B1 step that you’re required to learn is the Reggaeton, which happens to be one of my favorites and gave me a little boost when I was getting tired. When you’ve learned all four B1 steps, you’ll know the training is almost done.

Finally, we discussed song mapping and creating choreography. Song mapping is how Zumba teaches its instructors to organize their choreography for a song and helps them remember their choreography based on the part of the song they’re hearing. It stresses memorizing the music, which means listening to the song over and over until you’re sick of it, more than likely. However, song mapping is a practical skill that works across the genre, not just for Zumba. To demonstrate to us how effective song mapping is, the instructor broke us into four groups and gave each group a block of choreography that corresponded to a particular section of the song. We were supposed to start dancing only when that section played and, again, this demo was very effective at making the point.

Song mapping led nicely into the next section, which was basically trying to sell us on joining ZIN. The instructor sat us down (yes!!) and spoke about her experiences with Zumba and how great ZIN is. If you’ve never heard of ZIN, you can find out more about it here, but the selling points for me as an instructor would be:

  • new songs and choreo each month
  • marketing tools
  • instructor license auto-renewal

We also received a DVD to take home, which has choreography on it that you can use to start teaching.

Finally, we took a group photo with the instructor and were sent out into the world as newly-minted Zumba instructors.  I remember being a little tired at the end of the day, but more because it was around 10 or 11 when I got home rather than fatigue from the exercise.

After the class –

As you might have guessed, I never did join ZIN.  So the very first email I received after the training was basically encouraging me to join. A few days after that, I received an email with my printable certificate and instructions for logging the class on the ACE website to obtain my CEUs. Now I get emails from Zumba about once a week, usually about clothes and other stuff they’re trying to market to instructors.

If you have any questions about the B1 training, please let me know in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!

 

 

Book Review: Superhealth

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In Superhealth, author Steven Pratt, MD focuses mostly on how what you eat affects your health, while also touching on the big picture of health by including sleep, exercise, supplementation, etc.  Dr. Pratt discuses the diseases that modern, first-world man faces, such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke, to lay the foundation for his pro-healthy diet and exercise plan arguments. He includes a helpful, albeit upside-down, SuperHealth Food Pyramid, which summarizes his diet plan from sweets at the bottom triangle to fruits and veggies at the top quadrilaterals.

The main thrust of the book is Dr. Pratt’s six week/six step plan that the reader can use to re-vamp their diet and lifestyle week-by-week. Step 1 is to bring out the best in your genes by incorporating more omega-3s, vitamin D and resveratrol into  your diet.  Step 2 is to detox your body by eating naturally detoxifying foods and avoiding environmental toxins.  Step 3 is the step that most people jump to first- the diet and exercise part.  Dr Pratt recommends consuming more vegetables and whole grains along with some mild but consistent exercise.  Step 4 ties in nicely with Step 3, explaining what you can eat to control inflammation.  It seems that steps 5 and 6 would more advanced steps for people just starting out on their new lifestyle plan, as they cover foods you can eat to improve appearance and preserve your brain and your senses.

The final sections of this book serve as a handy reference guide for the reader as they transition into a healthier lifestyle, such as a daily planner and food lists.

Overall I think this book was well-written and helpful as a guide for those starting out, as well as those needing more encouragement on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The layout makes sense for the logically-minded types who would like a week-by-week plan, but I believe the length of each Step could be tailored to the reader’s needs.    The information provided in the book is well-researched but likely nothing the well-informed reader hasn’t heard before. Therefore, I’d recommend this book for those beginning to be interested improving their health through lifestyle change, who are ready to make steady progress week-by-week and would like a guide to spell it out for them.

Athletic underwear for women who workout hard

So I’ve tried a lot of workout underwear and I wanted to share with you the best I have found so far. Have you read any of my previous posts about my workouts and training?  Are you like me, looking for athletic briefs that will provide good coverage and comfort during long intense workouts?

Previously I tried regular cotton undies, thongs, and even Lycra and spandex underwear that were not intended for working out in!

Enter the Fruit of the Loom Breathable Low Rise Brief.

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These panties are they best I’ve tried and an awesome price. I found them for less than $10 at Walmart.  They fall just below the belly button on most people and offer full seat coverage – this is a big plus for me, as I’ve been unable to find briefs that truly provide full coverage despite claims that they do. The mesh fabric is so soft and comfortable, I forget that I’m wearing them, which is exactly what you want for workout underwear!

Have you tried these? What do you think of them?

Anyone else on Strava?

If so, follow me.  I follow back!

https://www.strava.com/athletes/8076230/activity-summary/c4f7ea3e8dabaeac9c9aa7908d328361be81e20d

I’m on a Quest…

I heard about these protein bars by Quest Nutrition from Blogilates.com and finally decided to try them out. I bought a box of the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavor for $24.99 from Vitacost.com.

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My primary goal was to find a protein bar that will also serve as a meal replacement bar.  Basically, I think I don’t get enough protein but I’m also trying to lose weight, so I’d like to eat a protein bar for breakfast or lunch.  In the past I had been eating CLIF Builder’s bars, so I’ll compare the Quest Bars to those.

These bars claim to be all natural (i.e., clean) and low carb. The Cooke Dough bars contain 190 calories each and 70 of those from fat, with 8g total, 3g saturated.  There are 21g carbs, with 17g listed as dietary fiber.  Note that there’s some controversy over the fiber source because its made in a factory rather than being plant-derived, and because the body treats it like sugar. Check out this article from Me and My Diabetes for more information about that issue. Quest Nutrition is very up front about the ingredients in their bars – here’s the ingredient list from their website.  The ingredient list is short, but the proteins are from whey/milk proteins so these bars may not work for people who are lactose intolerant.

The best part is the taste – the bars I have tried are really yummy!  Honestly, the Cookie Dough flavor could be your dessert, they’re so good! I ate one for lunch yesterday, and I didn’t get hungry again for about 3-4 hours.  These could definitely serve as a meal replacement bar for breakfast or lunch, as long as the sweetness isn’t overwhelming for you.

Depending on where you buy them, they’re about $2 per bar.  You can find them on Vitacost.com, or at GNC stores or site.

I also LOVED the box!  How motivational is this?

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So how do these compare to my old standby, Builder’s Bars? In comparing them to the Cookies ‘N Cream flavor from CLIF, they are smaller in size (only 60g vs. 68 g in CLIF) and lower in calories (190 in the Quest vs. 270 in CLIF) but have the same number of calories in fat. Total fat content is the same in both bars, but the Quest bars only have 3g saturated fat whereas the CLIF bars have 5g.  Quest bars claim 21g of protein vs. 20g in the Builder’s bar.  Finally, the total carbs are significantly less in the Quest bars, at only 21g, versus 30g in the CLIF bar.

My final verdict is that I’ll definitely buy them again. They taste great and I am OK with the ingredients.  If you are comfortable with the ingredients, I’d recommend these to you, too.  To meet my current health goals, I would choose these over the Builder’s bars because they have less calories, fat, etc., but they also kept me satisfied for the amount of time I needed.

Have you tried Quest Nutrition Protein bars? What do you think of them?

Race report

This past Saturday I participated in my second urban race, a stair climbing challenge called WuzUpWidis, and the results are in.  I am a bit disappointed with my time but not as much as I could be considering the circumstances leading up to the race, which were that 1) I had been sick with the flu for a week before the race and 2) I am nursing a severe soleus injury in both legs (more on that later).  I ran 3.45 miles and 1040 total steps in 40:51.2.  To give perspective, the first place finisher completed the course in 26:04 and the first female finisher in 31:24.  In my age group I was 8 of 26.

Here’s a photo of me leading wave 3 (the person in front of me is a cyclist, a volunteer who was guiding the racers through the beginning of the course).

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There isn’t a whole lot I could do about the flu (no, I did not have a flu shot and no, I will not in the future) but something must be done about the soleus injury. I rested it for the entire week while I was sick, but the pain was back right after the race.  Since I don’t have a race coming up anytime soon, I’m going to focus on figuring out why I’m having this issue and how to fix it. Stay tuned!

My humble opinion of Piloxing, after one class

For awhile now one of my co-workers has been telling me that I have got to try Piloxing with her favorite instructor (a.k.a. one of two within a 20 mile radius). Now you must understand that, since I live out in the boonies of southwest Virginia, getting to try a relatively new thing like Piloxing is a pretty big deal.  Around here we mostly have the workout classes that have been around for awhile and through the trickle-down effect have made their way to my podunk town.  The only saving grace is that we live within 5 miles of a state University with a highly ranked football team.  Anyway, I was in agreement; I just had to try it once and find out if it was as hard as she said it would be.  So I forked over $5 and took my first class last night.

I went into the class with the vague understanding that I would be spending the next hour performing a combination of Pilates and kickboxing moves for a cardio workout and, for the most part, I was correct. According to the website, this workout is “a non-stop, cardio fusion of standing Pilates, boxing, and dance…”  To me it seemed like more of the Pilates and boxing and less dance.  We started out with a fairly typical aerobics class warmup with a focus on some boxing moves like punches and jabs, while a DJ began playing dance remixes of familiar popular songs such as Britney Spears’s “Ooh La La“.  By the third song we were bobbing and weaving along with some punching routines.   It was during this time that I was breathing heavily, but not gasping for air.  I noticed that we were instructed not to jump during the aerobics portion, but to “slide your feet”.  There was very little time spent in the air, which is good for people who need a low-impact workout.  Then, we would do some standing Pilates, which basically meant balancing on one leg while lifting or kicking the other to the fast beat of the music.  The balancing was the hardest part for me because you’re standing on one leg for several minutes, fatiguing major leg muscles in the standing leg and foot.  Add to that the quick kicks or lifts with the other leg, which disrupts your balance for the standing leg.

After about 40 minutes of those cardio intervals we moved on to some exercises to target leg and ab muscles.  For abs we started out doing side winders while standing, then went to the floor for roll ups.  Clearly the moves for the toning section were Pilates-inspired.  For legs we stayed on the floor to do some leg lifts and then alternating extensions, which I recognized as beginner Pilates exercises.

By the time our cool down song began, my muscles were warm and pliable, ready to stretch. (However, I am not sure I can give all the credit for that to Piloxing, since I had done 1 hour of Jazzercise just prior to that.) We did a lot of toe touching to stretch hamstrings and calves, and bicep/tricep stretching.  At the end I felt energized, not exhausted.  My assessment of Piloxing is that it would be a good fit for the following groups of people:

  1. Those looking to improve their balance – this will definitely give you some practice!
  2. People who need to cross train for running or for your chosen sport.  It’s a decent workout that will help build leg muscles but you probably won’t injure yourself so that you can’t compete in your preferred sport.
  3. Someone looking for a low impact cardio and overall toning workout in one hour.

Honestly, if you’re into weight lifting or looking for a workout that’s going to totally exhaust your muscles this is not going to do it for you (I could’ve kept going for another hour, myself).   If you’re looking for some new cross training workouts, then think about giving it a try… especially if you like boxing or Pilates in general.  Check out some videos online to get a feel for what to expect.  When you go, you’ll more than likely need to bring a mat for the toning portion.  Some participants also use weighted gloves and Piloxing socks (which, to me, look like pedicure socks!), although neither are required.  You could go barefoot (check with the facility to be sure) or wear your Vibrams.  I wore my Performa Janes, which were originally created with Pilates and yoga use in mind, and they were great.

Have you tried Piloxing? If so, let me know what you think of it in the Comments section!