My final two weeks of my Bar Method challenge were definitely bittersweet. On one hand, I knew that I only had a handful more classes to squeeze in before the eight week challenge ended and wanted a bit more time. On the other hand, my shaking thighs were happy to have a bit of a break for the holidays and ready for warm nights by the fire.
I was very happy with my motivation during the home stretch- I went to all of my scheduled classes during week seven and was even- dare I say it- looking forward to going to class during each of my final weeks! My knee got worse during my final week, so I could only make it to two classes, as to not injure it further. I had my favorite instructors during the majority of my sessions and even was able to drag myself into the freezing weather to make a few morning classes 🙂
I actually LOVED this morning class. Most of my other comrades were also half asleep, but the instructor was so upbeat and motivating it was hard not to be excited about class. Like thigh work during my last check-in, arm work has become increasingly difficult for me and I feel burning in my muscles relatively quickly into class. I had to stop and reset several times during the first portion. I’m starting to actually like the thigh portion of class because, while it never gets easier, you can take different variations to challenge yourself at whatever level you currently are.
I had a friend join me for class today and I’m so glad she did! It was a really difficult class with some new exercises that were introduced to me for the first time, and it was fun to make exasperated faces at someone I knew. The most challenging part of class today was core work. There is an exercise called clam, where you cross one knee over the other at a ninety degree angle, bend (similar to crunching) while your knee also comes toward your chest- similar to a clam! I left sweaty and ready for a cashew stir-fry.
Tonight was a very entertaining class. I had an instructor I’d never had before, and she was both entertaining and amusing- especially during the more challenging sets. I really liked thigh work today, because it was both a combination of exercises I liked and were challenging for me. There was nothing especially difficult today, but I am still trying to challenge myself to do “reverse push-ups,” as I can only do one and then resort to doing overhead tricep extensions the remainder of the set. I’m determined to get to at least three full range reverse pushups by the end of next week.
While I have been a whiner about my morning classes, it does feel really good to be already out of bed and have worked out by the time my friends have just woken up. I was able to make one of the first Sunday morning classes today and tried to do most of the class at mid-level intensity (my knee was still hurting). A major update and milestone from this class is that I can significantly see that my flexibility has improved in just seven weeks. I can fully put my hands on the floor when stretching, which is something that I wasn’t able to do before. I am also able to get deeper into most stretches which is also very exciting to see–and feel!
I absolutely rocked today’s class. I did half of the set of push-ups on my knees and was even praised for my form during some of the weight sequences. Thigh was still a challenge but I liked that it was the “easier” set of exercises for me (no chair!). Core work at the end was definitely my favorite bit of the day and I can feel myself yet getting stronger in that area.
It was my last class today and I challenged myself to take the options for more difficult modifications during the session. During the first bit, I tried to do more than one full range push up but ended up having to do the set modified on the bar. My legs absolutely hated me during thigh work today. I did not stop during any of the sets and my legs turned into two jello noodles by the end. I was shaking so much I didn’t know if I could actually do anything else! During core work, I was able to take the challenges of lifting my hands off my legs during curl and felt the burn in my abs. My final class was definitely the most challenging but very satisfying all the same.
My Before pictures
Looking back on my initial challenge to myself, I was much too eager to attend as many classes as possible. As the weeks progressed, I realized that there were definitely unplanned barriers that inhibited this “strict” plan, and it was okay if I was only able to make it to a few classes a week. I loved the actual class itself and the instructors at Bar Method Boston. It was such a supportive environment and they really care that each student is doing the move correctly and to their potential. I never weighed or measured myself during the eight weeks, but I definitely notice much more definition in my muscles. My posture has improved, my flexibility is awesome and the eight weeks spent in barre class was definitely worth it!
Would you try this or another fitness challenge? Please share! 🙂
Also by Karina: Bar Method Challenge Weeks 5-6
Savory Oatmeal for Cold Mornings
Photo: Karina Alexander