Feel the Burn
Somehow, I found myself in a 360 Burn class at the gym on Thursday night. I didn’t mean to sign up for it. I had requested a session with a personal trainer and when they scheduled me, they scheduled me for this class. As I was walking back to the “jungle gym” with my classmate, the instructor asked me if I’d ever done 360 before. I told him I didn’t even know what it is. The worried expression on his face should have told me to duck for cover and run!
The 360 apparatus looks like playground equipment. Its full of ropes and pullies and even has monkey bars through the middle. For the newcomer, it’s intimidating. Yet, we started out with a simple ball. The instructor handed us an 8-pound ball and instructed us to do squats and push the ball up on the air as we stood up. Ok, sounds simple enough. Twenty squats later, it sounded more like torture. The worried expression came back to the instructor’s face if he asked if I was okay. I told him, “Yes, I’m just fat and out of shape.”
For the next step, he positioned us in opposite corners of the apparatus and instructed us on how to use the ropes. My classmate had the battle ropes – two ropes that she was instructed to wave back and forth. I had a rope on a pully and was instructed to reach as high as I could and pull down as fast and hard as I could. Again, sounds simple enough and thirty seconds later it was again torture. We went back and forth between the ball and the ropes three times. My heart rate was pounding, and I found myself grateful that the class was only 30 minutes.
Our next exercise was to do lunges across the floor – another deceptively easy request until the second set when we were asked to carry five-pound weights and flap our arms up and down like a chicken. I was worried because of my arm strength loss from my nerve damage in my back. Additionally, the previous exercises were causing my arms to burn and lose strength. Yet something inside of me didn’t want to give up. I found some resolve somewhere in the bottom of my toes and moved forward. They weren’t the most graceful lunges in the world and I may have switched from lunges to steps toward the end, but I finished the set and kept going.
The next task was to use bands to lean forward and punch the air. I loved this exercise because it mimicked some of my physical therapy and I knew it would be good for my arms. This was probably the easiest of the exercises we were tasked with.
At this point the instructor was worried about both me and my classmate. He looked at the clock and we had been huffing and puffing for 20 minutes. He asked if we wanted to stop. Quite frankly, I can’t believe he asked. Isn’t his job to encourage us to push ourselves? We must have been really red faced or something. I said, “Oh no, I am here to finish this. Just because I’m huffing and puffing doesn’t mean I want to stop.”
So, we went back to the weighted ball and ropes rotation for the last 10 minutes. At this point I was pissed off at the thought of quitting and pushed myself even harder. I managed to through the 30-minute workout that felt like a year.
When we were done, my back was soaked, my arms were numb, and my heart was pounding through my throat. I was also exhilarated. If I had known what I was getting into I never would have done it, but now that I had I was proud of my achievement. I think I’ll even work some of these exercises into my regular routine as I work to get my arm strength back.
I walked to the back of the room to replace the eight-pound ball to the rack. As I stumbled my way across the room, a gentleman stopped me. He told me that he had been paralyzed a year ago and was wheelchair-bound. During that time, he gained a lot of weight and has since regained his legs and was working to get healthier. He said he’d lost 50 pound and he wanted to offer me some encouragement and tell me to keep trying. He must have seen me huffing and puffing and thought I needed a nudge to keep going. It was thoughtful, and I appreciated his kind words.
I learned some valuable lessons Thursday night. I learned that I need to push myself a little more because I’m capable of more than I think I am. I learned how exhilarating it is to push past the wall and take just one more step. I also found the beast inside me that is going to complete this journey and ultimately reach my goals. learned ho