Saturday, September 24, 2011

Try New Things - Class #3 - Total Conditioning

Well, as I type this, my arms are still wet-noodley from this morning's Total Conditioning Class.  It totally kicked my ass.

Total Conditioning is a lot like what I imagine Cross-Fit to be: intervals of strength training (weights), followed by more reps with a bit of cardio or cross-functionality (adding legs while lifting with arms, for example), followed by hard cardio (zone 4 or 5).  Go to the next interval and repeat that process for a full hour.

Before class, I met a nice man who showed me how to set-up my area and advised me to start easy with the weights.  He was really helpful and even checked in after class to see how I did.  LifeTime should buy him a coffee because he was an excellent ambassador.  He needn't have worried about me heeding the weight warning!  I selected the lightest weights (green, which are actually 3lbs and not 1lb like I thought and blue 8lbs that I didn't even touch).  I did go up one level on the bar to the yellow 15lb bar, which was OK.  I selected a red stretch band - huge mistake.  Midway through the first set (not the progression to add cardio), I had to drop it and go without.  My swim muscles are fine, but the rest of my upper body is still downright wimpy.  Seriously.  I had the lowest weights of any person in the class, even the grammies!

As with last week's Strike class, our instructor started early and we warmed up fast. I had tried out the '"floating" elliptical machine on the cardio floor to warm-up for 10 minutes, so I was fine with the fast warm-up.  Apparently, this is what everyone does, because I recognized a lot of the people in the class from the machines around me.  Quickly I realized that wearing my Vibrams had been a mistake.  While they were perfect for Strictly Strength (the instructor even wore them), I found them terrible for the cardio portions of Total Conditioning.  I gazed longingly at the cushy Brooks on the lady and man beside me while I changed some of my cardio to low-impact when my feet started complaining.  If you can run in your Vibrams, though, you could definitely do Total Conditioning in them.  I would have preferred a securely-laced running shoe or flat.

I really enjoyed the progression format of the class and the way you could do the low-impact, medium or hard-core versions of each exercise.  The class was all over the map on the variations, so I didn't feel self-conscious about modifying when I needed to do it.  I don't think the guy next to me was ever doing the same exercise as the instructor!  And the cardio was hella-fun.  I channeled my college step-classes and middle-impacted when my feet didn't want to do the high-impact stuff.  At one point, we did squat-thrusts, then had the option to (a) step up on the step, (b) jump with both feet onto the step, or (c) jump over the step.  At another point we did three two-footed forward jumps in a row, then spun around and jumped back to repeat.  It was awesome.  I was dripping sweat at the end of every cardio interval and it usually took me the whole first lifting set to recover.

Total Conditioning was fabulous.  It allowed me to bring it the way Strike did, but because the lifting was more controlled than my crazy punching, I don't appear to have hurt myself as badly.  I will try it again with shoes next time!  Thumbs Up!!

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