Monday, December 3, 2012

A Little Off-Season Experiment..

And no, it doesn't have to do with how many Christmas cookies I can fit in my mouth at one time, thankyouverymuch.

I am that runner that always talks about strength training, but never does it. I'll go into the weight room, do about 4 bicep curls and a sit-up, and walk out. I just get way too overwhelmed, I don't have any structure, and frankly, I don't enjoy it. I've also talked about doing yoga, because God knows I need to stretch more. Turns out when you go from hitting "stop" on your Garmin to being in the shower in less than 30 seconds, you become VERY inflexible. Having a crazy busy life, I'd rather squeeze in 2 extra miles than stretch or spend that time in a yoga studio.

Insert Jess and Jo, who are are instructors at Barre N9ne, a barre studio local to me. They opened their original studio about 45 minutes from me, and although I went to a class and loved it, it was simply just too far to go regularly. When they opened a studio about 15 minutes from me, I decided to see what all the hype was about. I had read a lot about the studio, their mission, read Jess and Jo's success story, and thought I could really benefit from it. For more about Barre N9ne, click here.

For someone who considers herself in good shape, I got my ass kicked that first class. Yeah, I was the red-faced kid in the back of the class who couldn't complete one set without having to stop and take breaks. I left that class, and my arms were shaking just holding the steering wheel on the drive home. The next day I woke up with that hurt-so-good sore that I hadn't felt in awhile.

Being in the midst of training for my 50, I just didn't have the extra hours to fit in Barre N9ne as regularly as I wanted. I would go to class maybe twice and week, and loved it a little more each time. It was the class right before Stone Cat that I decided I was going to do a little off-season experiment. Keeping my running schedule of 5-6 days a week, but adding in the barre more regularly - committing to 3 classes a week, and seeing if I notice any differences in myself.

I am happy to report that just about a month into this experiment of mine, I slipped into a size 26 (size 2) jeans effortlessly the other day. I have more definition in my arms and abs, and my ass has definitely been whipped into shape. Literally. I don't weigh myself ever, as I have a very dark past with numbers, so I can't use that as a "success marker". I'm not saying the next time you see me, you'll fall over in awe, but to me, I can see the changes.

My genetics don't allow me to "be thin" - my mom was heavy when she was younger, and my dad was a heavy guy when he wasn't working out. I have to work really really hard to keep my weight down. Running has always been great in that sense, because it's such an awesome calorie torcher, and incredibly efficient. Spending time at Barre N9ne has allowed me to tighten everything up, and really "refine" my body. Admittedly, I wasn't someone who was in need of a total body transformation. However, I have realized over this past month that fatiguing, burning, and shaking at the barre is doing amazing things for my body.

I was worried about "giving up" my miles, which is why I decided to do this in the off-season. However, with a little creativity, I've still been able to keep my long runs, and then fit in Barre N9ne into my short run days. And I'm starting to see that it's really no sacrifice to give up those miles; challenging my muscles, strengthening, lengthening, and stretching those muscles is a GOOD thing. I'm buring a ton of calories combining the two disciplines, and I get that high after an hour of burning at the studio that I would after a 6 mile run.

I'm going to keep this experiment up, and see what happens over the next couple of months. And then, as I transition into marathon mode again (I registered for Sugarloaf Marathon - that deserves it's own post!), I want to make a concerted effort to stay at the Barre.

Keep your eye out for a few posts about incorporating the Barre as endurance athletes; I've made some really great observations that I would love to share with all of you.

In the meantime, I hope everyone's enjoying the start of the Christmas Season!

Caitlyn and I put up our tree last weekend!! 

Happy Training friends!!