“Born in the Navy SEALs, Suspension Training bodyweight exercise develops strength, balance, flexibility and core stability simultaneously. It requires the use of the TRXSuspension Trainer, a highly portable performance training tool that leverages gravity and the user’s body weight to complete hundreds of exercises.”–From the TRX website.
So I decided to do TRX because a) I’ve never done it before and b) the instructor taught a Kettlebell class I took and I really liked her. I did not exactly know what this TRX business entailed, only that there were cables/handles involved. I considered whether or not I would hang myself inadvertently while trying to get some arm muscles. It seemed worth the risk.
I show up at the Y for the class, wind my way around in a building I’ve never been in, (you don’t just do TRX at the normal Y) and open the doors to the TRX room. Which is also the Beast Mode room….which is code for the YMCA’s version of Crossfit. This room was hard core. Stacks of weights, kettle bells, boxes, giant tires. I immediately feel anxious. I do not do Crossfit. My sister does, my brother- in- law does, their children sort of do. I do not. I do not want to. I do not want to because I do not want to die. Simple.
So I peek my head in and there is the instructor. Her name is Wanda. I would like to name her Rainbow Brite. She is tiny, blonde, bubbly. Totally approachable, friendly. She is Rainbow Brite. I hope if she reads this (that happened once) she understands what a compliment this is, because I loved me some Rainbow Brite as a kid. I had Rainbow Brite PJ’s and everything.
So she says hi like she knows me…but then, she thinks I’ve done her class before. I am struck with terror. She needs to know that I do not know what I am doing. Rule #1 of gym class….do NOT pretend to know how to do something you have never done. this will NOT end well (remember Aqua Boot Camp). I quickly let her know that she recognizes me from Kettlebell class, not TRX. She is cool with that…because she is so FRIENDLY.
The others in the class were friendly too. There were 7 souls, 8 including Rainbow Brite. 2 men, 6 women. I accidentally position myself slap in the middle. Oh well. The class is so small there will be no hiding, and I can’t hide anyway because there are these 2 straps hanging from a scaffolding that I do NOT know what to do with. RB is going to have her work cut out for her.
Class starts. It starts with some seemingly benign squat jumps, followed by maybe some lunges. Things that I thought were included in the class. Until 5 minutes in, Rainbow Brite states, “OK, lets start class!”. Ummm. I started class 5 minutes ago and I’m tired. Now it is time to figure out these strap things. Rainbow Brite helps me get situated. I am hanging suspended, ready to pull myself up with a bicep curl. I can do this. I did it! But then, apparently I am supposed to do it more than once. In fact…I am supposed to repeat this seemingly simple move MANY times. Then to triceps which involved a move that involved a one legged squat up to some sort of tricep maneuver that my arms did NOT do. I had to modify. I do not like to modify. I am perfect and therefore will never need to modify anything. Ahem. I modify.
I am constantly struggling with the fact that I feel like I am going to fall. Rainbow Brite says this is normal. She is paying a TON of attention to me. I am good with this because she is so FRIENDLY and manages to teach without making one feel like a total moron.
I am doing OK with the strap thingy’s…when Rainbow Brite says, “OK, time for some TABATA”. Now this is sort of the hot thing in training. High intensity interval training. You are supposed to get your heart rate up really quick….then you rest. Rainbow Brite says…I want you breathless. Ummmm. I passed breathless during that first 5 minutes business. I’m worried. I quickly scan the room…I see no oxygen tanks. This could get dicey. Here we go. 8 cycles of something. I honestly don’t remember what, because my brain is stuck on the second TABATA we did. I’ll get to that.
Stephanie is beside me. She looks like she has done this before. Many times. Stephanie did not need to modify the aforementioned one legged squat to tricep maneuver. Somehow, this doesn’t make me dislike her. Much. She is friendly as well and tells me I am doing a good job. I do not feel patronized. We do more suspension activities during which I decide that I may not be able to get out of bed tomorrow. Wait for it….TABATA. I put my foot behind me with my shoelaces in a sling. I then lunge with my back foot suspended. I almost fall over. Rainbow Brite says, “you may need to hold on”….(or you will fall and break your face) is what I am sure she is thinking. I hold on. I lunge. Over….and over….and over…and over. I am not loving this TABATA business at all. I decide that TABATA sounds more like a cooking style. For our special tonight, we have a TABATA style Wreck Fish with an heirloom tomato salad and a puree of carrot and rutabaga. (has anyone ever eaten a rutabega?)…I diverse. I mutter this. Stephanie thinks it sounds more like a cocktail. We decide we want our TABATA with pineapple by the pool! Rainbow Brite decides that we should keep doing more TABATA sit ups.
Then, TABATA push ups. It was during the push up time that I decided that I was not going to make it out alive. I considered dying on my mat right there…but the floor was dirty and I don’t want to die in a pile of dirt, so I pressed on. I do not know where I will die, but I hope and pray to the Holy Lord that it is not in a Crossfit room with tires and boxes. Let me tell you that by the end of that, 8 rounds of purgatory, my push ups looked more like a chicken pecking the ground. Unadulterated hideous ugliness.
The most difficult time I had with the straps was during the stretching cool down. There was some move that looked like a windmill maneuver that almost resulted in me being in a TRX straightjacket. Rainbow Brite actually laughed.
Class is over. I am alive. I did not hang myself. I can not feel my arms or legs, but I guess this is normal because no one else seems to be acting as if they have had a full body stroke in the last 55 minutes. Rainbow Brite tells me I did great. I beam. I do not think for one minute that I did great, but I think I held my own and only almost died once. And I have gained the approval of Rainbow Brite. Perhaps the highlight of my life.