Tuesday, February 19, 2013

6:28 AM
My gym recently introduced a new group exercise class called GRIT. It is a program designed by Les Mills (www.lesmills.com) based on the principles of high-intensity interval training. The class is only 30 minutes long but it is designed to have you work at maximum effort for the entire time doing exercises to increase your aerobic capacity, strength, muscular endurance, metabolism and power. Each class is different and together they form a series. I liken this class to a hybrid of P90X and CrossFit – both crazes which have swept the nation but that I have not participated in (even though my husband bought the P90X box set).

I was intrigued with this GRIT thing though because for us time-pressed folks a 30-minute super tough strength conditioning work out might be just what we need to mix it up a little - get the cardio release we crave, while building some functional strength and power.

Some of the crazy exercises done by humans in the GRIT classes

So I tried a GRIT class for the first time last Wednesday from 12:00-12:30 PM (i.e., lunchtime). I was a little skeptical at first - the instructor was a very aggressive guy with matching workout clothes and shoes, and he made us huddle up at the start and shout "Grit" together like we were on a team prior to the start of a game - but I thought I was going to hurl after the first 5 minutes and being a sucker for a good, hard workout pushed through to the end.  The focus was plyometrics and boy did we ever sprint, jump, squat, and lunge our little booties off! It was actually a fantastic class. At the end I overheard several people saying to each other - 'Wow! That was awesome - 30 minutes and your done!' 

Who doesn't feel better when "Workout" gets crossed off the endless to-do list for the day, and after only 30 minutes of effort, no less.

Physically I felt pretty good during the class and overall I felt great for the rest of the day. Not so much when I dragged myself out of bed Thursday AM. My butt was SOOOOO sore. Standing, sitting and stairs were definitely a challenge for the subsequent 24 hours. You know when you have worked your body that hard you are bound to get results - Good Stuff.

So I tried it again today. Sunday morning 7:45-8:15 AM. I definitely had second thoughts as I dragged my sleepy self out the door and waved goodbye to my boy who stood at our living room window staring at me with his huge liquid brown eyes. The inner dialogue went something like this - Its way too early to go to the gym on a Sunday... You should stay home and make pancakes with the kids...You should be trying to sleep more...This is too far to drive for a 30 minute workout.... you know - all the bad mommy guilt stuff we always torture ourselves with, all the excuses we find not to carve out time for ourselves.

plyo-pushup - notice the full body in the air
I am glad to say that I shut down the voice and went. I was a little taken aback to see that the woman who does my bikini waxes was teaching the class, but let it slide and just avoided eye contact. Today's class was more strength focused. There were plenty of lunges, squats and jumps, but also things like burpees, deadlifts, clean & squat, clean & press and what proved to be my personal nemesis - the plyo-pushup. I had never asked my body to do a pushup and then push my entire body into the air before - a pushup on steroids. We were technically supposed to be doing these pushup-jump things in a circle, moving 20 degrees or so with each "jump", but I was barely making it staying in one orientation. It appears that I have something to work on.

Again, I feel pretty good so far. I finished the class feeling strong and have spent the rest of the day taking the kids to gymnastics, birthday parties, etc so it was nice to have done something for me today. We will see how badly my body rebels tomorrow, especially during my standard evening bouldering session.

My plan is to try GRIT again this Wednesday if I can make it happen. I think the workout definitely falls into the "quality" not "quantity" bucket and that is good enough for me. We'll see about the Sundays, pancakes with the kids are pretty awesome too.

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