I thought I’d endured all the torture there was to endure. Episodes of hyper-caffeinated, lithe instructors telling me to squeeze an inflatable ball and pulse against the bar for a total of 2,000 times; a 45-minute workout that seemed so beguiling at first glance, yet left me limping for three days; a spinning class that left me heaving and plotting a Patrick Bateman-esque demise on the perky teacher who shimmied her hips and practically went airborne on top of the stationary bike — know that I’ve tried them all. And with services like Classtivity and Gilt City, it’s been easy to uncover the latest instruments and deliverers of grim and torture.
Ah, but rest assured all jubilant resolution-makers, this post isn’t all grim reaper and buckets of tears. I absolutely love working out; I revel in the feeling of a body that grows stronger with the passage of each day, and a mind that cultivates a particular kind of clarity that only an hour of pushing yourself to your physical limit could bring. This isn’t about lumbering on an elliptical whilst reading about the trials and tribulations of Kimye in Us Weekly, rather this is about a clear and unfettered mind. This is about a room diffuse with kinetic energy that makes you want to do something great, or perhaps that’s just dopamine talking.
After my dear friend Persia rightly tipped me off to Classtivity, I found Chaise Fitness, and proceeded to drag one of my best friends, Kate, to a class. Founded by mother and daughter fitness dynamos, the Chaise method fuses pilates, ballet and aerobics, married with overhead bungees, which provide an upper arm workout that is unparalleled. After poring over the website, I decided to sign up for the introductory deal (3 classes for $33) and got my friend Kate in on the action.
Since the equipment is pretty sophisticated, all newbies are required to come to class fifteen minutes early to meet with the instructor and learn the basics about equipment use (note: all levels of fitness are welcomed, although I did notice Kate and I were surrounded by lithe ladies who hardly broke a sweat). Me being me, I showed up 45 minutes early, took one look at the interior of the class and texted Kate: We’re going to die. My friend wondered how I’d managed to get us tied up in this caper. But I digress.
After falling down (no, really, I fell down. Like on the floor) three times, I managed to get the hang of the equipment. That’s when I realized that this will probably be the hardest class I’ll ever take. My instructor Tara was incredibly kind, patient, and methodical when it came to form and technique, and since there is a 10-person limit to most classes, I got a lot of attention.
From reverse, pulsing lunges incorporating the chair to aerial pikes and oblique crunches that had me wailing like a petulant child, to bungees that sculpted my back and arms, the Chaise method is surgical in terms of technique, form and results. We focus on balance, repetition, and truly activating and refining our core. Within an hour I found myself working muscles that needed a severe dusting off, and my friend and I left and practically collapsed in the elevator.
I was sore for two days. I work out 3-4 days per week, and my routines are rigorous, but Chaise, that chair, was a game that operated on a whole other level.
Although the location is a bit out of the way for me and I was surrounded by ballet types, I thoroughly saw the value of what I was spending, and I will definitely return — quivering limbs, et all. In fact, I’m dragging another friend with me this weekend, who texted me this: I’m scared.