how I survived exhale’s core fusion extreme class


This morning my home was a tableaux of fear. I woke at 5:00am and blasted Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” in my livingroom while my cat practiced his paw extensions, possibly confused by the hurricane that was me in the bedroom. In the dark, I scrolled through texts from friends who pronounced me dead after I’d announced I was trying out Exhale’s Core Fusion Extreme class after having read my friend Amber’s hilarious, yet frightening, review. You’re fucking crazy…but let me know how it goes, one of my friend’s text’d, while Amber’s ominous reminder, don’t forget sneakers tomorrow, made my body inadvertently twitch.

Two hours later, I told Amber that we’re going to die. Every time I try a new workout I feel the need to bring death into the room because I’m equal parts nervous and dramatic. My knee still ached from Tuesday’s barre class, and oh by the way, did I mention that we’ll likely need a gurney and an airlift to get home? Only lunatics drag themselves to a 7:15AM class when they don’t have to race to an office by 9. Luckily, we weren’t the only petrified students in Bergen Wheeler’s class–some of us watched the superstar instructor set up the circuits, aware of the inevitable doom that lie ahead.

Core Fusion Extreme, exclusive to Exhale’s new Flatiron location, is not your typical barre class. Gone are the two-pound weights and endless thigh pulsing. Instead you’ll find a hardwood floor, TRX bands, ten-pound weights, foam boxes, gliders, and eight-pound medicine balls. The class is structured in 5 circuits, where everyone is grouped into small teams per circuit. Within four minutes you complete two exercises within the circuit, twice. From Russian twists and deep lunges to box explosions and pistol lunges using the TRX bands, you will work, you will sweat, you will even cry out in agony–but you’ll have little to no breaks. Extreme is classic HIIT mixed with solid core work and balance exercises {Wheeler will sneak down-dogs into the workout}, to deliver a full-body body workout.

To be honest, while I appreciate HIIT training, it’s not the first class I’d book. I’d much rather hit up Brooklyn Body Burn, barre classes, or even spin before I consider exploding squats. HOWEVER, Extreme founder Bergen Wheeler is the gift that keeps on giving. Her endless energy, attention to form, and rockstar attitude sincerely kept me motivated, even when I did not want to do another GODDAMN TRX ROW.

At one point Bergen came over to me and said, Yes, you can. She sat right in front of me during what felt like the Neverending Story of Tricep Dips and corrected my form, Keep going, keep going. You’re stronger than you think you are. Any other teacher I would punch in the face, but somehow I believed Bergen was really rooting for me, and that was enough to push me further.

And FUCK. I’m so embarrassed to admit this but with every exhale I said to myself: YES, I CAN. I repeated this through every circuit, and I noticed that I inched out a few more reps and got back into the game faster on those moments when I needed to come down to my knees and rest. I never thought I’d say this but Bergen’s infectious energy, and relentless pursuit of tight form, made me a HIIT believer. For the rest of the day I blasted Missy Elliott. I even bought a JAWBONE.

Who does this after one Core Fusion Extreme class? This one, this one over here.

4 thoughts on “how I survived exhale’s core fusion extreme class

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