my brooklyn bodyburn challenge, week one: good news, I’m not dead


When I announced my month-long Brooklyn BodyBurn challenge, many of my friends wondered if I’d gone off the deep end. First the gluten, then the dairy, now the burn…Felicia’s really gone to the crazies this time, they probably thought. Because why would I choose to embark on a journey that typically begins after the new year, a time when everyone prattles on about resolutions that they’ll forget about, and lament the abandonment of, come February? Why would I eschew holiday cookies (oh, friends, I’m not) and endure a month of what others have affectionately termed “pilates on crack”? Why would the ratio of my workout gear to casual clothing exist dangerously on the side of space-dyed (don’t ask) leggings?

Because I want to feel strong.

Please know that I’ve made arrangements. I’ve already dropped the FELIX responsibility on several warm laps. You know, just in case a machine impales me (kidding). I’ve survived my first week of my Brooklyn BodyBurn challenge and the good news is this: I’m not dead. Perhaps I should dial down the dramatics because the challenge isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I’m sore, and sometimes the idea of another set of plank to pikes gives me vertigo after I’ve barely recovered from that other series of plank to pikes that had me lying supine on the megaformer, but I’m ALIVE, people, to quote Eddie Vedder for all you former flannel-wearing Gen-X’ers and yes, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic as of late.

But let’s get specific: I took four classes this week, two sessions back-to-back, and I feel exhilarated and sore. Did I mention that I’m kind of sore? The fascinating part of this whole challenge is the fact that I’ve been craving daily workouts. Not daily megaformer workouts because that’s just plain masochistic, but I’m feeling the desire to move every day. And while I have a strong fitness practice (4-5 sessions a week), I’ve been taking yoga classes on the days I haven’t been burning and have made myself take a rest day so my muscles can sufficiently repair.

You should know that I’ve never had to force myself to NOT workout. If given the choice between venturing out in the rain and cold or staying indoors fondling my cat, I mean, the choice is obvious. This need for daily movement is a rather odd development, but I’m rolling with it.

Another development considering I’m the shyest introvert living? I’ve made new acquaintances and have really gotten to spend time with my teachers. One of my teachers (love you, Abby!) announced my challenge during Class 1 of 16, and a few folks approached me after class to chat. I truly love BodyBurn and get genuinely excited talking about it, so while small talk would normally send me fleeing, I stayed and had the conversation most burners do: wow, we survived class when we didn’t think we could. (Or a variation on this theme) It’s also nice to find new workout buddies since most of my friends are too frightened, busy, or allergic to Brooklyn to make the trek.

Did I mention that I’m sore?

And the most exciting part of the whole week? I’m getting better at some of the poses. My arms and legs are the strongest parts of my body while my core is demonstrably weak. BodyBurn always starts with core and we’ll often practice an Odyssean oblique series between leg exercises, and I seriously HATE this part of the workout. In some ways I still do, but, after a week, it’s slightly tolerable. In what will appear to be the most unflattering photo of me ever, below I’m doing French twist, a cruel oblique exercise where I’m using my core to drag in a 70+ pound carriage. It’s Chinese torture but I’m giving myself a rep count goal (stay in it Felicia for four reps, then rest) so I can celebrate minor victories. I do this with legs (6-8 reps, if I can make another few, I’ll do it before I rest and shake my leg out) and it’s worked to a point where I rarely have to take a rest during a leg series.

Clearly I’ve got a ways to go with my core, but it’s a practice. It’s a journey.

Also, remember the Zella leggings I mentioned last week? They are INCREDIBLE. I wore them twice this week (with a washing in-between) and they are compact, comfortable and absorb sweat like I’ve never seen. Unlike other leggings, these stay in place and I have so much movement! I bought a few more pairs, acknowledging that I won’t be able to ever take on a full-time job unless I can wear workout gear in the office.

You may be wondering–is she doing this BBB nonsense next week? Indeed I am. My father’s getting surgery next week so that might put a nix on my plans (a long story of which I don’t plan to get into here), however, I plan to burn it out come Christmas eve. Pray for a woman.

And finally, you may be asking yourself, why does she look so constipated in these photos? Because the workout’s hard, people. HARD. These aren’t glamour shots.


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