my brooklyn bodyburn challenge, week two: when your teachers deliver the necessary beatdowns


There might have been a moment during class this week when one of my teachers removed a spring from the megaformer machine. As I leaned the whole of my body weight on a moving carriage, knowing that flying off the machine was a real possibility, the only thing I could say, smiling, was, Oh, fuck you so hard. Abby’s an incredible teacher who has no problem giving you a beatdown on a machine while cheering you on. My abs are still recovering. Another teacher invited me to move from my machine-against-the-wall position (because the idea of being surrounded by people is cruel and unusual punishment; you’ll always find me in the back of a room, against a wall, etc) to the center of the room. There were newbies in class, people who found the machine to be a bit like Chinese torture, and I was one of the few experienced students who could possibly show proper form.

Here’s the rub about a practice. Once you think you’ve mastered one aspect of a practice, it suddenly becomes slippery, elusive, changing shape and form until it’s almost unrecognizable. Until the shape you’ve been going after transforms into something else. And then there’s that work: the crippling fear, the uncertainty, the first few attempts, the practice, the pain, the movement and mastery. And again, and so on.

This week was hard, you guys. While last week was all about frolicking in the sun, all tra la la, this week marked the doldrums of a marriage–the passing of the salt, the division of labor, the quiet hum of a kiss rather than the passionate lovemaking: two bodies coming together like cross stitch. This week was about me realizing that my strong upper body compensates for a weak core. When I forced myself into discomfort by feeling the full shape of a pose rather than always, always starting on my knees.

This week also ushered in the realization that we’ve been sold into this myth that all of our gastronomic sins will be resolved if only we spend another hour on that treadmill, pedaling about like some rabid bunny. When in fact, diet, the quality and quantity of food that we put in our bodies, drives much of how we live our life. If I compare myself in BodyBurn (or even spin!) a year ago to now, I’d say that I have more confidence, strength and endurance. I view food as my strategy for warfare, as opposed to being the enemy so assiduously and cruelly hunted. I learned that my body needs fuel–lean proteins and lots of them, fats, legumes, good starches and fields of verdant green. I learned that my body is not a lone soldier going out on this on my own.

You are the sole source of your own limitation. You choose to say I can’t do that, I’m too scared, oh dear, that’s not for me. You choose the House of No. You choose to always be inspired by, yet that inspiration never plants its seeds, sows its harvest. That inspiration is but a meer stretch of words, a “like,” and nothing more. What I learned this week is that I don’t know if I can’t do something until I try it, if only once.

So if that means that I do one floor plank to pike before I collapse onto the machine, well, at least that’s better than none.

5 thoughts on “my brooklyn bodyburn challenge, week two: when your teachers deliver the necessary beatdowns

  1. Yes. My confidence with my body’s capabilities waxes and wanes. During times when I’m doubting myself, I am relieved that I have teachers who will continue to believe in me, to push me, and at times to make me work really hard. They’ll pull me by my ponytail reach further into the exercise, yell at me to fix my posture, or make me to do the “advanced” position instead of the “intermediate.” I love them for it. It makes me stronger.

    Don’t give up. You’re doing great.


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