Of Lunges and Crunches and Nearby Lunches

Today was a Lagree red-letter date with the introduction of the Full Body – Plus class led by Helene. If you like to maximize every moment of your workout, Helene is the instructor for you.

Quick transitions between exercises are one hallmark of the full-body Lagree experience and Helene cracks the proverbial whip for a full hour (15 minutes of which comprises the “plus” in the Full-Body Plus class which emphasizes additional upper body work and stretching).

Fortunately, I didn’t need a stretcher . . . though I heard the alarm in the voice of my classmate to the right who witnessed my dramatic crash landing during the Teaser exercise. Unlike my friend Shelley (whose descent into Megaformer hell I chronicled last week) I managed to land on my most padded “asset,” injuring only my pride.

One thing I really like about Lagree is all the great people you encounter.

Last week, I met Julie, a recently elected school board trustee.   I’d have thought that someone in her position would get all the aerobics she needs racing from one meeting to the next and bench pressing the occasional school superintendent.

But there was Julie at Lagree, ensuring that she keeps her strength up with a workout that does it all: Cardio, strength training, endurance, balance . . . everything an elected official really needs.

(Senators, please take note: It is a really good idea to get off your Duffy now and again by signing up for a Lagree class at your own expense and, of course, in reasonable proximity to your actual residence.)

Julie is one of many busy, professional, community-minded folks I’ve met at Lagree YYC. Chatting isn’t possible during the low-impact – yet intense – workout, because everyone really needs to focus on form in order to minimize peril and maximize the workout. But a highlight of each Lagree session is the opportunity to chat with other Lagreeniks on the way into or out of the studio.

Today I enjoyed a visit with Yvette who has two young children. She struck up the conversation noting that we were twins (I wish!) because we have the same grip sox . . . close enough!

While Yvette is very devoted to her kids and all their activities, she has made a point of carving out some time for herself at Lagree YYC. While she looks fit to me, she attributes her leanness to genetics.

I am painfully reminded that I should have chosen different grandparents!

Yvette correctly identifies fit and thin as two completely different things. She is working on developing core strength.

Me too.

But, evidently, I need a better attitude when it comes to planking. This form of medieval torture involves holding your body nice and straight while you balance on straight arms (or forearms) and your toes, sucking your belly button in toward your spine. If you survive it, it is really good for your posture and your abs. Side planks are accomplished by slowly raising and lowering your body while praying profusely that you can withstand the occasional isometric hold.

If you are shaking, that is good. You are getting at those slow twitch muscles making possible the changes that lead to a long, lean look.   In honour of Our Lady of Lagree, I call this Getting Limberly with Kimberly.

On the topic of intriguingly-named exercises, one of my favourites is the Donkey Kick which got its name because Dog Peeing on a Fire Hydrant does not roll easily off the tongue and may be just a little too earthy for polite company. The exercise involves getting down on all fours and then raising the leg in question, resting your foot parallel to the front curvy bar of the Megaformer and pushing the carriage in and out to a slow count of four while bending and straightening the elegantly raised hind leg.

Twelve synchronized legs raised high over imaginary hydrants is an unforgettable spectacle for citizens walking past the floor to ceiling plate glass windows of the Lagree YYC studio en route to Brown’s Social House on one corner or Caffé Artigiano on the other.

One can’t afford those diversions too often, but as I dutifully perform all my lunges and crunches, they run together in my brain, coaxing me through the rest of my workout with subliminal promises of great nearby lunches.

If I can corrupt a few of my new-found friends, the company should be pretty good too.

Maxine Fischbein is a Calgary-based freelance writer and editor.



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