Trying a Physique 57 Class (And Learning the Workout Power of a Kickball)
Thighs, thighs, thighs…the body part many women hate to look at, but love to work on. I’ll be the first to say that I wish spot-reduction worked—I’d be doing every exercise and thigh squeeze in the book. But since it’s left up to genetics and some good ol’ hard work, I headed to Physique 57 on the Upper West Side in NYC to tone, lean and—of course burn—my muscles. (You know, in a good way.) I had never been to a Barre-style class before, but loved the concept because it combines a few of my favorite types of exercise together: ballet, Pilates and yoga. (Plus, Kelly Ripa does Physique 57 workouts, so it obviously works.)
I entered into the new Physique 57 studio right after work and was greeted with some pumping beats and a sleek, modern interior. I quickly filled out the “Don’t sue us if you get injured” form and followed the girls and GUYS (yes, men, you’re included on this excursion, too) toward the studio. Before we made our way into the studio, we were told to remove our shoes and put on their official Physique 57 carpet-gripping socks. I didn’t have a pair of these special socks, so I sported my own pair…of…neon yellow and purple. Shoot, my secret was out! I don’t own a pair of matching socks. With class starting soon, I hurried my way into the studio and found the perfect spot on the rug, mismatched socks and all.
The Physique 57 Class Experience
Sherri, our teacher for the evening, introduced herself and got acquainted with all the different faces and names as if it was a game of Memory. When it was time to begin the 57-minute class (hence Physique 57), she corralled us all up and we began moving to the beat.
As she instructed, I grabbed one weight at a time and began warming up. Flex and release, back and forth, up and down—Sherri was smiling while the rest of us were wondering how a warm-up could be so draining. Before I could drop a weight on my toes from being too tired, we headed into a quick arm stretch to lengthen out the muscles.
Then we hustled to the ballet barre. Resting between the barre and the mirror, I found my future horror: the white ball. Now don’t be deceived when this light and seemingly harmless ball, which resembles a fourth-grade kickball, finds its way between your legs for your first thigh exercise. Your personal dictionary will immediately whittle down to a bunch of curse words—with the exception of “YOU CAN DO IT.” Thank goodness for Sherri because after the fourth, fifth and sixth thigh squeeze, I needed all the encouragement I could get.
After the barre and leg torture, we moved out onto the floor to work the hips and butt a bit more. The class puts lots of emphasis on proper alignment and form, which makes for an intense burn. (Why is it when you exercises properly, it always hurts more?) And with lots of “good” pain and quick spurts of stretching, we laid on our backs to tackle the core.
Once the class was done, I took one last look at the ball of torture and put it right back between the mirror and the barre. It had gotten the best of me this time. While I gathered my things and quickly took off my mismatched socks, I couldn’t help notice that my thighs were tingling. What an odd sensation. Spot reduction? Probably not, but definitely a good sign of a solid workout.
Do you like barre workouts? Have you tried Physique 57? Would you? —Raquel