Glad you enjoyed hearing from the Pure2raw twins. I started learning more and more about raw foods reading Gena’s blog last summer and have been intrigued ever since. There are a lot of great bloggers who rave about incorporating more raw foods and recipes into one’s diet, so I highly recommend exploring if you’re interested!
Today’s Guest Bender discusses another topic that I would love to learn more about and incorporate into my daily routine: yoga! I’ve dabbled in it here and there through P90x Yoga X but have always wanted to attend a class with other yogis to improve my skill Dori has been able to do just that and I think you’ll enjoy her story. Take it away!
Hi Eating Bender readers. I’m Dori from Dori’s Shiny Blog. My blog is pretty random, but I’d say the focus is on eating and exercising while dealing with a chronic GI illness and lots of stupid people. [Jenn says: This sentence made me laugh!]
But not everyone is stupid. One guy, he happens to be the creator of Core Fusion classes at Exhale Spa, his name is Fred. This is Fred:
Of course I said yes.
While I (like many girls) do cardio all the time, I don’t get myself to do strength training at all. I just don’t. I’ve been taught those machines a bunch of times. So what? I still won’t do them. Last year, I discovered Core Fusion classes, and that changed everything. Core Fusion is a full body workout that targets muscles you never even knew you had. They say if you go 3 times a week, it transforms your body. But I never went that often.
Core Fusion classes all have the same format. We start with planks, push ups and reverse push ups. We move onto arms, shoulders and chest using light hand weights, around 3 pounds. Believe me, even if you currently lift with 5 or 8 pound weights, in this class you will need to go lighter. That is because we do lots of tiny, repetitive movements. It might start out feeling easy, but by the end you just want to pray for mercy. We do a bunch of different arm movements too, so we work out all parts of the arms, shoulders and chest.
We always stretch after we work each body part. So after the arms are done, we do some arm stretches. The reason for this is to prevent bulkiness (also the reason we do small movements with light weights) and to promote flexibility. Stretching after strengthening creates long, lean muscles.
After upper body, we do thighs. It’s actually legs, because it works the calves too, but I call it thighs because of the intense burning sensation I feel in my thighs during this part. OMG. This is without a doubt the hardest, most painful part of the class. There are a bunch of different positions we might do in this section. We might hold a playground ball between our legs and pulse in a bunch of times, then bend down and up while maintaining a squeeze on the ball. We might not use the ball at all and just do the plies all the way down, all the way up, with little pulses. Our legs might be far apart or they might be touching at the heels. Our heels usually make their way up off the floor for extra challenge. My legs are often shaking uncontrollably. It is insane.
As soon as thighs is over we do more push ups. I normally hate push ups, but I welcome them at this point because it feels so good not to be doing thighs. Then we do a series of leg stretches to stretch out the muscles we just used and then we move on to butt! I want to add that there are awesome playlists of music throughout.
Technically called seat or glutes, the butt portion is not too bad. It hurts, I’m not going to lie. But it is much less painful than thighs. Sometimes we do this at the bar with our leg extended behind us, sometimes we sit in a pretzel position, sometimes we bend down with our hands on the floor and hold our leg up behind us. Then we do tons of small leg lifts – really, we do these lifts from the butt, not the legs, so the lifts really are small. It is not about getting height, it is about working the butt muscles. We do long swooping lifts, small pulsing lifts, bent leg lifts, extended to the side lifts. I always feel the burn more on the side of my butt of my standing leg.
The idea is to get your butt to look like hers:
Then we stretch out the tushie and move on to abs. We start against the wall under the bar and try to lift our legs off the ground and move our feet in and out while supporting ourselves using our core. It is tough! Then the class will scoot down and lift their legs straight up, using only their core for stability. As hard as that all is, it is nothing like the section I consider “the real abs section.”
The C CURVE. Oh this is hard. We sit in a C Curve position (imagine your body looking like a C – lower back and feet being the only parts touching the floor) for a long time, removing one hand, both hand, twisting to one side, the other, pumping our fists together in front of us, raising our arms and lowering them. Your abs will burn the entire time. When that’s done we do an ab stretch, get onto our backs and do some butt lifts and then class is DONE. We lay in the most well deserved savasana ever while relaxing music plays. We do my favorite stretches ever, using the belt to stretch out leg out to the side and across the body to the other side. Heaven.
And then class is over. As much as it hurt, I feel so amazing when it is over. So refreshed, relaxed, loose, happy. It is amazing! I feel like I did something truly wonderful for myself.
The biggest motivator? In just one month of taking class regularly, I lost around 3% of my body fat and about .5 inch all over. Want to try a class? Exhale Spas have locations around the country, but if you’re not near one you can get the Core Fusion Body Sculpt DVD on Amazon – and that DVD comes with a free class! Definitely worth it since a single class (not part of a package) costs $35 and the DVD is only $8.99. Their other Core Fusion DVDs are fantastic as well and they are coming out with new ones soon that mimic an actual class.
A big thank you to Jenn for giving me the opportunity to post on Eating Bender! I hope you check out my blog and follow me on my Core Fusion Challenge month 2 this month – and feel free to pick up a DVD and join in!
I don’t know about you all, but I’m convinced! I’ve been wanting to take a more intense class such as this one for a while and there is actually a studio in Chicago called Core Power Yoga. The plan is to take some free trial classes this spring and see how it goes.
I know there are plenty of yoga fans in the blogosphere. I’d love to hear from you! Have you tried Core Fusion/Power Yoga? Do you want to?