Friday, March 23, 2012

I Work-out?

An Honest Review of the Dailey Method

There is nothing quite as humbling as signing up for an elite work-out class in Suburbia.  I'm not saying that like it's a bad thing.  Humbling experiences are cathartic for the psyche.  I'm not in terrible physical shape.  I walk everywhere.  I do yoga 3 days a week.  I am from good strong Polish stock and although I'm short, I'm not at all waify.  But this class is filled with strong, beautiful, albeit high-maintenance women.  These are the kind of women who do their hair BEFORE they work-out.  Seriously.  They wear rarely repeated, expertly coordinated, brand-name (and I don't mean Gap) yoga attire that is not only skin tight but has gaps and mesh exactly where I have love handles and a slight muffin top; the kind of women who actually procure spots in the front with mirror visibility and do cardio in the morning BEFORE they come to class.

Basically, the latest greatest workout studio since TaeBo has come to Suburbia.  It is touted as body sculpting and life-changing.  A combination of tiny movements using variations of Pilates, barre work ballet, and yoga.  Those women who look amazingly lean and toned, if asked how, a good number of them will go into a late-night infomercial worthy expose' on how fantastic the Dailey Method is.

The studio offered a free class on opening weekend and since I love to keep up with current trends (and I love things that are free), I went to the class.  At 7:00am.   It was insanely challenging.  My legs shook for most of the class and then for the next 5 hours (I wouldn't admit this in a court of law, but most likely it would have been safer for me to drive home drunk).  I'm pretty sure that it was my monthly were-wolf time because before my muscles even recovered, I had signed up for their promo.  Normally it is $20 a class (they don't even have a pool), but they were offering 6 weeks unlimited for $100 as a new store special!  I figure that I can do ANYTHING for 6 weeks and this class would get my ass in gear (quite literally, they do a lot of posterior toning).

Classes are good for me.  If I'm at home with a tape DVD, I really don't push myself.  In a class, firstly the instructors adjust your position correctly and MAKE you work until you would normally collapse (that is a good thing).  Secondly, the person next to you is straining and swearing but sticking with it, and it would be embarrassing to just give-up and walkout.  Thirdly, it was $100 (which is a lot of money at this stage of my life).  Fourthly, my stomach muscles separated with the pregnancies and c-sections.  My "abs" do this weird / painful tenting thing whenever I try to do core work.  I've spent the last 10 years ignoring it and just capitulating that my previously naturally flat belly has gone the way of Sizzler and Circuit City, never to be seen again. These instructors are helping me be mindful on how to repair my core without surgery and I can honestly see the muscles pulling together and getting better.

Anyway, for the first 5 classes, I literally came home and soaked in Essential Oils and Epsom Salts for an hour**.  The next 5 classes, I was just exhausted but now, I'm feeling sore but energized.  The women who teach and go to the classes are not "my kind of women" (*please read disclaimer below).  I'm sure they look at me and only see insurmountable potential for The Ultimate Make-Over (if only they had a blow-dryer, some accessories, and a plastic surgeon) but that said, they are all very endearing and I don't feel judged, I just feel stretched.  

And I've learned something.  Those women that I secretly roll my eyes back at because they wear a tiny triangle bikini to the local pool even though they have little kids... they work REALLY hard to be able to do that.  I don't blame them for wanting to show off all this effort.  Now I still think it is rather silly but that is just because my frugal self can't imagine paying that much money for so little fabric, but I did gain a little solace in the fact that these women don't come by it naturally; they put in a lot of energy, time, & money into have that perfectly toned, tanned, and smooth body.  

In Summary- DEFINITELY an amazing workout.  The hour goes by really quickly.  The Dailey Method Studio is clean and organized and zen-like.  Pre-scheduling online makes class sizes not too over-crowded.  The instructors are encouraging and helpful and so sweet.  Worth the money if you are dedicated to a change in your body; you will see results, look better, stand taller, and be more confident.  Something totally out of my comfort zone, humbling, but life-changing all the same.  

Picture used directly from the Dailey Method Website; Special thanks to Lorna & Anna, if you ever read this...You are the best.  THANK YOU for giving me so much special attention!

*Please Don't Read Into "Not My Kind".  Many of my best friends (and my beloved sister) are Beautiful, High-Maintenance, Hot Moms but somewhat ironically, I am decidedly nearly the antithesis of a Hot Mom (this blog, although moderately racy, made me laugh).  I sometimes wish that I were a little more of a Hot Mom but it is almost like I am allergic to having my hair down.  The good news is that you don't need to feel sorry for my DH.  I didn't become this way after marriage and "let myself go".  My DH knew exactly who I was.  I wore flannel pants for the first 5 years of our relationship and I can count on 1 hand the number of times that I've worn something uncomfortable (all for other people's weddings, my own wedding dress was super comfy).  We have this inside joke that as soon as we get home, I say, "Excuse me while I slip into something more comfortable."  As if that is possible.

I frankly don't have it in me to look that good.  I battle with it being a monumental waste of time to work-out without any practical results.  I feel like a hamster in a wheel.  My pragmatic side likes to exercise with purpose (like work up a sweat while weeding the garden, laying bricks, scouring the house, or walking instead of driving).  But I've loved the class.  I've been truly dedicated.  I've gone at least 3 or 4 days a week for the past month. My clothes look better.  My core is stronger.  I stand taller, and I still have 2 weeks left.  We have a reunion this summer and a couple of weddings. I'm not trying to look better for other people.  I'm trying to look better for me.  I hate looking back at pictures and seeing that I could have been in better shape, and being a hamster in a wheel for a couple of weeks has been good for me. I HIGHLY recommend, but don't be surprised if it kicks your ass.

**In my defense and unbeknownst to me, my first classes were as such**

1st Class -- Erin Dailey - Pictured front and center above and on all of the literature.  Sister of Jill Dailey, creator of the Dailey Method; insanely challenging and stuck her knee in my back multiple times to force me to stand up straight.  I really liked her, a lot.  She reminded me of tough love.  She actually learned my name in a packed class.  She liked the under-dogs (like me).  And went 20 minutes over.

2nd Class -- Anna - Honestly the hardest instructor that there is.  I took her class 5 more times.  I figure, if I am paying for it, I might as well get my money's worth. She is tough but knows exactly what she is doing.  She is the one who really helped me move toward mindfully regaining core muscles.

3rd Class -- Jill Dailey -- Yes, the founder of the Dailey Method.  I had signed up for my "normal class time" only to discover that she was the guest instructor.  She actually said at one point, "if you are feeling like you might throw-up, you are doing it right".  She made both Erin and Anna shake during her class, and she went 20 minutes over.

After that I took Anna & Lorna mostly.  12 classes in 4 weeks.  Lorna could not be any sweeter.  She is warm, encouraging, and challenging.  Her holistic approach to exercise made me leave class feeling like I had a stronger body and a softer heart. 

And a special thanks to Meg, who I only took twice but who's words go through my head for the entire hour,  and many times outside of class,

"You are stronger than you think."

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