If there’s one defining factor about my usual workout schedule, it’s probably that I’m big on cardio. Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing I despise more than having to run for hours on a treadmill just to work up a sweat or feel like I’ve actually done something good for my body, but I’d much rather do a high intensity Les Mills cardio class like Body Combat or Body Attack than something low-key like yoga or pilates. Cardio and HIIT training just wears me out in the best way possible while burning loads of calories, so it’s my go-to workout most of the time.
However, today I went and did a Body Balance class for the first time in what feels like years. For those of you who haven’t done Body Balance before, it’s a brilliant mix of tai chi, yoga, and pilates that’s designed to help you stretch and strengthen your body at the same time. It’s meant to be calming; you even get a ten minute “relaxation” track at the end of the class where you lie on the floor… and you could casually go to sleep, if you wanted to.
Being a big fan of cardio and strength training, it felt a little weird going from such high energy classes to quiet, relaxing ones. I had to laugh at myself a bit considering that I was there by myself, wobbling around on one foot like a complete drunkard. I also nearly lost it at one stage because I could have sworn the instructor said in a very calm voice, “let’s gabba” – clearly, I am not the most mature person to take to a class like Body Balance, but in the end I discovered that maybe these kinds of classes really are for me.
I’ve compiled a list of thoughts I had during the class, so hopefully that can help paint a picture of what Body Balance is really like and why you should definitely try it out!
- Wow, we’re two minutes in and I’ve already been reminded that my legs do not bend that way.
- This… this isn’t even the hard part! What is going ON? WHY CAN’T I KEEP MY BALANCE?!
- I’d forgotten about downward dog. The pressure on my brain is amazing. My head just might explode.
- Scratch that, MY LEGS ARE GOING TO EXPLODE. I MAY NEVER WALK AGAIN… but at the same time, these lunges and warrior poses are definitely doing something for my legs. No pain, no gain, amirite?
- My thigh muscles are so tense right now, that definitely means this class is working.
- Be a tree, be a tree… lose balance, fall over in the gym (or forest). Be a tree again, tree tree trees.
- Aaah, pilates. Years of dad making me go to his classes will pay off here.
- RIPPLING ABS AND KILLER LEGS. YAAASS, PILATES.
- Relaxation time… I think I’m sinking into the floor. No, wait. I’m terrified of the light fixture falling on my head. Better stay super alert in case I need to commando role out of the way.
- Don’t make me get up.
Overall, it was a raging roller coaster of emotions. My legs are killing me and my abs are all tingly, but I feel like I’ve gotten a really good strength workout despite the relaxing nature of the class. I think the main thing is to make sure that at the end of the class, you take advantage of the stretch tracks and try to push yourself a little further each time so that you get a better stretch.
My only other tip is to try and let go of all your thoughts in the relaxation track. One would that it’d be easy but it really isn’t – endless amounts of mindless babbling went through my mind as soon as the lights went down but my previous experiences with Body Balance have proven that the relaxation time can be amazing at the end of a stressful day if you can imagine to block your thoughts out for a few minutes.