Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sweat, Schvitz, Steam- I Did It All!

Yep, I did.

I spent an hour back over at NDG Wellness this afternoon for another heart-racing, sweaty, exhausting workout! Operative word being "sweaty".

If you will recall, I took the Stiletto Workout offered by the Chelsea-based NDG Wellness Center earlier this summer. Also recall, I loved it!

Well, folks, it's finally happened. After months of attending fitness class after fitness class, I now report to you with less than stellar results.

Don't get me wrong. I didn't hate the workout. No, in fact, I can already feel the hint of soreness that I will bask in tomorrow morning- the sure sign that I in fact worked out my muscles well. What I hated this go around was the experience and for two main reasons.

Like last time, I arrived at NDG Wellness about 15 minutes earlier. After taking the elevator up to the 5th floor studio, I came across the owner, Nicole. She was on the phone at the front desk so I quickly smiled and waved and headed to the reception area. There was already another girl sitting there and she asked me what time the class started. I informed her that it started at 11:30 and she mentioned that she'd rushed over because she thought it started at 11. Ok, no big deal but as I sat there with her, and Nicole continued her conversation on the phone for the following 15 minutes leading up to the class, I realized this paying customer had been sitting here for at least a few minutes (I'm guessing ten) and Nicole hadn't even spoken to her yet (which is why she had to ask me when the class started as soon as I sat down). Hm, no bueno. 

I realized I was just being harsh. I didn't know the situation and perhaps Nicole's phone call was of dire importance (which is why each of the other five class participants who arrived after me also did not receive a warm reception). Ok, fine whatever. Time for class to start and besides, a different instructor was teaching it.

I cannot say this with absolute certainty because I have never taken a kickboxing class before but I'm guessing that "Diva Kickboxing" is actually the exact same as other kickboxing classes, except set to music. Remember from the Stiletto Workout post that the music Nicole played was one of my favorite things about the whole experience. Sadly, that wasn't the case today. The music wasn't awful but it wasn't that great and there was often a lag between songs- Not good at all for a fast-paced cardio class like this one! But again, perhaps I'm just being really picky. It's possible.

The instructor, Layla, was gorgeous. Like, "Hi girls, I'm a model but I also happen to enjoy teaching kickboxing" gorgeous. I was pleasantly surprised that she started us off with several stretching exercises. Again, referring back to my Stiletto Workout post, the lack of stretching was one of my only gripes about that day. For the next 50 minutes, Layla then had us do a series of jabs and lunges and kicks and elbows and twists! It was all very fast-paced and a very good workout. True to character, I was right up in the front so I could watch my form as I performed the dozens of moves Layla taught us but I realized quickly how UNcoordinated I became if I watched myself so I stopped and just went with it. Layla said all the right things ("Good job!", "One more set!" "Keep your abs tightened!", etc.) but she seemed a little bit disengaged. I don't know, just something I noticed from time to time during the hour.

One HUGE distraction was the heat in the studio. Oh. My. Sweet Lord! I honestly can't remember the last time I sweated so much. I understand it's a workout class and sweating comes with the territory but it was waaaaay too hot to be working out during the summer in a smallish studio with seven other women and no air conditioning. Give me a break. I had to stop a few times just to wipe the sweat out of my eyes! I watched in the mirror as my light blue shirt turned navy and I started to wonder if this was an element of the class. You know how some people really enjoy Bikram yoga because it has the added intensity of being hot as hell? I thought maybe that's what this was. I finally convinced myself it was and that is the ONLY way I managed to make it through the class. Just out of curiosity, I asked Layla about this after class and she confirmed my earlier suspicions- Something was wrong with their air conditioner. (And they're "working on it".)

So, alllllll of this complaining aside, I will tell you that I did have a good workout. I would've preferred for the whole experience to be a bit more friendly (staff-wise) and comfortable (temperature-wise) but the bottom line is I got what I went in for: A kick-ass workout.

Would I do it again? Begrudgingly, yes. I don't have it out for NDG Wellness so I will definitely return and would encourage my friends in the City to try out one of their classes. So far, workouts-wise, they are two for two. Ambiance-wise, they're one for two. Based on my first experience there, I know that they have it in them to provide an outstanding workout experience and I want to give them that opportunity to prove that this less than stellar visit was just a fluke.

Pros: Consistently (can I say "consistently" after just two visits?), they provide intense workouts that really give me the feeling that my time and money there was well-spent. Despite the below-par attitudes I witnessed today, I know Nicole is cool and I suspect Layla is as well. Hopefully I don't ever catch them on their "off" days again. Price-wise, this was a great deal as it is one of the five classes I bought for 25 buckaroos in my Lifebooker Loot deal. Hurrah for $5 classes!

I almost forgot to include a picture of this little cutie! She's Nicole's pup and, while I didn't get her name (again, Nicole on the phone = No time to ask), I did have a chance to play with her for the few minutes leading up to class- So Sweet!!! 

Cons: I already mentioned everything- No need to rehash, right?

So what do you think? Can you empathize with my complaints or am I being hyper critical? What little things have bothered you in the past about fitness classes? 

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