Wednesday, August 31, 2011

To Infinity... And Beyond: Abs BLAST!

I didn't have it in me to stay away from NDG Wellness for very long. Even though I have said from the get-go here that I fully intend on being honest and giving accurate accounts of my workout experiences, I felt a little guilty for slamming NDG in my last post. Well, "slamming" may be too strong a word to use but I definitely felt a little guilty for my critique. I think this all harkens back to the childhood lesson, "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all". However, a quote from one of my favorite movies is "If you don't have anything nice to say, come sit by me!" So, I stand by my earlier criticisms as they were only reflective of what I encountered at the studio on visit number two.

Can you identify the movie? Another favorite quote of mine from it is, "I like pink- Pink is my signauh culuh!"

Anyway, I went back for a third time to take a new class and I am happy (and a bit relieved) to report it was a much better experience than last week!

I chose to take "Abs Blast" which is a 45 minute class that claims to "tighten your abs for that tight sexy midsection you always wanted!" It promises to help you achieve abdominals that are neither too thick or muscular but also not soft or untoned. Need I remind you that my core is my very favorite area to work on so I had my eye on this class for awhile and was definitely looking forward to it!


Though feeling a little under the weather earlier in the day, I summoned the energy to throw on my workout gear and head north to the Chelsea studio on Tuesday afternoon. I arrived a little early, as usual, but this time for a reason. Remember that my last visit left me with a bad taste in my mouth as far as their customer service was concerned and I was ready to test them. As soon as I was buzzed upstairs and entered the studio, I was greeted warmly by a smiling woman I have never met there before. No one else had arrived yet so after asking her a quick question about the class, I settled in on the sofa in the waiting area. A few minutes later, the adorable pup I introduced you to before came screeching out of a back room straight for me. She is just so adorable. As I was petting and cooing at her, the receptionist remarked that, "She always finds a favorite!" She also informed me that her name is Hubby. Plus one for making small talk with me- Nice move, NDG. My fellow classmates then began arriving as well as Nicole, the owner and part-time teacher. She said hello to everyone and mentioned we'd probably start class five minutes late to accommodate those who were rushing over from work. I didn't mind at all and appreciated the heads-up. I was also happy to hear she'd be teaching us.

As we got started, Nicole instructed us all to grab two five-pound dumbbells and a workout mat. We started out stretching (Yay! Do you think she read my gripe in the first post about not stretching? Or maybe the workout gods whispered a little something in her ear... Either way, I was happy we got in a good five minutes of stretching before our workout!) We then did a series of exercises that involved holding the weights and kicking our legs up in front of us but with the real focus on contracting our abdominals. We continued doing this but added twists as well which targeted our obliques. Nicole is the queen of reps and had us all breaking a sweat almost straight away! After the first twenty or so minutes of doing these types of moves, she had us unroll our mats and lie down. I was excited because I was dang tired (Remember, I was under the weather! And, kicking up your legs for twenty minutes straight with few breaks is no joke!)

We continued using our legs to work our core by extending them straight out, horizontal with the body, holding them that way for several seconds and then kicking them out slowly only to repeat the process (again and again and again- Thanks, Nicole!). We did several variants of sit-ups, some with twists, some while holding weights. I love how she mixes things up because you're too busy learning the new moves to get bored. After we finished that, Nicole had us stretch again which felt fabulous after contracting our muscles (and not just our abs- between the kicks and holding the dumbbells, our legs and arms got a pretty great workout, too!) Then she released us, high on endorphins, to go out and conquer! Or, you know, just grab a water and our towel to wipe the buckets of sweat we'd produced.

Would I Do It Again? AB-solutely! (Heh heh heh...) It was a great class and as with all of the classes at NDG, I felt the effects immediately.

Pros: Well, as I mentioned, the experience overall was better this time. The receptionist was friendly and Nicole did a great job teaching. She's very professional and you can tell she's paying attention to each class participant because she makes comments or gives directions to each person. It makes me feel good to know that if my form is off or if I'm not doing a move correctly, she's got me. Additionally, the music was great! Nicole has an ear for what works not only for each class she teaches but even for each move she has us perform. At one point during class, she paused to make a quick song change because, "That song was too fast for what I'm going to have you all do." I didn't mind the brief interruption as she was ensuring that the vibe was just right for each sequence we did.

Cons: It was still a little hot in the studio. It's safe to say it wasn't nearly as bad as the "Diva Kickboxing" class I told you about in "Sweat, Schvitz, Steam- I Did It All!" but that's most likely because we did less cardio work today than we did then. Also, I noticed that despite starting a few minutes later, we still ended class according to the original schedule which shaved a little time off our class. It was probably an honest mistake... But still, I noticed.

So tell me, do you like working on your core as much as I do? Why or why not? Do you think NDG made up for their failures mentioned in my last post?

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