Last year I did something completely out of the norm for me and signed up for aerial hammock. I hadn’t done group fitness before and it was a brand new experience for me. I took the 6 week session at Club Mynx here in Saskatoon and loved it.
I was into fitness before trying hammock, but I think that really gave me the bug. I started seeking out different methods of working out that weren’t just going to the gym and doing the same thing day after day. Right after I finished hammock I started wanting to try hoop. I could tell just from looking at pictures that it was going to be much more difficult and I was not physically ready to try it.
I kept working out and at the start of this year I joined Orangetheory Fitness. I have felt my strength build up so much since being there that I finally felt as though I was ready to try hoop. I was looking on their website one day and noticed that they had a session starting up that was on Saturday’s through May. Perfect. That didn’t interfere with anything else I had going on, it didn’t add anything to my weeknights and I had no excuses. Without thinking too much about it, I went ahead and signed up.
I instantly regretted it. There was NO way that I was ready for this. I did not have the strength. Ugh. Well, too late at that point, I might as well go and try.
I’ll be honest with you. The first class sucked. It was horrible. I had extreme feelings of hatred towards it. I actually cried a bit when I got into my car after. Here’s the deal, this class was HARD. We learned a couple of mounts the first class, and they did not like me. The basic idea of the different mounts are that you hold onto the bottom of the hoop with your hands and then lift your legs up, eventually hanging from your knees. Then you rock a bit and grab onto the hoop with your hands, and work your way up.
The first issue I ran into was that I couldn’t get my legs up while I was holding onto the hoop. It just wasn’t happening. I’d get my right leg close, but it’d be heading for the ground before my left leg could get to the hoop. I just didn’t have the core strength to do it, nor the flexibility. Once or twice I did find my way into the position of hanging from my knees. Then was the issue of having to get INTO the hoop. I’d get close but just didn’t have the grip or reach to hold on.
Talk about disheartening. The other five ladies in the class had a much easier time. They all had experience taking pole classes at Club Mynx and so they had a lot more of the core strength and the ability to control their bodies better.
Crying afterwards might have been a bit dramatic, but it didn’t help that I had been feeling sick the week leading up to it and hadn’t had the best week in general. I just wasn’t in the mood to fail. Alas, fail I did. I decided right then that there was no way I was going back to that class, I’d just have to eat the cost.
Halfway through the week it was decided, I had to suck it up and go back. There was no way the class could go worse and I wasn’t going to get better if I didn’t try. I walked into that second class with zero expectations.
Right away my instructor, Mel, told me that she was going to try me on a smaller hoop. This made me feel a bit better because if I actually managed to get into the hoop, that should make it easier to pull myself up since my arms wouldn’t be stretched so far.
Then she said that rather than having the mat opened up below me, we could leave it closed so that it was taller. This made me feel a bit more hopeful because my feet would be closer to the hoop and, in theory, it would make it easier to mount. Okay, I was feeling a bit more hopeful about this experience.
Talk about a world of difference. I actually did it. I could get into the hoop, lift myself up and actually try some of the moves. Granted, even by the end of my 5th class (I missed the sixth and final class) I could only do one mount, and wasn’t nearly flexible or graceful enough to do everything properly, but I did it.
As classes progressed I could feel some of the moves getting easier, as well as *slightly* less painful. Let me tell you, hoop hurts. The back of my legs were bruised to no end. It’s a good thing I didn’t have any fancy occasions where I had to wear a nice dress.
This class was definitely an experience, I’m so glad that I kept going. Fitness isn’t always easy. It’s challenges like this where you have to really push yourself that you will grow. I could feel myself getting stronger over the 5 classes and know what areas I need to focus on before I take this class again.
Mel was a great teacher and I really appreciated that she came up with some simple tweaks that completely changed the game for me. There is no way that I would have been able to accomplish all that I did if she hadn’t done that.
It can be tough being the one person in class who isn’t able to do everything on the same level as all the others. I know that I’m not the only one out there to feel this way. I bet a lot of you reading this can think of times you’ve felt like that. I do pretty good for myself when I’m at the gym, but trying something like this is still out of my realm. I was grateful to be in a class with people who were encouraging and I never felt as though as I was being judged for not being able to do something. Being with the right people, whether strangers or friends, can definitely make a difference.
I haven’t decided if I want to try hammock or hoop again soon, or try something else like pole or barre. I do know that this isn’t the last time I will be signing up for classes at Club Mynx!