Deep into half-marathon training, our nutrition editor tackles a tough lower body workout at Barry's Bootcamp
Despite the fact that I generally loathe solo treadmill sessions, group treadmill classes have piqued my interest. It’s a huge fitness trend—more and more gyms and boutique studios are offering them—and it seems like a good way to get some coaching. Besides my training plan, I’m really doing this whole running thing on my own, and I have no idea what I’m doing right or wrong. And while I always run alone, I really love fitness classes—I like having the motivation of an instructor, and I find that I work way harder in the high-energy environment that boutique studios offer. (I guess that’s why people regularly fork over $30+ for classes!)
So I was pretty pumped when New Balance invited me, along with some other writers and editors, to take their new Fresh Foam shoes for a test run at Barry’s Bootcamp. We were asked whether we wanted a “smooth & fast” ride or a “soft & smooth” one. Since I’m really focusing on getting in enough miles versus how fast I'm running them these days, I went with soft and smooth and tested out the Fresh Foam Boracay shoe (the smooth and fast group tried the new Zante trainers). They’re super-soft but still stable—I took them outside later in the week and felt really supported and cushioned. (Check out these 9 Running Shoes with High Tech Soles.)
After lacing up, we headed into the fitness studio, which was a long room with treadmills lining one wall. The rest of the space was filled with aerobic steps, weights, and other strength training tools. Half of us started on the treadmills while the other half started on the floor. (It was a “butt and legs” day, so the floor moves focused on building lower body strength.) I thought it would be hard to follow along with the instructor shouting two different sets of directions, but it was actually totally fine.
The treadmill part was really hard—and at a much higher intensity than I push myself when I’m on the treadmill in the gym—but also achievable. I was pretty proud of myself for being able to keep up, especially since the intervals included running at a 10 percent incline (I’ve never done that before) and at a much faster pace than I’ve been averaging the last few weeks.
As for the floor work, well, my legs were crying. Confession time: I’ve been doing a pretty terrible job at cross and strength training the last few weeks. My race training plan includes weekly “stretch and strengthen” sessions, along with post-run strength training once a week and 1-2 weekly dedicated cross training days. Every week, I have the best intentions to get my butt to yoga class for the stretch/strength day, but after a long week of work and running, I usually end up ditching it to sleep in on Sundays. And as for the other cross training sessions, well, when I have to skip a workout because I’m busy or tired, those are the one that fall off the calendar. So my thighs and butt were pretty sore for a few days post-class. (Try the workout at home with our Barry's Bootcamp-Inspired Abs, Butt, and Core Workout!)
We alternated back and forth between the treadmill and the floor until each group had done two 10-minute sessions on each. By the end of 40 minutes, the muscles in my lower body felt like jelly, and I knew I had gotten a really awesome workout. Plus, it was really fun! I’m not great at pushing hard on my own, so I may rely on these types of classes the next time I need a kick in the running tights.