The idea of spending $25 for a one hour workout class has always seemed absurd to me, especially growing up in a place where 70 degrees and sunny is the norm 340 days a year. With great running trails and outdoor muscular strength equipment nearby I never felt like I was missing out when my friends went to their expensive yoga and fitness classes (and I even had extra money to wave in their faces later that day.) I refused to believe that the middle aged instructor in her $600 Lululemon outfit could possibly give me as good of a workout as my favorite set of stairs through the rose garden could.
However, at the beginning of this summer I got into a serious fitness rut. Every time I went out for a run I would go a couple miles and then stop for no reason at all. I tried running sprints on a track, borrowed my dad’s bike, went on hikes with serious elevation gains and even (embarrassingly) tried out some random exercise tapes I found in our basement, but nothing could quite duplicate the feeling I got at the end of a long run. Even though I seemed to lack energy when I wanted to work out, at all other times of the day I was bouncing off the walls. I couldn’t focus at work and I could feel my parents getting increasingly annoyed with my strange behavior. Reluctantly I let my friends convince me to go one of their fancy classes and coughed up the $25 at the door.
The class they took me to was called the Dailey Method and is similar to classes like the Bar Method in both clientele and content. The goal of the class is to use many smaller muscles through small movements to increase overall body strength and improve flexibility. Many of the exercises are based on dance and as I am an awful dancer, this part particularly scared me. When we walked into the room we were the youngest people there by a least 20 years. The studio even had a day care center for all of the stay at home moms who wanted to bring their kids to the workout class. Out of place in my oversized shirt and basketball shorts I nervously found myself a spot on the ground.
When the class began I was underwhelmed. I understood that the class was about small movements, but I questioned whether moving my right foot slightly was possibly doing anything. Then, halfway through the class I thought I was going to collapse. My arms could barely hold a pushup position and my quads were shaking from just standing. To say the least, it was worth the $25 and I left feeling better than I had in a month. The jumpiness decreased and for the rest of the day I was back to my regular post-exercise self.
Instructor helps to correct a posture during a Dailey Method Class, making sure the student is completely utilizing her muscles.
Since that class I have become a bit of an addict. I tried replicating the class on my own, but without the instructors knowledge of the exact position to be in to work a specific muscle it just wasn’t the same. Luckily I discovered that by working in the day care center I could actually take classes for free and as my exercise increased I found that running was actually fun again. That one Dailey Method class has led me to check out other fitness classes (some of which were even free!) and see all of the different possibilities out there. These days I stay active by mixing up my workouts between basketball, running, biking and classes and I’ve never felt better! (Clichéd but true!)