The scheduling worked out well to grab another bike class today. That makes two cycling classes in two days, which is no big deal for real cyclists but it’s a decent challenge for me.
Going to Carla’s noon class was something of a homecoming for me. I’ve been a regular in this class on Monday/Wednesday for nearly five years. I’m used to cycling with all these folks and vice versa so it was fun to be with them today. That is, if your definition of fun includes getting ground into the dust by the one and only Carla Branch.
Carla is nothing short of a legend when it comes to group exercise in Little Rock. She started teaching back in the early 80’s at a place called the Sweat Shop, which was located in the back of Tanglewood shopping center and was the first business in town that existed just to teach aerobics. From what I understand, the place was aptly named.
Carla at the Sweat Shop circa 1984
If you’re in one of Carla’s classes, you can count on sweating. She likes folks to work hard and makes no bones about vigorously challenging us if we lose focus and begin to loaf. Carla knows that getting fit requires pushing past self imposed limits and she sees it as her job to give a little shove from time to time. She’s old school in that way but members love her classes because they know if they can meet her standards, they can hang with anybody.
Carla teaches five classes a week so I’ll be seeing her again. Besides cycling she also teaches the fearsome TBC (total body conditioning) class. Members speak in hushed tones about TBC and warn me that I better be ready when I step out on that floor. I’m listening. In fact, I’ll probably give myself a few more weeks of preparation and training before I jump into that bit of trouble.
Carla teaching a TBC class
Today’s bike class was fun and as always – challenging. The music was good - it must be a new playlist because I didn’t recognize most of it. (If/when I get Carla’s playlist I’ll paste it at the end of the blog). A typical Carla class includes a combination of seated climbs, standing switchback and various few sprints and we did all of that. Occasionally she also likes to throw in some serious anaerobic pushes. We did five of those at the end of today’s class. Each one is 30 seconds of generating the highest amount of watts you can muster. These pushes are akin to running up stadium steps as fast as possible for half a minute. After doing this drill a few weeks ago I woke up one night about 3 a.m. when my calf started cramping, which, I can assure you is a rude awakening. I told Carla about it the next day – she didn’t let on but I knew it made her proud.
There were about twenty Carla-ites in class today and I can name most all of them but since I’d forget someone and get in trouble I’m not going to start. The $25 gift certificate goes to David Shephard who’s a regular in the M/W noon class.