Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Class #46 TBC Tuesday 5:45 p.m. (Carla)

This is a great class. Hard but fun. The only problem is I’m writing about it only minutes after leaving class and my hands/arms are shaking - making it hard to type. Of course, it may be better now than how I’ll feel in the morning.

TBC – which is supposed to stand for Total Body Conditioning but may actually mean Torture By Carla, is one of the storied classes on the schedule. I’m pretty sure that Carla concocted this class late one night in her evil lab under a full moon. At any rate, it’s been a fan favorite at the Club for many years but somehow I’ve managed to avoid it until tonight.

This is the class members have most often asked me about since the quest began, as in – “have you taken Carla’s TBC yet?” When I would say no – they would shake their heads, as if to say “then you haven’t really started, have you?” TBC is, I suppose, a rite of passage for the LRAC group ex connoisseur.

Carla has several versions of the class – tonight’s she calls the “three ring circus” format where she divides the class into three groups and assigns each group its own set of exercises. Within the groups, each person has a partner because one of the sections (i.e. boxing) requires two to tango. There are exercise stations set up all over one half of the basketball gym – Carla has written out instructions in some spots, in others she just explains what to do. Once the whole thing is set in motion, you basically don’t stop for about an hour (the warm up tonight is running three laps around the outside of the Club).

Each station and exercise in and of itself is hard and will wear you out but by constantly changing from one thing to another the hour flies by. The stations include: a low hurdle course, pushups on a bosu ball, squat jumps, three count burpees (at least, that’s what I call ‘em), wall jumps, a step bench obstacle course and many more. Since everything is new to me, I’m always just catching on to the rhythm when the routine changes – which is fine with me.

The most interesting station for me is the partner boxing, which is also the one, I imagine, that’s left my hands and arms a little shaky. In this section, one partner puts on boxing pads (we wear surgical gloving for sanitary reasons) and is the ‘punchee’ while the other partner, wearing boxing gloves, jabs, uppercuts and/or ducks/weaves. It’s a choreographed process, which takes some coordination and skill. At one point, I’m doing the part where I’m supposed to jab, jab, duck and weave, when I notice poor Carla near asphyxiation from laughing at my awkward style. This might have discouraged another man but since I’m having such a good time learning this new skill, I don’t mind being the entertainment for our loving instructor. Near the end of our session I’m hoping Chris, my patient partner, will go ahead and knock me out before I fall over on my own.

Boxing station with real boxers

Carla has a big following in everything she teaches but this is her signature class. Most of these folks, I’m guessing, have done this class plenty of times and they adore Carla because she’s from the “take no prisoners” school of group ex. It’s a badge of honor to be a regular in Carla’s class and survive TBC. But misery loves company and somehow the combination of hard work with people you like turns out to be a lot of fun.

Carla Branch teaching TBC

The class is 75 minutes long and the first 60 are dedicated to cardio (elevated heart rate) work. The next ten minutes is all core work where Carla somehow manages to get us to do several hundred crunches and five minutes of plank or side plank. All good fun, especially after you’re already mostly pooped out.

The last 3-4 minutes, you’ll be glad to know is stretching and warming (or is it cooling) down. After class everyone sticks around to fill out the slip for the $25 gift card drawing. Since most folks are still there I have Carla pick a winner – Kyle Lunsford.

Final word - If you are looking for a nice hard class that combines lots of different exercises and keeps you moving he whole time – TBC might just be for you. I give it two boxing gloves up!

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