Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Class #93 Power Pump Wednesday 10:00 a.m. (Betsy)

My legs, especially my quadriceps, are still sore from Beth’s Sculpt class on Monday night so this Power Pump class will be a “hair of the dog” remedy. Frankly, I have no idea if this concept actually works for hangovers or for sore muscles. Apparently, the origin of the phrase came from a long ago belief that if one was bitten by a rabid dog placing some hair of that dog in the wound could prevent (cure) rabies. On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t take this class.

Betsy (aka the Betz or the Betzinator) teaches this class immediately following her 75-minute “Cardio Sculpt” class in the gym. Since she participates along with the class in everything she’s teaching, this is a tough double. I’m hoping the hard workout just before this one will take some of the edge off of Betsy’s vim and vigor however I’m not going to hold my breath.

The Betzinator

While we are setting up our equipment at the beginning of class, Betsy tells us snippets of what sounds like an ongoing story about her “dysfunctional” family. The stories, I discover, are like tales from Lake Woebegon both serious and tongue-in-cheek – her family is dysfunctional in the way that all of ours are. The effect in class however is that the “story” becomes our commercial break between hard sets. These breaks are short so we only get a tidbit here and there before she promises to resume where she left off - after the next set. It’s an effective and entertaining way to make the time pass as we do the work.

These episodic stories remind me that one summer during my college years I got in the habit of watching an afternoon ‘soap’, Days of Our Life, I think it was and thus came to know the story line and regular actors. It was entertaining in a sort of tawdry way but I felt certain I could live without it when school resumed. Then, some fifteen or twenty years later I would happen by a TV and see this show on and be amazed that many of the same characters had somehow survived various terminal cancers, gun shot wounds, voodoo hexes and countless sordid affairs. Wow!

Some day, in a few years, I’ll come back to one of Betsy’s classes and see what I’ve missed.

Betsy Kortebien

Today’s class is hard – what a surprise. I decided I would put the exact same amount of weight on my bar as Betsy (mind you, I outweigh her by at least 40 pounds) and see if I could hang. For the most part I could make the sets but just barely. I feel certain that tomorrow my arms will be as sore as my legs are today.

In many ways Sculpt and Power Pump classes are essentially the same thing. The main difference is that in Power Pump we almost always use the plate-loaded bars where as Sculpt classes typically use hand-weights and body bars. One thing’s for sure, it’s possible to wear out one’s muscles using either format.

Betsy asked me today in class if my body had changed after taking so many classes – especially ones I wasn’t accustomed to doing. I gave an evasive answer but it’s a fair question and I should give a real answer. My muscles have definitely tightened up and become more defined over the course of this training. The truth is, this undertaking has been a grind on my body and I’ve been as careful as possible about eating only (well, mostly) nutritious food and getting plenty of rest. When I finish, in nine days, I will no doubt take a week or so where I let my body completely rest, relax and repair itself. It’s fun, in a way, to push really hard to accomplish something but I know that rest is also a critical component of fitness and increasing the body’s capacity.

Betsy has about twelve in class today. The winner of the $25 gift certificate is Camille Fort.

Up next – Kickboxing tonight at 6:30 with Jessica.

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