Saturday, April 24, 2010

Class #98 CardioSculpt Saturday 9 a.m. (Michelle)

Michelle’s Saturday morning sweatfest – called CardioSculpt – is one of the most popular classes on our schedule. Our members, I’ve noticed, really flock to the toughest workouts on the schedule and this one qualifies. Actually, I should say, the female members flock to these tough classes because there are only three guys present this morning. I’m still not sure why guys don’t attend classes like this in bigger numbers because I think men would love this workout if they tried it.

The CardioSculpt and TBC (Total Body Conditioning) classes are designed for a fit population. I purposely held off taking these classes until I was four or five weeks into the quest and had prepared my body to withstand such an intense workout. I suppose one could use a class like this to get into shape – it would just require a willingness to back off and modify some things when it gets too hard.

Even after training hard for almost ten weeks, I still have to modify some things. For instance, Michelle has us doing jump rope drills during much of the class. She is very skilled at jumping rope and, alas, I am not. I cannot maintain as quick a pace as the one she sets nor can I do some of the fancier footwork drills with the jump rope so I just bungle along doing the best I can. Sometimes, when I’ve missed connection three or four times in a row, I just keep jumping and doing the arm movements without the rope at all.

The basic format of this class is to alternate some form of hard cardio work (i.e. jumping rope, running around the gym or burpees) with using handweights to do flys, tricep extensions, bicep curls, etc. There’s no meaningful rest between sets but we are switching over from a cardio exercise that leaves us gasping for air – to a calisthenic set where the heart rate drops a bit while some poor muscle fills with lactic acid (sounds fun, eh?). It is hard but it’s also a smart way to workout each system in a rapid-fire manner that keeps one from getting bored. Tired yes – bored no.

Michelle also likes to use the Bosu ball (see pic) and a step in the training. For instance, we may jump from the floor onto the Bosu ball, do a squat and then jump back to the floor do another squat and repeat. This is a form of plyometrics along with core work that challenges all kinds of muscles and produces explosive strength and speed. On another set, we put our hands on the step to support our weight as we jump both legs from one side to the other over and over. You guys are wondering where you can sign up now, aren’t you?

Squat on a Bosu Ball

This class lasts for 75 minutes, which is 15 more than a typical class. In the last 15 minutes we do all ab work before finishing with a smidgen of stretching.

I wear my heart rate monitor to class but turn it off when we get to the ab work. In the first hour I burn about 600 calories, maintain an average heart rate of 126 and max out at 152.

Michelle Wilkerson - Cardio Sculptress

There are about 30 in class today. The winner of the $25 gift certificate is Sally Stokes.

With this class I have completed all of the classes on Saturday. I have a total of six days and twelve classes until completion. Tomorrow I’m doing the 3 p.m. Power Pump and the 5:30 p.m. Hard Core/Stretch (in case you’re bored and want to come keep me company).

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