Recently I decided that I needed to start being more active. Hooping has been a fun way to get up and move but it hasn't done a whole lot for my endurance or overall strength. I started toying with the idea of joining a nearby gym or taking a yoga class but nothing sounded like something I would stick with in the long run. I have a tendency to start new workout regimens and get bored after just a few times. Weight lifting, running, even group classes at a gym just end up seeming tedious in the long run. A while ago, a friend told me about a local gym called Fight or Flight Academy which is the first and (as far as I'm aware) only gym in the Midwest that teaches Parkour and Freerunning. If you don't know what these are, watch the video below. Hell, watch it even if you do, it's pretty awesome. Even gives you a nice idea of what the gym looks like.
Go get lost on youtube looking at videos for a while. People are crazy talented and it's an amazing display of what the human body is capable of doing. If you decide to come back to my blog, I'll still be rambling here. If not, I'll understand...
Still here? okay, awesome.
So after tossing the idea around in my head for a week, I decided to just take a class and see what I thought. My first class was last Saturday and apparently that particular day was Obstacle Course day, which is a terrible day for a complete newb to show up. This ended up being to my advantage however because while Mitch taught the main group, Chad gave me the ultimate crash course in the basic concepts of Parkour. We went over jumps, landing, rolls, vaults and wall-grabs. By the end of the 55 minute class. I was exhausted, my arms were shaking and I was having a blast! I had started the class thinking that I wouldn't be able to do much of anything. My knees have always given me crap so I've felt extremely limited in my athletic capabilities. But there I was, doing my best and actually surprising myself.
Fast forward to the next morning...
I woke up and the mere thought of moving hurt. EVERYTHING hurt. My body was taking its sweet sweet vengeance on me for daring to put it through that. Muscles that had been hibernating since I was a little kid were angry that I had the nerve to wake them up. This was just validation that parkour was exactly what I needed. This is a total body workout if ever there was one... 5 days and a massage later, I was ready for another class.
Tonight, I got off work and drove across 169 in time to watch the class before mine do some fancy flips. Honestly, some of these guys make it look so easy... it's not fair. Beginning Parkour class tonight focused on "tic tacs" and "cat to cats" or wall jumps and grabs. I spent an hour throwing myself at a wall and hopefully jumping off of it.
I'll be honest...I sucked. My feet were slipping (because I placed them too low on the wall), and my knees were struggling to push off, I couldn't even lift myself in a successful cat to cat. But I was still having fun. Watching what the more advanced students were doing helped me at least envision the end goal while I kept working on getting the basics down. As much as it sucks to try a move and botch it, I can at least feel myself getting used to the movements. I know I just have to keep at it and eventually my body will get it right. My muscles will strengthen and my joints will react faster. As long as I don't psych myself out with thinking "I'll never be good enough", I will improve. I just always have to remember this moment in time when I couldn't even lift myself up from a cat grab because this is rock bottom, I can only go up from here. and up and up and up. That's the whole point. In a month, I can look back and see improvement. In a year, I might not recognize myself.
There was even an added benefit tonight. I got home, still in my workout clothes, still feeling a little giddy about what we worked on and my dog was begging to go outside for a walk. I decided to take him for a run instead, which he was all too excited about. I quickly learned that my dog is a terrible running partner, constantly zig-zagging into my stride or trying to pull me in the direction of a squirrel or goose... little punk is a pent-up menace wrapped in chaos. But my point was, class gave me a reason to get out there and run a little. Even though I absolutely hate running, I have a goal now. Something driving me to improve. Which feels awesome.
The next class I'll be going to is Saturday, looks like we'll be working on vaults. Hopefully my arms will be up for it by then.
If any of this sounds like fun to you, I'd love to get more of my friends going to the class, it's more fun when you have people to joke around with :)