This past weekend, my husband and I had the opportunity to attend Atlanta Mania, a conference for the fitness industry held in Atlanta. Gary and I arrived a day early so we could each be certified to teach new classes. Gary was certified in Schwinn Indoor Cycling, and I was certified in Tabata Bootcamp.
My Tabata course was tough! Over the course of the day, we didn’t spend an extreme amount of time working out, but the workouts we did were intense. When I went in, I thought I was in decent shape; by the end of the day, I’d changed my mind. Every inch of my body ached; I was exhausted and overwhelmed. It was much like an education training in that we received so much information, and then we had to figure out how to implement the program upon our return to the real world. I was frustrated because there were some exercises I couldn’t do, or I couldn’t do the entire time, so I wondered how I was supposed to teach it. I never expect people with whom I am working out to do anything I can’t or wouldn’t do. I had a lot to work on! Then I began to wonder if I was in over my head. I had three more days of classes – workouts – and feared I wouldn’t be able to keep up.
Friday morning my first class was Bosu. We used the Bosu balance trainers (left). I wasn’t in a very good mood when the class began, but the instructor, who was a buff lady, was incredible. She made the workout fun, and worked us hard. By the end of the class, my mood had improved tremendously, and I was ready to take on the day (more often than not, a good workout will do that!).
Later in the day, I spoke with one of the other instructors from the gym, and she told me she took a Tabata class, and she couldn’t do everything either. That made me feel much better because she is in terrific shape, and she is young! Speaking of age, there were people of all ages at this conference. It was so motivating to see men and women older than I who were in fabulous shape. I have this weird obsession with arms and shoulders. I just love beautifully sculpted arms, not body-builder-steroid-ingesting muscles, but toned and shapely arms. I saw plenty of them in Atlanta. I want arms like that, but have never gotten into a routine that would bring about those results.
On Friday, I also went to a Flirty Girl Fitness class. I chose this class because it is dance fitness, and I thought I could get some choreography to use in Zumba. While the instructor was great, and I did like some of the moves, overall it just wasn’t for me. It was just what the title implies – flirty. That isn’t me. Some of the moves were just too cutesy. On Sunday I tried a 2-Fly Fitness class, which is also dance fitness. I lasted through two songs. It was a hip-hop style dance. As soon as I walked in and saw the girls with the crotches of their pants to their knees, I began to question my choice. I knew not to judge on appearance, so I gave it a chance. Once the music started, I didn’t like it either, so I stayed for two songs, and decided my knee had had enough, and I didn’t really want to work up yet another sweat doing something I didn’t like at all. I took two different Zumba classes, and if I can remember any of the choreography, I will work it into our songs.
The class I most feared was HIIT Kettlebell. I know the limits of my upper-body strength, and thought I would struggle to even lift the kettlebell, let alone swing that sucker around. The instructor was the same woman who taught the Bosu, so when I walked in, I immediately relaxed. I learned that the strength needed in kettlebell comes mostly from one’s legs, not the arms. It ended up being one of my favorite classes. I got a DVD and bought a new kettlebell so I can practice at home. I will likely use this as a station in boot camp (after I improve at it!).
Mindy Mylrea is the developer of Tabata Bootcamp, and was my instructor on Thursday. This woman has been in fitness over 30 years, and is a dynamo. She is knowledgeable, entertaining, and energetic. I took a few more of her classes over the weekend. One of my favorites was a kids’ fitness class on Sunday morning at 7:00 a.m. It was a blast! She had so many incredible ideas to get all kids involved in fitness. I think that the 100 adults had as much fun playing the games as any kids would. We pretended to be animals, closed our eyes and wandered around trying to locate our partners, and dragged each other around on the floor. I learned several games and activities that I will use with my eighth graders.
I also took four lecture classes (I signed up for five, but skipped one due to exhaustion). Three were on nutrition, which we all know, I NEED! The first one was very scientific, and being an English teacher, much of it was over my head. He talked about the specific molecular process of breaking down certain foods. He was very knowledgeable, and I did take away some important information, but I was just too tired to process biology. Gary and I took a class called Meals and Musings. The man who was the keynote speaker taught that class. We learned about healthy foods, but he also cooked throughout the class. Those of you who know me well, know I am not one to try new foods. I don’t like many veggies, and I like my food pretty bland. Gary leaned over and asked if I was going to try the lentil soup. Yup. I was puttin’ on my big-girl panties and actin’ all adult. And, Surprise, I liked it. He gave us the recipe, so I might even try to make it someday.
On Sunday, I took a class on successful weight-loss. It was interesting, and not as scientific as the other nutrition class. I need to go back through my notes, but I think that what I learned will aid in helping our Biggest Loser teams. Our last class of the conference was about addiction. The instructor taught about exercise, tobacco, alcohol, drug, and sugar addictions. It was a good course; she offered information on what goes on chemically in our brains that cause additions. I determined I am addicted to caffeine. As I write this, I sip Diet Mt. Dew.
That was our experience in a nutshell. We returned home with loads of information, new ideas, and sore muscles. But we also returned with renewed excitement to help others discover the joy and benefits of fitness. Poor Addison has bore the brunt of our newfound knowledge. I am constantly saying, “Hey, try this! It’s really hard, but an awesome exercise! No, really! Get down on the ground and let me do push-ups and tricep dips on your back, and then you can do them on mine!”
If you get a chance, get on YouTube and look up Beyonce’s ‘I Was Here’. The keynote speaker, Lawrence Biscontini, used this in his presentation. It is about leaving your mark on the world; I will be sharing it with my eighth graders this year. It’s an amazing reminder that we need to do for others so that when we leave this world, those left behind know we were here!