Purgatory

Sunday was my day to try something new and fun for my workout.  I planned to try the Purgatory Boot Camp at SoHo Equinox in the morning and go to the last Bikram Yoga class at Bikram LES at night.  I have always enjoyed spinning classes at the gym, but outside of those, I rarely attend any group fitness classes.  I have had an idea that the group fitness classes at most gyms are the lesser version of these boutique workouts and thus not really great.  However a few weeks ago I was on the stairclimber and witnessed a class in session.  It was extremely distracting as there was a lot of jumping and throughout the class I was shocked to see so many people sitting on the ground, unable to keep up (the sign of a challenging class).  I was intruiged enough to show  up to Purgatory Boot Camp yesteray and it did not dissappoint.

Equinox has the following description of the class on their website:  ‘Designed by Angel Alicea, this high intensity, no-nonsense, non-stop conditioning/cardio class will push you mentally as well as physically. Using your body weight as the source of resistance, you will perform variations of push-ups, squats & lunges. “You gotta go through Hell to get to Heaven.”‘

The instructor, Angel, opened the class by asking everyone to leave their water by the door.  He specified that you could walk over to get a drink but that you could not have it near your mat as a distraction.  He also explained that the room was controlled to be 75 degrees and emphasized that this class was not for everyone.  I immediately appreciated the temperate/water policy as it was similar to Bikram and I believe that a certain amount of stress for extended periods of time is important to making progress. 

The class started with some jumping jacks for warm up and quickly escalated.  I was shocked by how quickly I was sweating as much as I do in an average Bikram class in this room that was only 75 degress.  It was fast paced and difficult including many standing exercies such as squats, lunges, and various jumps and many floor exercises which were variations of planks and pushups.  While I found the standing series more manageable, I struggled a lot with the pushups and planks.  I was certainly in the back of the pack compared to the rest of the class and had to stop to catch my breath quite often.  The 45 minutes flew by and by the end I was drenched in sweat and tired.  I was also a bit frustrated with myself for my lack of coordination in some of the movements at the end and recongnized my need to work on those as my strength increases.

It was refreshing to push myself in these bodyweight exercies and showed me how much room for improvement I have.  I have always wanted to be able to do more bodyweight exercies, especially pushups and I think that a class like this where you are really forced to push yourself beyond your limit is a good way to improve rapidly.

While there were certain aspects of the class that were more discouraging than fun, I think I’ll be going back to try to master these moves.  There is a lot of room for work and I am already looking forward to the challenge next week.  Additionally, I think I’ll be open to trying some other classes at Equinox, if this is any indication of the quality.

Also, I didn’t make it to Bikram at night.  Instead I spent my afternoon/evening drinking wine and reading on a patio in the East Village.  It was just too nice a day to not relax a little bit 🙂  And I’m glad that I did because today is cold and rainy in New York.

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