Abs and Cycle

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You know what’s funny about this class?  I thought the abs workout was going to be the hard part and the cycling would be easy.  I could not have been more wrong!  I got through the ab exercises fairly easily (surprisingly), but my legs were literally like jello during the cycling.  To be honest, I haven’t taken a cycling class in about 10 years so it became obvious that I was working muscles that I normally never use.

This is a great class for those of you are interested in getting a tough workout when you come to the Ranch.  The first half of the class consists of crunches which I don’t want to make sound easy because they weren’t.  We did about four or five sets of different crunches and leg lifts (always the hardest for me) and I’m definitely feeling sore just a couple of hours later.  So to be honest, by the time we got to the bikes, I thought, awesome, now for the easy part!  Ha!  About a third of the way through my legs started to feel particularly tired and embarrassingly, I started to wonder if I was going to make it through the rest of the workout.  A word of advice, make sure to keep yourself hydrated during this class (you will need it).

So, there I was, basically getting a harder workout than I anticipated and Alejandro is telling us that now it’s time to stand up and pedal and I’m thinking, yeah right.  But what am I going to do, quit?  Yeah right.  So I fought through the fatigue plus the pain and stood up to pedal.  Guess what?  Pedaling standing up is way easier than sitting down (don’t ask me why).  So every time we went from sitting to standing (which we did a lot)  it was like a little bit of relief.  Finally the end of the class came and I can’t lie…I was very happy about it.  Here’s the thing, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Sometimes working out can be torture, but the spectacular feeling you get after doing it (not to mention the health benefits) is so so worth it.  I felt really really good after Abs and Cycle, not to mention being proud of the mere fact that I finished the class.  I think my body was telling me I need to do this more often.

Dance Cardio Hip Hop with Connie

hip hop dance, hip hop, dancing, dance class

Bring out your inner J-lo and have a ton of fun while seriously getting your cardio on.  This is Dance Cardio Hip Hop and I have to say, it’s been one of my favorite classes I’ve taken at the Ranch.  For some reason, whenever I take a dance class, I never think it’s going to kick my butt and then I’m always surprised to have gotten such a good workout.  I was actually thinking about this while taking the class.  I was so concentrated on getting the steps right that I didn’t realize that I was out of breath.

The highlight of the class was our teacher Connie.  She has such a vibrant personality and it’s hard not to get inspired by her infectious affinity for fun.  Plus she is an amazing dancer.  I used to listen hip hop all the time, so the music in the class brought back a lot of memories of my younger days when I used to go out dancing.  Oh, the good old days.  If only I  had taken this class back then, right?

The thing about hip hop dancing is that it’s easy to pick up the steps if you listen to the beat.  I guess that can be said of any kind of dance, but to me, it especially relates to hip hop because that’s the most noticeable  part of the song.  The way that Connie teaches it is one little bit at a time so it’s not overwhelming and then by the end of the class you’re doing an entire dance.  Plus the music!  So fun…I highly recommend this one next time you’re down at the Ranch.

The Tabata Workout

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If you come to the Ranch to get in shape, let me recommend one thing in particular: Tabata.

Now you might be wondering what the heck Tabata is, because that’s what crossed my mind when I first heard about it. Tabata is a Japanese high intensity interval training program. 20 seconds of super high intensity cardio and weight training and then a 10 second break. Sounds like fun, right?!

Well, I know this is a shocker, but it is fun! And difficult at the same time, not going to lie. But that’s the beauty of it. The variety of exercises in the class keeps it from getting boring, and the intervals are so quick that even though it’s hard, it’s also over before you know it.  Coco does an awesome job at keeping the class fun, moving and on track. There is a lot going on with Tabata, but thankfully, it’s really easy to follow.

Did I mention that Coco plays really great music to get you pumped throughout the class? So important.  I really, really enjoyed Tabata and plan on taking it next time at the Ranch.  Plus, it gave me some ideas for doing high intensity workouts at home.  Another way to take the Ranch home!

Hot Latin Cardio Dance with Manuel!

latin dancing, salsa dancing, fitness, dancing

A must-do when you come to the Ranch is a dance class with Manuel.  Whether it’s Striptease or Hot Latin Cardio, you will be guaranteed to be entertained and have an amazing time.  Manuel is the man!  Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the dancing because you’re laughing so hard, but don’t get me wrong.  This is a serious workout.  I was panting from exhaustion by the end of Hot Latin Cardio.  Of course, I also did Cardio Muscle Blast and Dance Cardio Hip Hop.  Yes, three cardio classes in one day which I definitely don’t recommend!  But given that my time was limited at the Ranch, I couldn’t pass up Hot Latin Cardio, my last class of the day.  And even though halfway through the class exhaustion crept it’s way through my body, I still had a blast.  I wasn’t going to let a little fatigue get me down!

Here’s the thing that I learned about Latin dancing.  It moves fast.  Whereas with hip hop, I could easily pair the steps to the beats of the song, I had trouble doing this with Hot Latin Cardio.  I also had trouble keeping my torso still and moving just my hips, which is key.  Needless to say, I have a new respect for salsa dancing and the cha cha.  It is hard!  But whatever, we were all in the same boat in the class.  None of us were professionals.  So as we tried to keep up, there were giggles here and there and lots of smiling faces knowing we were all going through this together.  Getting prepared for our performance in front of the mirror (if you’ve taken Manuel’s dance classes before then you know about this)!

Thankfully we had Manuel helping us every step of the way!

Kettlebells with Connie!

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I’ve been hearing about kettlebells around the Ranch for awhile so while I was here this week I decided to check them out.  I’ve never seen kettlebells before so I really had no idea what was in store for me.  Basically they are hand held weights, but instead of mini dumbbells, to me they look a little like really big pad locks.  Kettlebells have actually been around for a very long time starting in Russia in the 1700s which I was surprised to find out.

The weights are pretty heavy so the class started out with how to safely hold the weights.  Since it was my first time, I grabbed the lightest weights I possibly could.  Safety first!  Turns out, they’re not as scary as they look and I moved on to a heavier weight during the class.  It’s really hard to describe in writing how this class works, but basically it’s a series of exercises that increase strength and endurance through lifting the kettlebells.  But!  You don’t lift them in the traditional ways that you would with dumbbells.  It’s a completely different technique and a lot of it has to do with how you grip the weights while maintaining balance.

Overall I found it to be a very fun workout.  Connie was excellent at clearly explaining how to use the weights and she made the class really fun.  Strength training exercises are probably my least favorite workouts (more of a cardio kind of girl), but this class made it more exciting and interesting!