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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Valentine

Solace In Sweat - Part 3

Truvy: Well, these thighs haven't gone out of the house without lycra on them since I was 14.

Clairee: You were brought up right.

Exchange from Steel Magnolias

The key to aerobic exercise is breathing. When you feel like you are going to die, you have a tendency to hold your breath. Not only do you need to breathe through your nose, but through your mouth too. I found the breathing to be the hardest thing to learn when I was learning how to run. This sounds strange because as toddlers we learn very easily how to run, but we have the good sense to stop running when we get tired. If you are trying to cover 3 miles, you have to keep moving. I remember participating in the Kaiser Permanente 5K and the intention was to walk the 3 miles. I am ashamed to say now that I wasn’t sure I could walk that far. I walked with one of my co-workers who was a breast cancer patient. I learned so much from that lady that day. It was definitely an inspiration.

People typically have specific body areas they are targeting while exercizing. My problem area is from my arm pits to my ankles. Everything else is fine. If you are starting your workout journey, find a class that you like. This will generate all types of positive, behavior reinforcement and hormone production which will keep you coming back. Sweating is very therapeutic. I don’t think there is a better activity to clean and brighten your skin than sweat. The exhaustion you feel after a good sweat signals that you have spent time servicing you, your body and your health - pluses all the way around. The Zumba classes can be tough, but for the most part, they are fun because you are dancing. Like any other exercise, you get out of it what you put into it. The key to building a healthy body is to build a strong core. Zumba is great for that. One day, I saw some ladies who stayed for two classes Zumba and kickboxing…two classes with Major Pain. Now that I had a few weeks under my belt, maybe I was ready to kick things up a notch. What was I thinking?!?!?!?

Major Pain is my Zumba and kickboxing instructor. I think she used to be in the military. The first time I tried her kickboxing class I stayed in the back of the class. As we are going through the routine, she will prod you until you are not sure how to breathe. “Are you working in the back row? Are YOU working In the BACK ROW?” The lady knows she can bark out some instructions. After 15 minutes, I was convinced that I had passed through some type of time warp where time moves twice as slow as normal…because I was worn out and we had just started the class. I’m not the only one in her classes watching the clock. It’s like taking medicine, it might taste bad, but it will benefit you in the long run.

Major Pain, (my name for her), is 62 inches of punch, squat, get yourself down and touch the floor, crunch until you don’t care about your hair, fitness instructor extraordinaire. Your body knows that if you follow the instructions, you are going to be happy with the results. You may feel some pain…actually just muscle soreness, but you will be happy with the results. The last 15 minutes of kickboxing is a brutal ab workout. You can hear Major Pain straining so you know we are just suffering through the last part. It’s brutal, but we get good results. I have seen young, athletic, grown men start in her kickboxing class and after about 15 minutes say, “Nah, this class is not for me” and walk out. For people who are meeting her for the first time, you see the intimidation. She doesn’t mind walking around the class and “encouraging” the participants. And with all of that, her goal is to get you to go beyond what you think you can do. She is an awesome kickboxing instructor and a great dancer (in Zumba) too. I just love her! Being able to survive her class taught me something about myself. If you just keep breathing, you are going to be just fine.

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