The View from the Back Row

Today flew by! I love days like that, ones that are so productive that when you finally look up from your computer it’s 2 pm.

The workday went by in a flash, then came the most stressful part of my day: walking up 7th Avenue from my office to the gym. Though it’s just 10 blocks, it’s brutal. Everyone is getting out of work, the sidewalks are unbearably crowded and people throw elbows like nobody’s business. I also have to plow my way through Herald Square to get there, which is rough.

Usually I blast music on my iPod to try and chill out, but on days when I’m hustling to get to the gym in time to snag a spot in a 5:30 class (such as today), it’s an unnecessary stress.

Any tips on how to deal? There’s no other route I can take and I don’t want to take the subway, because I think that will take longer. I need walking stress busters, so please share! I’m tired of getting so worked up in my post-work rush and arriving at the gym feeling frazzled and frustrated.

Today I did make it in time for Angel’s 5:30 Chisel class, which was awesomely difficult. We usually put two risers on our steps, and today we needed “a minimum of three on each side.” Angel was taking no prisoners in class!

We did way more cardio than usual and my heart rate was definitely up. We did a bunch of jumping toe taps using the steps (I’m sure that’s not the technical definition, but hopefully you know what I mean).

The class wrapped up with some butt work, which felt harder than usual for me. I felt like I was letting myself sink into my lower back. Hopefully it was just because I’m re-adjusting my body to a post-food coma state. We’ll see how it feels next week.

For those of you who have asked how I stay motivated at the gym, here’s a new tip: make gym buddies. Today my new gym pal CJ was standing right behind me in Chisel, and knowing she was there gave me an extra push. I didn’t want her to see me slack off. Also, she’s a blog reader (and pretty hardcore about her own workouts—I’ve spotted her doing pull-ups more than once, and I’m envious of that upper body strength), so if I came on here and said “I worked soooooo hard” after I actually hadn’t, she’d be able to call me out on it!

So make a gym friend. Even if you don’t plan to work out together, when you do see each other you’ll be motivated to work hard and impress him or her.

Lately I’ve been heading home after Chisel, but tonight I was digging the sweat, so I stuck around for Bethany Lyons’s spinning class.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t already signed up, so I had to take a last-minute seat in the back row.

Take note: I’m a front row rider. Second row if I’m not feeling at the top of my game.

Needless to say, the view from the back of the class was quite different. I found that I wasn’t nearly as hard on myself when I wasn’t staring myself down in the mirror, or making direct eye contact with the instructor.

When my legs were tired, I eased up on the resistance. When I wanted water, I drank water. I also saw the room in a totally different way. The back row had some slackers! The majority of the people in my row left before the class was over, and that’s OK. Some days you’re just not feeling it, or you have something else to get to.

It was reassuring to see the way everyone in the class moved. When you’re in the front row, you only see two people: yourself, in the mirror, and the instructor.

That being said, I loved Bethany’s class! I’ve taken her BodyArt and TRX classes, but this was her in a totally different element. She. Was. Awesome.

The first song she played was “Turn Around (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)” by Flo Rida, which is on my current list of must-listen-to tunes.

It got my legs pumping, that’s for sure. The rest of the class was difficult and my legs were begging for mercy by the end, but I was glad I went. The last song Bethany played was “Just the Way You Are” from “Glee.” I was singing out loud. I’m not embarrassed.

One thing that Bethany said that stuck with me was that we should think of our bodies as sponges. During class, you have to twist your body and wring it out in every way possible. In other words, you may have used up all your will and energy in one respect, but if you move around, you’ll find the push you need somewhere else.

After class, I met up with ABS and we commuted home together. Dinner was some delicious whole wheat linguine with a basil pesto sauce from Fairway. Yum!

Now it’s time to watch Bride Wars. ABS is not happy that I snuck it into our Netflix queue. Oops.

TELL ME: Have you started listening to holiday music yet? I refuse to do so until December. But please share your favorite holiday songs so I can have them ready to go!



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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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