AFC Bala’s Most Popular Class
In the middle of March, we started a “March Madness” challenge that was based on a bracket made up of all of the different Group Exercise classes on our schedule. Classes went up against each other and whichever class had the most attendees moved on to the next round. It went on for a couple of weeks and an assortment of classes moved on each round – yoga, spin, pilates, etc. The class that won did so in an overwhelming fashion. This class was Power Strike, with Betsy Cast. With around 40 people checking in to the class each week of the competition, there was really no way to beat it.
Now if you are a member of Bala Cynwyd, you probably know who Betsy is. She has been here for over 10 years, teaches multiple classes a week and is extremely loved by the members – she basically has a following. Her classes are always packed and you can sometimes hear the music through the walls into my office. Now if you have read a couple of my posts – you have seen that the classes I have taken have been a bit more low-key. So, safe to say, I was a little scared to try one of Betsy’s classes. But, the point of this whole thing is to try new things and workout more, so skipping Betsy’s classes aren’t an option. Seeing as how Power Strike seems to be pretty popular, why not start there?
So, what is Power Strike? According to our description it is “high intensity, cardio focused kickboxing. Power Strike is a fat torching and muscle sculpting workout guaranteed to whip you into shape.” See why I was scared? High intensity? Cardio? I was already nervous before reading the description! Luckily, Lexi Cuff was there to take it with me, because having a buddy is always helpful! I won’t lie – I hid in the back corner hoping that no one would see me, prepped with water and a towel – I was ready to go.
The class was unlike anything that I have done before. Now that probably seems obvious to anyone reading this, because you know that I have VERY LITTLE fitness experience. But even in comparing it to the other classes that I have taken, this was completely different. So you can picture it – Studio A is pretty filled with people, the music is loud, upbeat, fun. Betsy speaks into a microphone, so you can hear her over the music. From the get go, we were moving, using just our bodies – no equipment, no weights. Even the warm up was much faster and more intense than everything else I had done. You are moving the entire class (couple of breaks here and there), and you are moving quickly. The class is a bunch of different punching and kicking movements put together into different combinations. There is a bit of terminology that you might not be familiar with, but Betsy does demonstrate everything (and do the class with you), so you can watch a rep, and pick it up the next time. The class is structured around movements like jabs, crosses, knee raises, kicks and jumping jacks.
Basically what you do from the beginning is practice movements, adding a new one on each time, until you have one long combo. You know that game you play when you’re “packing a picnic” and everyone has to add a different item, but you have to say everyone else’s before your own? It is ki
nd of like that, only you don’t have to remember the entire thing all the time, because Betsy will repeat it for you, and everyone else is doing it too. She did give modifications for people who couldn’t perfect all of the moves (aka me), and I modified a bit on my own (2 jumping jacks and 4 jumping jacks are the same, right?) – but I did finish the class. I may not have looked good doing it, but everyone else is so busy moving, no one has time to notice. The class was hard. It wore me out, made me sweat, and my body was sore (until Monday). There’s a lovely picture of what I looked like taking a break after class. My face was bright red, I was super sweaty and felt like I needed a nap….
There’s a But……..
But, I enjoyed it. In large part, because of Betsy. The upbeat music and everyone’s overall enthusiasm help too, but Betsy’s energy is almost indescribable (I’ll try). She is calm, yet energetic – she is never yelling at you to do something, but really is encouraging you. Despite HOW HARD my body was working, she made me not want to give up. She was having fun, so then I was having fun, even though I was tired, even though I was sweating, even though it was hard. I wanted to keep going. I want to go back (weird, I know). Betsy really knows how to get you moving, keep you going and wanting more – which is basically everything that you can ask for in a workout. If you can get me out of bed on a Saturday morning, TO THE GYM, to take a really hard class, and I don’t regret it? Well, that’s telling you something. Plus, I hit my 3 mile goal of steps before 11 AM on a Saturday. When does that happen?
I’ll be honest – the class is probably not for beginners. It’s probably not for people that don’t want to be in a group of a lot of people, with the loud music, and the fast pace. That being said, I thought that was me last week. Then I took the class, and actually plan on taking it again. Don’t underestimate yourself and don’t let fear take over – give it a shot, maybe you’ll like it!