Tuesday, December 24, 2013

How I'm Spending my Christmas Vacation

Sweating. At Physique 57! The happiest place on earth!

Well, for me, anyway. I made the next stop on my barre crawl: Physique 57 Scarsdale.

Yup, Physique 57 has made it's way to New York's Westchester County, and coincidentally, good friends of ours just moved there. Prior to Scarsdale, our friends lived just a few blocks from P57's Upper West Side location. I keep trying to get Darling Scarsdale Friend to come with me, but she's not interested. Some people have no appreciation for the awesomeness that's right under their noses.

Anyway, I mentioned something about needing to come back to their house after the class for a shower before we headed to our Christmas destination and DSF said, "Why will you need to shower? Isn't it just a lot of stretching?" Hahahahahahahahaha!!!! <sigh> Uh, no, it is much more than stretching. Maybe it's better she didn't come with me.

The best part of the class is that it was taught by the one and only Tanya Becker. I was so excited to take another class with Tanya, one of Physique 57's founders. You may recall I took one with her back in May, during which she kicked my tail to such a degree that I couldn't walk downstairs for a week. Still, Tanya is such a great instructor, I couldn't wait to get back for more. I had to expend a lot of energy trying not to overwhelm her with my enthusiasm. I'm a little labrador puppy-ish when it comes to taking classes with Tanya.
See? Don't I appear very restrained? And fluffy? Needless to say, it was before class.

Physique 57 starts off classes with what they quaintly call 'the warm-up.' It involves heavier upper body weights, pushups, planks, etc. It's hard, and I was in full sweat by the end... of 'the warm-up.' Tanya instructed us to return our weights to the bins and one of my classmates beheld my sweaty beastliness with a look like this:
Tanya said, "It's ok, Stephanie. I'll turn on the fans for you." I think I have to accept it: I'm a heavy sweat-er.

The whole thing made me wonder about sweat, and why some of us seem to do more of it than others, so I did some research. Here is what I learned:
  • Men tend to sweat more than women. (Well, obviously this doesn't apply to me. Really, I can procure all manner of pork products and fry them up in a pan. I'm all woman.)
  • Sweat is the body's way of cooling off when it becomes overheated. Overweight and obese people sweat more than people at a lower weight because it takes more to cool off heavier bodies. 
  • Apparently, fit people do begin to sweat at a lower temperature, because a fit body runs more efficiently than an unfit one. (Let's go with that explanation.)
But actually, I have another theory--it's my whole 'this is the Olympics' hang up. As I think I've mentioned before, I don't like to leave anything on the table when I take a live class, especially at Physique 57. It's such a treat to get there. I don't want to leave feeling like I could have done more. That, and I really try to maximize 'the warm-up.' I have found that when I push myself in 'the warm-up,' I get much more out of the workout overall. 

By using the heaviest weights I can (with proper form) and giving it my all, I 'stoke my metabolic rate,' as Tanya puts it. For example, when I use 10 pounders instead of 8's, I burn significantly more calories throughout the entire workout. And by significantly, I mean 50-100 calories overall (according to my heart rate monitor.) That's a big chunk, people. I've tested this theory using the DVDs, which means I'm doing exactly the same workout, unlike the classes during which exercises and intensity can vary. 

That's why I kind of chuckle when they call it 'the warm-up.' Really, it's more like 'the blow torch.'

The great thing about Physique 57 instructors is they really push you. (In a nice way, because they care.) They don't just leave you alone if your form is good, they will get the most out of you.

For example, Tanya had us on the floor for ab work toward the end. We were on our backs with our legs up and she had us alternating side-to-side with our arms outstretched. Tanya held her hands up for me to 'high five' her on each lift, which made me reach up just a little bit higher, because of course I couldn't leave Tanya hanging. I was pretty tired at this point, but Tanya showed me what I had left in me, and it was... well... it was something, at least.

Tanya is also seriously funny. She was cracking jokes the whole time which made the hour fly by. I loved every minute of it and can't wait to get back.

The best part: all my training over the last few months paid off. I am proud to say I can successfully negotiate stairs despite a few killer thigh segments yesterday. I can't straighten my arms, but who cares. It's Christmas. As long as I can open presents and lift a wine glass, I'm good.

If you are anywhere near Scarsdale, NY, get thee to Physique 57! Starting in January, they're expanding their class schedule, and the studio is uber-suburban convenient. I hopped right in my car after I got over all the post-barre lalalas. And look!

The temperature was 57 degrees! Freakishly warm for December. Even the weather joined in on the P57 love fest. How about you?


  1. Santa must have switched the weather. It was 23 degrees when I woke up, lol. Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. How tall is Tanya?

    1. I'd say she's probably 5'5"ish? I'm 5'7" and she's a little shorter than I am.