Damn you, foam roller!

I have a secret to tell you.

I’m a fitness instructor who doesn’t go to the gym that often…. shhh!!

I hate to admit it, but I’ve been to my local Ballys (now LA Fitness) exactly once since I moved (last February).  I’m a prime example of a person that had a routine (we were going at least twice a week), and lost it as soon as something (or lots of things) changed in my life.

Ok, look, during the year I teach a grand total of 18 fitness classes a week, work 12 hour days, commute 20 miles a day on bike, and operate a small dance company.  So that’s my excuse.  But in the “off-season”, that is, the break between semesters, I decided it was time to make good on the $25 a month that is deducted from my account every month.

I’ve been wanting to grab some new tips for the workouts I give in class, and make sure I look ripped on the first day of the semester in January.  Determined to not wait for another “tomorrow”, or, God help us, until January 1 to go back to the gym, I boldly went where no Lauren (that’s me) has gone before: a Pilates class.

I hate Pilates.

It doesn’t make sense to me and just makes my neck hurt.  But, I recognize that people who do Pilates regularly look extremely buff.  I haven’t taken a Pilates class, in fact, since college, and after going I pretty much feel the same way about it that I did before.

Except, perhaps, for the foam roller.

This thing is awesome, and something I never knew could be incorporated into a Pilates workout.  Providing both cushion and support, and a wicked test of balance, that little log of foam kicked my ass.  And I like a good ass kicking now and again.

I love that feeling after you work out.  That soft pain developing in your muscles, adrenaline pumping through you.  And, Pilates aside, today I feel that, and I want to feel it again tomorrow.

Foam roller, I think I’m in love with you.

Long story short, the holidays are tough for me… primarily due to my loves for cheesy made-for-TV movies and pie.  I work really hard and when I get the chance to relax I often relax hard too.  However, when I squeeze back into those tiny stretch pants I wear every day at work, I want to feel confident.  I’d like to know that the students are looking at my face and not my butt.  Or, if they are looking at my butt, they’re thinking, “Man alive! She must work out”.

Because, you know, of course I do!

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Lauren Warnecke is the dance critic at the Chicago Tribune and editor/senior writer at See Chicago Dance. Her writing has appeared in Chicago Magazine, Milwaukee Magazine, St. Louis Magazine and Dance Media publications, among others. Lauren is an adjunct faculty member at Loyola University Chicago in the dance and exercise science programs. She has been a writer-in-residence at the Bates Dance Festival (Lewiston, ME) and the JOMBA! Contemporary Dance Experience (Durban, South Africa), and was part of the first low-res dance writing lab cohort at the National Center for Choreography in Akron, OH. Since 2009, Lauren has blogged about dance and performance in the American midwest at artintercepts.org.

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