It’s been a few months since I’ve maintained a consistent workout schedule. Since 2016 started, my job and travel itinerary has had me seeing very little Z’s and even less of the gym on a weekly basis. Despite my bouts of exhaustion, a voice in my head constantly repeats the Beyhive-approved Instagram quote: “You have as many hours in a day as Beyoncé,” a philosophy that fuels me through struggle of any kind. I’m also a firm believer in erasing excuses from my vocabulary, so when the flier for W Fit Fest 2016 landed in my inbox, I knew that it would not only be an opportunity to box again (Remember when Niki and I laced up our gloves for a kickass Title boxing class last summer?), but also to sweat my stress away.
While I admit with a crying face emoji that I missed Friday’s session (June 3) due to my no-sense of direction, I made up for it thrice in Saturday’s sweat sesh marathon. Kicking off the day with a cup of blueberry green tea and a small bowl of Greek yogurt with granola, I cabbed it over to W Hotel Downtown in New York City at 9 a.m. for a round of boxing with trainer Brian of Work Train Fight. (The boxing gloves also read “WTF,” which earned a quick “I see what you did there!” from me). It was a fitting start to W Fit Fest after hearing a few hours prior that boxing G.O.A.T. Muhammad Ali had passed away. My inner voice kept screaming “Do it for Ali!” I had my own gloves and wraps, even wrapping up my hands for the first time after re-learning the process via a YouTube video. The nearly floor-to-ceiling window overlooking lower Manhattan in the hotel’s workout studio was a soothing view for the intense workout that followed. We began with jabs, hooks and uppercuts before breaking up into groups for four sets of drills that included partnering up for mitt work, a workout step, a personal punching routine with Brian and squats mixed with band work on the feet. The hour-long class flew by as jams like Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop The Feeling” (a possible subliminal at the burn I started feeling in my arm flab, I think) soundtracked the boxing class. I hope Ali wasn’t in heaven laughing at my expense because I felt like a champ, swinging and sweating.
so much love to my #wfitfest instructors today: tasia of @rebel_yoga & @coachjaz of @pace4success. whipped my core & booty into shape! – ap | #forALI #hersweat A photo posted by her sweat. (@hersweat) on
Next up was a Tabata core class led by Pace For Success coaches Jaz and Natasha. The lady duo set the ab party off with hits like Fat Joe and Remy Ma’s “All The Way Up” and vintage G-Unit. On-point playlist aside, I realized with the quickness how lazy my core was, because getting my shoulders off the mat during sit-ups while holding small exercise balls and my legs in the air felt nearly impossible. My personal fav, though, was the Russian twist, a torso-twisting fat-zapper. We did about a half-hour’s worth of seven intense core exercises with 10-second rests in between each set. Of course, my tummy and imaginary six pack were hurting the next day, and I mean that in the best way possible.
To conclude the fitness festivities, Natasha (#anotherone) of Inner Rebel Yoga slowed down the tempo so we could stretch our muscles out yoga-style after putting in Rihanna-level work. Wringing out the knots and cramps from my body felt like an ice cold shower in 90-degree weather. The concentration and balance necessary to nail a Warrior pose or a plank offered my mind a comforting break from thinking about work or personal doubts. For the finale, our head yogi instructed us to close our eyes and think of nothingness, a difficult task for yours truly but one that I will definitely dare myself to try again. The mental massage marked the perfect close to a three-hour fitness dream.
The judgment free-space allowed for each participant to sweat it out at their own pace, which I took full advantage of. One woman, who was a Tabata core beast, saw my difficulty during one segment and offered a reassuring and much less creepy Rob Schneider impression, telling me, “You can do it!”
While most of the class came with a bestie or their significant other, I rocked out solo and emerged from the three-class extravaganza like Shay Mitchell (her workout grind on Snapchat is absolute fitspiration, FYI). I made myself proud by choosing to spend my Saturday morning on a personal cardio journey that was not only long overdue but ultimately, a return to my happy place.