class: Circuit of Change
sweat score: 8 out of 10
where: 57 W 16th St| New York, NY
wear: breathable, flexible clothing
bring: water bottle, hand towel
instructor: Alyssa Delmonico
perks: online classes + videos available
cost: $29 drop-in, also on FitReserve and Classpass
Have you ever been to a class and, five minutes in, wondered “what the heck am I doing here?”
You feel awkward. Self conscious. Miles away from your comfort zone. Staring at the ceiling praying that some miraculous device would appear to scoop you out of there before you felt any more discomfort or raw emotion.
Please for the love of all things holy, just get me out of here before I feel any more exposed and uncomfortable. This is new. This is scary. These moves are silly. I want to go home.
I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all been through this – in a fitness class or heck, just in life. And when this situation happens, we are confronted with two choices. (1) Excuse yourself from the class and run, run away. (2) Stick it out, smile, and challenge yourself to make a way through.
Circuit of Change was one of those classes for me. The moves felt strange. I felt self conscious flailing my arms to the sky or grunting while shadowboxing an imaginary opponent. I wondered as we bear-crawled back and forth across our mats….What in the world did I get myself into?
But I consciously chose to stay in the class. Ride it out. See what the entire experience was like, end to end. Sometimes, just sometimes, these types of situations have a way of working themselves out and completely surprising you in the end.
Because while it’s the honest truth that Circuit of Change threw me way outside of my comfort zone – what I didn’t see was that it was exactly the jolt I needed.
I pride myself on having a pretty good handle on athletics. And because of that pride, I walk into most fitness classes with an air of “I got this.” As in: I know what I’m doing, I’m here to rock this workout, bring on the challenge.
But pride is a funny thing, isn’t it? It can be great in competitive athletics, giving you the confidence and mindset needed to take home the gold…but in other situations it can be blinding. And I had no idea that I was running around doing my workouts with blinders on because I was so very comfortable. What I brought to the table was so very predictable.
So after ten rounds of surf jumps and a few moments of freestyle dancing on my mat, I found myself learning a very valuable lesson. Not in the moves themselves, necessarily, although the workout was very effective. But a lesson in getting out of your own way. Of making progress at the gym not just within your body, but in your head, too. Of being vulnerable, willing to look silly, and trying something truly new. In a way…of being a little bit more fearless.
While I can’t promise you that you’ll have the same “ah-hah” moment at Circuit of Change (although I hope you do), you will encounter 60 minutes of bodyweight exercises uniquely strung together in a way you won’t find anywhere else.
There’ll be martial arts kicks and punches. Yoga sequences. Animal-mimicry. Meditation. Visualization. Old-fashioned calisthenics like jumping jacks and squats. Shadowboxing. Acrobatic rolls. Loud music. High energy. And lots and lots of sweat.
Physically, I loved the workout. It was so darn different from anything else I had encountered before. It made me think. It make me work hard. And at the end of all the manic movement, it made me sit still, stretch, and be with myself for longer than I usually allow. It was everything I didn’t know I needed. And the calories burned were just icing on the cake.
Alyssa and her husband Brian are the head instructors and just the nicest, most down-to-earth people. They have cultivated a positive, engaging, fearless space. True story: they literally gave me the clothes off of their back when I showed up to class number two and realized I hadn’t packed my workout pants. Without giving it a thought, Brian whipped out a pair of his extra Lululemon workout shorts and offered them for me to wear. I mean. Come on.
So there you have it. A bit of an unconventional review but I felt the need to tell this one a little bit more from the heart.
A special note for my non-NYC readers: you can try this workout too! Circuit of Change has videos available for download on their website. They’re not paying me to sell them, but I enjoyed the workout so much that I wanted to share. So give it a whirl and let me know what you think!