Small Life, Slow Life: What Cardio Barre Taught Me. (You are where you are.)

A Cardio Barre class in Beverly Hills. Check out their amazing bods! This workout is no joke.

The staff at lululemon works out together. The company is very generous with us and pays for us to take any two classes we want a week. The team bonds by sweating together, and we’re mentally and physically healthier and thus a positive influence (we talk the talk AND walk the walk) to our guests. I’ve been having a lot of fun getting out of my comfort zone by taking harder yoga classes, but today I decided to go for something I’ve never done before: taking a Cardio Barre class.

For those who don’t know (I didn’t), The Barre Method is a big trend in group workouts right now. Based on ballet and how awesomely hot dancers’ bodies look, Cardio Barre is a sect of bar work that includes heart-pumping muscle exercises at a fast pace. Our teacher Candyce is also a lululemon employee, so some of us went out bright and early this morning to support her.

Let me start by saying: I’ve never been a dancer. I’ve never taken a ballet class. I’ve never hung onto a bar. Truthfully, I’m not very coordinated at all and it’s a running joke with my man that I can’t go anywhere upset because I’ll run/crash into everything.

Five minutes into the class and I was already sweating physically and mentally – these moves and positions were completely unfamiliar to me and I was at the front of the class. My perfectionist mind was eager to kick in: Why did you think you could do this? Everyone is looking at you. You don’t know any of these moves. Your muscles are already burning with 55 minutes to go!

And do you know what happened then? I looked in the mirror to a very clearly experienced Barre expert class-taker behind me, and she flashed me the biggest smile. It took two seconds for me to register that she wasn’t mocking me, and then I dissolved into giggles. I looked like a total doof, but it was fine! In fact, it was fun!

The rest of the class was a total blast.

No, I didn’t know any of the moves, but I watched Candyce and did my best. If my muscles were burning, I mentally congratulated myself on doing a good job. I eagerly let Candyce correct me to get deeper into the positions. By the end of the class, I was exhausted and exhilarated. In my car, I could barely lift my arms to reach the steering wheel. I was needing a good workout, and I was successful!

Moral of the story: Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. You are where you are, and the only way to gain new skills is to put yourself out there sometimes. And yeah, it’s really uncomfortable. Your mind will give you twenty reasons why you shouldn’t try, and taunt you with how everyone will laugh at you.

And they might laugh at you. But if you laugh at yourself, you’ll have fun in your newness and get better.

When my man and I started dating, he wasn’t a very experienced cook (I’m not being snobby – I don’t possess a lot of chef-ly prowess myself). Each time he was cooking, I’d follow him and lower the heat when he wasn’t looking. He burned everything! In the beginning, we ate a lot of dry eggs and chewy meat. But these days, I eagerly eat anything he puts on a plate. The food he makes is amazing, and he’s so creative and free in the kitchen. He’s very willing to fail, but I haven’t eaten a burned or chewy anything in nearly a year.

You are where you are. To get good, you have to start. You’ll probably be bad first. And even if you never get better, you can say you did it. And that feels damned good.

Living a small life is about embracing imperfections, not about staying in your house doing what you already know how to do. The temptation to get obsessed with perfection is exactly what we want to avoid here – start small, stay silly. Enjoy yourself. You have one precious life – try all the things you’re interested in!

I may never have legs like these, but I know I’ll be dragging my uncoordinated butt to another Cardio Barre class really soon.

What new activities have you tried lately? Were you willing to laugh at yourself?

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