About a month or so ago, I was coming off the metro going to work and the escalator was not in operation. I was carrying 2 tote bags and my general thought when I saw I was going to have to walk up the escalator was, "oh f*%k." I walked up the stalled escalator and when I got to the top, I was legit out of breath. I at first blamed it on my heavy tote bags, but I knew deep down that the tote bags had nothing to do with it. It freaked me out. I shouldn't be this winded walking up a metro escalator and I shouldn't have that feeling of "oh f*%k" when I see an escalator is out.
I started taking more workout classes as a result. I was determined to try and get in conscious better shape to avoid being winded over something like this. I know it may seem small, but it really hit me hard for whatever reason and I wanted to try and fix it. Another contender in the back of my head was my arms. Although I am body positive, my relationship with my arms is not strong. I have struggled with the idea of wearing sleeveless tops and dresses for as long as I can remember. Some days I'm like whatever, this is me, and others, I want to hide behind sleeves. Its a vicious cycle.
Photo by Arielle Lewis Studios.
During my effort to take more fitness classes, I landed at PULSE House of Fitness. PULSE is DC's first and only Versaclimbing studio and they offer high energy, ultra luxe group fitness classes. After speaking with PULSE founder/owner, Shafer Minnick, to learn his back story and his passion behind PULSE, I knew this would be a great place for me to meet my own fitness goals. Shafer runs a body positive and inclusive workout environment at PULSE and he opened the studio in September last year. Having found his own personal fitness journey years before, and recently losing his aunt unexpectedly at the age of 48, he decided life was too short and he was pushed to open PULSE to positively impact other peoples lives. Having recently found an inspiration for my own personal fitness, knowing the feeling of life being too short with the loss of my mom at age 47, and also understanding the desire to positively impact others lives through my blog, I knew PULSE was where I belong.
The PULSE classes vary from Versaclimbing (aka the Climb), Metabolic Conditioning (aka the Lab), and a fusion class of a mix of climbing and the lab. The climb classes are a total-body cardio workout outfitted with high energy music and choreography on the climbers to the beat of the music. The lab classes are are total body metabolic workout set in a circuits and use a range of equipment to build strength and burn calories. The fusion classes are a mix of a 20 minute climb and 25 minutes in the lab.
See a PULSE House of Fitness Walk-through:
In my partnership with PULSE, Shafer and Program Director for the PULSE Lab, Eddie Noland, are working with me to achieve my three main fitness goals through a series of PULSE climb, lab, fusion, and personal training classes with Eddie. It may surprise you to hear that none of my goals include weight loss. Instead, I'm looking for a healthier lifestyle overall and I am not focused on shedding pounds. In all honestly, I am completely OK with my size. My size does not define who I am and I'm not approaching my fitness journey to shed dress sizes- instead, my goals are:
1. To work on my stamina (i.e.- to not get out of breath doing small things- like walking up a metro escalator), and to generally move better.
I want to be able to walk up a stalled out metro escalator and not be out of breath. In addition, this year one of my personal goals for blogging was to experiment more with posing for creative photos and further my modeling opportunities. As a result of my increased stamina, I'm also hoping it will enhance my general movement and allow my body to be able to handle more dramatic and out-of-the-box poses which in turn will make a difference for my personal brand.
2. Tone my arms. I want a better relationship with my arms, and I want to stop hiding behind sleeves this summer. I want to excel in the challenge of toning and accepting my arms.
3. To reduce my stress and anxiety levels. I haven't really opened up about this on my blog before, but I struggle big time with stress and anxiety management. Working a full time job and a full time blog, plus trying to maintain relationships and general life makes me feel like I constantly have a deadline to meet, something to do, or somewhere to go, and I sometimes get in my own head with doubts about BITD. There are times I feel like I need to shut everything out, and its been tough for me to manage. I have struggled with this for some time now, and I'm turning to fitness to help release some of these tensions and have a better grasp on how to handle and manage it through exercise- both of the body and the mind.
I'll be posting more about PULSE over on my Instagram and following up in a few weeks with the progress I've made in a second blog post. I hope you'll follow along! And if you are interested in coming with me to a PULSE class, let me know!
Blonde in the District