I am positively COMPRISED of sweat.
“Want me to hold it?” I ask a neighbor in my building as I hold the elevator for her on the basement floor as she gets out and throws a bunch of recycling into its designated area. We have only one elevator bank and it constantly arrives after what feels like a decade on the lobby floor and then takes you a nice little tour of the basement where someone is invariably throwing something out. Typically, they just run over, drop their detritus and run back into the elevator and go back up to their floor, but if you don’t hold the elevator, you’ll miss the three-second window before you have to wait all over again. “No, it’s OK, I’m going to walk up a couple flights,” she said. “I didn’t just do what you did.”
“You don’t even KNOW what I just did,” I said in a hushed tone as the doors closed.
Let me tell you what I just did. Core Fusion Extreme, which launched this week at Exhale’s new Flatiron location. It incorporates a few elements of Core Fusion original, but is really a sort of diabolical boot camp of interval training. It’s INCREDIBLY difficult, but incredibly effective. Bergen Wheeler taught the class and her energy is phenomenal and motivating. She’s sort of the anthropomorphic equivalent of ginger in a green juice. I’ve taken many a Core teacher before, but she doesn’t happen to teach at the studio where I’m a member (Gramercy), but I’m a new convert to her cult.
Anywhoodle, back to Extreme, you start out with a warm-up, then break up into 5 groups and do 2 different things at each of the 5 intervals in 2 rotations around the room. The intervals include TRX bands, tricep dips, jumps, weights, ab exercises with a medicine ball and those deadly gliders. Every time I got to a new station, I was like (to myself, because there’s literally no time to even make a WTF face to one of your fellow fitness friends during this lightning-fast paced class) no, this is the worst one of all of them. But in reality, the literal worst ones for me are the gliders (you do Spidermans) and the TRX band portion where you squat and straighten your legs forward. Every once in a while, you’ll be called to the center of the room as a group for active recovery before breaking away for more fast-paced interval-training. It’s a ton of cardio but includes some stretching and your regular ab section at the end, which CF enthusiasts will recognize.
It’s boot campy, but Exhale instructors are supportive and nice when they’re helping you along through the final ten seconds of a section, which was straight-up brutal. There’s a sign in the new Flatiron studio that says, ominously, “Sweat is a river that runs through the soul.” Let me tell you: A river ran through THIS. All that was missing was Brad Pitt. After the abs section through which I could barely make it through, I was absolutely spent.
I was raised by the daughter of a Russian immigrant who grew up during The Depression. My 94 year-old grandmother has furniture that pre-dates the Kennedy administration. She wastes absolutely nothing and rocks shoes I discarded over a decade ago (we’re the same size). My mother passed along the trait of making things last and being careful with anything of value to the point where she rarely even WEARS her best stuff, saving it for “special occasions.” For a long time, it was hard for me to avoid finishing the last drops of products, even when I had vats of new ones to test out for my JOB. I’m telling you this because immediately after the CFE class, I chose to ruin my own hours-old blow-out by dumping a giant bottle of Fiji water (the most decadent there is, let’s be real) on my head and my entire person. Because I was so utterly done in by that class, I felt the only relief I could get was by showering my entire person in bougie water, stat. Okay?
Exhale Flatiron opened this week and is located at 19 west 21st Street in NYC. Sign up for a class at exhalespa.com.