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Kettlebells don’t frighten me. I’ll try a new weight machine any day. Bosu balls or the TRX? Bring ‘em on.
But a pair of drumsticks? Well… that’s a different story.
When I walked into a new class at West Loop Athletic Club — POUND taught by Patti Z. — I had no idea what to expect. I had quickly skimmed the class description and caught the mentions of cardio and light resistance strength training. Sounded like something I could handle.
But I somehow missed the part about “constant simulated drumming,” even though it was pretty imperative. As in, that was the most important component of the entire class.
I walked into the studio to see the only equipment everyone was holding: bright green drumsticks. I wanted to turn around and walk right back out. But it was too late. The door had already shut behind me. I couldn’t look like a quitter. There was no turning back.
CEO and co-founder Kirsten Potenza describes POUND as “a 45-minute group fitness class that uses drumming, cardio and elements found in Pilates all while listening to pretty great music and having a blast.”
Everyone gets their own set of drumsticks (officially called Ripstix) that weigh ¼ lb. each. Then the music starts and you follow the prompts from the instructor. The class is similar to a choreographed cardio dance class, but instead of dancing, the moves involve drumming.
Coordination is not my speciality. At all. Here’s an example: I always bump my shin on the same corner of my bed — even my bed is always in the same place. Classes like Zumba or other cardio dance classes are a challenge for me because my brain struggles to put moves and steps together. I always seem to turn in the wrong direction or can’t get my legs and arms to sync up.
So I was a bit worried about how things would go. I was certain I would mess up the moves, embarrass myself, then end up standing awkwardly as I tried to get back in sync. Because that’s what happens every other time I try to take a class like this.
But I was pleasantly surprised to discover that POUND was a lot easier to follow along than I thought! Sure, I wasn’t perfect and got tripped up a few times. And okay, maybe I did throw one of my sticks across the room. But I’m sure I’m not the only one who has done it. (I didn’t feel so badly when that happened later to someone else in the class.)
My ability to keep up was not the only thing that surprised me. I was also surprised by how good of a workout it was. I was so focused on keeping tempo and coordinating my moves that it wasn’t until well into class that I realized how much time had passed and how many squats, lunges and other reps I had done.
That’s the whole secret behind POUND. It’s designed to be really fun, but a sneakily effective workout. According to their website, you can burn 400-900 calories in one class. Their website says, “After you’re done rocking out to the 45-minute POUNDtrack, you’ll have done 15,000 reps, performed over 30 extended interval peaks, and zipped through over 70 techniques without even realizing it.”
Another aspect I especially liked about the class was that it got me moving and stretching my arms. One move might be to lunge as you drum both sticks once on the ground, then stand up and smack the sticks over your head. Do this quickly several times, and that’s great for all sorts of muscles.
The class moved quickly, I had fun albeit feeling a little ridiculous, and I felt like a lot was packed into the 45 minutes. I was also proud of myself for sticking it out, even though I was mildly terrified at the start. I think I’ll try it again. So next time you hand me a pair of bright green drumsticks, I’ll be ready!
Betsy Mikel is a freelance copywriter whose passion is telling the stories of entrepreneurs, brands and businesses that challenge the status quo. When she’s not biking or running all over every city she visits to find its best taqueria, you can find Betsy on Twitter at @betsym | betsymikel.com
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