The FlyBarre Finale: What I Lost, Learned and Loved



slim_waist_jeans

Skinny fat girl no more…

9.45.
 
That’s the total number of inches I lost from the FlyBarre Challenge, which wrapped up last week. It’s a little hard for me to put that number in context. I’ve never done any other short-term, challenge-like fitness programs, so I’m not sure if 9.45 inches is a little, a lot, or somewhere in between. But I do know that for all my inches lost, I gained a lot, too.
 
Here are four things I’ll take away from this experience:
 
photo 1

Confidence

Confidence that I can endure four classes a week, for six weeks in a row, even if it’s a kind of exercise I’ve never done before. I think this fear of the unfamiliar has stopped me from so many different kinds of workout routines in the past, from kickboxing to CrossFit. But this challenge proved to me that anything becomes easy (or at least doable) if you stick with it long enough. It took me about three weeks to make it through a class without skipping at least one exercise, and by the end of the Challenge, I felt like I could do the class with my eyes closed. It always feels incredible when you’ve nailed something down, but especially so if you didn’t think you had it in you to begin with.
 
photo 2

Better Habits

From the very beginning, I went into this challenge hoping I could change some of my routinely bad habits, like yo-yo diets and yo-yo workouts. And six weeks later, I’m definitely further along, though not there yet. Having to schedule my FlyBarre workouts like work meetings made me realize that, yes, I did have time to work out four times a week if I really wanted to. And I didn’t always want to, but that’s the thing—-you do it so often, that it really does become another part of your daily rundown. Now I hit the gym without the manic planning and production that accompanied my workouts before. Working out is just another thing on my to-do list, like walking my dog or turning in an article for work.
 

I’ve learned to stop thinking of exercise as this big pain in my ass, but rather a small pain that’s just easier to get over with.

 

A Network of Support

At our wrap party last weekend, one woman talked about how much she appreciated the support she got from the FlyBarre staff following the death of her mother. She described the studio staff as family and wondered where else you could find that kind of caring within the workout world. I’m inclined to agree with her: Because the FlyBarre staff is so small (for now, anyway), Challengers really get the chance to know their instructors. It was great to have my team leader, Erika, hold me accountable for pushing myself in class, but it’s even better to know that, going forward, I can keep picking her brain about technique, diet, or whatever else comes up.
 

Strength

I’m taking away both physical and mental strength. The physical strength is easy to see: I’ve gone from using one-pound weights to two-pound weights in class, and just yesterday in yoga, I noticed that the abs portion of class (which I used to barely get through) was nothing compared to the abs sequences in FlyBarre. But the mental strength that came after was even more rewarding. There’s something about knowing you can get through a really tough workout that makes the rest of your day seem easy. Like, if I can pulse my leg a hundred times in a row (slight exaggeration), surely I can write this story about supplements that I’ve been putting off all week. And that kind of peace of mind is invaluable.

Written by

Feifei Sun is an Atlanta-based writer and editor. She was previously TIME magazine's style editor and an editor at Vanity Fair. Her writing has also appeared in Real Simple, Atlanta Magazine and the Huffington Post.
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  • Andra

    Crazy. You look great!

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