What is TRX Class like for someone who has never done it before? In this blog I will share with you my first impressions of a TRX Class. Admittedly, I have only been able to attend a few TRX classes, but that's the point. This is a "newbie's" view of TRX, so that when someone asks me; "What's a TRX class like?" I can reply from the same perspective of a client who is brand new to TRX. **Spoiler Alert** TRX was SO MUCH FUN! But read on for more details.
First of all, What IS TRX?? Here is the class description we use at Just Breathe Yoga & Fitness Studio;
Created by the Navy SEALs, TRX Training uses gravity and body weight to perform hundreds of exercises. You’re in control of how much you want to challenge yourself on each exercise by simply adjusting your body’s position to add or decrease resistance. You will increase strength, balance, flexibility, core stability and cardio endurance. This is a complete body workout that feels like personal training with all of the camaraderie of group exercise. All fitness levels welcome.
Truth be told, I never enjoyed "exercising". I love yoga, but to me, yoga is not exercise, it's something else. Yoga just has the added benefit of "exercise" type movement. And even during the times I would occasionally run on a treadmill, it was to clear out some negative mental and emotional energy, and wasn't motivated by any specific physical benefits. So it was a pleasant surprise to discover how much FUN TRX IS!
I didn't try TRX right away. Due to some physical limitations I was experiencing when I first became a studio owner, I needed to wait until I was sure that I could move safely and not aggravate my condition. (I wrote about this issue, and how Pilates helped me, in a previous blog. You can read all about it here) That being said, there may have been hesitation there even if I was not experiencing those physical challenges, because as I said, "exercise" was never something that felt like a good time to me. But so many evenings I would be finishing up my music lessons in the back room while TRX class was going on in the main studio, and I would hear the laughter, and David's TERRIFIC music playlists, and I could feel this upbeat energy of the class. I got curious. Then one evening, as I was once again wrapping up music lessons in the back room, I heard the song, "Take on Me" by a-ha on his playlist. Might sound weird to say, but when I heard that, I thought, "He plays a-ha, therefore he must be awesome!!" (Haha... can you tell that I was a HUGE a-ha fan in highschool?) And David IS awesome, but for reasons much more significant that what is on his playlists!
So, one night I showed up. I didn't know what I was doing AT ALL, but that's ok. I was ready to try something new. A nice woman next to me, whom I hadn't met previously, had obviously been doing TRX for a while, and she took pity on my clueless self and helped me to adjust the straps when I wasn't quite processing David's instructions correctly. By the second class I thought I might have a better feel for things but there were still moments when I didn't quite understand... so, I just said, "David, I don't understand", and then he came over and helped me. And this is an important point I'd like to make here. As a yoga teacher, especially when I don't know the client very well, if I see them doing their poses a little differently, I am not always sure if they are modifying on purpose due to physical limitations, or if they have not understood my instructions correctly. I make a decision in that moment, either to offer a pose correction to them, or to let it go, (assuming that there is no potential for injury in the way that the student is modifying the pose) So, from the point of view of the teacher, we can't always tell the difference between your personal limitatations and your misunderstandings of instructions. Therefore, the responsibility is on the STUDENT to ASK for help or clarification as needed. It happens occasionally in my own classes that a student will call out a questions regarding the pose. I love that because if ONE student asked, there were probably others who weren't sure but DIDN'T ask! I remember a client telling me once about how she tried a new class, (Not a TRX Class) and in her own words, she said that she "Didn't know what the heck she was doing" She went on to say that the teacher didn't help her. So I said, "Did you ask for help?" and she replied, "No, I just left". I know the feeling, ... I really do... when we are in that moment of clueless awkwardness and from our point of view it seems SO GLARINGLY OBVIOUS that we are struggling, but the reality is that it isn't always so obvious. And a certain degree of awkwardness is expected in any class as a beginner. Therefore, even if the teacher is aware that you are struggling, they might not be aware of your FEELINGS about that struggle. In other words, we all struggle at times. There are some moves or poses that we know just isn't going to work for us in that moment, so we struggle maybe, or we modify, or we skip it all together. How can the teacher know if you are ok with some awkwardness or if you are in need of help if you don't ask? How do we know if you would like a specific correction or if you would feel embarrassed if we singled you our for help in class? We guess. Sometimes we guess correctly and sometimes we don't. Sometimes the student is happy for the personal attention and sometimes they would prefer to blend in with the wall and not be noticed. The teacher won't know for sure unless you ASK! So, I asked. When I didn't know what I was doing, I asked David for help. I didn't feel stupid or ashamed to ask for help, because this is how the relationship is meant to be between teacher and student. We both have responsibility in the experience. So please remember this, when you attend classes at our studio; we don't mind if you ask for help!
And it seems to me that when we are trying something new, our brain has trouble processing things... even familiar things in a different context can confuse us. For example, at one point in the TRX class, David had us on the floor, doing Plank, but with our feet in the the strap handles. I don't know why but I felt nervous. I worried that if my arms gave out, I would crash my face into the floor. Apparently, in the moment of uncertainty, I completely forgot the my KNEES BEND!! Haha... but for real. I turned to my left and said to Lynn, "I'm scared!" (Totally true story, as silly as it might sound.) She said something like, "This is just Plank. You do plank all the time in Yoga class"... and with her words my brain switched back on! OH YEAH, I know Plank! And the fear was gone, and I wondered why I was nervous at all. But that's the point. In new situations it seems like there is some static in the brain that makes simple things seems more daunting. AND I am sharing all this, (even though it is embarrassing to admit) because I want you to understand how NICE everybody is here. I was nervous and unsure, even as a teacher here, and out of my element in TRX, but everybody was very helpful.
I really had fun then. I like how the workout is really in your own hands. With TRX you decide the intensity of your workout by how close or far away you are from your "anchor point" (the place where the straps are hooked into the ceiling) and you get to decide your reps most of the time. For example, David will call out, "Eight more seconds" and you decide your own pace. Maybe you get a lot of reps in those 8 seconds, or maybe, like me that day, you just do 2 more! :) Once David said "Ten more seconds" and a wave of protest went through the room as the students told him, "Only say 8 or less!" Haha.... this is the friendly banter that is often exchanged in the class. It is a super fun group of folks and I think we have to give David a lot of credit for setting the tone and making it an upbeat and positive environment.
It's been many months since I took.those first few classes, and although I haven't been able to work more TRX Classes into my personal schedule, over these weeks and months I feel like I have gotten to know the TRX regulars a bit better. We see each other in passing, and they also have lots of smiles to share. And that friendly banter that I mentioned earlier is REALLY entertaining to observe.
So that's my TRX experience so far. I'll get back to class one day, but for now I just want you to know that TRX was way more fun then I expected, and the TRX gang is always willing to share smiles and laughter with anybody that joins them.
Give it a try, and let me know how you liked it.