Today’s Class: Barefoot Body Conditioning with Paula Fonseca
Class length: 45 minutes
Description from the Equinox: High intensity, mixed with balance challenges to strengthen the body from the ground up. Take your body out of its comfort zone, reap the benefits.
What Class Was Like
A challenging class that moved quickly from one exercise to the next, keeping the heart a bit elevated. It had elements of barre, yoga, weights, and pilates all mixed together for a difficult yet low impact workout. Balance work was included. Cardio was a byproduct of strength work.
All major muscle groups were targeted but after class my legs and glutes felt it the most.
FYI Chestnut Hill Equinox members, Paula is a great instructor; she’s the favorite of many Equinox goers for her friendliness, clear instructions, cheerful and contagious energy, and the way she proactively helps people get set-up or modify if needed. Her class The Cut is also super fun.
The class incorporated quite a few non-parallel movements, a concept I first heard Cheryl Bentsen explain in Pilates Fusion. Many exercises (running, cycling, traditional squats) work on the body’s strength and agility when it’s moving forward and backward, or in parallel. But in real life we need to strengthen the muscles that help us move on the diagonal and other directions as well. Those muscles help us stand up more easily from a seated position and move naturally throughout our day.
Picture a chef in a busy restaurant kitchen only able to move forward or backward. How insane would that be? You may not be diagonally lunging for a sizzling frying pan on the regular, but many of your daily motions aren’t forward or backward. Incorporating “curtsy” like exercises and a wider range of movements is a good idea and this class does that.
- yoga mat
- exercise ball
- resistance band
- lightweight dumbbells
- squats and lunges, with and without weights
- balance exercises like standing on one leg and extending the other one in front and then behind while lowering the chest
- downward dog to plank and back
- stepping side to side with the resistance bands just below the knee
- abdominal mat exercises incorporating weights
Who would love it?
A great class for someone who enjoys strength training but with lighter weights and the addition of some balance work.
Modifications / Beginner Friendly?
It was somewhat easy to modify difficulty. The number of reps are hard to modify in a group setting, but there were two sets of weights to choose from, two levels of resistance bands, and optional final steps to some exercises like adding a jump.
The use of resistance bands, type of exercises, and number of reps made this class challenging. Just when I thought I’d nailed something because we’d gotten to the end of eight counts, the next instruction would be to hold it for 8 and pulse. Hello, muscle burn.
Somewhat beginner friendly but it helps to be able to do modified pushups and hold a plank prior to arriving.
Also Try: The following Equinox classes are also low impact, work a large number of muscle groups, and any weights used are limited to 2 lb or 5 lb dumbbells.
Know before you go
- Take your shoes off before entering the yoga studio
- The green resistance bands are easier than the blue