I love squash. It’s one of my favourite recreational sports. I discovered it at university and played a handful of times then, but got serious (if playing 2-3 times a week is serious) during grad school with my friend Christina. But once I moved to Toronto and became focused on running and yoga, I forgot about squash. I didn’t feel ready to join a league, so I needed someone to play with, who was at my level (or a bit above). I like games that are relaxed, but also competitive.
Then I learned honourary fit girl JK also loved squash. And that she was a Goodlife Fitness member and they had squash courts at Queen and McCaul (21 McCaul Street). Since she’s a member, a day pass is only $10 (not bad!) and she suggested we play squash at 9:30, then take Goodlife’s Bobypump class at 10:30. A game I love and a class I’ve never done before? I’m in.
We had actually played squash the week before, on Sunday morning. I was rusty (especially my serve), but it was fun to move. I love squash because every movement counts, and it can be as intense as you want it to be. JK and I played the way Christina and I played all those years ago: first to 15 wins, you get a point, even if you don’t serve. I doubt this is the “right” way to play, but it means you get 4-5 games in during a 60 minute session, leaving room for plenty of water breaks and gave me the chance to actually win once in a while. (I like winning). In that first session, I got the hang of it towards the end. JK kicked me ass in all four games, but I figured out serving and could occasionally not just return the ball, but also make strategic returns.
Squash is amazing workout. I could tell because for the rest of the week, my ass was sore.
That pain came back the following Saturday, for squash and Bodypump. It made the squash game harder, but we both improved over the next week. We played 4 games. JK won 3 (two very decidedly) and I won one! This was my greatest accomplishment of the day!
I’m glad we’re relatively evenly matched. JK’s the better player, but I’ll win another game. Someday.
Then it was Bodypump time. I was nervous. I haven’t lifted weights since my bball days. I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to handle the weight and I’d be in tears and sore by the end of the day.
This wasn’t the case.
If you’ve never done a Bodypump class, here’s how it works: There are 10 “tracks” (pop songs), and each track has a theme: warm-up, squats, back, shoulders, powerlifting, chest, abs, lunges, biceps, triceps and cool down. You do a routine of repetitions during each track, stretch it out and quickly move on. (Watch the video below for a better idea, I didn’t take any pictures, whoops!) I grabbed the lightest weights possible, figuring I could up it later, and settled in next to Jen.
The warm-up was fine, I had 7kg (I THINK, I didn’t pay too close attention to the numbers.) on my bars. It wasn’t enough. Squats were next. I tend to lead with my chest with my squats (bad, I know!), so even though I didn’t have enough weight, I focused on my form. The chest track was fine too, it brought me back to our bench pressing challenges in school. I had enough weight for the tricep and bicep tracks, and these burned. It’s too easy to let gravity and momentum take over, but pumping iron is all about weight and control. I soared through the back track and powerlifting track, but the lunge track was my nemesis. That one HURT and I couldn’t lunge low enough to the ground. I had the same weight as my earlier tracks, and that might have been too much. The shoulder track was tough, but not uncomfortably so. The ab track was fine, but this twisting side plank thing we did was impossible. I like to think I could do it without my sneakers, but that’s a lie. I couldn’t do it. Some push-ups, a brief cooldown and we were done. At the end, I felt good. Not exhausted, not in pain. Just refreshed and a little weary.
Overall, I liked Bodypump. I liked the fast pace of the class and the use of low weight, lots of reps. I liked that it would be an easy way to incorporate strength training into my fitness routine, because I know I need to do more of that. I didn’t like the faux cheery yelling, but have come to accept that’s a staple in a lot of fitness programs. It’s fun, female-centric (there were 20 people in the class, and only one man), and fast. I think the squash + body pump combo will be making a semi-regular appearing in my life. That is, if JK is down with it.