Last night I finished my last Abs, Back, & Booty (ABB) course for the semester, and I feel like I need to encourage more people (not just you guys) to take these classes because they are fun and effective. I mean, it takes three quarters of the semester for me to not feel dread going to class, and for the first fifteen minutes when we do cardio I keep wishing I never went, but following that – in the class and the first three quarters of the semester – I feel great and so glad that I went to exercise. I mean, I felt that way (full of dread and regret) about Ballet Bootcamp, so this is just my general approach to any sort of physical movement (unless it’s a gentle “hike” with Yvonne’s dogs, which means it won’t be that difficult or long).
For a while (two years? three?) Yvonne took Butt, Legs, & Core (BLC) at a community centre (Frank McKechnie, for those in Mississauga) and got pretty darn strong and made a couple of gal pals during her time there. She got some passes and whatnot, so it was easy for her to drag me along whenever I was back home from school; she’d practise her driving, we would exercise, and we’d probably go out to eat (way too much) with our family afterwards, so it was an overall winning situation. I can’t recall why she stopped going, but I think mostly it was outgrowing it and needing something else.
Like very many Asians, Yvonne and I fit into the “cardboard” body type wherein we have little boops and pancake butts. We can’t do anything about the former (nor do we want to), but for the past few years we’ve been on a crusade to get non-pancake butts (maybe one day we’ll get real butts). It’s been a few years of these classes of squats, lunges, planks, and anything else, but I think I’m finally starting to get a baby butt. Finally.
These classes are pretty popular and get devout students, but for good reason. ABB and BLC were structured fairly similarly:
- 15 ish minutes of cardio (ABB is step, BLC was more…running on the spot and zumba-ish moves?)
- 20 minutes of standing workouts (including squats, lunges, deadlifts, and sometimes things like mountain climbers)
- 10 minutes of mat work (things that focus on the core, including side and front planks every class), and
- five minutes for cool down.
Since it’s at the university, ABB gets the bigger gym room (there are about 60 people in the class at the beginning of the semester, which is the worst thing in the world, but by halfway, half the people don’t come anymore and it’s much more tolerable), which allows us for different exercises than BLC did (although obviously not all BLC classes are held in small community centres). Thus ABB allows for a brief warm up before starting (partially so that late people aren’t so behind and have time to set up their stuff), which, at the beginning of the semester when it’s too crowded, will be stuff at our step block things like 50 jumping jacks, 50 squats, and 50 lunges; later on in the semester, it’ll be about ten laps around the gym and then 50 jumping jacks, 40 high knees, 30 squats, 20 lunges, and 10 burpees.
You get a little bit of everything and while the atmosphere isn’t super personal, the instructor will always be keeping an eye on people and yell out things to generally improve posture; sometimes they’ll walk around and give people individual notes. These sort of classes are the “feel the burn” and “you’ll be sore the next day” type, which I LOVE. And as I’ve mentioned before, I love the regularly scheduled aspect of it; ABB is Tuesdays and Thursdays 7-8pm, so you’ve got time to go home after school/work, eat dinner, and exercise (…and then take the rest of the night off). I really liked having a second class (Ballet bootcamp was Mondays and Wednesdays, 5-6pm this semester), but when you find a good class like ABB where you really feel like you’re working out (Ballet bootcamp was mostly just fun, but I was never sore), you don’t need more than that.
Then again, I loved the instructors I’ve had so far. The instructor for BLC was this tiny fit woman who was a nurse and I think a mother and like, in her 40s or something? Like, the “you look GREAT for your age” and “how are you not exhausted??” (she also taught zumba on the weekends) type. And ABB is this pretty blonde girl who is like, broad and muscular and has thighs the size of tree trunks and a good proper butt and even though you know she teaches two different classes (ABB and bootcamp) every week every semester, just looking at her you KNOW she WORKS OUT. Like, I feel like she could bench any one of us and that she could also throw a tractor over her head (I don’t know why that’s a situation that would occur), but she’s also pretty and not a beast and she has a nice voice and obviously I have a crush on her but whatever.
Whether you drop in like I did with BLC or do it steadily as I do like ABB, I think these classes are definitely worth trying. You could hate it as I super duper hate hot yoga or it could not work for you as barre classes don’t for me, but it’s something to consider.