I love working out. I work out three to five days a week, so I guess you can say I'm relatively seasoned. I'm not a freakin' bodybuilder, but I'm certainly not an amateur.
Group workouts are my workouts of choice. Scheduling them ahead of time makes me accountable to actually getting off my ass, and they provide a degree of variety that I can't get by working out on my own.
I mean, you can switch up your workouts on your own, but you're more likely to fall into a familiar routine and plateau if you work out solo.
Some of my favorite group workouts include boxing and interval training. But when my co-worker Gigi and I saw there was a weekly group trampoline workout class offered at our gym, we knew we had to try it. I was hoping jumping on a trampoline would bring out my inner child.
When Gigi and I walked into the room, we saw that the set-up was entirely different from what we'd imagined it would be. I was imagining one giant trampoline -- like, a trampoline floor -- but it was just the opposite. There were a bunch of miniature, individual trampolines no more than three feet wide:
The instructor gave us a run-down of the class before it began. I was like, We need a rundown? I thought we were just going to jump up and down until we got too tired, and then half-ass jump around until the clock runs out...
Turns out that that's not what trampoline class is all about.
"Newbies, please raise your hands," she said.
Gigi and I raised our hands.
"This class," she started, "is pretty intense, so heed my warning. Don't feel pressured by everyone else, and go at your own pace. We're going to be doing a few different combinations of moves, like jump squats, jumping jacks, and kickboxing, so bear with me. If you don't want to fall off the trampoline, make sure you stay low and keep the weight in your heels."
Wait. Fall off?! That was actually a possibility? I could actually lose my balance, underestimate the distance between my feet as I jump (I'm already kind of uncoordinated AF), fall on the ground, crack my skull, then suffer a concussion and/or die? WHAT.
But it was too late to jump ship. I guess if I were to die, I'd die doing something cool.
Music begin to play. The beat was fast, the drum was tribal-sounding and fun and everyone started jumping into the air. Women between 30 and 50 years old began to move in sync to the beat. Either I needed to step up my game, or these ladies had been doing this for awhile. Their enthusiasm was truly impressive.
I was initially super determined. I mean, c'mon, what sounds more fun than jumping on a trampoline for 55 minutes straight? Not to mention, having a trampoline by the swing set in my childhood backyard gave me the skills I figured I needed to prepare for this jump fest. Basically, I can get mad air.
It started out easy enough. We were instructed to warm up by jumping up and down to get our heart rates up, which was the fun part. But as for what was to come? Was I in for a surprise.
Imagine you're doing donkey kicks, jabbing and throwing punches into the air and doing high knees, all while trying to maintain your balance on a supremely unsteady surface. One that pushes you up into the air twice as hard as when you push down on it. If I haven't convinced you already, it is INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT to do all of those things at the same time. (It's hard enough to do them on the f*cking ground!).
It was at that point I realized I hadn't yet looked up at the clock, so I finally looked. We were only fifteen minutes in. That was almost impossible to believe, because I was absolutely covered in sweat. I've never been that sweaty that quickly into a cardio workout. I stopped real quick to take a selfie of my scared and sweaty self for you all.
Half the battle of trampoline class was staying on the damn thing. Actually, the terminology I should be using here is "rebounds," which is just fancy talk for the outer perimeter of the trampoline. You're supposed to keep your feet on these rebounds because those are the least bouncy of the entire surface area of the trampoline, making you less prone to fall off.
Regardless of that little factoid, I almost fell off the trampoline at least five times. Every time I felt myself falling off, I'd do a quick swivel around to make sure no one was looking at me in all my humiliation.
"Don't worry, sweetie," the woman behind me assured me. "Just don't look down. And trust your body! It knows you better than you think it does."
She was right. I caught myself pre-faceplant each time.
I quickly learned that trampoline class is cult-ish: If you aren't super focused the entire time, staring your mirrored self dead in the eye and trying to move faster than her, then you have no place there.
And Gigi and I clearly had no place there, because we were simultaneously laughing and half-falling the entire time. Damn, those women and their superior motor skills. I'd like to think the only reason they were better is because they had more ~life experience~.
Cardio is not my favorite kind of exercise. In fact, I try to avoid it at all costs; I've never been the running girl or the SoulCycle girl or the elliptical girl. I don't see how doing something so repetitive for a long period of time can be engaging and motivating enough to keep doing it the moment you start to get even remotely tired. Which brings me to the very reason I signed up for trampoline class in the first place.
I've been on a longtime hunt to find a cardio workout that could a) torch major calories, b) make me feel great and c) would be fun enough to return to. The trampoline workout left my muscles aching and my spirit defeated (what can I say? I'm a sore loser), but it definitely fulfilled my three criteria for a cardio workout.
Mastering the art of the trampoline, I realized, is one of those things that gets easier with practice.
Somehow, Gigi and I made it to the very end without being rushed to the hospital. Gigi wasn't exactly thrilled.
I, on the other hand, tried to look on the bright side of things, 'cause I'm an optimist and all.
What's the moral of this ~bouncy~ story? If you want to have a near-death experience, sign up for a trampoline class. Just kidding. Well, not really.
If you DO, however, want to find a workout that keeps you mentally and physically fulfilled the entire time, I say go for it. It's a great workout that combines both cardio and compound, full-body exercises that are meant to tone and sculpt. Just bring a towel, OK?
And since I'm more intrigued than intimidated by a good challenge, I'll be jumping my way on back.