Getting to the Core of the Matter

Saturday 18 January 2014 by

Or, how I have broken myself in one simple step.

Trainers, Fitness, Health

Core sessions can be quite intimidating, especially for first-timers. In all your New Year’s Resolution excitement and promises of new fitness regimes, you may have heard of these mystical things. They are basically a special form of cruelty.

Working the inner (core) muscles, these are low-impact and medium intensity sessions to improve strength, balance and overall fitness. Try sucking your belly button in – that’s a core muscle.

Thanks to my injury, I’m running a lot less, which means my once-a-week core session is my main source of exercise. Every Tuesday night, in a village hall, we are subjected to this unique form of torture.

Come Wednesday and Thursday, it’s lucky if I can move a few feet or sit down without groaning in agony. My poor muscles are in a permanent state of shock, and once they have recovered, I go and do it again.

If you are thinking about attending your first core session, there are a few things to note…

1.       Remember a mat and a Swiss ball

Fit ball, bouncy ball, Pilates ball, whatever you want to call them, they’re the big blow-up balls you’re going to start to really hate. Check in with whoever is running the core session, but you will normally need at least one or both of these things. If you have a yoga mat, this is perfect.

2.      It’s going to hurt

And I mean, REALLY hurt. You’re going to work muscles you didn’t even realise you had, and they are going to make you suffer for it. Don’t worry about not being able to do it at first, it’s going to take a few sessions to get up to speed, and then one day you’ll go and realise that it’s much, much easier.

3.      There are some funny words

From your glutes to your obliques, adductors to deltoids, there are some weird and wacky names that are going to crop up. You’re probably going to have never heard of them before, but it will only take a couple of the stretches before you realise that you truly do have that muscle and it is FREAKING OUT.

4.      Stretching makes you sweat

It’s not just aerobic exercise that makes you hot and sweaty – “vigorous” stretching can really get the blood pumping and the sweat trickling. Attractive, right?

5.      Mac and cheese is a totally acceptable post-workout food

Well, your personal trainer/coach/fitness fanatic friend might disagree, but TRUST ME, the best thing you will ever taste when you get home from a core session is a humungous, gooey bowl of mac and cheese. Small tip – grate extra cheese over once it’s done.

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