Well guys, the day has come. I have officially finished my 305 Fitness challenge (one month of taking 305 classes four times a week), and I am genuinely sad that it is over! I have tried more than my fair share of workout classes, and this is the only one that I can say I never had to psyche myself up to go. I'm not a self-motivated gym-goer -- it's why I take group classes in the first place -- and I typically need to play little mind games with myself to workout. But with 305 Fitness, it always felt like I was heading to a dance party with my friends and I just couldn't wait to be there. Sometimes it was literally a party with friends as I dragged three different friends out to try the class during my challenge, and all three purchased a package after their first experience.
I said from the very beginning that this was going to be a tough one to quantify my results, because 305's mission isn't about weight loss, but confidence. Instructor Cierra said it best when she explained what I should expect from my month with 305: "What I've seen in myself, and people I've developed relationships with who start coming to my class, is you gain a newfound love and appreciation for your body. Your body becomes stronger, and that is absolutely something to celebrate."
If we are talking numbers, I did lose two pounds in February during the challenge, but even more exciting to me was the increased definition I saw in my body. I noticed the biggest difference in my butt (thanks to those MILLIONS of squats) and back, two areas I haven't placed much emphasis on in the past, but now I'm loving what I'm seeing! On average, my fitness tracker says I burned 380 calories per class; my highest burn was 440, and my lowest class was 290.
What I accomplished
The goals I set for myself were originally to "increase my confidence, and perhaps even learn a move or two that can help me in the clubs." I'm not sure who I was kidding about that last part, because the only "club" I'm going to these days is book club. But I will say... I LEARNED TO TWERK! It may be slightly disjointed and definitely awkward, but hey it's twerking and I am proud.
I amended my goals in my halfway post to "learn the complete choreo to at least one song and execute it in class, and get through one five-minute sprint session without taking a single break." And guess what?? I DID BOTH! While there are several songs that I think I learned fairly well by the end, I felt the best during Work. There was something therapeutic about thrusting my hips out as Stella Mwangi informs me I "betta go and put in work." As far as the sprints went, I think that was always the hardest part of class for me, but I loved knowing the pain was only going to last five minutes, and you can do anything for five minutes.
To be honest, the best thing to come from my 305 experience was letting go of my own doubts and insecurities, both about my dance abilities and how my body looks during a workout. My first class, I walked in and probably 90 percent of the room was clad in matching sports bra and legging sets and I thought, "this is not going to be for me." I didn't think I'd be able to truly let go of the idea that everyone else was going to know every choreographed move, and they'd all be watching me make a fool of myself if I could't dance with the beat or master a move. The best compliment I got was from a friend who took the class with me once at the beginning of my challenge, and then twice during my last week and she said she couldn't believe the progress I made. She said when she couldn't see the instructor during a new move, she'd watch me to see what she was supposed to do. I was in shock that someone was using me as a POSITIVE example, but those words did wonders for my confidence; I know I danced a little bit bolder the next day!
What I still need to work on
To all of the brave people who stood next to me, in front of me or behind me during a class, I am so sorry for hitting you EVERY.SINGLE.TIME we did a turn. I don't know what it is, but I just could not master any move involving a turn. I blame my bad sense of direction...
Also, the hip hop section is definitely one of the most fun parts of class, but I still need to work on my hipping and my hopping. I'm a bit of a stiff dancer, and that doesn't fly in hip hop. I think with a little more practice though, I can loosen it up and get sexy with it.
Lastly, 305 really highlighted that I need to work on my upper body strength. I always felt better about the toning section on leg and abs day than I did on arm day. I'm not sure I ever made it through the five minute toning section without resting my arms on arm day, even when I was using the lightest weights. But hey, that's a new goal I can set!
What I love
This entire post really could be a love letter to 305 Fitness, but I'll try and keep it short and sweet. First, I have to give a huge shout-out to the instructors! You guys are the real MVPs of 305 Fitness, and every single teacher I experienced (I took classes with all but three instructors) lifted my spirits so that I left class feeling more empowered and more positive than when I walked in. That is above and beyond what I could expect from a group workout. I really vibed with instructors Marielle, Cierra and Dominique, and would highly recommend those three to any first timers. Oh and Byron, you kicked my A$$ with those 100 push-ups, but I love ya for it!
Secondly, the body positivity that is front and center of every 305 class is inspiring. Trying a dance class when you have no dance background can be super intimidating, but the community you'll build at 305 is far and away one of the most accepting and judgment-free groups I've ever met. Not only are the participants the most diverse group I've seen in any D.C. fitness routine, but the teachers are always encouraging you to support your neighbor with a quick high five, and I can guarantee you'll leave having heard "you are beautiful" at some point during class. From the instructors to your fellow classmates, you'll get to see everyone really let loose and start having fun with their workouts again. After a few classes, you just get in the zone and let yourself be free.
And we can't forget the DJs can we?? The live music and the light show really add a lot to the ambiance of class. Like I said in the beginning, 305 feels like a party and the DJ is a huge part of that!
What could be improved
While I think it's pretty obvious at this point that I am a total 305 addict, there are a few things that I would love to see happen. First, join ClassPass. Come on, all the cool kids are doing it! For those of us with workout ADD, being able to attend multiple fitness studios without paying monthly membership fees at all of them is a godsend. Truly, if 305 Fitness was in Virginia (pleasssssse come to me!) I would be all in for an unlimited monthly membership; even with how far away it is from me now, I'm still seriously considering it. But if they were on ClassPass, I could work 305 into my regular routine when it worked for my schedule, while still utilizing studios closer to me for those crazy busy days when there is no time to commute to a workout.
Finally, the studio (in class and out) can get a bit cramped, particularly during class transitions since classes start and end within 5 minutes of each other. Those 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. classes are jam packed, and it can sometimes feel like you don't have room to dance to your full extent. If your schedule allows for it, I highly recommend trying one of the off-peak classes as your first 305 experience as it's both easier to navigate the studio, and easier to see the instructor demonstrate moves during class.
I'll leave you with this, my loves, it will NOT be long before I am back at 305 hitting it with my best squat, making sweat sexy, running this sh*t like cardio and most importantly, three oh fiving and thriving!
Part 1: What happens if you take 305 Fitness four times a week for one month?
Part 2: I am halfway through the 305 Fitness challenge and totally hooked