"305 Fitness is an inclusive space where you are able to fully show up as yourself, in all of your dancing glory," instructor Cierra tells me before my first 305 Fitness class. I know it's a statement meant to comfort me, but I have to admit, all I could think was "But what if your dancing has no glory whatsoever??"
It's been a hot minute since I committed to a 30-day fitness challenge and February seemed like as good a time as any to get back in the saddle. And since the theme of these seems to be "do something you're totally uncomfortable with" I obviously chose dancing. So for the next 30 days, I am promising to take 305 Fitness at least four times a week, and I'll report my findings back to you at the midway point and at the conclusion of my challenge.
305 Fitness is a 55-minute cardio dance party with a live DJ and a light show. From the moment class starts, you'll spend 30 minutes dancing nonstop, and at the halfway mark you'll get a brief reprieve as you start the toning section. Depending on the target muscle group, you'll focus on abs, arms, legs or ass for one song. Arm day might feature a nonstop free weights routine, whereas leg day might include lunges and squats done using floor sliders. But no matter what the focus of the day is, you should expect to work every single muscle group in your body in the duration of the class.
"I remember leaving my first class thinking 'I didn't even know this many muscle groups existed, and now I can feel them all and they all hurt,'" said Cierra. "But flash forward six months and now I can handle teaching back-to-back classes."
While Cierra says she can honestly recommend the class to everyone, there are a few basic dance moves you'll use repeatedly in class, so mastering these first will make class go a lot smoother: a grapevine (which Cierra describes as "step,together,step, touch, with a clap intertwined in there"), a V step ("make a V formation with your arms and bring your feet forward and back") and twerking (c'mon... we all know what that is). You'll also see plenty of traditional cardio moves like jumping jacks, fast feet, linebackers and mountain climbers.
You'll take classes from instructors who are former NBA dancers, current rocket scientists, hip hop choreographers, backup dancers for stars like Mya, speech pathologists and more.
Throughout my 30 days, I'll be keeping track of my average calorie burn per class (obviously, calorie burn vastly differs person to person, but Cierra says she burns an average 400-500 calories per class), and noting any weight loss or muscle gain. However, my main goal for this 30-day period will be to increase my confidence, and perhaps even learn a move or two that can help me in the clubs.
"There's a level of confidence that comes with dancing, and recognizing it's ok to not hit all the steps," said Cierra. "Recognize that people still love you, and celebrate your body for simply coming to class and doing the work."
Cierra's final piece of advice for first timers?
"Follow my feet first, and add the arms as you get comfortable," she says. "And if at any time you feel lost, or you're not keeping up, just twerk it out girl."
Want to explore your own dancing glory? New clients can try 305 Fitness for 10 days unlimited for $29.