When I meet someone that lives or works even somewhat close to Sexton Mountain Elementary, I always tell them about two things:
- The Sunstone Running Club that meets every Tu/Th at the school for a 4-mile-ish run at 6:30p.
- T’s Garage, where I’ve been going for more than 2 years for barre class and the occasional TRX workout, circuit training session, or core class.
I’ve written about Sunstone Running Club here before, and it’s a running club, so you can probably get an idea what they’re about. (Super supportive, very welcoming, and a lot of fun.)
But T’s Garage requires a little more explanation. Yes, it’s in someone’s garage, but it’s more fitness studio than seasonal decoration repository. It’s owned by Tonya Robson (if the name sounds familiar – she teaches at Nike and occasionally at other studios) and it’s staffed by a lovely group of super-strong women that have backgrounds in ballet and paleontology, boxing and business, yoga and retail. They’re real women with real lives that actually enjoy helping other women reach their goals. Classes are small (most are capped at 8-12 people) and offered early morning, mid-day, and in the evenings.
Any one of these classes can provide an excellent balance repetitive motion of running. The core class, which uses stability balls, helps posture, allows leg muscles to work more efficiently, and improves the ability to breathe deeply. The TRX and circuit classes isolate muscles that aren’t always used in running, providing more stability with every step and building power reserves you can count on in a race. And the barre classes, my favorite, are all about posture, strong yet fluid movements, and balance. After a year of barre, my stride changed because my hips, glutes, quads, and other leg muscles were not only stronger but more equally distributing the stress from running across my frame.
I would love for some Run Oregon readers to join me at T’s Garage for a class, or just join in when your schedule allows. I’m usually at Thursday night barre and am going to try the Wednesday morning TRX class since that’s my day off. You can book online through MindBody, and just pay at class. Classes are $10 each (there’s no membership fee or class pack you have to buy), and your first one is free.
Here’s the best thing about T’s Garage: the other people in the class (mainly women, I have yet to take a class with a guy there) are supportive, care about each other, and are open about what’s challenging for them and celebrating when they have a strong class or finally master a move. There are a few people in the classes with ballet backgrounds who are super graceful and fun to watch, but trust me, barre class is just as hard for those of us who’ve never taken a dance class.
The teachers offer modifications for injuries or when a move is new, so you’re getting as much out of the class as everyone else. For example, the other week at core class, I suspect the teacher modified the entire class to put it within reach – only 2 of us could make it the week of New Year’s and neither of us are very good on those stability balls (yet).
So give it a try! You can see what it’s all about, gain some strength, flexibility, and balance, and be part of a welcoming, supportive community. I hope to see you there.