Another week in lockdown, and another opportunity to throw myself into activities that, pre-Corona would have just been a passing thought. Last week, I volunteered my skin to act as a guinea pig for a bee venom face mask, which resulted in my mirror reflecting an immeasurably redder – some would say, tomato like  – version of myself. Next in the chronicles of questionable acts, I’m giving my skin a break and I'm putting my body to the test as I embark into the world of Instagram fitness

Carmen Bellot and fitness fanatic do not ever fit into one sentence. I’m not a complete novice to a workout, after being introduced to Barre from an old colleague I’ll try to commit to one class a week, but to say that my athleticism is at it’s peak would be a downright lie. But as the nation turns to baking banana bread or completing puzzles as preoccupation – I’ve tried, and failed at both – my actions have wondered to exercise as my confinement-induced form of escapism. Is it because doing one class a day can add structure into my disgruntled daily routine? Or because I feel the pressure to have to be improving myself during this time? Whatever negative reason that’s caused it, surely the positive action will result in a positive outcome, or so I consoled myself with, and set to begin the challenge of a workout a day with Psycle

All Instagram Live classes (except for Ride) are saved on their IGTV channel once the class finishes.

While there’s so many different online workouts available, I settled with doing one of the Instagram Live workouts, as I favoured the noncommittal nature that doing a class through a social media app implied. Day One, sticking with what I knew, I went for a Barre class with instructor Maria. Within five minutes, I’d learnt that you can get unfit, a hell of a lot quicker than you can get fit. After what felt like hours (but was only 45 minutes) of squatting, doing leg wraps, planking and weight lifting – I substitute weights I don’t have for tins – I was exhausted from thoroughly working every unused muscle in my body. Subsequently, I was was met with a rush of exercise induced endorphins, a sense of self-righteousness, and noticeably happier mindset. I’ve always known that fitness can be a great release for any mental health issues, but this became blatantly apparent after this workout. 

Day Two, and I opted for another Barre class (spoiler: I only do Barre, it’s the fitness class I ‘like’ and if it’s not broke, don’t fix it) this time with Rod. My housemate and I both agreed that he was our favourite instructor: his high spirits are intoxicating and his ability to make planking a visualisation exercise, where we imagine we’re drinking rosé in Ibiza, is the type of multi-tasking I very much condone. While the routine was still hard work, even after one day I noticed finding some exercises easier than others. 

My set-up: yoga mat, tins (aka. weights) and a full bottle of water.

As I usually wouldn’t do a class on the weekend, I continued Barre-ing for the next three days and successfully completed a working week of classes (pat on the back for me). As my usual one class a week will enforce, I look to Barre as a self-discipline exercise rather than a weight loss one, favouring the feeling of satisfaction from holding a move for the full allocated time than its weight loss benefits. Undeniably, I’ve noticed my body change into a leaner and more toned model of my former self, and it’s a welcomed reward for my efforts. As well as physically, I’ve been gratified by having somnolence reinstated into my evenings. I go to bed feeling tired, an emotion I took for granted pre-lockdown, and its something I’ve struggled with since working from home.

But the real deal clincher, which will even make me continue at home fitness post-lockdown, is the freedom to scream out the pain during a class. With the unwritten rule being that anything heavier than a huff or a puff during a pre-Corona class would be (to put it lightly) inappropriate, I’m enjoying the liberating ‘FUCK’ I can yell as I push myself lower into a squat. I’m undecided as to whether it’s because my legs are cramping and on the verge of collapse, or whether it’s my subconscious taking the opportunity to express some hidden Covid-19 anxiety, but for whatever reason, my mental health appreciates it. My swearing satisfaction is further fulfilled by seeing in the corner of my screen that hundreds of other fellow Barre-er’s (the name I’ve given to fellow Barre fans) are performing the same moves while also shouting profanities to help them through it. As well as getting physically and mentally healthier, my workouts have gained me a sense of community and a viable excuse to use foul language, proving that good can come from a negative space.

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