When most of us think about walking into a gym to weight train, we think of barbells and dumbbells and bench presses and bicep curls. Those are all splendid things (and things you can absolutely do at Optimal Self in Portland), but during the Wednesday night Body Weight Routine class, the weight you’ll be lifting is YOU.
Eric Hilton, who owns the wellness center/gym on Congress Street, leads the hour-long class, which is made of a three-set circuit that works your entire body using your own body weight.
The routine changes from week to week – because mixing things up keeps it interesting for you, and it also makes sure you’re challenging your muscles in different ways. But it might include things like tricep dips, pull-ups, chin-ups, core work, kicks, and push-ups.
Can’t do a pull-up or push-up? No problem. There are modifications for all levels to help you work your way up as you get stronger. I struggle to knock out more that 3/4 of one pull-up on my own, so Eric will offer assistance to help you get up there, or you can employ the lat pull-down machine. (If you’re like me and you’ve got some serious #pullupgoals, this could be the class for you.)
The class moves through the sets together, although everyone works at their own level. The class I attended recently included a few men and women who have been working out at Optimal Self for years and a few who were brand new that night. Everyone was sweating and challenging themselves.
When I’d first arrived, I’d met a mother and daughter who were taking their first class here. “I’m kind of scared,” the mom said. It had been a while since she worked out, and she was apprehensive. But 15 minutes in, there she was doing it – push-ups, dips, sit-ups – modifying as needed, laughing when those last few dips got really hard, and surprising herself, I think. Perfect example of what really happens when we try to talk ourselves out of walking through the doors of that class or gym or whatever new-to-us thing we want to do, but we walk in anyway.
Also worth mentioning, the space at Optimal Self is really cool.
There’s a room of weights and machines that looks like an indoor jungle gym. The room next door is open and where the classes take place (although our class moved between the two during each circuit).
There’s also a load of anatomical stuff, books, signs, and statues.
The Body Weight Routine class happens Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30 p.m. It’s a $10 drop-in and free for Optimal Self members. Also at Optimal Self, you’ll find personal training, yoga, body work and massage, and energy work. Find out more.
Body Weight Routine
5:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesdays at Optimal Self, 640 Congress Street, Portland
$10 drop-in, free for Optimal Self members