Because of the mighty moving fiasco, my third week at Atos had more of a conditioning flavour.
After two days battling with the banking system, and then dragging cases and bikes across town, the idea of inviting big, strong, technically vicious, and potentially heavy world champions to sit on my ribcage proved too much. Even masochists have limits.
That’s not to say the conditioning didn’t hurt. Remember The Atos Attitude? It still stands, even when the only person beating you up is yourself.
First up, and for the benefit of every MMA fan and female BJJ obsessive in my social sphere, let’s talk about Cyborg’s Muay Thai conditioning class.
I will admit straight up that having seen Christiane Santos’ training excerpts all over YouTube, my interpretation of her “Come on ladies, let’s get fit” invite was mentally translated into “I’m going to force you to hula hoop with tractor tyres and squatthrust till your nose bleeds”.
In actual fact the class was pleasantly ego-boosting, with a great rate of pad-work interspersed with conditioning situp/punch combinations.
As luck would have it, the first session had an odd number of participants, which meant I had Cyborg herself holding the pads for me. There is something wildly satisfying, albeit completely based in fantasy, about push-kicking a Strikeforce veteran back across the room (as part of the drill, naturally) with zero chance of getting hit back. My fangirl attitude even made me work harder, mainly because I imagine Cyborg knocks these reps out one handed (or footed), whilst simultaneously sorting her inbox/walking the dog/sketching her next tattoo design.
By the time we did the “one, two, three…Atos” at the end of the class, everyone was “glowing” profusely (well, it was a ladies class) and the two Muay Thai newcomers had been converted. I can only really afford one class a week on our training budget, but for the newfound swagger, I consider it money well spent.
From a nice ladies class, to a “nice” ladies class.
Coach Nave has been off for a week, allegedly on honeymoon, but I suspect on some kind of secret camp where they plot how to bring gymgoers to the brink of tears in shorter and shorter intervals.
This meant that Maurizio Tangari, fellow Suples at Atos teacher, was in charge of the classes. Suffice to say he stepped up, over and beyond the metaphorical plate.
By Tuesday, he had somehow found himself a stick (the only reason you can’t see it clearly in the photo is because he is waving it too furiously), and had reinvented the English language to substitute the words “nice” and “love” for the kind of phrases you shouldn’t utter when young people are training in the same class as you.
It’s going to take years of therapy to untangle the terror I now feel when someone threatens to “throw my love right in your face” or “give you more love than you can handle”.
There were plenty of “nice” exercises in the Women’s Conditioning Session on Saturday, which involved 8 rounds (20 seconds on, 10 seconds off) at each station, circulating through rope beating, running against elastic, rope pulling against elastic, shrimping and bridging with a Bulgarian bag, dragging and flipping the bone dummy and then freestyling the Bulgarian bag again.
Despite my idiosyncratic 80s style pose at the end of the running rope, it was fantastically hard, or to give it a Tangari slant, “just so, so, nice”.
Those of you who want to see us in action, and hear Maurizio’s words of encouragement can watch his YouTube vid.
Friends and family, I issue this disclaimer in advance – despite the title of the video being “Motivated Mums in Action” I am not pregnant, any bulging is as a result of our recent Chicken Dinner binge.
Maurizio is of course the man behind Joint Mobility, which I promised to expand upon last week.
Joint Mobility works on the basis that as we fail to use our bodies through the full range of motion, the oily stuff that facilitates those movements sort of dries up and we get gradually stiffer.
Where we (me and Andy, and I suspect a fair few others who have enjoyed the delights of the class) set ourselves up for a fall was by imagining it to be some kind of delicate pilates/yoga/general rolling-your-ankles type affair, accompanied by low lighting and whale music.
Soothing this is not – the way to get those joints up and running again is allegedly by contorting yourself beyond the point where you want to stop, in acutely precise (down to the joint or muscle you are working on) and difficult movements.
This physical and occasionally mental process (believe me, the point where you stop is usually just the starting point for Maurizio to prod, squish or pull you further) involves a fair bit of “discomfort” and concentration.
As such, “Joint Mobility Faces” are common, and I like to think (mainly because I pull a lot of them) are a sign that someone is working hard.
It’s guaranteed that the movements will make you look at best camp and at worst like you chew your own jumper sleeves. Given the studio is right next door to the gym office and men’s changing room, it’s hard on the ego.
But whilst my BJJ training partners crudely attempt to stifle the looks of confusion and laughter, I console myself with the thought that one day I will be able to unscrew my own shoulders and escape that arm bar.