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Flywheel Sports' six-week Flybarre Challenge: Crazy, but you may get addicted

Writer Hilary Sheinbaum, left, follows the instructions of

Writer Hilary Sheinbaum, left, follows the instructions of instructor Kara Liotta at FlyWheel Sports in Manhattan on May 14, 2014. Photo Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

A physical challenge never seemed like much of a challenge to me.

Having always been involved in some sport or exercise regimen, I'm not exactly out of shape. I'm 5'5", a size 2 and work out almost every day. I ran cross country in high school, can do crunches forever and spinning is my favorite.

So, when I decided to take on Flywheel Sports' FlyBarre Challenge, I thought, "No problem-o" -- never mind I had never stepped foot (no shoes allowed!) inside a barre studio. Four classes a week for six weeks? Totally doable.

In early April, I literally jump-squatted into my first 7 a.m. class. My new exercise regimen mostly involved FlyBarre 60 -- an hour-long body sculpting class -- and FlyBarre Sport (also an hour), which has the same circuit training, yoga, Pilates and strength building, but with heavier weights and more cardio.

Suffice it to say, the first week left me exhausted -- and a little confused. Despite being able to do the exercises, I was having trouble completing reps. How could this be? I thought I was in decent shape!

But it got better. During week two, I focused on completing exercises in good form. By the third and fourth, I was taking fewer breaks. At the end of week five, I opted for heavier weights (they range from 1, 2, 3 and 5 pounds). In week six, I was able to finish a class without skipping a pulse.

As far as the challenge itself goes, I never missed a class. It's set up so that sessions are (ideally) attended every other day, though some weeks I had to pop in two (or three) days in a row after my schedule created a 48-hour hiatus from the studio.

Over the course of six weeks, I became the FlyBarre version of those CrossFit fanatics. You know, the ones who talk non-stop about their workouts. My friends, unsurprisingly, did not care to hear about my daily dynamic arms set and thought I was crazy for even attempting the challenge.

And sure, there were times I found myself wanting to skip class, pop into DreamDry next door to Flybarre's Flatiron studio and get my hair blown out instead of throwing it into a sloppy bun and working out. But in the end, the physical change was obvious -- and worth it all. In six weeks, I shed 5 pounds, plus an inch from each of my thighs, almost two inches off my waist, more than an inch on my hips and a half-inch from my arms.

And my friends who thought I was crazy? They're all signed up for the next challenge.


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