Mission: Can I Get Kelly Ripa's Body?
One writer's journey to find strength (and a thinner waistline?) through the celebrity-worshiped fitness workout, Physique 57
The burning means it's workingBy the time I finish the tricep and bicep movements with the five-pound weights, the planks, and the pushups (mine are even modified), my arms muscles are burning.
We then move to the ballet barre for a sequence of thigh work with what I have been sweetly referring to as the "playground" ball. But really, this thing should be more aptly named the "fiery depths of hell" ball.
Standing facing the barre (if you're at home, use the back of a chair), you place said ball between your thighs, keeping your heels together. Then you're instructed to start pulsing up and down. Sometimes you go slow, sometimes fast, sometimes up and down only an inch, sometimes all the way to the floor. And sometimes, you just sit back and gyrate just your hips forward, clinging to the ball with every ounce of might between your thighs. All of it, every last bit, feels like death -- like your thighs are going to burst into roaring flames. What the hell, literally, is going on?
"That burning sensation is the feeling of lactic acid building up," says Katie Warner Johnson, one of my Physique 57 instructors, a certified personal trainer, and Harvard grad to boot. These thigh movements are making tiny micro tears in the muscle that will, after recovery, build the muscles back longer, leaner, and stronger, says Johnson. It's the burning that means it's working.
SEE NEXT PAGE: Does the crying mean it's working?