by Deborah Rogers | photo by Amanda Cribdon Photography –
2020 was the year that many of us took to the couch. It was out of our control. When recreation centres, gyms, yoga studios and fitness classes had to close it left a lot of people feeling cut off from their source of health and happiness. For a period over the summer there was hiking and biking, paddleboarding, running – everyone was outside getting some exercise. Now the weather has changed, and health restrictions tightened again, working out has become much more challenging for most people.
For my “Day Out” for January I wanted to try an activity that would promote wellness, that was accessible to just about anyone, and that was something new to me. And that is why I’m writing this article with arms that feel a bit like lead, and a pair of bright green drumsticks by my keyboard. Yes: I survived my first online Pound workout!
I met up with the friendly faces behind Peninsula Pound on a Zoom call before the class. Chelsea and Nici have an infectious enthusiasm that gave me full confidence that the class would be fun above all. People work out for many reasons. Of course staying physically active and maintaining a healthy weight are two key reasons, but those who have participated in high intensity exercise over the years (the sort of exercise that gets you out of breath and a little sweaty) will know that there’s something else that’s triggered. It’s a surge of dopamine to your brain, and endorphins that flood your system, giving a sense of excitement and wellbeing. Finding the exercise that gets you into that state can be the difference between loving it and hating it; between finding a new way to stay healthy, or going straight back to the couch!
Chelsea and Nici have been teaching the Pound Rockout Workouts for several years, at various Peninsula studios, with McTavish Academy of Art one of the usual class venues. When everything shut down last March they were determined to keep providing classes for their regulars, as well as keep doing what they themselves love. Classes moved online, using Zoom as a platform, and they discovered a large and growing audience. They’ve had people join them from all over the world for some sweaty, feelgood exercise, and the chance to share in the Pound community.
Pound is a workout designed to be a quick hit of interval training built around rhythm. You use a pair of specially-designed drumsticks that are slightly weighted. This, apparently, keeps your core engaged and pushes you to exaggerate your movements, working lots of your smaller stability muscles alongside the constant squatting and lunging which definitely works your hamstrings, quads and glutes! The class is just 45 minutes and it’s built up of lots of micro workouts, as the movements are all tied to the music they use. Each song has a different rhythm, different sets of movements and finishes just about before you decide to throw your drumsticks to the floor and lie down.
I used to regularly go to aerobics and step classes, but it’s been quite a few years now since I did anything remotely choreographed. I know if I’d have been in a classroom setting with other people around I would have felt terribly self-conscious, but really in the privacy of your own home there is nothing better then turning the music up high and thrashing about a set of drumsticks. The movements are repetitive so picked up fairly quickly and if you can’t quite coordinate with the instructor? Well, who cares; Chelsea says ” there are no mistakes, only drum solos!” That is the Peninsula Pound attitude; it’s all about having fun rocking out, just feeling the music and letting it all go. It’s a really sweaty, cathartic experience that put a big smile on my face from the first few beats.
The pros of doing the workout from your home? You can have the music as loud, or quiet, as you want. There are no big studio mirrors to distract you. No one can see your choreography missteps! The cons? If you turn your camera off, Nici and Chelsea don’t know if you’re just laying on the mat at some points. Though I’m not admitting to anything.
Find Peninsula Pound on Instagram or Facebook. Online classes are currently by donation so there’s nothing holding you back from grabbing some drumsticks (or two wooden spoons) and rocking out.
Selfie courtesy Chelsea and Nici of Peninsula Pound.