When Emma Staton and Melissa Zimmerman met four years ago, their fitness routine was basically all kettlebells, all the time. They became friends at the gym, where their strength training routine was — in their words — “hardcore.” Emma was so into her kettlebell regimen that she completed trainer certification in New York City, with Melissa by her side to cheer her on.
As for yoga, neither of the women had ever quite “gotten” it. Melissa, who has a background in running marathons, had a bad experience at an office yoga class several years ago. While Emma liked the idea of a yoga practice, she’d tried a few studios and had never gotten the intense workout she was looking for. When Candace Carmick — a friend Emma had made through her daughter’s Girl Scout troop — invited her for a class at bulldog, Emma was hesitant, but gave it a shot.
After her first class, Emma says she “got hooked,” mostly because she was finally experiencing a butt-kicking sweat session on the mat instead of just “getting zen.” She continued regular kettlebell training with Melissa, who says she started to see physical changes in her friend’s body as she picked up her yoga routine. Given her bad history with yoga, Melissa refused Emma’s initial invitations to join her for a class at bulldog… until the end of 2016.
Emma and Candace finally convinced Melissa to check out a class with Jenny Lofaro, and Melissa showed up to the studio without a towel or water (anyone who’s taken Jenny’s class knows this is a mistake). She finished the practice sweaty and a little unsure of herself, but by January 2, she’d decided to jump into a more consistent bulldog routine with her friends. “I needed to find patience,” Melissa says. “I’m allowing myself not to be able to do everything right away in a class.”
Emma, Melissa, and Candace now go to yoga almost daily. The once “strictly kettlebell” duo has converted almost entirely to bulldog, citing the increasing “length and leanness” of their muscles. Candace stopped working one-on-one with a trainer for strength training — she says she’s now “getting more strength-wise from yoga than traditional weights.”
bulldog’s special sauce also has a lot to do with the friends’ newfound love for yoga. “They’ve just figured out the right formula,” Emma says. The awesome playlists, community vibes, and fierce cardio exercise they’ve found at the studio has made it a perfect match for the trio.
The moral of the story? With the right class and leader, even the most anti-yoga, hardcore fitness buffs can find their best workout ever on the mat.
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