With a background in dance and a lifelong passion for her community, Kathleen Gantz, owner of CardioGlow in Barrington, has created an atmosphere encouraging a fun, stress-free approach to fitness. During each class, conversation and laughter amongst the group go hand in hand with crunches and lunges. Classes begin about five minutes after the scheduled start time, allowing for those running a tad late to settle in – a policy that I think more establishments should adopt. The ambience of the studio is equally devoid of stress, decorated with tranquil turquoise colors and pearly seashell chandeliers, making for an almost spa-like setting. Naturally, the moment I walked into the studio I realized I had forgotten my water bottle. Thankfully Kathleen caters to the slightly absent minded as well as the late arrivals, by providing water and towels for all, and cute little shelves with inspirational quotes to place them on.
Given the fact that the class was named after one of my favorite early ‘90s party hits, I had a feeling that I was going to enjoy “Hoop There It Is,” my first toning, cardio dance and hooping experience at CardioGlow. Enjoy I did, but not without quickly realizing that there are two kinds of hula hooping in this world; the wacky, all-in-the-hips hula hooping that your Aunt Barbara does at family reunions after one too many Pinot Grigios; and the abdominal toning method, requiring a surprising amount of coordination and control of the hoop. This became clear when Stacy, our class instructor, demonstrated how to keep the hoop up by using a quick side-to-side rocking motion coming from the feet, legs and a tightened core. Thankfully I was not alone in the struggle to harness my hula skills, as there were participants of all levels in the class. Friendly laughs were shared by all as we periodically lost control of our hoops.
I was once told that ladies don’t sweat. They glow. And after all the hooping, toning and cardio dancing to Stacy’s fast paced playlist, I was really, really glowing. Once she incorporated simultaneous hooping and dancing I couldn’t help but feel like the inflatable wavy arm man that car dealers use. There is a lounge area for kids in the back of the studio, and I’m shocked none of them laughed at my wacky moves. I most certainly would have if I were them. Surprised by the amount of ways that the hula hoop was incorporated into the workout, I swore that that lightweight plastic ring got heavier and heavier with each arm lift.
The class ended with a brief abdominal workout and cool-down stretches, but before leaving I had to have a small peek through their clothing boutique at the front of the studio. Though it hasn’t exactly worked yet, my theory is the more fitness apparel I own, the more I will work out. I decided to treat myself to an exceptionally comfy tank top in the hopes that I will exercise at least one more time this winter.
No hooplah here, for the next couple of days, my abs, legs and arms were sore. The hoop added a positive distraction to the exercise and constantly trying to keep it in motion was a workout in itself. My fitness goal for the next class I attend is to simultaneously hoop and dance for 30 seconds. If I’m capable of doing that, then I should be able to reach my ultimate goal: to simultaneously hoop and drink Pinot Grigio. What can I say? I’ve got hoop dreams.
286 Maple Avenue, Barrington