Whole Body

Music and Cardio Collide in Bristol

Pound classes at La Vida! Dance & Fitness blend rocking rhythms with a full-body, glow in the dark workout

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There’s something to be said for just letting out some energy.

My Tuesday night became immensely cooler once I was holding a pair of neon drumsticks. They were also glow-in-the-dark, which made them extra rad. The room went dark for just a moment at the beginning of class, which was followed by a cheer as we all stood glowing in the black lighting. Our instructor Deana took her place at the center of the studio wearing a pair of fun, fluorescent light-up sneakers which created their own laser light show.

This is Pound, which incorporates drumsticks into a full-body cardio workout, bypounding them on the floor or together in various fast-paced rhythms. La Vida! Dance and Fitness in Bristol adds an extra element to their Pound class by illuminating the studio with black lights. Because of that, owner and instructor Deana Lepage recommended I wear brightly colored workout gear to her class that evening, meaning I could finally put the jazzy silver sneakers my mom had given me last Christmas to good use.

One of the songs we warmed up to was “Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith, a personal favorite. From our standing position we moved into slight side-to-side lunges while clapping our “Ripsticks” together, keeping the rhythm, then combined our arm toning movements with some squat-like motions. Even though our shoulders, biceps, triceps, forearms and legs were constantly moving, the drumsticks and upbeat music made it feel like we were rocking out rather than working out. As Deana explained, we were being “strategically distracted by shifting our focus to maintaining the rhythm of the music” and coordinating our hands and feet with each motion.

We then repositioned ourselves to sit on our mats, gearing up for the Pilates/core portion of class. While lifting our legs straight out, we began tap, tap, tapping away on both sides of our torso to “We Got the Beat,” possibly the best song to jam out to at a Pound class. Following that, Deana brought out some slightly more challenging Ripstick motions with “HandClap” by Fitz and the Tantrums. My hand/eye skills were way off, but when holding neon drumsticks, it was hard to care. After all, who gets frustrated at a neon dance party?

Lastly, we cooled down and stretched out to the slow but steady rhythm of Michael Jackson’s “Will You Be There,” aka the Free Willy theme song, which still brings a happy tear to my eye when I hear it.

After a thorough cooldown, the workout was over and those 30 minutes seemed to have flown by. Once the lights were back on, I could see that there were multiple age groups participating: a few middle-school-aged children, teens, adults and several seniors. Although the class was mostly fast paced, the low stress/low impact exercises allowed for people at most athletic levels to give it a try.

For someone like myself who often gets winded from climbing stairs, the “strategic distraction” this class provided was a gift from the (rock) gods. Pound was a great way to liven up the midweek doldrums and burn off some steam and calories – and a great excuse to invest in glow-in-the-dark accessories.

La Vida! Dance & Fitness
651 Metacom Ave, Bristol • 401-529-0076