A Week In Workouts: The Love Letter to Lia Bartha
This week Jenna Blackwell (37), a stay at home dog mom from Brooklyn, NY, takes us through her newly committed routine of following Lia Bartha for 6 weeks.
A quick background on me and movement: I danced for 22 years, four of which were professionally, so I have done pretty much every workout on earth, including, but not limited to, Dance! Workout with Barbie VHS (featuring a young Jennifer Love Hewitt), Tae Bo, any and all bootcamps, Soul Cycle, hot power yoga, The Class and SLT. I have a typical cheerleader/dancer build, so I can easily get too jacked (for my liking), so I’ve decided to try something a little different than I normally do. Enter B the Method by Lia Bartha– a low impact Pilates-inspired sequence of exercises using a small stability ball.
I met Lia in 2018 through my work, before she created the method, and she would post videos of her teaching pilates and her body and strength are goals for sure. I finally decided to give her method a try, but not just do a few classes, I am going all in. I have made the choice to stick with her for six weeks, doing nothing else. Here we go!
Day 1: Monday
Mondays are my absolute favorite because it’s like a full reset. I can do literally anything, including starting a new workout program that’s completely different than what I’m used to. Like many fitness websites, B the Method offers Live classes and On Demand classes, but the incredible thing about Lia’s site is that each week she gives you a Suggested Weekly Program.
Today is a 30 minute lower body series + a 15 minute lower body stretching series. The lower body series uses the small stability ball and while I didn’t sweat and found it to be kind of easy (and much more low impact than I’m used to), I felt good. I felt like my traps were already lengthening. Next up, guided stretching. I stretch pretty much everyday but having Lia guide me through stretches forced me to hold stretches longer than I normally would, and that felt wonderful.
Day 2: Tuesday
I’m not sore from yesterday’s workout, which makes me think I didn’t work hard enough, or that the workout wasn’t hard enough for me. But then I remembered, JB, you’re trying something new. Maybe all these hardcore workouts you’ve been doing just aren’t right for your body, which is why your shoulders are always in pain! Not just sore pain, but pain pain. So here I am, ready for day 2 of B the Method.
Today’s suggested program is a 60 minute Classic plus Cardio Flow that is Live. Lia always logs on a bit early for class to take questions and, really, she’s just the cutest. So while I didn’t have any questions, I just sat and watched her adoringly. This class was a bit more challenging and there are some moves that I absolutely cannot do. Roll down the spine then roll back up like a sit up, but gently and not using momentum? I just get stuck in the middle and have to use my legs to fling myself back to sitting. According to Lia, with more spine mobility and practice, I should be able to get it. New goal! I wore this emerald green set I got on Amazon, pink Bala Bangles, and some pink tie dyed Nike socks (that I dyed at the beginning of the pan de leche, er, pandemic) because Lia wears cute socks while working out so I will wear cute socks while working out!
Day 3: Wednesday
Okay so now I’m a little sore but not like can’t-stop-whining-about-how-sore-I-am sore. I always workout in the morning because if I don’t, I will not do it. When I used to work in an office (lol), if I was scheduled for an after work workout class, around 2pm without fail, I would begin pouting about how I didn’t want to go; pouting about how all I wanted to do was go home! Pout pout pout.
So now, I wake up, put on my workout gear (this bodysuit makes me feel like a ballerina), have my half caff coffee (because my anxiety doesn’t like full caff) with hazelnut Coffee Mate creamer, and get everything else situated for my new bff (that lives in my computer) to teach me her method.
Today on the schedule is a 30 minute Upper Body & Back series that was previously live in February. I love watching previously live classes because even though the class is on demand now, it’s not highly edited like other fitness classes are so I feel like I’m still there with her live. In this class, her daughter’s busted in, asking for her seaweed snacks to be opened. Then Lia’s frenchie, Larry David, made an appearance as Lia just laughed and was like, “Welp, okay then.” The class itself was incredible. Rolling out my shoulders and lengthening my arms and expanding my chest felt so great. Another part of the suggested programming was a 15 minute spine stretching series and boy did that feel amazing.
Day 4: Thursday
One thing I’ve learned about myself is that I love routine, so typically when I start a new workout, if I like it, I’m obsessed. I want to only do this workout and talk about this workout. If I don’t like the workout then I will never ever try it again. Turns out, I’m obsessed with Lia Bartha and B the Method. I can’t get over how low impact the workout is, but how I feel strong doing it, and how I feel like I have so much to improve on.
A big thing in the B Method is spine mobility and, frankly, as I get older, I’m realizing I might need to do things to my body to help it age gracefully. Today’s suggested program is a 30 minute Lower Abdominal series and a 15 minute Restore class. A lot of Lia’s method is focusing on the core and pelvic floor connection to every move you’re doing. Being conscious of this during all aspects of the classes just feels right and good, like I’m working everything from the inside out. I find myself noticing how I hold my core and pelvic floor at random times during the day now!
Day 5: Friday
I truly have been excited to get up and do my workouts, but because I’m used to sweating a lot more, I’ve been doing extra hot and sweaty epsom salt baths after. But first, 30 minute Side Leg & Glute Focused series. These tiny movements felt so incredibly hard, but after each Lia stretches you out and and it’s moan-inducing. On Fridays, Lia goes Live on Instagram for a 15 minute class at noon, but noon is simply too late for me. I knew it would be Obliques focused, per her schedule, so I just found another 15 minute On Demand Obliques class and did that one.
After I got into the tub to sweat while reading Yolk by Mary HK Choi until the water got cold because I didn’t want to put the book down. I really like using Dr. Teale’s epsom salts but the liquid bubble bath doesn’t smell as strong as the salts, but the salts alone leave me laying in mostly clear water, which I don’t love, so I use both the salt (for scent) and the bubbles (for coverage) and really get my money’s worth of epsom salt soaked into my skin.
Day 6: Saturday
Saturdays are my absolute favorite days, especially if the sun is shining. Usually I am in such a good mood on a sunny Saturday that my husband wants me to just shut up, but I don’t care! I blast Motown on the Sonos, drink my coffee and clean some around the apartment.
For a while now, my husband and I have tried to be on the same workout schedule, so I’ll do my classes inside the apartment while he will either go to the gym in our building or walk the stairs for an hour (insane!). Then when he gets back we’ll go to Evelina for brunch. We know they have the best heater situation around and their outdoor dining isn’t a fully closed cabin, so we feel good about it. Today’s class is a 45 minute Full Body with weights (me and my idol Lia wear Bala Bangles, one pound) and I’m on cloud nine because it’s full body and I’m getting used to how to articulate my spine and keep a neutral pelvis during certain moves, which was tricky for me before. Small wins!
Day 7: Sunday
Typically I take Sundays off, but the suggested weekly program has some movement on every day of the week. When I first read the schedule before doing any of her classes, I thought I would just take Sundays off. But the classes are so low impact and well balanced that I felt like I could do the classes and not feel overworked. Plus, what else am I doing in this panoramic?
Sunday’s schedule is a quickie: 15 minute Standing Cardio Flow and 15 minute Core and Lower Body series. I was able to convince my husband to do this class with me since it’s something much different than what he’s used to doing. Will he ever do it again with me? Maybe. Will I have to beg because he’d much rather just walk the stairs and listen to his own music or podcast for an hour? Yes of course. But I’m so happy to have done seven days of B the Method and I look forward to seeing how I feel at the end of the six weeks. Will I be able to do a full roll down and roll up without flinging myself up? Will my traps and shoulders be less tight and more relaxed? We shall see!
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