We tried FlowMotion, Baton Rouge’s newest aquatic fitness trend
“You’ll love it. It’s a hoot!” the lady at the front desk of Woman’s Center for Wellness tells me as she hands me a towel. I barely have a chance to wonder what exactly makes this new workout a “hoot”‘ before a petite, smiling lady introduces herself as Gwen and says that she will be taking the FlowMotion Bootcamp class with me.
Based on the little that I’ve read about the center’s newest fitness class, I’m expecting some strange combination of yoga and water aerobics. I’m not nervous–not until I pull myself up onto the rigid, floating, nearly 8-foot-long mat and let out a little yelp as it totters over, plopping me right back into the pool. It takes another try before I am carefully sitting in the middle of my wobbly steed.
Speaking of steeds, the first thing our instructor, Jackie wants us to do is called a “donkey kick.” Following her lead, I get on all fours, and I lift and straighten my left leg repeatedly until she tells me time is up. Not too bad. I think to myself, I can do this.
Jackie tells me that FlowMotion is said to be one of 2018’s biggest fitness trends of the year. Right now, the Woman’s Center for Wellness is the only location in the Baton Rouge area that offers it. Between beginner classes and bootcamps, she says that what makes the workout so great is the way it can be adjusted for people of all abilities, bodies and ages. She tells me that recently an 80-year-old woman came in and was the best in the class.
We do a few more moves–the inchworm, bridge, and some oh-too-familiar squats–before it gets really interesting. Jackie wants us to do “squat jumps.”
Jump? On what is essentially a large, padded, surfboard? I look down at the rippling water and start to get used to the idea that I will inevitably be flailing gracelessly into it before the hour is up. Gwen, my fellow Flow-mate, says that this is where it went downhill for her on her first time. I stare straight ahead, focusing on a single glistening tile on the wall, ease into squat position, and jump. This is no hurdle. My toes barely even leave the mat as I try with all my might not to teeter over. I land it. I’m okay. I try again, a little more comfortable this time, and, gaining confidence as I go, I make it through the duration upright and dry.
Moving through the rest of the workout, I realize that this is a unique test of concentration that I rarely experience in other fitness classes. To simultaneously stay upright, and to draw the most out of your core and both large and small muscle groups, requires a degree of focus and a test in stability. I feel myself engaging muscles that I haven’t used in years, since back when I used to take dance classes. And while many of the moves aren’t easy, I was able to take them at my own pace, and get through them painlessly.
Toward the end of the workout, we are tired, but laughing and joking around a bit. Neither of us have fallen, and now we are testing that limit, trying “tuck jumps” and “pop ups.” I find that I am really having fun, and the first twinges of tomorrow’s soreness in my sides, thighs and arms remind me that I am getting a great workout, too. I think to myself that I could get really good at this if I keep at it. The idea that the workout has a great potential for improvement is confirmed when Gwen tells me that she started coming because she wanted to improve her balance. Recent foot surgery had totally thrown her off, and she wanted to regain a sense of stability. She says that this workout with me was the first time that she hadn’t wiped out in the middle of class.
FlowMotion’s high-intensity program, performed through a series of low impact movements, is easy on the body while still effective in getting a great overall workout. In my experience, my body was challenged in strength, coordination and balance in ways that movements on the solid floor simply cannot achieve. Add in a strong inner resolve not to fall, and you find yourself working determinedly through your workout, and maybe laughing a little at yourself or your partner at the prospect (or reality) of a tumble and a splash.
To learn more about Woman’s Center for Wellness and FlowMotion, or to sign up for a class, visit womans.org.