WENDY WINN, FOUNDER OF CUSTOM PERFORMANCE
“UGH! WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD EVER TAKE 100 CLASSES OF THIS?! They must be insane!”
“Janet R congrats on 100 classes” read the tiny magnetized placard on my Mega-former.
Shoulders quivering from my several-minute plank series (yes that’s correct), I questioned Janet’s sanity. It was April 2019 and little did I know about the journey I would soon embark on. SLT (Strengthen Lengthen Tone) NYC is by far the hardest workout class I have ever taken. Similar to the “I’m never running another marathon” feeling at the finish line, I left my first SLT class and thought, “Well, that’s it for me. That was WAYY too hard.”
But, just like the challenge of the marathon never fades, neither does my self-challenge for SLT. I distinctly remember asking Julie, the studio manager, at my first class, “How long does it take ‘til this gets easier?” She started laughing, “It never gets easier!” Apparently, I’m a sucker for punishment.
What is the magic behind SLT and why is it so tough?
The mega former is a weighted sled machine (with springs) very similar to a Pilates reformer machine, but larger and heavier weights. So the resistance is typically difficult.
Each class is different, with what seems like 1,000 different complex moves. The sequence of the class burns out one whole side of the body at a time (left leg, left oblique, right leg, right oblique.) The exercises are very slow and eccentric (lengthening) or isometric (holds). Many of the exercises are whole-body exercises that require an enormous amount of core stability. Weaknesses in your kinetic chain will be front and center after one minute of “bear” (resisted plank on hands with slow knee bending and straightening).
Sign. me. up.
Probably for the few months of classes, I would quite literally cry–several times–during class because it was so hard. I would also definitely cry afterward in my car to release my effort from class. But then, I committed to going. I knew it was changing me for the better. First once a week, then twice. The SLT slogan is “Better sore than sorry!” and my body lives that out every two days during the week. I am, like they say on their branded tees, “Never not sore.”
Two weeks ago I checked the SLT app. 101 classes. “OMG I am Janet R,” I thought to myself. And a wave of pride swept over me. I could barely survive the first class, and here I am today. I am not the youngest, nor skinniest, nor the fittest person in the class, but I still show up. For me.
Why did I stick with it? It is more than just the challenge. SLT provides me with the core and glute strength I (and many runners) desperately need. It’s never the same and the variety is interesting. It’s hard AF and I always am proud of myself afterward. I have chronic spinal pain from scoliosis and this helps challenge my core strength (I still have to do mobility work separately). As I age, I want to maintain strength to be able to run and be ultra-active.
Just like everything, some days are easier and some are harder. Just like with running, some days my body feels tired and weak and painful, and some days I feel capable.
But now that SLT is part of my life, I feel strong and fortified. I feel mentally capable. I feel like I can push myself each day to be stronger.
I think the magnet ceremony has since stopped, so Happy 100 classes to me. Here’s to 100 more! Want to learn more about SLT? www.sltnyc.com
(Pictured is Allyson Burns, my teacher for the majority of the classes! Also of note, I wear almost nothing to class. This is not to show off my body. This is completely self-preservation so I do not overheat and pass out!)