FULL DISCLOSURE: I am not someone who works out.  I’m not a runner.  I’m not one of those people who need to get to the gym every day (or once every six months for that matter).  My weekly cardio typically consists of Saturday morning strolls to the Starbucks on Southport for my grande non-fat, no-whip iced mocha.  It’s about eight blocks each way, so I usually feel a sense of accomplishment when I get home.
Oh, and I take the very steep stairs three flights up to work every day.  Those strenuous activities and the odd yoga class every few weeks (to keep me feeling centered) are the extent of my workout routine.
Lately though, I’ve been feeling the need to kick it up a notch (or 100).  I wanted to experience those endorphins everyone always talks about, to tone things up a bit, to increase overall strength.  And for some strange reason, I’ve always wanted to be able to do a handstand on the beach.  Basically, it was time to get my act together on the workout front.  So when I was presented with the challenge to try out The Dailey Method in Bucktown for 30 days unlimited, I was a mixture of eager and anxious.

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The Dailey Method is a full body workout that combines yoga, Pilates and barre work (like that of ballerinas) to create a lean, sculpted and toned physique.  Like any Chicagoan, I Yelped it to prepare myself for my first class.  The reviews were glowing and I was excited to get started.

Upon entering the studio, I was greeted by two very welcoming Dailey Method staff members, one of whom was to be my instructor for the class, Emily.  I filled Emily in on my no-experience-whatsoever, scared-to-die-working-out situation and she assured me I would be just fine.  I was pretty sure she was lying, but bless her heart for doing so - it gave me some confidence.

I toured the facility and was totally impressed with the clean, modern feel of the entire studio.  A small retail space in the reception area offers a selection of items to purchase for your workout routine.  The locker room is immaculate and features a comfortable changing area with lockers, spotless showers, complimentary toiletries, hairdryers and towels for your convenience.  In addition to two workout rooms (one of which serves to accommodate “overflow” from the main room), The Dailey Method offers “The Kid’s Room,” which provides child care for children up to age ten at the cost of $6 per child.  Completely genius and so convenient for moms.

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The class room is a bright, welcoming space with walls of windows and floor to ceiling mirrors so you can view and correct your form throughout class.  Ballet barres encircle the room and up-tempo jams get the energy going.  We began class marching in-time to get our heart rates going and I was terrified that this was what the entire class would be like; coordinated movements to music.  I have no rhythm and right off the bat, my opposite elbows were not connecting to my opposite knees on the beat like everyone else’s.  Luckily, this was brief and we moved into core, seat, arm and leg work using light weights and straps on the barre, depending on what the exercise required.

I never knew two pound weights could make such an impact.  Through a series of small and controlled repetitive movements, my body became reacquainted with muscles it forgot it had.  Emily, who was quickly becoming one of my favorite people on earth with her positive feedback and helpful corrections, instructs the class over a headset with a mic so you can easily hear her directives over the thumping music.  This was unlike any other group class I had attended in my inexperienced past in that the instructor was encouraging, not calling people out to improve their form.  The effect was incredibly helpful; I felt motivated and confident instead of timid and worried about not being able to keep up.

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Let me be clear, this is workout, but you can go at your own, best pace.  More than once, a position became too much for my atrophied muscles to hold and I had to go into a neutral position and shake it out.  That is one of the things I appreciated most about this class – the instructor does an excellent job in pushing you to do your best work but there is no shame in taking a pause if necessary.  Before I knew it, an hour had flown by and I felt that wonderful glow of a happily exhausted body as I walked out of class.  The strangest thing happened as I walked to my car – I started to get why people worked out!  I could see this becoming a habit (a good one!).

In my first week, I was able to attend three classes and it never felt like an inconvenience or hassle to get there.  In fact, I found myself looking forward to going.  Class times are convenient, whether you prefer an early morning workout before getting to the office, if you have time midday or if you want to fit a class in before meeting friends for dinner.  The Dailey Method website allows you to view and sign up for the classes you want to attend.

This may sound crazy and a little premature, but I do feel like I can tell a difference in my body after a week, especially in my arms and abs.  Being the impatient person that I am, I like quick results and if this is the result of a week’s effort, I can’t wait to see what week two will bring.  I’ll keep you posted!

Helpful tips if you are planning to attend a class at The Dailey Method Bucktown:

  • Wear comfortable workout attire like yoga pants and tanks.  Due to the amount of sweating that is likely to ensue, you may want to avoid gray tanks and/or pants, as they tend to show sweat patches rather easily (and embarrassingly)
  • Socks are required for class.  The Dailey Method sells socks with grips on the bottom, which is helpful when holding plank pose or keeping your foot on the barre
  • Metered street parking is fairly easy in the area but free parking is available if you inquire at the registration desk for a parking sticker

Stay tuned for Part II next week!

To learn more about The Dailey Method and find a location in your area, visit TheDaileyMethod.com, like TDM on Facebook or follow TDM on Twitter.

Photos from thedaileymethod.com/chicago

Disclosure:  I was provided with a 30 day trial for this review, all opinions are my own.

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