You’d never know it by watching her perform high-flying tricks, but Felicia Coe has never considered herself an athlete. “I didn’t have much experience with fitness in my childhood. I didn’t play sports or do dance or gymnastics.”
An aerial fitness class four years ago changed everything. “It’s a great workout,” Felicia says, “it’s for someone like me who didn’t have any experience working out at all, or someone who’s very fit. We can modify things to make it easier or harder.”
We’re looking for easier, so we start on the hammock. It’s basically like a giant swing that provides support for stretching, crunches and pull-ups. It also acts as a safety net as we get the feel for hanging upside down. Felicia says this is a building block for what’s next. “OK!” she hollers, “let’s move on and do some silk stuff. I want to get you guys climbing!”
You heard right. The training wheels are coming off. Climbing is the foundation of any good trick and it’s also an amazing workout. “Everybody thinks you have to have upper body strength to start and that’s not true – we help you build up to it and eventually you’ll have some great upper body strength. It’s awesome cardio – because you’re climbing from the ground all the way to the ceiling each time.”
We’re winded after the climb, and we’re just getting started. Learning the “foot lock” is next. Once we master the climbing and wrapping, Felicia guides us through some tricks. It’s not always pretty, but we’re definitely working hard. “It’s a great core exercise,” Felicia explains, “because everything you do, you’re constantly trying to stabilize yourself on the fabric because it’s not a solid apparatus and it’s hanging in the air.”
Also hanging in the air is the lira. We struggle just to get on to the darn thing and tricks are really tough.
From pikes to a lovely pose called “the Gemini”, it all takes an incredible amount of strength.
By the end, we’re exhausted but we’ve also accomplished more than we thought we could, and we had a blast doing it. “It is fun!” exclaims Felicia, “there’s something so freeing about being an adult and hanging upside down. It makes you feel like a kid again, it’s so fun!”
For more information is available on the TGR Fitness website.