What you need: Wrist Bands! Gloves! (Not vital, but really helpful since your hands will get sweaty from holding weights the whole time (or socks or leg warmers). The new Thinny bands no longer have a foam cushion to protect your ankles (for sanitary reasons).
Props: Twiggy Bands (the ones that Velcro around your wrists) 3 and 5 pound weights
Clothing Considerations: Whatever you're comfortable in.
Sweat Factor: Sweaty Freddy (Some ladies were soaked. Others had an average sweat going. You may not want to go out in public right after for a drink, etc.)
Like most women my age, I had a massive crush on Uncle Jesse from Full House, so for me, the name of this class (Mercy) really invokes his signature catch phrase from the show: "Have Mercyyyy!" (Although, when I think about it, why was that his thing? And why did I laugh and think it was cute? That's the power of being HOT, for you.) (Although have you seen John Stamos's belly button?? It ain't pretty. Sorry, John Stamos. If you ever read this, I love you. And "Kokomo" was my favorite song as a kid because of you and that episode where you were in Hawaii with all the Tanners and played the bongos with the Beach Boys. Did I mention I love you? And your almost tail-like belly button, too? Rebecca Romijn was a fool to let you go! A fool, I say!)
Wooo! Ok, where was I? I saw the brief description on the blog which described Mercy as low impact cardio, requiring a coordination level of 2, and I thought this would be perfect for me as I continue to ease myself back into Lithing regularly.
Class begins by strapping into your Twiggy bands and grabbing your 3 pound weights. You start to warm up your muscles and work your abs by doing some familiar side-to-side flat back lunges. This begins a series of movements that incrementally raises your heart rate. You go from lunges to reach-throughs to some fun rolling snake movements to calf-pumps to the jack combos we do in most of our cardio classes. As soon as my stamina was waning, however, we got a brief reprieve from the cardio portion by doing some standing sculpting work.
Mercy distinguishes itself from other classes here. The band, weights, and barre-less leg work were done in combinations I've never had before at Lithe. In fact, despite being a coordination level 2, I found myself befuddled by how to get my arms and legs to do what everyone else's were doing. Not because the movements were complicated, but because they were brand new to me. I had zero muscle memory for them. Incorporating my biceps and triceps while doing standing foldover work was challenging, but also fresh and different.
After doing the intense sculpting work, it was on to burpee push-ups with weights, building to another series of cardio, and then sculpting work on the other side.
I'm not going to lie, I was a hot mess in Mercy. Full on. I couldn't coordinate, and I was having trouble with my balance and stamina. This was for a few reasons. 1. I'm out of practice, 2. This was completely new to me. 3. I went in with totally different expectations. I totally ignored the "get ready to sweat" part of the class description and figured coordination level of 2 and "low impact" meant that this was going to be a mellow-ish kind of class. I wasn't fully mentally prepared for how quick-paced the class was. And mental preparation, at least for me, is half the battle.
That said, I really liked it. It was such a full body workout. My shoulders, arms, BACK, waist, butt, legs ... everything. All at once. I could feel myself whittling down with each precise movement. It was like Twiggy and Skinny Mini and Armistice got freaky and had an incredible baby personal trainer that's gonna whip your ass into shape.
So, I'm definitely going to take it again (and again), but next time I'm going to 1. get to class early (especially at Rittenhouse) to get a good view of the instructor. It can be my instinct sometimes to want to hide in the back when I don't know a class yet, and that made things tougher for me in this case (I really encourage anyone new to Mercy to venture to the front for this one to get a good view of the instructor.) 2. Not to let low-impact fool me, and be ready to sweat!
For the days that you're not quite up for the non-stop cardio blast of classes like Weightless and Pom, but want to sculpt your body to a good sweat, this class is the perfect fit. Just imagine yourself on the beach with Michelle and DJ and imagine your tummy (and totally normal belly button) flattening with every move. Have. Mercy.
See you in class!
Image of Sayeh in Lithe via Dom