Like any group fitness class, it’s the music that really draws you in and makes you want to move.
Put a pair of drumsticks in your hands, and you’ll want to start pounding away at the floor, doing dozens of squats, lunges and other workout staples without even realizing it — at least until the next day when you feel it in your thighs, buttocks and elsewhere.
Still, Tasha Skouby, St. Clair, bets you’ll come back for more. She did. Then she went a step further and became an instructor.
Skouby has been holding twice weekly POUND classes at the Moose Lodge in Union since August.
If you’re not familiar with POUND, a quick Google search will catch you up with a variety of videos, but basically it is a popular group fitness class inspired by the fun of playing the drums.
“Using Ripstix®, lightly weighted drumsticks engineered specifically for exercising, POUND® transforms drumming into an incredibly effective way of working out,” the POUND website reads. “Instead of listening to music, you become the music . . . ”
Created in 2011 by two women in California who were both recreational drummers and former college athletes, POUND is a full-body workout that combines cardio, conditioning, and strength training with yoga and pilates-inspired movements.
POUND came to Franklin County three years ago when Jessica Blankis began offering classes. She had been leading weekly Zumba classes, but after an ad for POUND popped up in her Facebook feed, she knew she wanted to become a POUND Pro too.
“I immediately thought, I have to do this! It looked so fun!” Blankis recalled.
In December 2014, she was following the POUND company on social media, and ended up winning a complete POUND system (DVDs and a pair of Ripstix) in a promotional contest.
That only motivated her more to become an instructor, and two months later she was taking a POUND Pro training class in Kansas City.
“It’s unlike any other fitness class out there,” said Blankis. “You have the sticks and they make this noise, so you feel like you’re a rock star.”
After taking Blankis’ POUND class for two years, Skouby decided to become an instructor herself when Blankis informed her students she would need to take a break due to commitments for her day job as a human resources manager.
“I had to have it in my life,” Skouby remarked. “I love doing it. The more I can get it, the better.”
The POUND Pro training is an eight-hour class led by a POUND Icon, who teaches the choreography for each song, provides business tips and explains the regulations and rules to follow.
“The Pound Icon is really high energy, helps you get going,” said Skouby. “You do the same songs 20 times until you have the rhythm and choreography down. Then we did it with a partner.”
Vastly Different Than Zumba
Blankis has had people ask her if POUND is kind of like Zumba with drumsticks, and her answer is a firm, no. The two classes couldn’t be more different, she said.
“The fun music is there for both, but they are completely different,” said Blankis. “Zumba is very much just cardio. POUND is actually a Pilates-based fitness. There is cardio in it, but it is more geared toward core training, strengthening your core.
“It’s definitely more toning based with a lot of core strengthening. In POUND, we get on the floor to do ab work, whereas in Zumba, we don’t do that at all,” said Blankis.
But like Zumba, it may take a couple of POUND classes before you get the hang of it, said Skouby.
“Once you get the basics of all the moves, the songs kind of change, they’ll twist up the moves a little, but it’s all pretty much the same lunges, squats, jumping jacks . . . you’re just doing it in a different way to whatever style the music is,” said Skouby.
Most of the workout will be felt in your legs, buttocks and core.
You don’t need to have any certain ability or experience before taking a POUND class, said Skouby.
“All of the moves can be modified, so it’s good for people of any fitness level,” she said.
What to Expect
Instructors provide the Ripstix to their POUND students, and it’s recommended that each person bring a yoga mat (instructors often have extra to share).
“You pretend the mat is your drum kit, and you’re rocking it that way,” said Skouby. “And for some of the songs, we sit on the floor, so then you sit on your yoga mat.”
POUND classes run between 45 minutes to an hour long. At the start of her classes, Blankis talks to her class about the proper form to have when doing some of the moves, so that people don’t strain their backs.
Skouby hands out a card with Helpful Tips for POUND Newbies:
Hold your Ripstix like a remote control.
Keep your movements strong and firm.
Keep your back straight, chest up and booty out.
Feel the music . . .
The choreography of each routine is matched perfectly with the songs, and the routine for each song is universal across the board, regardless of the instructor.
Instructors can subscribe to POUND to have access to new songs and routines, said Skouby, noting the company releases three or four new songs every month.
Songs at Skouby’s Jan. 10 class featured “HandClap” by Fitz and the Tantrums, and songs by Pink, Salt and Pepa and Usher.
POUND literature says you can burn up to 900 calories an hour with the workout, but Skouby warns her students not to expect too much weight loss too fast.
“When I started doing POUND, I didn’t lose any weight right away, but I noticed a change in my muscle tone,” said Skouby.
“You can get discouraged in the beginning. So I encourage my students to take a picture of their (bottom) now and a picture in eight weeks, so they can see the difference.”
Blankis has had clients tell her they didn’t realize how many squats they did in one class because they were just having so much fun.
“It’s like a workout disguised as a rock band,” Blankis remarked.
If You Go . . .
Skouby holds POUND classes on Mondays and Wednesdays at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the Union Moose Lodge, 905 W. Highway 50, Union.
Admission is $5 a class, and registration is not necessary. Walk-ins are welcome.
Skouby said her classes are not large. She averages about five people each class.
Blankis has been offering POUND classes on Mondays and Thursdays at 6:15 p.m. and Zumba on Tuesdays at 6:15 p.m. at the Pacific Eagles Hall, 707 W. Congress St., Pacific.
In February, however, Blankis’ POUND classes may switch to Mondays and Tuesdays with Zumba on Thursdays. Watch her Facebook page for details.
Blankis’ classes also are $5 per class or she offers a monthly membership.
Registration isn’t necessary. People are welcome just to show up.
Sometimes Blankis offers fun twists to her classes, like black lights so students can glow in the dark.
It’s all about keeping it light and fun, she said.