I have a confession: I’ve maintained pretty much the same fitness routine in the year and a half since I left Green Mountain at Fox Run. That routine consisted of strength training with barbells and free weights, beginning step classes and yoga.
In January, I decided I needed to make some changes. I was sick of yoga. I didn’t feel like I was getting enough cardiovascular exercise. My best friend told me, “You seem angry a lot lately. Have you been avoiding cardio?” Getting my heart rate up really helps me release pent up emotions and stress.
In the New Year, my gym was offering complimentary group trainings. I decided to put my big girl pants on, despite my anxiety of getting out of the same old fitness routine and try them out.
My exercise rut was comfortable, keeping me healthy, but not challenging me or keeping me interested.
I tried a variety of new things. Some I liked, some I despised, some were just okay. Trying new modes of movement is kind of like dating. You meet some weird people, you meet some boring people, and sometimes…. You meet your soul mate! In my case, my fitness soul mate.
I was first introduced to the world of Kettlebells through the blog of Karen CL Anderson. It sounded intriguing! Kettlebells are round iron balls with a handle. They differ from free weights in that you use a swinging motion that resembles functional daily movements. I only tried Kettlebells once. Because we were in a small group, I felt like my form was incorrect, and so grew frustrated fast. I would possibly try this again if I had more 1:1 guidance.
TRX consists of suspension ropes in which you use your own body weight to build core strength as well as overall resistance training. This workout was tough! I definitely could feel the benefits of this workout the next day when my triceps were so sore!
Yamuna Body Rolling
This is not actually exercise, but rather a good compliment to your movement routines. Yamuna Body Rolling involves small rubber balls that are used by an instructor to use along the participant’s body. The instructor’s own strength along with the ball help enable the participant’s muscles to open up and relaxed. I found it really helpful with chronic neck and shoulder pain issues. When I was done with my session, I felt instant relief, and even felt like my shoulders opened up and I could stand with better posture.
Pilates on the Reformer
My true love! At long last, I have met my match. Pilates on the Reformer is amazing. There are 6 principles of Pilates: Centering, Control, Flow, Breath, Precision, and Concentration. A reformer uses pulleys and springs to create resistance. Cables, bars, and straps are used to add variety to the over 500 exercises available. What I love about it is the mind-body connection that I experience throughout the exercises. I’ve learned to engage my core in a whole different way. The downside to this movement option is that it can be quite costly.
I’ve got to say, this piece of vibrating equipment is truly bizarre, but gives you an amazing workout! It is a whole body vibrating device that you can use to do squats, lunges, & any exercise involving bands. The Powerplate allows your muscles contract 25-50 times a second compared to two or three times a second which is the norm. After using the Powerplate, I was exhausted after about 15 minutes. Using the vibrations to help me stretch out at the end of the workout was an added plus!
My Pilates instructor encouraged me to try Ballet Barre class. So, I anxiously joined 5 other women at the barre. I hadn’t taken a dance class since the age of 5, when my tap career ended due to separation anxiety. Having ballet experience could help but is not really necessary to get a good workout in this class. Using the ballet barre, the instructor lead us in various movements that were pilates & ballet-inspired. Lots of plies, squats, & core-building exercises were set to music. My body responded right away. My backside has never been the same.
Kinesis is a strength training set of equipment that uses pulleys and loops to replicate functional movements of every day life. I liked the fluidity of the movements as I used the cables to do various exercises. It also is great for gaining endurance, balance, & stability.
I tried indoor cycling classes about 6 years ago, and I hated it! Despised it, actually. I found the seat uncomfortable, and did not like getting off the bike to do “hills.” Desperate to burn some energy, I gave it another go. I was a convert almost right away. I love how my heart rate increases almost right away. I love how sweaty I feel during and after the workout. I love the community aspect of people riding together. One time I even attended a Cycle Karaoke class! A Karaoke machine was brought into the cycling studio. Each participant got a sheet of lyrics, and we passed the microphone around as we pedaled our hearts out! It was a blast. I will never use a treadmill again, if there is a cycle class available simultaneously.
Overall, Pilates on the Reformer and Spinning/Cycle are what I have incorporated into my weekly exercise routine. Just like dating, I’m so glad I took plunge into new movement activities! If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have found my fitness soul mate.
What new activities are exercises have felt like an instant connection with?
Jill C blogs about eating mindfully and living intuitively at Eating as A Path to Yoga.