By VANESSA HAMPTON
I love fitness. I love everything about it. I love to watch people work out and discover things that they never knew they could do. Maybe it’s lifting more weight than they thought they could. Maybe it’s finding an ability to follow some dance steps. Maybe it’s doing a push up for the first time. Or maybe it’s just beating a time or reps of a previous workout. I get the privilege of having a job that allows me to witness this in others all the time, but I also love experiencing it for myself. You know the feeling. That feeling of being good at something. That feeling of accomplishment. What it is that inspires that feeling is different for each person and that should be our focus when we are determining the type of workout that is right for us.
When I first found my footing in regular exercise, that feeling came from traditional weight lifting and cardio in the gym. What I needed from a workout most, at that time, was consistency. The consistency alone created that feeling of accomplishment for me. Further along in my journey, that feeling of accomplishment has come from a wide variety of exercise. Understanding that life ebbs and flows and understanding that you have to move with it, is the key to longevity in workout consistency. Don’t be afraid to try new things or change your thinking if your workouts are getting stale, or even if you are having trouble getting started on a path to fitness. Here are some of the things that I have done in the past, still do, or have clients do to stay fit….and you don’t even have to have a gym membership to do some of them!
This type of workout is my love. Often times there is a mis-perception that you have to be super fit and a slight bit crazy to do CrossFit but that is false. At it’s core, the concept of CrossFit is functional fitness. Hitting all the components of fitness, the CrossFit focus is on power, strength, endurance, flexibility, agility, balance…all of the tools necessary to stay strong and healthy for life. All of this is with the ability to adapt a workout based on one’s specific needs, no matter your age or fitness level. (This is the primary strategy I use even in training my senior clients!). Aside from the amazing feeling of accomplishment after each workout tackled, the icing on the cake is the bond of a typical CrossFit community that keep you walking through the door.
SPIN CLASSES or STATIONARY BIKE
This is a regular part of my fitness regimen. If you go to a spin class or cycle studio, you will experience the stationary bike like never before. Just having an instructor guiding and cheering you on will push you to pedal harder and faster, and probably for a longer period of time, than you would on your own. I have a stationary bike at home and, when I need to mix it up or my mind just doesn’t have anything else to give, I will set my bike up in front of the tv and get in intervals, going from easier to hard levels every minute or two. The changes keep the mind engaged so that the time doesn’t drag on. Talk about some cardio!
My other love. If you read my article a few weeks ago, “The Benefits of Yoga”, then you already know why I am so fond of it. The mobility and flexibility benefits aside, Yoga offers a place to take a mental rest and get to know your body and how it moves. From Hot Yoga, to Vinyasa (Flow) Yoga, to Restorative Yoga, there are so many different types of classes. You could do a different style each week and never get bored!
BOXING & MARTIAL ARTS
A few years ago, I took boxing lessons from a private instructor. It was AMAZING. I struggle with coordination, so this proved to be a challenging workout that made me sore in places I didn’t even know I had. There was some sort of mental therapy that came from taking out aggression on a bag. The cool thing is that now you can even find group boxing classes to get your workout in. There are several disciplines in martial arts to pursue. So, if this appeals, check out other styles such as Kickboxing, Krav Maga, Tae Kwon Do, or Jiu-Jitsu and find a class in your area.
I like to help my clients find their own fitness love so, about 4 years ago, I got a few of them together to do a beginner Sprint Triathlon. The biking and running were no biggie but the swimming…wow. I had never done swimming for sport and it was a whole new adventure! I love the challenge, and it is a great way to stay fit. You can find a pool and classes at many recreation centers and larger gyms.
ZUMBA or DANCE STYLE WORKOUTS
I will not lie to you. This style of workout is not my thing. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to be coordinated in order to be a great personal trainer….and I fall into this category. However, I am envious of people that can follow along in these classes and it is an awesome workout that I love to recommend to clients. Dance style exercise classes can be a fun way to get your sweat on and there are many classes in your area to choose from!
WALKING or RUNNING
Often times, the benefit of a simple walk is underestimated. When I was recovering from surgeries over the last couple of years, I got back to walking in order to keep up my fitness and I wondered why I ever got away from it. Walking can be light or more intense if you add hills and distance. You can always combine your walking with running and create intervals or even just jog straight through. The best part about walking and/or running? You don’t have to have anything except a pair of shoes.
When I first started exercising I would walk into the gym and be overwhelmed. Not only by the amount of equipment, but also by not knowing what to do with it. This is where a personal trainer came in handy. People use personal trainers for different reasons. Some don’t know what to do and need guidance. Some need accountability by having someone waiting for them to show up. Still others know what to do and are motivated to exercise, but just don’t want to have to think about it. You can use a personal trainer for a short period of time just to learn, or for a lifetime. Don’t be afraid to find a good one to help you move forward, no matter where you are in your fitness journey.
RACES and OBSTACLE RUNS
Setting goals, both in fitness and in life, helps keep us motivated. This is what registering and preparing for races and obstacle runs can do for you. There are so many different types and styles of races that just about anyone can find something that intrigues them. This is a fun way to mix it up, challenge yourself, or just bond with a training partner!
If you are the type of person that likes to mix it up frequently, check out classpass.com. They offer monthly memberships that allow you to drop into a wide variety of classes, gyms and fitness studios on any day. All for a very reasonable price. Genius idea!
There are a million different ways to exercise and the only thing that can stop you is you. You don’t have to do the same thing all the time in order to see results and stay fit. What it comes down to is this. The body needs to move and only you can make that happen. Whatever season of life you are in, it’s all about you. Be flexible in your thinking and move with the times. If your body or your mind is no longer accepting the workout you are doing, dive into something else and hit the reset button. Think outside your box and try something new today!!