I’m not that old, but with how far fitness has come since I was in college, I kind of feel ancient.
Over the past several years, the workout world has evolved. No joke, for the longest time, you either played a sport or hit the gym—two things that didn’t interest me in the slightest. I mean, I played softball for seven years and I absolutely loved it, but when it came to other sports (playing or watching), hard pass.
As for the gym, I was always bored out of my mind. It was 20 minutes on the elliptical, 15 minutes on the treadmill, five minutes on the stair climber (that thing is hard!), and then a few weight machines. I tried to tell myself I was really getting in a workout, but deep down, I felt like I was doing nothing except wasting time and not reaping any benefits. And when it came to at-home videos/YouTube workouts? Ha! Back then, those were considered to be for amateurs.
Fast forward to now, there are a gazillion different types of workouts, classes for every level, apps that encourage at-home workouts, and an instructor to fit your every need. Things have changed in a major way, and it’s amazing—but it was only until I recently that I realized what I’ve been missing out on all these years.
I finally signed up for Class Pass, which has already changed my life. I’ve been eating pretty healthy since September, but I wasn’t working out. Since joining CP, I now feel double the fulfillment of being healthy.
But it’s not like I came to one class and suddenly had everything fall into place. It took a little bit of time and encouragement. Below are all the ways I finally began to enjoy working out:
While I do think working out is actually an intimate, personal experience, I believe that, depending on the type of exercise, teaming up with a pal or going with a group can be an excellent motivator. For a reflective workout like hot yoga, it makes sense to go alone, but having a group of friends who attends the same fast-paced, hot pilates class each week is more about pushing one another to show up (or looking over at each other with eye rolls when the class gets too hard). Meanwhile, going hiking each Saturday with a pal forces me to get out of bed and get a workout in early to start my day off right.
These group or partnered fitness sessions have been excellent opportunities to catch up with pals in a productive environment. And after the workout, it’s a nice reward to grab a smoothie or a light bite with people as a cooldown from the exercise.
Much like the workouts themselves, fitness attire was oh-so-limited up until just a few years ago. A pair of ill-fitting Adidas track pants paired with a baggy puffer jacket, for example, was all the rage. I never felt cute or confident in workout clothes. Now, there are more athleisure lines than I can count, with various colors, materials, patterns and fits. I’ve fallen in love with some of the options currently on the market, and working out in them makes me feel super confident during my sweat sessions, and after, when I’m running errands or grabbing a bite to eat.
Your body isn’t going to change overnight, so after even the toughest of workouts, it’s not like I look in the mirror and expect to see a six-pack. That said, knowing you put in the work for the day automatically makes you feel achieved. Whatever I’ve done is obviously significantly better than what I could have not done. I always leave a workout knowing that my input will lead to a strong output down the line.
For the greater part of my life, I really thought cardio-heavy forms of fitness were the only way to work out. Whether you were going for a jog around your neighborhood, running on a treadmill, playing soccer, or whatever the case may be, no one ever focused on low impact exercises—or even HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), which does involve cardio, but is broken down into tiny repetitions that don’t make the experience too stagnant or overwhelming.
Thanks to Class Pass, opportunities through work, and just general studios that have popped up in my area, I’ve had a chance to explore a slew of unique classes to really nail down what I enjoy, and to ensure I’m not doing too much of the same thing at one time. Some days I’ll opt for spin (which I’m finally getting the hang of), other days I’ll take on a challenging mat pilates class. And, heck, maybe I’ll throw a curveball my schedule’s way and take on kickboxing. Whatever the case may be, I love nailing down a workout that’s right for me in any particular moment.
The fact of the matter is, after an eight-hour work day, I’m going to be tired no matter what. But what’s a better use of my time: almost falling asleep behind the wheel in an hour of bumper-to-bumper traffic, or getting amped up at a workout class, only to cut my commute time home in half? While there are certainly days in which I need to head straight home for whatever reason, why not save myself a little time (and do something productive in the process) once or twice a week?
I never plan to workout competitively, so I don’t really compare myself to other peoples’ form or ability to do certain things in a workout. But it’s definitely nice to no longer struggle with clipping in at a spin class, or having to continuously look over at someone more experienced in pilates. Each time I step into a class, I do so with just a smidge more confidence than I did before. TBH, no one’s even really looking at anyone else anyway, so I’ve kind of stopped caring about measuring up to others. As long as I make it through the entire class, I’m a happy camper.
Before I began working out regularly (even though I was eating significantly healthier than in the past), I didn’t feel my clothes fitting me any differently. I saw changes in my face, and I felt so much happier and healthier overall, but I was still wearing the same size. Once I incorporated working out into my weekly routine (approx three times a week), I noticed a slight difference almost immediately. Now I’d be lying if I said weight’s just melted off, but again, I’m noticing slight improvements off the bat. It’s what keeps me trucking along. But as anyone who works in fitness will tell you, weight loss shouldn’t be your primary reason for working out. It’s amazing for clearing your head and strengthening your muscles, too!
Are you still struggling to get off the couch? HERE’s the lazy girl’s guide to staying fit all year long!