How a Month of Trying Unique Workout Classes Boosted My Body Confidence
I consider myself a fairly confident person, but trust me when I say that didn't just happen overnight.
It took many years for me to become this self-assured, and more than half the time I pull the whole fake-it-til-ya-make-it shtick.
The one area I always struggled in finding assurance was body confidence. For the longest time, I had difficulty looking at my body in a positive way. No matter how hard I tried, I was never completely enthusiastic about how my body looks.
Life is too short to not love your body, but I never expected to gain such a boost in confidence after trying eight unique workouts during a month of giving the ClassPass phenomenon a try.
I started this experience with my co-worker Brittney just for fun, but I got so much more out of it than I was initially expecting.
Keep scrolling to see how each workout I participated in helped me feel better about my body!
What it is: Basically, it's a class where you do a variety of aerobic steps, dynamic sprints and jumping all on an exercise trampoline.
My experience: I was definitely nervous going into this workout. It seemed pretty intense, and I wasn't sure how I was going to stack up next to the other participants. I ended up not doing too bad, though Brittney faired far better than I did. With my short attention span, I found it difficult to keep up with the instructor. I just wanted to jump up and down on the trampoline my way. Nevertheless, I persevered and made it through the hour-long class.
After the class, I felt really good about myself. I was happy that I was able to make it out alive, and even prouder that I didn't walk out when the going got tough, as I've done that many a times in the past. Being out of my element was a bit scary at first, but it left me feeling excited and ready for the workouts to come.
What it is: Essentially it's a ballet class where you learn the basic positions and techniques dancers use.
My experience: I used to be a ballet dancer, and when I say used to, I mean when I was 5 years old and my mother forced me into doing it. Then she signed me up for it again when I was in middle school. I never really liked it because it always felt so slow and dragged on. Needless to say, I wasn't too hype about this class, but I figured there was no harm in trying ballet once again.
The class was way more of a workout than I was expecting, with the hour going by rather quickly. Honestly, I've never felt more graceful in my entire life. I left feeling so poised and elegant. It's a good thing I decided to give ballet classes another go!
What it is: A strength-training class where you learn the basics of aerial fitness.
My experience: I was stoked for this class! I've always wanted to participate in some sort of aerial fitness class, but I could never force myself to do so. To be honest, it was a bit terrifying at first, especially because the class Brittney and I went to was full of some more advanced aerialists. That being said, it was still so. much. fun.
It pushed me way out of my comfort zone, which was just what I needed. Normally I turn away from something if I'm not initially a pro at it. The struggles of being a perfectionist, amirite?! It felt nice though not being good at something. I felt free to make a fool of myself. I mean no one there was expecting I'd be twisting and twirling like a pro after one class, so why did I expect that from myself? I was inspired to be a little less hard on myself after this one class, which sounds crazy. But, hey, it's the truth!
What it is: A whole body strength training, body lengthening, cardio blast workout done on a vibrating platform called a Power Plate.
My experience: This was my first morning workout class, so I wasn't exactly looking forward to waking up at 5:30 a.m. to get there. More power to all you peeps who can do this!
The class was only 30 minutes, so I didn't think it would be that hard, but wouldn't you know I thought wrong. I'm pretty sure I've never experienced a workout class as intense as this one. When they say you do a little bit of everything in this class, they're not wrong. And doing it all on the vibrating plate made it that much more exhausting.
It did leave me feeling ready to take on the day though, so I didn't need to guzzle down my usual cup of coffee to perk myself up.
What it is: A workout that couples rowing with their resistance band training system to create the perfect workout to tone, sculpt and burn fat.
My experience: Rowing is definitely my thing. I never did this type of exercise before, but I was actually not that bad at it. It was also helpful that the instructor was able to push me in a more encouraging manor. I absolutely loathe when instructors attempt to draw the "best" out of you by yelling until they're blue in the face. Why they think that works, I don't know.
I'm pretty sure I had a smile on my face the whole class, which was weird because I definitely felt like I was dying from the strenuous workout. It was just nice knowing I was doing something good for my body and knowing that someone took notice of my work ethic.
What it is: This beginner class emphasizes basic alignment, foundation and specific muscle action so that the body can learn how to balance on the hammock. It's basically yoga, but in the air.
My experience: Again, this was pushing me way out of my comfort zone and it was another early morning class, so I wasn't too keen on this class initially. I did grow to love it during my hour-long experience there, however.
I was only one of three other girls who signed up for the class, so I liked that I got more hands-on training than I did in any other class I attended. It was intimidating though, because the other two girls had taken classes before and knew what they were doing. I, on the other hand, did not have a single clue what to do with my body or the hammock. Thank goodness the instructor came to my rescue. At first I figured the other two girls were judging me for being horrible, but I quickly realized they didn't care that I wasn't the best at aerial yoga. Heck, they weren't even comparing themselves to each other! If they weren't going to compare their progress to mine, why should I compare mine to theirs? I shouldn't, and I quickly learned to stop doing that. The lesson learned here is don't compare, it's not fair!
What it is: An intense 30-minute ab workout.
My experience: I didn't want to go to this class, and I was thisclose to sneaking my way out of it, but I didn't. I knew I had to push myself and I wanted to finish strong, so I stuck it out.
Entering Crunch Gym had me feeling terrified at first. Everyone looked like a bodybuilder or a model, so I was feeling a little down about how I looked. I gave myself a little pep talk in the locker room to remind myself that each body is different and I'm still a work in progress.
While taking the class, I realized that some of the people who looked far more workout-ready than me still had some difficulties doing the moves like I did. No matter how athletic you are, an ab workout is still pretty grueling!
What it is: Zumba is a fusion of Latin and international music and dance themes that create a dynamic, exciting, effective fitness system.
My experience: I like to think I can dance, but after taking this Zumba class, I realized I'm not the best dancer.
It was certainly quite the experience taking this class with much older women who had the moves down to a T. They definitely taught me a thing or two about how to move.
By the end of the class, I became a bit more comfortable with the moves and let my body take over. Once I stopped thinking about what I was doing, I was able to actually do the moves right.
Where I'm at Now
After the motivational experience I had exercising for an entire month, you'd think I would've kept up with it, right? Sorry to disappoint you, but I haven't been a Workout Queen since my trial with ClassPass ended.
I do, however, still keep the important lessons I've learned from each workout in the back of my mind when I'm feeling a little down on myself. I've been better at reminding myself that I'm golden just the way I am, and I need to stop bashing myself. It only brings more harm than good when I'm in such a negative mood about my body.
I do have bad days (don't we all), but I'm learning to be kinder to myself. That's really the most important lesson I've gained from working out. It's all about loving yourself!
Another workout that I wholeheartedly believe everyone needs to try if they want to feel better about themselves both spiritually and physically is hip-hop yoga at Y7 Studio. Read about my experience HERE!