Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Stretching Myself Beyond My Comfort Zone

I have never been a gym rat... I have had a couple of different short term memberships at gyms, or health spas or fitness centres.. whatever they were called, having been talked into going by friends who needed someome to accompany them and motivate them to go... I recall doing some circuit training on a couple of different systems of machines, and sitting in steamy saunas, mostly.  I didn't like the smelly locker rooms full of sweaty bodies in various stages of undress... and I disliked either hurrying to get cleaned up and presentable to go back to work, or dressing and making the drive home, only to need to shower once I got there.

Nope, doesn't appeal to me. NEVER has.

I have also done some group fitness classes over the years... ballet for adults, Jazzercise, and various aerobics classes... all fun enough but the same things annoyed me about it as going to the gym.

So I have become an at home exerciser.  It is so handy.  I can do it whenever I like. I don't need a group to motivate me.  I don't need to fit into a given schedule.  I do like a DVD or a utube video as it turns out, though. I do sometimes print a workout from Pinterest and go through it but I prefer the company of an instructor.   I have done STEP, aerobics, boxercise, yoga, Pilates, and all kinds of strength routines and bootcamps. I like them and because I like to change things up, I don't get too bored.

So, when I recently won a one-month membership to Canada's most prominent fitness facility and gym I didn't really even think about actually using it.... then, as the expiry date started to grow closer, I looked at their web site and found that they not only have incredible facilities about a 20 minute walk from home, but they also offer a wide array of exercise classes.

My interest peaked considerably.  I called and made an appointment to meet with a woman (who I knew would basically be a salesman, and she was) to get signed up.  She was very nice, and didn't get aggressive when I explained to her that I really was there to take advantage of my free time and make a decision LATER about continuing my membership.... Then I changed my clothes in the nick of time to attend a Body Pump class at noon.

I managed to get into the group exercise room just as the Body Pump class was starting.  The leader was energetic and very fun and knowledgable and I thoroughly enjoyed the class.  When it was over, I was spent... my arms felt like jelly and after I rested a bit, drank a bottle of water and ate a banana, some dates, and some almonds, I was able to enjoy my 20 minute walk  home and relax for the rest of the afternoon. 

If you don't know what Body Pump is, check out the Les Mills web site... it is a simple weight lifting routine set to awesome loud energetic pop music and led by a trained instructor who will shout and sing and yell 'BOOM' a lot.. and the hour flies by.   It reminded me a lot of a DVD called Get Ripped by a Calgary-based trainer named Jari Love.. except the Body Pump music is so much better, and apparently they change it up every month or so.

I expected to be very sore today, judging from the way my shoulders and glutes felt yesterday... but I wasn't.  Oh, my biceps can tell they were shredded yesterday, but it is a good used feeling, not really soreness, thankfully.

So today, I got myself ready and walked back to the fitness centre to take part in my first ever yoga flow class.  I was pretty excited about it... arriving in the room about 15 minutes early along with another woman, and we chatted for a few minutes... she is new runner but a longtime yoga practioner so we had a few things to talk about and she gave me some tips, which were very helpful.

The yoga flow class is a style of Hatha yoga and uses breathing to aid and enhance the poses.  I really enjoyed it although I did find it quite long.  I couldn't do all of the poses... and didn't expect to.. and I can see now, how continuing a yoga practice would really help me open up my stiff and inflexible hip joints and inner thighs and quads.  

This was my first time attending a class. I have done this style of yoga with a DVD so wasn't at a complete loss, and I liked knowing the instructor was there to look over and check postures and offer encouragement.

The class was quite full, apparently, mostly women, about 20 bodies in all.  I liked that everyone used a special cleaner and paper towels to wipe off their studio-owned yoga mats before putting them away.  I had wiped mine down before I used it, not knowing that would be the routine.  I also noticed that a few people had brought their own mats with them.

I spoke with the young instructor after the class for a few minutes and she was very nice and very encouraging... and then, by the time I walked over to the locker room, all of the women from the class, and several others who had been working out in the gym or using the cardio machines were already there... and yes, in various stages of undress and the room smelled really rank and it hit me like a ton of bricks!  BOOM. 

I got changed as quickly as I could, stopped on the way out to check the schedule and thoroughly enjoyed my 20 minute walk home in the fresh moist air.

I am glad I am taking the opportunity to expose myself to these new-to-me kinds of workouts... and that I took advantage of the free membership...  will keep ya posted!


  1. Yay Elle! Glad you are trying new things:) Sorry about the smelly locker room. I rarely go into my gym's locker room, only if I have to use the bathroom really quick. Although it's not too bad when I am there. Not a fan of half naked bodies all around;)

  2. Love this! It is hard to walk out of our comfort zones. I remember doing kickboxing a couple years back. It kicked my butt but it was also a good lesson in trying new things although I still love my gym workouts! :)

  3. Thats a great opportunity to try out the different kinds of classes. I have a hard time trying to commit to classes if I am unsure if I will like it. Thats why I tend to do dvds at home and running/walking.

  4. I LOVE body pump!! Try Body Combat!! Its a great cardio workout!! Those are the two classes I miss the most!!!

  5. Yay! for trying new things. It is very hard to step out of your comfort zone. I don't care for locker rooms

  6. Love this post, Elle! I have heard of Body Pump, but never tried it. I might just have to look into it now! ;) Hope all is well.

  7. Yay, I'm glad you've enjoyed both classes so far. I can't wait to hear about other classes that you try during the month.

  8. I have learned that I only like the gym at 5 in the morning when hardly no one is there. I have tried to go after work and had been frustrated by the "stinky" crowds. ha. Glad you had the opportunity to try all this stuff out for free - do you think you will keep going?

  9. Good for you for trying something new. The classes sound great!


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