My summer was really busy with work and other activities so I began running because I knew it was something I could do when I could find the time. No class schedule, no commitment. It’s been great to have that flexibility.
But, it can’t be the only thing I’m doing. Now that work has calmed down, and fall is approaching, it’s time to get back into a routine. I say this, like this was a plan. However, my realization about the need to mix up my workouts was anything but thoughtful.
On Tuesday night it was still in the 90’s after work and I declared it to be too hot to run outside. I drove to the gym with the intention of running on the treadmill. In fact that would be changing it up, because I’ve only been running outside… but I digress. While in the locker room I ran into my friend Kim who asked me to come to Zumba class instead. The timing was right and there was a good instructor teaching. I figured “why not?”
It didn’t end up being my favorite class [mostly I’m just being a brat, because I miss my “regular” instructor who is fantastic] but I spent most of the hour realizing that there are so many benefits to being in the gym and in a class setting in particular that I’ve been missing out on.
Benefits of Classroom/Group Workouts:
- Looking at yourself in the mirror. Yes, we all do this daily when getting ready for work, picking out outfits etc. I’m not talking about that kind of looking in the mirror. I’m talking about the kind where you’re looking at yourself from all different angles, moving around, dare I say jiggling around… It’s different. Trust me. I know I’ve gotten a little fluffy this summer. I’m not thrilled with it. I know I can work it off, but it’s very eye-opening to really be forced to see yourself. For me, that’s great motivation.
- Talking with others. Even if you’re not all that outgoing, if you attend group classes on a regular basis, you’ll inevitably end up talking to people. Gym-goers, especially women, are chatty. For me that has perks- things like accountability, incentive to come to see and catch up with friends, and also the sharing about what other classes folks are taking, new things they are trying… what’s working and what’s not? We gain so much by sharing with each other. Just last night I heard two ladies talking about how sore they were and how great some class was. I inquired about what it was and we had a great conversation that gave me an idea about other classes to try.
- Seeing each other’s progress. Whether you talk with other folks at the gym or not, you’ll likely see the same people who are in a similar routine as you. That means you can see their progress. I find that to be really motivating. If someone has lost a lot of weight and maintained it, or looks like they’re really toned up or slimmed down in the month since I’ve seen them that’s a great wake-up call for me. If they can do, I can do it. Stop making excuses. I’m sure their life is busy and they love ice cream too. Stop the madness
- Making otherwise boring workouts interesting. I hate lifting weights. Hate it. It’s so boring. But I really enjoy a class at my gym called “Lengthen & Lift.” It’s a 45 minute class that combines strength training, stretching, a bit of mediation and sometimes a quick massage at the end. It’s hard and I always wake up sore the next day, but really each of the exercises themselves aren’t difficult; they’re things I could easily do at home with free weights. But I don’t. I can’t/won’t/don’t force myself to do it. So if I can just convince myself to walk in that door for class it a) forces me to stay for 45 minutes and b) makes it enjoyable with good music and a delightful teacher.
So these past two days back at the gym have been a good wake-up call for me, and I’m even more motivated to go back on a regular basis.
That said, I’m not nixing the running. In fact, I’ll be running my first 5k (at a charity event with friends) in just a little over a week! If you want to see more about my running check out: