Thursday, November 3, 2011

Variety is the Spice of Life

Good afternoon everyone! It is freezing cold here in Colorado today, and I'm not just exaggerating, literally it was only 14 degrees when I pulled into work this morning at 9 am. Brrrr. On this chilly morning, I wanted to take a little break from the recipes to talk about one of my other favorite topics, fitness!

Awhile back, I bought a 10 class punch card for this women's fitness studio near my house that offers various group classes. Since we moved this summer, I've mainly been running, hiking, doing yoga, and lifting weights at my apartment gym, so I haven't joined a gym in Colorado. Taking group fitness classes is one of the main things I've missed so I thought that this punch card would be a great way to mix them into my routine. While I still miss the Body Pump and Body Attack classes that I took at my old gym in South Carolina, I have enjoyed getting to try out some new workout classes and change things up a bit.

One of those classes is called Extreme Pump, and I actually dragged my butt out of bed this morning to make it to the 6 am class! (Not an easy feat when it's pitch black out and your car is covered in ice) This is a class I've been attending fairly regularly and I like it because it's a good mix of cardio and strength training. We use very light weights (3-5lbs) and do a lot of different cardio moves with the weights, so you're sculpting your muscles while still getting your heart rate up. The teacher always has great music, and the class seems to fly by. Although it is hard for me to get up that early, I always feel awesome when I'm done and it's great starting the day knowing that you got a good workout in before the sun is even up!

It's funny because when I first went to the class, I was skeptical about how hard it would be because I saw that the teacher was a mom and the majority of the class were moms. Well, apparently they are all supermoms who are all in amazing shape and workout a lot, so the class is not easy by any means. All their children go to the same school, so they are always blabbing about how their kid got into advanced orchestra or other annoying things that I don't care about listening to at 6 am. Today, they were all talking about how they all took their kids' Halloween to the candy buyback program they have a local dentist where they give you money for your candy. All I kept thinking was wow, if I was your kid I would hate you so much if you sold my Halloween candy you skinny control freaks.

Did I mention that I'm generally not in a great mood at 6 am? Oh well, all in all it's an awesome workout.

Last week, I decided to mix things up and I attended my first NIA class. I had heard good things about NIA, but I didn't really know what to expect. NIA is short for Neuromuscular Integrative Action and according to their website, the practice draws from martial arts, dance arts, and the healing arts, such as yoga. You do the class barefoot and the combinations of sensory based movements are supposed to lead to health and wellness by connecting the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. The class I attended was very small (just me and one other person and the teacher) and it started out kind of slow. I don't really know how to describe it, but it felt sort of like doing a Zumba class, but a lot more flowy.

This is totally what I looked like in class...kidding. (Source) 
The class did pick up as it went up, but it wasn't a super amazing workout in my opinion. I felt that the style and movements of the class were more geared towards older women who are looking to get a fun, low-impact workout that makes you feel good. However, I feel like NIA is like most fitness classes where the quality of the class is extremely instructor dependent. In NIA, the instructors have to progress through various levels of training to get different color belts, like in martial arts. My instructor was only a white belt, which is the first level of training, so I'd really like to take a class with an little more experienced instructor before I make any judgements about the practice as a whole.

Finally, a few weeks ago, I took my first Capoeira class...well it wasn't a class so much as a one-on-one personal training session. This fitness studio near my house that I take classes at occasionally had a capoeira class on their schedule so I was really interested in trying it out. For those of you that are unfamiliar..."Capoeira is a Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, sports, and music. It is known by quick and complex moves, using mainly power kicks and quick leg sweeps, with some ground and aerial acrobatics, knee strikes, take-downs, elbow strikes, punches and headbutts." (Thanks Wikipedia!) To give you a better idea of what it looks like, watch this:


Let me just assure you, I did not look anything like that but you get the idea. Anyway, last week I happened to finish up with work early on the day of capoeira, so I thought I'd give it a try. I show up and the teacher is getting out of his car, along with this guy and his son. Hmm. I told him I was here to try out capoeira and he then tells me that the classes are not included with the punch card I have and that they are $15 per session. WTF. I was about to just get back in my car and go home, but for some reason I instead decided to stay and shell out the cash. The little kid who was there was competing in capoeira and had his own things to practice, so mainly it was just the teacher and I one on one for almost 90 minutes. In the beginning, we stretched and he counted in Portugese which I thought was really cool because it's a beautiful language. As for the workout, it's definitely tough and if you did it on a regular basis you'd definitely be in great shape. It requires athleticism, flexibility, and coordination aka three things in which I am severely lacking. We did a lot of different kicks and cartwheels (yes, he made me do cartwheels), and some more kicks. I was sore the next day, and overall it was a fun experience. I'd love to check out a class in the future, and if you're looking for a change up to your workouts definitely check it out!

Working out is something that I really enjoy doing, and I think it's fun to try new ways to move my body and break a sweat. If you constantly do the same type of workout over and over, both your body and your mind get bored and I think it's crucial to spice things up once and awhile. Taking a new fitness class can be a little intimidating because a lot of times you are stepping out of your comfort zone. But I figure, what's the worst that can happen? You hate the class, hate the teacher, and/or make a fool of yourself in front of a bunch of strangers. None of those things are the end of the world, and I figure it's worth risk because who knows, you could end up loving the class and having a lot of fun. Either way, every new experience helps you grow and at least you'll know what a particular class is like for future reference.

So this week, if you always take kickboxing, maybe try going to a yoga class. If you always do lots of cardio, try doing a weight workout. Sign up for a dance class or maybe ride your bike to work instead of heading to the gym. Whatever it is, shake up your routine and try something new! Xoxo

1 comment:

Your sweet words make my day! :)

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