I realized the other day that my most frequent workout activities are all things that I once thought I would hate.
I reluctantly tried each form of exercise at different points in my life in the last few years. And the rest is history 😉
These have been my three main fitness activities in 2018, along with steady state cardio and the very occasional, very short HIIT workout!
Why it wasn’t for me: My reaction to the suggestion of weight-lifting really speaks to the divisive way we think about fitness. It just didn’t feel accessible or realistic to me. I never considered the fact that someone might start with a 10lb bench press, or deadlift with no weight on the bar. I thought of weightlifting as a sport for the strong – rather than a standard set of lifts most people can (and should!) do to build strength and stay healthy.
Why I gave it a try: A few years ago Sofia and I decided to make a change. With a desire to change our body composition (and look great at her wedding!) we invested in semi-private training together.
Why I ended up loving it: I think it was a combination of two things. First, I had a wonderful trainer who didn’t embody any of the stereotypical traits I (unjustly) worried a trainer would have. She wasn’t pushy, abrasive or gropey (haha). She had a calm energy that I could match, and she was funny, humble, and down-to-earth. I’ve learned that a trainer absolutely needs to be someone you respect and trust.
I also loved weight training because it’s effective, easily measurable, and you see results quickly. For the first time I actually felt like the workouts I did were improving my health. I could see myself getting stronger week over week, and letting go of chronic pain that I’d had from muscle imbalances and general weakness. My energy and posture improved, and because weight-lifting is all numbers, I could count my improvements, pound by pound and rep by rep. So rewarding!
Why it wasn’t for me: Bouldering is free climbing with no equipment other than your climbing shoes and some chalk for your hands. No harnesses, no ropes. Not only am I afraid of heights and injury, I also suffer from occasional vertigo. I’m a self professed wimp, so I steer clear of any type of adrenaline activity.
Why I gave it a try: My boyfriend convinced me to go to a huge indoor bouldering gym with him very early in our relationship (that time when you’re still trying to align yourself so hard with the other person’s likes!) When I first saw the gym, I was reminded of a giant playground – and I think I felt less intimidated than I had on the drive. Until I actually got on the wall. Bouldering is definitely something that looks easier than it really is. As soon as I got 3/4 up the beginner routes, I started to get that sweaty feeling when I glanced down.
Why I ended up loving it: There is something addicting about bouldering – and I’ve seen this over the years as we’ve introduced more friends to it. You’re only in competition with yourself, and everyone at the gym is at completely different levels. The routes and movements are also interesting! Each bouldering route is called a “problem” and you have to figure out how to move your body, use momentum, balance and shift your weight to “solve” the problem and get to the top. It’s a physically and mentally challenging sport. I’m not great at it and I still get scared, but over the last two years I’ve consistently stuck with it and loved it.
Why it wasn’t for me: BBG, for those who don’t know, is a mobile app-based workout program designed by Kayla Itsines. It’s wildly popular, 12 weeks in length and focuses on body weight exercises, strengthening, toning and SWEATING! I was skeptical because I truly dread cardio, I don’t love timed workouts, and I didn’t know if the program really aligned with my fitness goals. I was underwhelmed by the nutrition plan and confused about what a “BBG body” really is.
Why I gave it a try: I think my curiosity got the best of me. When something has mass appeal, I get really interested to experience what millions of people are enjoying. So, just as I forced myself to listen to the new Taylor Swift album, I forced myself to download the popular Sweat app, and I committed to doing a test drive of a 90-day free trial.
Why I ended up loving it: Do you ever feel like you just Cannot. Consistently. Exercise >.<?? I had reached that point by Christmas – I was just struggling to move my body. No workout seemed to be the right fit and I also didn’t want to leave my condo. BBG was the first thing to ever break that cycle and keep me somewhat accountable to myself. I didn’t follow the program exactly, and I made tons of modifications. But I worked out for 12 weeks – something I definitely didn’t do in all of 2017.
I plan to write more on the topic, but in short: The mobile app is beautifully designed, walking you through each exercise with motion-graphic demos. You also have access to three trainers and four programs within the one app. Most importantly – BBG kicked my butt!! I found it incredibly, incredibly hard – and I would have to repeat the 12 week program another three times to actually get the full hang of it. But I’m a believer now – if you give BBG a fair shake, you will see results. Pounds shed, a notable improvement in your strength and a boost to your cardiovascular health.
Have you had any workout surprises? Which activities have won you over?