In the spirit of year end reflection, for this month’s Fitness First we wanted to recap what we liked and what we learned by trying something new each month over the past year. On the surface, Fitness First is a monthly review of an exercise craze that we wanted to try. It also was a way for us to push ourselves out of our comfort zone. We had to silence the voices in our head that said we weren’t strong enough, we weren’t flexible enough, we weren’t ready.
In January we were so excited to start! It seemed like there was always a new exercise trend, and we knew that some we would love, and others we wouldn’t. But the point was to try. For Tiffany, she needed a push to get active again after not being particularly active after 2 pregnancies. And for Becca, she wanted to diversify her workout routine and get out of the rut she felt like she was in.
And we did just that! From trapeze to barre to SoulCycle to OrangeTheory to Zumba, we sweated our way through the year. It was nice to have a buddy as it made walking into the experience less scary. Mentally it was also nice to only commit to trying it once. Sometimes when people want to take you to their favorite workout, there can be pressure you put on yourself to like it as much as they do or to sign up for it long term. Our commitment to each other was just to try it once, which relieved that pressure.
So, what did we learn?
- We like an intense workout, but something that can be done at all fitness levels. Since we were new, we wanted something where we could jump in at any time and still feel comfortable.
- We prefer morning workouts. We both are more morning people and starting off with a workout is a great way to start the day. When we did try to find an evening workout, it often got pushed due to family obligations or business travel. And no one wants to be stressed over an exercise class.
- Proximity is important. We found that the only sustainable options are those that take 15 minutes or less to get to and offer morning classes. And for Tiffany, she learned that she needs something scheduled and ideally to be meeting someone there. If it isn’t scheduled, she is more likely to let herself down and not go.
- A good instructor can make or break the workout. Someone who is encouraging, positive, and knowledgeable can make a workout feel fun even when you’re trying it for the first time. If those elements are missing, it can feel flat. We had that happen with Crossfit and pilates. It had little to do with how we might have enjoyed the concept of the workout, and more to do with how the instructor colored our experience.
- Community is key. Several things we tried had such a sense of community around it. Zumba seemed to be full of regulars and they wanted you to interact. We were encouraged afterwards by various members to come back. Something similar happened at Crossfit. People were cheering you on in finishing up the workout. These were complete strangers so that was pretty awesome.
Our favorite workouts in 2016 were….
- Tiffany: My favorites were OrangeTheory, barre, and hot yoga. I have done all of these multiple times since we tried them out. I’ve realized I have exercise ADD so I need to keep switching it up in order to stay excited so I have cycled between these things and am currently doing OrangeTheory (one just opened close to my house – yay!!!). I have also been to several more SoulCycle (and other spin) classes. I also liked that as well, but the locations are not convenient to me so I’ve just made the most of business travel where there is one nearby.
- Becca: I’m in love with SoulCycle, with barre being a close second. I try to do both monthly, though at the moment the only SoulCycle location near me isn’t that convenient, so I don’t do it as often as I’d like to.
… And the workouts that we didn’t love….
- Tiffany: It’s unlikely that I will ever do trapeze, Crossfit, or the Surfset & Sand class again.
- Becca: Crossfit, Zumba and Surfset & Sand weren’t for me.
Despite the fun we were having, reality set in at some point during the year. It was hard to schedule all of these things and juggle business travel and family time. Zumba, for example, took months to actually happen because it kept getting moved for business travel, family priorities and honestly, because we weren’t motivated anymore. We just ran out of things we were even interested in doing.
So, this is the last post for Fitness First. It is a series we will be retiring as we enter 2016. We love the idea of trying something new each month though, so stay tuned.