Lesbehonest…I had McDonald’s for lunch today. And for breakfast yesterday. Possibly multiple times this week. When it comes to being healthy and working out, it takes a small miracle to get me anywhere near kale and/or a treadmill. But as I grow older, I’m not-so-subtly often reminded of the reality of a declining metabolism and drooping physique.
Enter the gym. Actually, more like gyms. I’ve cycled through (literally… I hate spin classes) a new gym almost monthly since graduating from college and attempting to be a real adult with a 401k and some knowledge of how to care for oneself. And yet, none of these gyms have offered the type of experience that keeps me coming back for more… except for these three new workouts.
Barre, Bikram, and Soul Cycle offer a new perspective on fitness. There’s always an instructor, so you’re not left with that terrifying moment where you walk in to the gym and have to decide where to go, how to use each contraption, and whether every other person there is judging you for not doing it correctly. These new options are nearly a lifestyle, with a huge focus on toning, posture, and protecting your body from injury. Aside from these parallels, they each offer a unique way of approaching fitness:
There are countless studios that offer workout classes centered around a ballet barre: The Bar Method, Dailey Method, Pure Barre, and Cardio Barre are just a few. Regardless of which studio you choose, the method is similar. Exercises are low- to no-impact, and the only tools you’ll use are a ballet barre, and often a floor mat, small lightweight ball, and sometimes a piece of elastic rope or fabric, all provided by the studio. If weights are used, they’re light. The focus here is on repetitive, small movements to tone and lengthen muscles, much like a ballerina’s physique is formed. You’ll feel lighter, more flexible, and stronger within a few classes – just don’t forget to wear socks!
Also known as hell, in the best possible way. It’s exactly what the name suggests. Yoga. Hot room. Lots of sweat. Minimal clothing. The specifics vary according to which studio you’re attending. Some offer their own form of hot yoga, with rooms somewhere above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, while Bikram Yoga is a specially trademarked type with instructors trained to lead you through 26 poses, repeated twice. The benefits of any type of hot yoga, though, take some work to achieve. For your first few classes, the goal is just to remain in the room for the entire 1.5-hour session. As you build up your tolerance and strength, you’ll find that you feel cleansed, refreshed, more flexible, and a good deal stronger.
You’ve most likely heard about Soul Cycle through your friends’ Facebook and Instagram check-ins. You also probably wondered if this was some new type of 20-something-year-old girl cult. My answer to that is yes, it absolutely is. Soul Cycle is not just a spin class. It’s a workout, it’s a new wardrobe, it’s a new investment (IT’S SO EXPENSIVE), and it’s worth it. Just go.
Each of these workouts is a completely new way of approaching fitness. And, as with any new activity, it takes time to get used to. Go test one (or all) of them out, and give yourself ten classes to make a decision – most studios offer newcomers a discounted, month-long membership to try it out. You’ll give your body a chance to overcome the shock of working out after a twenty-four year hiatus (or is that just me?), get to understand the poses, and see how it affects your body. It’s still not to late to get started on that New Year’s resolution to be healthier!
Tags : advice, Bar Method, Barre, Bikram Yoga, fitness, Girlzone, Happiness, Health, Hot yoga, Instagram, lifestyle, McDonald, motivation, New Year Resolution, New Years Resolutions, Physical exercise, Soul Cycle, tips, Working Out, Workouts, Yoga