So my gym kind of did a boo-boo. There I was, striding back and forth on the elliptical like a hamster on a wheel, glancing at the big screens in front of me. An advertisement for P90 X 3* came on: Whoa! That looks like just the fitness shake-up challenge I’ve been waiting for, and only thirty minutes a day?!
I’d been finding that at the gym I was moving my body very mechanically and one dimensionally. Try as I might to mix up the machines and get to a variety of classes, I did still tend to gravitate towards my favorites. So my fitness level flat-lined, closely followed by my spirit’s enthusiasm for exercise.
Now? Well, I’ve hung up my gym membership hat. P90 X 3 is Amazon-ing it’s way to me. In the meantime my husband urged me to find “that sexy little workout you did, you know, the Ministry of Sound one.” It may be circa 2004 but I care not, It.Is.So.Much.Fun!* It reminded me that this is what exercise is all about, that is, moving organically in a way that keeps your muscles guessing. It inspires not just your body, but your spirit too. Keeping your spirit high as well as your body after and during exercise is key to excelling in your fitness ambitions.
Fitness doesn’t have to be a duty. It doesn’t have to mean charts and graphs and heart rate printouts. It should be a pleasurable part of your life, and it should include things that you do purely because you enjoy them. Fun is an ingredient that people often forget in their fitness program.” – Laird Hamilton
Notice how Laird interchanges the word exercise for ‘fitness.’ The word ‘exercise,’ and indeed ‘workout’, can carry negative roll-eyes-at thought-of-connotations. Interchanging these words for ‘fitness,’ ‘movement’ or ‘playtime’ could make all the difference to your mind, turning a perceived chore into an anticipated activity.
Again, to excite your mind and spirit, chop and change your ‘playtime’ regime. Doing so will motivate you to exercise in spite of tiredness or time challenges.
If your fitness time is something that you look forward to, something that makes you feel zippy, happy, energized and in the zone whilst doing it-brilliant! But if it’s Ugh-inducing, lets see if we can put some zing back into the proceedings:-
1) Consider dance. Our souls seemingly love this physical expression of movement, even if you’ve got stiff hips, left feet and little-no dance experience like me. You can go to a local dance class, whether it be salsa, zumba, belly or pole dancing or buy a DVD* and raise the roof at home. Personally I find I get better results at home because I’m familiar with my DVD dance routines, I’m self-motivated, a DVD offers me convenience and I tend to find my “Yeahs!” are that bit louder in the privacy of my own surroundings. If you need some bravery to start a class, buy a DVD first to familiarize yourself with the style. Bonus! At home we get to roll up in a sports bra, bad shorts, unbrushed hair and morning breath and that’s just a-okay, my friend.
2) Yoga is for the mind, spirit and body. In fact the word yoga means union. I fell in love with yoga quite by accident during a mindful meditation class. Before we meditated, we did a fifteen minute yoga practice, designed to prepare our minds for quiet. It was the closest experience I’ve had to touching sublimity (on my own, at least:-) Yoga is really for everyone because it can accommodate disabled participants* right the way up to those who can fold in half right off the bat. There are also many branches of yoga to choose, ranging from gentle, meditative yin yoga such as Kundilini to the more physically challenging and disciplined yang styles, like Ashtanga. It is far more than an exercise, I promise you that.
3) Brianne Grogan,* is one of my most inspiring friends. She is an exciting fitness entrepreneur and the founder of FemFusion, a feminine fusion of exercise that ‘combines dance, micro-moves for deep muscle recruitment, power moves for total-body strengthening, and Pilates-inspired mat work.’ http://femfusionfitness.com/classes/
Brianne is simply sunshine in the studio. You might turn up to her class in a stagnant mood but I guarantee you’ll leave feeling vibrant, proudly feminine and infused with energetic joy. Sample a Brianne FemFusion class/video and you’ll discover that not only are you in for a great physical workout, but her charisma and warmth-the way she makes you feel like a dear friend- is stamped all over her business baby, FemFusion. I felt sexy again after attending her classes in Germany, and that’s not usually an easy mode for a busy PJ- wearing mum of young children to clamber back into. This, combined with her extensive knowledge of the body (she holds a Doctorate in Physical Therapy), makes FemFusion such a seductive and special way to love your body into beautiful results. Brianne says:-
“Fitness shouldn’t feel like punishment. For me, it’s all about FUN, and exercising/moving/strengthening to better learn how to be or “feel into” my body. I call it “moving like a lady.” FemFusion exercises are feminine and just a little bit flirty… I take you out of linear, straight-plane movement patterns and introduce fluid, circular motions that strengthen and mobilize your hips and spine. Of course I combine this with some killer squat series that make you want to cry just a little bit, too… But always in a good way (wink emoticon). FemFusion is not for everyone, and that’s okay. But it’s definitely for others. The key is to find something you love and then DO IT.”
“As I always say, “if you want to feel good, move in a way that makes you HAPPY.”
4) Play outside, whether that means joining a local tennis/hockey/volleyball team or flying solo and taking the dog- or your own sweet self- for a walk or run. There’s a quality to outdoor fitness that is just not doable inside. Exercising outside makes you feel more energized, fresher, whether you arrive home with stiff, rosy cold cheeks or incased in a hot sun- sweat. Tear around the park or garden with the kids or dog, play tag, soccer, piggy in the middle, even. Check in with your inner child for a refresher on what you used to enjoy.
5) Talking of appeasing your inner child…consider really investing in playtime with a hula hoop, trampoline or skipping (jump) rope*. Whack on some whoop-worthy-tunes and feel the serotonin come out to play as your heart pumps. Anything that tickles out the little girl/boy in you to play keeps your soul happy. At university I had a trampoline and found it as fun as it was effective. When I purchased my trampoline it came with exercise suggestions to maximize fitness results. These days I get just as much joy out of a skipping rope as my daughter does:-)
It may be February, the month that many tend to slide off their fitness resolutions, but not you, my friend! In the words of Brianne, “When you start exercising in a way that fits your body and your personality, you’ll feel better and stronger both physically and emotionally, and that’s a very empowering thing.”
Find your way.
* P90 X 3 is an extreme fitness home program, created by Tony Horton. It is designed to produce the greatest physical changes in just thirty minutes a day. I’ll let you know how I get on with the P90 X 3 but in the meantime here’s more on it for you: http://www.beachbody.com/product/fitness_programs/p90x3-workout.do
* ‘Ministry of Sound: the Ultimate Dance Workout.’ It may have been around a fair few years now but the soundtrack is just as banging as ever and it remains the most fun I’ve ever had in a home DVD dance workout. And lo and behold! You can get the entire workout for freeeee on YouTube here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iqAbdojVYfk
* Laird Hamilton is an American Big-Wave surfer and his quote is from MindBodyGreen.com http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-16954/8-must-read-books-to-inspire-your-wellness-journey.html
* Perhaps the most inspiring yoga story-scratch, story- is this one. Just make sure the box of tissues is within plucking distance. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX9FSZJu448
*Allow BizChix.com, a website for multi-passionate entrepreneurs, to give you the low down on Brianne http://bizchix.com/69/ ‘Dr. Brianne Grogan DPT earned her doctorate in Physical Therapy from Pacific University in 2006. She developed FemFusion Fitness in 2009 as a way to combine the safety and effectiveness of doctor-designed fitness with the FUN of group fitness programming.
Brianne passionately promotes total-woman wellness, bringing together mind, body, and spirit with her own relatable, feminine flair. Brianne and her certified FemFusion instructors teach live group fitness classes in Germany and the USA.
In addition to teaching, Brianne is the author of FemFusion Fitness for Intimacy, a three step guide to revealing your sexiest, most confident self. Brianne is also the creator of several unique fitness and nutrition videos’ designed exclusively for women that are available for purchase at FemFusion Fitness.
* Hula, skip or jump your way into spirited fitness. If you need any inspiration on how to get the most out of your playtime, research YouTube videos such as https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VReRmmscZEE