Working out is supposed to be a form of relieving stress, not piling it on. You know what I mean. Trying out a new gym or some trendy new workout studio can be intimidating. You don’t know what to expect. You feel like everyone in there might already be a pro. Will everyone know you took a three month break from your last workout?
I also can’t tell you how many gym memberships I’ve had that I stopped using because I have no clue what to do with those machines and because there’s no way in hell I’m going to go work out with the guys in the weights section. Props to you if you’ve overcome this! But if you’re inconsistent about exercising like I am and still find it challenging, know that you aren’t alone.
For the last two years, I’ve stuck with the following and actually look forward to working out (what?!):
I attend Black Swan Yoga in Austin, and I absolutely love it. It is hot yoga, which I used to hate at one point, but I’ve become used to it. Also, sweat dripping down my body makes me feel accomplished as hell. Like, damn. I am a super sweaty yoga goddess (even if I can barely hold any given pose).
What I love about yoga the most is that the entire point of the workout is time you make for yourself to focus on yourself. You aren’t there to check out other people’s poses or talk with your friends. You’re there to meditate and feed yourself spiritually and physically. After every yoga practice, I feel calm, relaxed, free, and proud of myself.
If you’re barely starting out, I recommend a beginner’s or all levels vinyasa yoga class. Hot or not is dependent on you. I don’t push it on anyone because it doesn’t suit everyone. And no, you do not have to be physically flexible to try a yoga class. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard, “I can’t do yoga because I can’t even touch my toes!” Good! That’s the point. Everyone is at a different level in their yoga practice and it’s called practice because the more you do it, the more flexible you can become.
Oh, and if you really don’t feel like attending a class, try YouTube for Yoga with Adriene. She has all sorts of yoga for anything you might be feeling for as little as fifteen minutes.
As someone who was consistent in her cross-fit regimen back in the day, Orange Theory feels like cross-fit but just one level less intense. AND I LOVE THAT! I loved cross-fit, too, but honestly, for me it felt stressful going into a WOD (workout of the day) every day because I just knew I was about to die trying. It’s also worth noting that I’m afraid of lifting (very heavy) weights over my head because I am a clumsy individual and I get hurt a lot. Enter OT.
Orange Theory is an hour long workout that includes both cardio and strength training during every. single. workout. Every day is a different workout, and while there is a diversity of training equipment, there are no bars to lift over one’s body. It’s a group workout, which I’m a big fan of because nobody’s eyes are only on me and the coach isn’t yelling directly at me. We’re all in this together! And in one hour, I’ve knocked out both cardio and strength training and nobody laughed at me while I did it.
Yes, the workouts are intense, but they’re not so bad that you have to say a little prayer before you begin.
Finally, jogging. I am a wannabe runner. I’m that person who begins training for a half-marathon (hell, I have even paid to enter) and then gets to six miles and doesn’t run for another six months. But despite my lack of consistency (I’m beginning to notice a trend on this post), jogging outdoors is so relaxing. You can put on your favorite music, or not. You can run fast or slow. You can even meditate. Seriously, I do walking meditations sometimes and they really chill me out.
I hate running on a treadmill. I know, Orange Theory is fifty percent running on a treadmill, but they change it up so much that it doesn’t feel boring. If I have to run on a treadmill, I’m bored out of my mind with nowhere to go. Running outside is so liberating. It feels like when you were a kid and you played on the playground. Or like you’re running away from all your problems. I typically imagine the latter.