The other day while writing about what I’ve been up to over the past year, I started to write about my fitness routine and how it’s evolved since I started. After 3 paragraphs, I realized I wanted to dedicate an entire post to this topic!
I still can’t tell you from where I drew my inspiration or motivation. I know I wrote about motivation a year ago – and meant to expand upon the idea – but never knowing when my motivation might dry up or even where I got it, I spent all my energy still on working out. If you find yourself engulfed with motivation: ride the wave and don’t wait until Monday to start, or a new week, new month, new year, new billing cycle. Start while you feel motivated.
February 2016 saw me walking into a gym for which I’d purchased a Groupon for a 6 month membership for roughly $70 (super cheap, no-frills gym), signing up, and even though the next day was some random Thursday, I went early the next morning, went for a quick, lazy run (because I hadn’t worked out in so long, I didn’t want to risk injury), showered and got ready for work. I used a random reusable tote bag to carry all my gear to the gym instead of waiting to buy the “perfect” gym bag, and just managed to do everything “not perfectly” but “good enough” —
Hubba Hubby (who I didn’t meet until months later) likes to say “don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good.” I’m inclined to agree with him — I searched for a gym bag for a few weeks and eventually gave up, then found one that suited my needs and was in my closet the whole time. Price: free (both since I already had it and because it was a Mets giveaway haha)! It fit my sneakers wrapped in a bag, my work clothes or workout clothes, a dopp kit with my face wash/daily routine necessities, and my wallet, so I was good to go. I was later gifted a sweet gym bag with separate shoe bag, little compartments for everything from sweaty workout clothes to electronics and jewelry, but I didn’t let my lack of perfect bag get in my way in the meantime.
All this to say: even 15 half-assed minutes at the gym is more than the 0 you would have done if you waited until all conditions were perfect to go.
I lucked into some really great classes, too. At my peak, my schedule looked like this:
Monday – 7-8am boot camp class followed by 20 minute run at the gym; 7-8pm kettlebell class
Tuesday – 7-8am yoga; 6pm Zumba class
Wednesday – 7-8am boot camp class followed by 20 minute run at the gym
Thursday – 7-8am yoga; 6:30pm Zumba class
Friday – 7-8am boot camp class followed by 20 minute run at the gym
That only lasted about a week or two though – I quickly dropped yoga because 5 early mornings in a row was too tough for me, and I didn’t like the instructor’s style that much. I kept the rest of that schedule for months though, even structuring my hanging out around my need to wake up early the next day or only hanging out after working out.
I felt great. Tons of energy. Really positive feelings about how my body was changing for the better. The diet came later and was separate, I assure you, they are two very separate (but related) things for me.
Honestly, though, everyone is different and what worked to get my butt into gear and addicted to this fitness lifestyle may not work for you. Hey, even doing 15 minutes of something every day – if that’s more than you do now – is fantastic. It revs your heart and makes you feel productive, and who knows? Maybe it’ll motivate you to do more!
I like to say, “The best workout is the one you’ll do” – and it’s so true. If you consistently will, say, walk 15 minutes a day: do that. If you consistently will do 5 sit-ups a day: do that. It doesn’t matter what “it” is, as long as you’ll DO “it” — you know?!
Because I had such great experiences with them, I want to give special shout-outs to the 3 places that kicked my butt consistently. I was not paid to talk about them (but if you wind up booking with them, you can definitely drop my name!).
First and foremost, my mornings wouldn’t have been the same without Kenny Pena and his brother Robert over at Evolve Fitness – I tried both their small classes and their boot camp classes, and enjoyed both. They kicked my butt repeatedly and told me I could do anything I put my mind to, including pull/chin-ups, something that women notoriously have trouble doing (it has to do with how our bodies are built and our center of gravity, I believe). I highly, highly recommend Evolve – definitely gave me a huge boost that led me to explore other types of activities to add into my routine.
A not-distant second is Zumba Kam. She was the first instructor I ever took for Zumba, and while I’ve since taken 2 other instructors, she remains my favorite. A few friends I’ve taken to class with me have noted that she’s not as structured perhaps as others, but I love that she’s not there to critique but to help you have fun while getting your fitness in. She has TONS of energy and pep, which makes every class fun, she switches up the music every few weeks to keep things from getting stale, she remembers your name even in huge classes (depending which session you take, the class can be 30+ or only 15ish). I really enjoyed class with her – I’m woefully uncoordinated but still enjoyed trying to keep up, laughing at myself and going with it. I actually still have classes left in my package, so if you sign up with her, you may bump into me sometimes!!
Last but definitely not least — Kettlebell Kickboxing with Dasha Libin. They’ve since moved into a larger, nicer facility, which unfortunately came with it a change in schedule, but Dasha created this amazing and intense kettlebell class that rocks you from your core to your booty. She was such an inspiration and I was truly lucky to be able to take classes with her leading — though Jenel is also pretty kick-ass (she covered for Dasha a few times that I took classes there)! If you’re not in the NYC-area or don’t want to commit to classes, they also have DVDs on their website, you’d just need to have access to kettlebells. Such great classes, honestly – another good vibe, good energy, and I always felt sore but stronger the next day. Loved that class!
Regardless of your fitness level or your fitness goals, a 15 minute walk in fresh air can do wonders for your mood, your focus, your well-being. Soon, it’ll be warm enough to do so regularly here in NYC – and I personally can’t wait!!
Do you have any fitness programs that you love and would recommend? Please share in comments — I’d love to hear from you!! I’m always looking for new things to add to my current routine (more on that in another post).