I hope everyone’s New Year is off to a good start. Here in Gator Country, I’ve already had a long and exhausting week. What have I done? Well, nothing really. I think I burnt out traveling during the holidays and my body was begging for a couple days to recoup.
Similar to some of the other ladies, I have found my energy levels down and my napping frequency up this week. My husband and I were running a mile a minute during our “break” and it certainly came back to bite us both this week. He has been battling a wicked sinus infection, and everyone knows they can count on me to have a days-long headache at the first sign of deterioration.
But I have tried to combat this “worse for wear” feeling the best I can. I have been drinking Green Monsters by the pitcher-full, eating healthy proteins, and though I don’t do much else, I have been going to the gym everyday. I’ll stop right here to say I am not sick. I will be the first to say not to push yourself while genuinely sick, because it will likely take you longer to get better. But if I skipped a workout every time I had a mild headache, well, I wouldn’t work out at all (Ashlee can attest to that fact). But I generally know my body well enough to recognize its boundaries and this week, I needed a push for energy.
Because I haven’t felt amazing, it made sense for me to go to some group fitness classes (and have someone else tell me exactly what to do). While hitting the gym this week, I noticed, as could be expected, it’s been more crowded than in month’s past. This doesn’t bother me as much as it may bother others, because I love a good New Year’s resolution and I’m excited when I see others setting goals :) I also know how hard it is being the newbie, so I thought I could share some of the group fitness pointers I have learned, for those just starting out with group fitness.
When I first started taking group fitness classes, I printed out the class schedules for my gym (yes, more calendars for my collection). If I came across a class I loved, I’d highlight the class on the schedule. On the opposite side of the spectrum, I’d put an X through classes I didn’t like; sometimes including a note on who the instructor was, so that I could recall if was a class I absolutely didn’t like, or merely one with a less than stellar instructor (this comes in handy when I only have one free hour in the evening and I really want to take a spin class. Was it the instructor with the bad attitude or just the one with bad music?). This also helps you to pinpoint good instructors. Good instructors will often inspire and encourage you. If you find one you like, talk to them and see what other classes they lead. You might find those classes enjoyable as well.
Additionally, if I don’t like a class because I felt lost or it seemed too hard, I always make an effort to attend multiple times. Most classes generally have some sort of routine, and you may find it more enjoyable once you pick up on how the class flows. If you still don’t find it enjoyable, no big deal…put an X over the class on your schedule and move on to the next one that looks interesting. However, I try not to rule out a type of class based on the instructor I tried it with. The instructor may not be good, but the class concept might be fabulous. Try and and try again. Except for yoga…I’d pay to find an instructor who can keep me from being bored to death with yoga. Sorry to those of you who love it, I know I'm in the minority with this one.
When hitting new classes I also always try to get there a few minutes early to get the lay of the land. I like to figure out what equipment I will need and if I will need help getting set up. Try not to get intimidated though. Everyone had to start somewhere and “regulars” are generally happy to point out what you will need. I am also a public health nerd and getting there early allows me time to wipe down the equipment I am going to be using; specifically the grips on the hand weights…something everyone else seems to overlook!
Finally, though I’m as ready as the next gal to get home when a class ends, I always try to stay for the stretch/cool down. I have found that it truly can combat aching muscles in the days to come. It's five minutes or so, but it can make a world of difference in how you view the class tomorrow.
So those are my tips for group fitness. Other than the gym, I have just been trying to get back into my normal rhythm. I have been coordinating my work and class schedule, finalizing a plan for my triathlon training, planning a public health study I’ll be spearheading this year, and working on a 101 in 1001 list. I’ve also been having an internal battle as to how long I can get away with leaving up those dang Christmas decorations. Why is putting them away so much more daunting than pulling them out?
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