Finding Your Fit-niche

running

So you may be thinking anything fitness or exercise related is the absolute worst thing you could possibly imagine. Or maybe you do exercise but it is a very forced activity that you do simply to keep yourself from putting on weight. But you may be thinking that because you haven’t found the right area of fitness that really gets you pumped, engaged, and/or excited to do it. Maybe the first 10 things you tried didn’t work so you gave up and submitted yourself to your not-so-skinny jeans. Look, I don’t know what happened to you to make you not like exercise but if you’re an able-bodied human being, with little to no-truly limiting ailments, you CAN and SHOULD find your fit-niche.

What do I mean by that? Is that even a word? Well today it is and I’m hoping to give you some perspective on what that could mean for you. What I mean is that there are many, many options with regards to different types of exercise and you just haven’t found one that strikes your fancy. Please first – get it out of your head that it is impossible to like exercise. Some of the most (self-proclaimed) uncoordinated or un-athletic people find their fitness passion in forms of exercise such as Zumba, running, or CrossFit. Not only do you need to try different things to see what works for you, you need to give it a real chance before deciding you hate it.

The following is a list of different ways to get that calorie burn in and some tips on getting past the point of pure animosity for it.

1.)    Running. Ah – the age-old pastime of going for a refreshing jog around your neighborhood -except its 95 degrees out, you’re out of shape for running, and your shoes were a bargain-base price from your local Ross store. Tip number one for running is being fully equipped with shoes and a plan. I recommend following the Couch to 5k program to get started. Complete that with a good pair of running shoes that have been fit for your particular foot and you’ll find that you can greatly increase your chance of success when it comes to running. At the end of the program, complete a 5k race. For those of you with the competitive itch, you may find the competition is worth the preparation. When you get done however, if you decide you’d rather swim with sharks than ever run again, you’ll at least have improved your cardiovascular endurance and burned a few calories along the way. fitnessclass

2.)    Group-fitness. I’m not talking about your typical step class at your local YMCA. Most gyms, will have a pretty wide variety of group fitness classes including Zumba, step, kick boxing, group strength training, and the like. The trick is taking the class enough times to not feel like you have two left feet the entire class. If you base your assessment of the class style on the first class, chances are you’re not giving it a fair chance. I remember my first Zumba experience like it was yesterday… and so does my neighbor’s toes, as I stepped on them multiple times while stepping shaking my salt shaker in the wrong direction with my un-sassy salsa moves. Eventually I learned the steps enough to move from the very back of the room to at least half-way towards the front, but even after that it wasn’t my favorite. So I moved on to find something that made me excited to come to the gym. Overall, people that really get into group exercise, in any form, enjoy the comradery, the fact that there is very little preparation required on the part of the attendee, and the overall sense of accomplishment that they experienced with the group.  

3.)    This brings me to my next form of exercise – good, old-fashioned strength training. You know – with weights, machines, and all THAT scary stuff. If you aren’t familiar with weight training, exercise form, training schedules, that’s ok. Lots of gyms offer an introductory appointment with a trainer to show you how to use the machines. If you’re willing to do some research, you’ll find many types of training schedules on the internet. Start with a beginners weight-training workout schedule for women. If you still aren’t comfortable going solo with all those foreign looking machines and exercises, hire a trainer for just a few sessions so you can get the information you need to get started. When hiring a trainer however, make it clear that you wish to learn more about form and function so that you’re able to take your new found knowledge and move forward on your own. A good trainer will take that request and give you as many tools as they can to help you in your journey.

4.)    CrossFit. If you know anything about CrossFit, you know that people that do it, REALLY enjoy telling people about it. Why? Because they’re excited, proud, and happy about the fact that they can lift an insane amount of weight that even they probably never fathomed they would. They enjoy beating their OWN personal best at each and every WOD (workout of the day). That’s their main goal – just to be better than the last workout. I love the idea of CrossFit but I think many people are daunted by the idea of lifting heavy weights, and are afraid of getting too developed. Trust me when I say that no educated fitness professional is going to hand a newbie 300 pounds on their first day. It’s a process.  Again, you don’t know how you or your body will respond until you’ve tried something so don’t discount anything unless you’ve tried it.

home-workout

5.)    Home workouts. There are a great many options when it comes to home DVD’s but let me say that none of them will work if you don’t have the proper space, required equipment (if needed), discipline, and the time for it. If you have kids running circles around you, interrupting you, etc., you may find working out at home hard. Finding the right room and time of day, may aid you in your goal to complete your workouts in peace. Programs like P90x offer a great variety of strength, balance, endurance, flexibility, and cardiovascular workouts. If you do a program like this one, I recommend completing the entire program while tracking your progress as the program suggests. Just make sure to set yourself up for success with regards to having the time, space, and tools to complete the workout.

6.)    Spinning. What differentiates spinning from group fitness? They both offer the comradery component but there’s something special about it that causes avid spinners to gather outside spinning rooms with their special spinning shoes, bottles of water and eager attitudes as they get ready to peddle their little hearts out. Maybe it’s that “runner’s high”, or in this case – “spinner’s high” they get from the endorphin dump from the intense cardiovascular workout. Who knows? I do know that people really do love this type of exercise but one this is for sure, most will say you need to give it four to five classes to get over the soreness that is associated with that seat. For some people it’s less, but giving it just one class and deciding the seat won’t work for you just isn’t enough. You must get out of your comfort zone to figure out if spinning is for you.

spinn

7.)    Specialty exercise. Whether its acro-yoga, PiYo, Barre, or one of the other many hybrid fitness classes offered, there is something for everyone. Think about things you used to enjoy. If you were a dancer in your younger years, you would probably really enjoy a Barre class. If you like the idea of Yoga, but would like something that involved more strength moves, then PiYo could be your thing. You just don’t know until you’ve signed up and completed several classes. Do some research as to what is available in your area, watch some demonstrational videos from YouTube, and even practice some of the moves ahead of time so you feel more comfortable walking in as a newbie.

There are plenty forms of exercise beyond the few that are listed here but at least this gives you a running start if you’re thinking about trying to find your fit-niche. So try tip-toeing out of that comfort zone of yours and trying something new. You may find that you actually love something that you thought you would never even attempt – and that is a major win for both your mind and body.

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