This post was recently posted on Health Your Way Online
Are you feeling bored in your current exercise plan? Are you doing the same thing day after day? Unless you are training for a specific event, adding variety to your workouts is the best way to keep your body from hitting a plateau. Adding in different movements, intensity levels and new exercises is just what your body and mind needs to be challenged to keep making progress. Many gyms offer some great classes that can spice up your routine and may also be covered in the cost of your gym membership. Here are a few classes that you may want to check out.
Suspension Training Class
Have you ever seen those straps that are hanging from the ceiling? That is the Suspension Training System. Suspension training uses your own body weight to develops strength, balance, flexibility and core stability simultaneously. By using different angles during movements, suspension training can challenge all fitness levels . You chose your intensity and make the workout work for you.
Want a fast workout that continues to burn calories LONG after you finish the class? Give an interval class a try. Interval classes alternate between bouts of high intensity exercises with periods of low intensity exercises or complete rest. These classes will challenge you to push your limits so the classes are shorter in duration, but HIGH in intensity.
Cycling is a great way to get away from the high impact exercises but still get a great workout. This type of class is a welcome change if you are used to workouts that are centered around running or jumping. During this class your “ride” will simulate pedaling along the flats and up and down hills by varying the wheel resistance and the position of your body.
STRONG isn’t what a woman wants to be, it’s WHO she wants to be. -Paul Buceta, Minneapolis STRONGCAMP
When I signed up for STRONGCAMP Minneapolis, I knew 2 things:
-We would be working out at some point
And that’s it. But what I didn’t know was that those 2 days would change my life.
Being a fitness freak and a huge fan of Jessie Hilgenberg, I jumped at the change to attend STRONGCAMP when it came to my area. I was way out of my comfort zone going into the weekend. I would be rooming with someone I had never met and I didn’t know anyone who would be there. But the excitement for the workout was the only thing that stopped me from backing out. From the minute I met Jessie and all of the other women, I felt right at “home”. Aside from the nervousness that I think everyone had a little of, the room was alive with excitement. We were all so different – different walks of life, different fitness levels, different stories – but yet all the same. We were all there to answer a question that we should later be asked “What does STRONG mean to me?”
STRONGCAMP started with a killer workout at Allegiance Fitness led by Jessie and Nichelle Laus. Jessie took us through a bootcamp style workout and Nichelle (who is also a competitor and Professional Kickboxer) led us through Kickboxing drills. To say that the workouts were incredible is a HUGE understatement, but I was still in that familiar comfort zone of doing what I love.
Later in the day Jessie spoke to us about her philosophy on training and nutrition. Her main theme of all of it was balance. Finding balance in your training, balance in your physique and trying to balance all of this while still having time for friends, family and real life. In her words “No one wants to always be that girl who pulls chicken and broccoli out of her purse at weddings”. LOL!
Before we broke for the day, Jessie talked about her STRONG moment and what STRONG meant to her. I won’t go into detail about what she said because that is her story to tell, but it was something that made her STRONG, said from the heart and I was honored to hear her tell it. After, she asked us all to write down what STRONG meant to us. We were given the opportunity to share what we wrote and as I listened to the other women share what they wrote, I was inspired to share. And that was when everything started to change. I was stepping out of my comfort zone. As I started talking, my voice cracked and the tears came. I DON’T show emotion in public and I DO NOT cry in front of others, but at that moment I let myself FEEL what I needed to feel. I felt safe to be myself, all of myself, and I spoke. As I took my seat, I felt lighter, like a small weight had been lifted.
The next morning we met at for yoga at Anytime Fitness. After yoga ended, Nichelle shared her STRONG moment. Again, her STRONG moment was one that made her the powerful and amazing woman that she is today and I was grateful that she shared it with us. Jessie then asked if anyone would like to share their STRONG moment and after what seemed like hours of silence, one brave woman started talking. We heard stories of heartbreak, tremendous sadness, loss of life, splitting of families and unimaginable grief. But throughout all of these stories, we also heard how each one of these courageous women overcame these obstacles to become stronger. To everyone in that room, strong wasn’t just a feeling we had in the gym, it was something we felt with our hearts.
As we closed the weekend, we joined in a circle and interlocked arms. Jessie and Nichelle acknowledged each of us with a hug and a heartfelt thank you. And let me tell you, these girls don’t give you the soft, one armed hug. They hug you and they meant it.
When I was driving home, I reflected on my weekend. Not only was I inspired by EVERY woman I met there, but I was happier than I had been in years. I knew that I was right where I was meant to be that weekend. Surrounded by STRONG, supportive women who were just like me. But I was also left with a sense of “when will be my STRONG moment”. I had been battling a few “messes” (see that post here) and it was time to be STRONG and get my life back. I made the choice to be STRONG and face my fears and start living again.
I can’t thank Jessie, Nichelle, Kirstyn (editor in chief of STRONG Fitness Magazine) and Paul Buceta for putting together STRONGCAMP. It is an incredible experience where women can come together without competition to be their fit, fun, silly, emotional, cackling (**inside joke**), amazing selves. THANK YOU!
This weekend when I was reading Everybody’s Got Something by Robin Roberts, 2 passages in the memoir really stuck with me…
“Let your passion be your purpose”
“Make your mess your message”
Think about that for a minute. Small statements, brief and to the point. But implementing those 2 sentences can be scary and overwhelming. And applying both of them when they intertwine with each other is terrifying. So what do you do when your passion is also your mess?
Health, fitness and living an active lifestyle is my passion. I love the way I feel when I get my heart rate up, feel the burn in my muscles and reach goals that I set for my body. It’s empowering and makes me feel alive! And that is why I made my passion my purpose when I became a personal trainer. The amazement I felt when I saw my body do the things it did when I challenged it was something I wanted to see in others. Being a part of people making healthy choices and being active wasn’t a “job” to me. It was like being witness to something magical. Clients seeing changes, their body doing activities that they thought they couldn’t and the new sense of pride and appreciation for a body that has always been there, they just didn’t know it. My passion for health and fitness is MY purpose. It’s a part of my life every single day. Between training myself, training clients, talking about it, writing about it, thinking about it, hell, even dreaming about it (yes – I do dream of new way to torture my clients) – I AM LIVING MY PASSION.
Now, enter the “mess”. Everybody has something. Family drama, health issues, addictions, whatever. We all have some sort of mess in our life like it or not. So, we can hide from it or we can bring it out in the open and talk about it. Sometimes just the act of talking about it, the mess becomes less scary. And sometimes your message reaches someone else who needed to hear it. And that is why I am making my mess my message.
Over the past few months, I have been dealing with a few of life’s surprises that have added a lot of stress to my plate. I will go into more of this in to detail in the upcoming posts, but my life feels out of control. Anxiety, PTSD, family illness – just to name a few – have become stressors in my life that have made me feel like I have no control over. As someone who needs a sense of control, this has really thrown me for a loop. So I turned to the only thing that I knew I could control to help me deal with the stress – working out. At first it worked. Having a panic attack? Go for a run. Argument with the husband? Go to the gym and lift. More bad news about a sick relative? Add a few intervals during cardio. Soon I noticed I was running 12 miles at a time, lifting for 2 hours, doing 60 minutes of serious intervals and eliminating rest days all together wasn’t enough to keep the stress away. It was just adding more stress. I knew I couldn’t do 4 hour workouts every day, so I did the next thing I knew to keep some sort of “control” in my life. I started regulating my food intake. And again – it just added more stress. I stayed in this holding pattern of being exhausted, over-trained, under nourished and mentally beat up for months. I knew what I was doing was destroying my body and my metabolism but it was the only way I knew how to have some control over the stress. I was ashamed and I was scared. How do I get myself out of this cycle and get back to a healthy balance without totally destroying my body?
On the weekend of July 18th, I got my answer in the form of 52 very STRONG women. I attended STRONGCAMP in Minneapolis with the intention of getting great workout ideas, having a few laughs and get to meet some cool people. What I got was a life changing experience. (I have an upcoming STRONGCAMP post – so you will get the awesome details there) When I was there, I finally realized that taking on all of this stress and beating my body up because of it wasn’t doing anything for me except leaving me exhausted and broken. Seriously – is running 5 extra miles going to make my bills go away? Will adding on 5 extra sets eliminate make my father in law better? Can living on 1700 calories a day make my panic attacks go away. THE ANSWER IS NO!
When I got home from STRONGCAMP I was angry at myself for what I had done to my body. But instead of turning to my old habits, I called texted my Coach before I REALLY had time to think about it and chicken out. I told him what I had been doing and that I needed his help to get back on the right track. To my surprise, he wasn’t angry, disappointed (the WORST word you can EVER hear) or even irritated. He was compassionate, caring and most of all, concerned. After a LONG talk, a game plan and a few tears, I knew I was in the right place (mentally) at the right time (NOW) to make the change. I know I have work to do to get back to a healthy balance with working out and heal my metabolism, but I am ready for it.
With all of that being said – here is the message I want everyone to get out of my mess. Ladies, gentleman, boys, girls, whoever: Quit beating your body up over stress. Whether it be the stress of money, love, life lost, being thin, being ripped, being “beautiful” in societies eyes, or as a means to getting rid of stress. It’s not worth it. Taking out issues on your body is only going to add more problems to the list. Try to find balance within your life. It’s hard and I am the first one to admit that. But by asking for help of putting your “mess” out there, you may find a way to get through it in a healthy way.