Tag Archives: gym

Back in the Saddle — My Return to Yoga Classes

27 May

My gym offers free yoga classes a few times a week. Once upon a time I used to go to these yoga classes all the time. I’m not going to lie, I loved bragging that “it’s yoga night,” or “I’m sooo sore from yoga.”

I suspect that most of the classes are structured primarily as a yoga for beginners group, but some of the instructors show us moves that are definitely not meant for yoga newbies. Some of the more “strict” instructors also like to correct you when you’re not doing the yoga poses correctly. I’m not a fan of being manhandled by strangers, so I quickly learned to avoid those classes. And then I just quit going to yoga classes altogether.

Fast forward about a year and a half to last week. My husband and I are getting ready to move to Los Angeles in a few weeks, where according to urban legend, everyone does yoga and drinks kale juice all day. Rightfully, these people are lean, toned, and look fabulous while prancing on the beach.This is a far cry from Pittsburgh where the average person’s idea of exercise is lifting an IC Light back and forth from the table to their mouth, while watching actual athletes from one of the city’s sports teams run around a field, hockey rink, or whatever.

I need to perfect my yoga poses before moving to LA.

I need to perfect my yoga poses before moving to LA.

Though I do not identify with the yinzer “couch athlete,” I decided it was time to hop back in the saddle with the yoga classes. After all, if I’m going to be a California resident, I need to brush up on my ability to bust out yoga poses in class and not look like a flaming idiot.

My Triumphant Return to Yoga Classes

I walked into my first class in a year and a half feeling excited to be at it again, but a little apprehensive. The teacher that night was someone I’ve never taken class with, and my friend who used to take classes with me has since quit going to our gym.

A few minutes into the downward dogs and forward folds though, I realized this was probably going to be pretty easy. Though I hadn’t done yoga in awhile, I had taken to doing Pilates videos at home almost daily. This turned out to be clutch.

As our hour long class went on, I was almost getting bored. Hands down this instructor was easier than some I’ve had in the past, which was kind of a good thing, but also made me wonder if it was worth going back for another class next week. Many of the people in the room seemed to be struggling with the poses, so perhaps I magically graduated from yoga for beginners?

Regardless, I was still blissfully sore the next two days, so although the yoga poses were pretty easy, they did something!

Now, should I go back next week or skip it?

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My Newest Workout Obsession: The Tone It Up Best Ab Workout Circuit

15 Apr

Summer is almost here, meaning it’s time to shed that layer of blubber that kept you warm all winter, and get in swimsuit shape!

While I’m not a huge fan of the ab workout, I do understand that it’s a major part of the bikini body package. A lot of ab workout videos either bore me or require me to move in ways that I simply cannot (or in some cases will not) do. It’s hard to make yourself do any type of exercise when you feel like you’re buying yourself a one way ticket to hell while doing it. Not fun.

Well thankfully I recently managed to find a new ab workout that I actually like! It’s from the ladies at Tone It Up, and exercises are tough, yet manageable. I am SO gloriously sore the day after, which is always encouraging because if your muscles hate you, that’s a sign you’re making them work.

Truth be told, I actually start getting sore abs during this workout (but it hurts so good). Honestly, I can only do two rounds of it at a time right now, but one of these days I swear I’m going to start doing three.

Gym Enforced Time Limits on Cardio Workouts is Outrageous

16 Jan

Why do gyms think they can limit the length of your cardio workouts?

I’m sure I’m not the only one who has been greeted with a sign in their gym limiting the amount of time you’re allowed to spend on the cardio fitness equipment. There signs posted on the walls of my gym year-round stating their stupid rules regarding the length of my cardio workouts. This weekend though, I noticed the signs have increased. In addition to those permanently attached to the walls, there’s also one scrawled out on a markerboard easel in the middle of the cardio area.

Is my gym dictating the length of my cardio workouts for my own safety? No, of course not. They’re doing it because they sold way too many gym memberships, resulting in a daily mosh pit in the cardio equipment area. Instead of simply capping the number of gym memberships they sell, because our gym is so crowded it resembles a NYC subway at rush hour, it’s obviously a better idea to tell us how long we’re allowed to exercise. Remind me again, who is paying who for this gym membership? I know when I signed up for my gym membership, they never mentioned the time limit on cardio workouts.

The Mayo Clinic states that most people need a bare minimum of 150 minutes of cardio exercise per week, with some requiring up to 300 minutes per week. So if you’re a person who requires closer to 300 minutes, you would need to exercise 10 days per week on the 30 minute per day plan. You have 10 days in your week, right?

If you’re trying to lose weight, you need to burn 3,500 to get rid of each extra pound. This averages out to 500 calories per day. According to Glamour, an average 150 pound person burns 321.48 calories after 30 minutes of moderate exercise on the stair stepper, 232.18 on the elliptical machine, 250.04 on the exercise bike, and 357.2 on the treadmill. At this rate, if you’re only allowed 30 minutes on the cardio fitness equipment at your gym, you better be hitting up those machines seven days per week and living on stalks of dry lettuce.

This time restriction on cardio fitness equipment is taken about as seriously as jaywalking during most of the year, but now that we’re deep into the heart of new year’s resolutioner season, it’s getting more intense. Personally, I just reset the machine I’m on after about 25-30 minutes and continue on as long as I please. I encourage you all to do the same.

Follow Proper Gym Etiquette When Working Out

22 Jun

As a frequent gym-goer, I’d like to think that I’ve developed a good sense of what constitutes proper gym etiquette throughout the years. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for many of my fellow fitness freaks. The gym is one of the places that I see the most foul, annoying behavior on a daily basis, which is actually somewhat impressive given that I also take the city bus to work each day.

If you're going to work out in public, you must follow proper gym etiquette.

How to Have Manners When Working Out At Your Gym:

1.) It is proper gym etiquette to wipe a cardio machine, or a mat, off when you’re done with it. No one else wants to bathe in your sweat.

2.) Show some respect in the free weights area. I’m may be lifting 5lb weights, but that doesn’t mean it’s cool for you to shimmy yourself in between the mirror and I. At least I choose weights that I can actually lift, which brings me to…

3.) Don’t drop weights. I don’t want to feel the floor of a building shake unless I’m in the middle of an earthquake in California. If you’re choosing weights that are so heavy you can’t bare to gently place them down, clearly you cannot handle lifting that much. So don’t.

4.) Be smart about who you try to chat up. Many people do go to the gym in hopes of getting a date. While there’s nothing at all wrong with this, you need to identify who wants to talk to you, and who wishes you’d drop a weight on your foot and shut up. Women prancing around with a full face of make up, perfectly done hair, wearing full body spandex or a matching sweat suit want to talk to you. You can find them walking on the treadmill or oddly lurking around the weights section. On the other hand, you can find me covered in sweat, wearing my 8th grade gym shorts & an old t-shirt from my college roommate (sexy, I know). Hence, I do not want to talk to you.

5.) Some people naturally stink. While this is unfortunate, you know if you’re one of these people. If you smell bad before you even get to the gym, you are a public nuisance. Do everyone a favor and take a shower before you work out, so the gym doesn’t need to be evacuated.

6.) Don’t remind people that there’s a time limits on the cardio machines, if you’re waiting for one. That’s just weird, and if you feel tempted to do this, you are a weird person.

7.) Don’t walk around the locker room naked. No one wants to see that. If I wanted a peep-show, I’d pay for one from a professional.

8.) Spitting on the floor is disgusting. If you do it, you should have to lick up it. Pig.

How to Get Motivated to Exercise

19 Jun

Exercise is good. We all know this. Many people even mean to make it to the gym on a daily basis, but then this or that gets in the way and all thoughts of the gym go out the window. Sometimes it’s necessary to bring out the reinforcements in order to pick yourself up and shame yourself into getting motivated to exercise.

Tape these Walberg abs up on your refrigerator as motivation to get yourself to the gym.

How to Get Motivated to Exercise (When You Have No Desire To Do So):

1.) Think about your favorite pair of pants. Now think about how you’d feel if you couldn’t fit into that favorite pair of pants.

2.) Step on the scale.

3.) Flip through the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, the Victoria’s Secret catalog, or another appetite-killing publication.

4.) Consider how great you’ll feel inside and out after an amazing workout.

5.) Bribe yourself. If you drag your lazy self to the gym, allow yourself to take a nap, waste some time watching bad television, or have a piece of chocolate. Whatever floats your boat.

6.) Do something fun. Exercise doesn’t just happen in a gym. Take a yoga class, swim laps in the pool, or go jogging in the park.

7.) Simply get motivated to be HEALTHY.

8.) Plan a trip where you’ll need to spend a lot of time in a swimsuit.

9.) The satisfaction of looking awesome in your favorite jeans or your little black dress.

10.) Recruit a workout buddy. If the two of you exercise together, you’ll be more likely to show up and sweat it off, instead of skipping the gym. Plus, if one of you needs a little extra motivation, you can look to your workout buddy for support.