A Bit of a Group Class Slut

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I have three loves in life right now. One is my man, the love of my life. Second is my job. However, I have a very close third. My most recent group class.  It’s a new love, and perhaps we are still at that fling stage, but I see our relationship lasting a long time.

Before I reveal this obsession, I feel the need to take you through my previous relationships. Remember how I said that I hated working out at the beginning of everything? Exercise was not my friend.  Well, when we became close acquaintances, I went through several group class phases.  Group classes have been great motivators for me, and if you feel like you need an extra push to get your butt to the gym, this may just be a good opportunity for you!

Channeling Shiva Rea

First was the yoga phase. There was a lot of stretching and strengthening. I am still incredibly fond of yoga, and I’m glad we were together. One of these days I’m going to master the crow. It’s a life goal. My fiancé appreciates the extra flexibility…;) What I didn’t expect was how tough it is! Seriously, have you tried to hold some of these poses?

Jillian Michaels says it best with her little catch phrase

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

I believe yoga has enhanced my flexibility and strength, and love the calmness and piece of mind. I admit, however, one of the huge challenges for me is being still. Any advice in this area would be totally helpful. So as I continue to improve this skill, I needed an outlet.

 Channeling Jennifer Lopez

Trends make me curious. I’ve read Twilight, used to rock some saddle shoes, once was stylin’ with a bob, and am unhealthily manic over Harry Potter. Fitness trends are the same for me—I just have to try something!

Enter Zumba.  To this day, I’m not sure why I thought I’d be good at this. I’m a white girl with a predominately German heritage, accompanied by splashes of Irish and British. Zumba ain’t no folk dance and sure isn’t a river dance. I also can’t down a beer when I do it, so really there wasn’t much hope.

I’ll be damned if it wasn’t one of the most fun group classes I’ve attended, even if I lack some rhythm. The atmosphere was like a sweaty dance party. Loved it! I know I’ve mentioned the Zumba Core Kinect game, and it is the bomb, but a group class is great for Zumba! The people put it over the top.

Negative Nancy moment—I just wasn’t seeing the results I wanted from the dance parties. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun cardio and I got really sweaty, but I needed something more out of a class. Perhaps something to challenge my muscles as well as get my heart pumping.

Clouds Parted. Angels Sang.

You know that moment when you try doing something and it just works? When I met M, he could crack a joke, carry on a conversation, and watch a good football game with me. It fit. It worked. I just knew I had something great.  When I started working at the nonprofit for which I’m currently directing Communications, I fell in love with the programs, the people we serve, and my coworkers.

That was my experience upon entering TITLE Boxing Club. When I slipped on my first pair of boxing gloves and went at that 100lb bag, I knew that this was something I wanted to keep doing.

What do I love so much? The three-minute rounds of high-intensity cardio with active rests that I could work up to completing. The conditioning in the first part of class. The hardcore ab shredder at the end of class. And the atmosphere: welcoming, fun, challenging, and a true learning experience each class, as I work to correct my form and hit harder.  I can’t recommend it enough. There are athletes and non-athletes at every level who attend, and I’ve heard nothing but excellent feedback from others as well.

Oh, also—I swear I’m not getting paid for this total plug, mostly because like 10 people are reading my blog;) Thanks guys! Anyone have something that they just fell in love with doing? I’d love to test the waters.  Who knows, maybe there will be something to knock boxing out of first place. Pun totally intended.

Cheers!

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like…I’m Never Leaving My Apartment

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My fiancé, thinks I’m two different people.

 I’m originally from a town in the very northwest corner of Pennsylvania.  It snows for ages and the sun never shines. This, combined with a terrible case of seasonal affective disorder, makes me want to curl up with a cup of coffee, warm socks, and a cozy sweater, and never leave my house after that first snowflake falls.

Summer Aly is vibrant, full of life, and doesn’t leave the house without a sundress and a smile.  I love it—every minute.  It doesn’t matter if it is 100 degrees outside; I want to soak it up while I can. I’m like a Disney princess on Christmas morning after just winning the lottery and finding out she gets a free puppy.  

Now I live in Kentucky and it is glorious.  I still get the seasons, but the winter is immensely shorter. However, you wouldn’t know it from the snow we are having today, which inspired today’s post. Southern people don’t understand the sheer length and brutality of a Pennsylvania winter.  They don’t get that once October hits, there’s no sun until well into the summer.  Your Memorial Day picnic could be frosted over.  I suppose I’m turning a little Southern now, thanks to my impending marriage to a Kentucky boy, and it makes me more depressed than ever to see the snow start to fall again today. Isn’t this supposed to be over?

But I’m still not leaving the house.

I say all of these personal details that you didn’t really need to know to make a point. Going outside is just not an option in the winter for me.  Inspiration is difficult. The great white north has ruined me forever. Those blogs about staying cozy on your morning run? Pointless for me, because there is no way you’re dragging my ass outside after it hit below 40 degrees.

What is a girl to do? I don’t even like driving to the gym if there’s any precipitation coming down. Are there at-home options for a pansy like me? Why, yes there is my friend!

Ok, I can’t actually top a workout that I do at the gym.  For me, there is nothing like the energy, variety and, most importantly, the buzz of people–especially in a group class.  I also don’t think I get the same quality of lifting in.  I love the atmosphere.  However, if I’m not going to leave the house, I get antsy and need to do something besides watch Gossip Girl reruns on DVD.

I’ve never tried P90x because it’s expensive and I’d rather spend my money on a Lilly Pulitzer dress, so I cannot vouch for those results.  People swear by it, and maybe one of these days I’ll check it out.  I can, however, recommend some DVDs and at-home workouts that I’ve found make me actually sore, sweaty, and show some results… and you could still buy that Murfee Scarf you’ve been eyeing.

My girl crush…the one that isn’t Beyonce

I’m a little bit in love with Jillian Michaels. I think if we were to ever meet in real life, I’d get star struck and be able to do nothing but blubber like a thirteen year-old girl meeting one of those British kids from One Direction.  I love love love her yoga DVD, Ripped in 30, and the shredder of all abs.   

I also have a big crush on Bob Harper. Like, huge crush.  His yoga DVD is the one of the greatest at home workouts I’ve tried for when I’m in the mood for a different sort of challenge. Yoga has this reputation for being a girl thing, and kind of low energy. If you think that it won’t be a challenge, I’m begging you to tell me how this workout goes for you.  Who knows, maybe I’m just a Nancy.

My favorite at-home workout of all time involves my fiancé’s second love. His Xbox Kinect: ZUMBA CORE!  There is a reason for my love of this game.  I get to work out and it’s a competition!! I’m hugely competitive and love that the game has you earn points and beat your own records. It’s the bomb. You also need to know you get all kinds of sweaty.

 There is a section at the beginning, or so I’ve heard, that teaches you the steps.  I’ve never been a read the directions kind of gal, but it’s been pretty great to just jump right in and learn as you go! M, that guy I’m marrying, keeps threatening to put videos of me doing it on YouTube.  Don’t get too excited, I haven’t pissed him off enough to make that happen quite yet;)

Anyone else have something they like to do when they’ve got the winter blues?  I’m always looking to try new things!