The alarm going off at some heinous hour signals the beginning of your day, with seconds spare to throw on your exercise gear and yawn your way to the gym. Or, after work - you're free for the evening with ample opportunity to fit in a body attack class before you head home and curl up on the couch feeling righteous. But every now and then (or perhaps more often) you find that you've arrived home an hour earlier than anticipated, or when you finally roll out of bed after snoozing for just 10 minutes, the sun is higher and brighter than it should be. You've skipped your workout, and you don't really care all that much because, well, you hate it anyway.
Sound familiar? You might be one of the majority of gym membership holders who sign up, give it their all for a couple of weeks before dropping off and trying to forget the place exists - if only for that weekly dip in funds that serves as a niggly reminder that your good intentions have fallen by the wayside. The people, the lights, the mirrors, the annoyed glances over badly loaded weight racks and even a constant feeling of being judged are complaints I often hear from clients, culminating into one sentiment of loathing for the place they are supposed to getting fit, healthy and happy in.
While perfect for some, the gym environment can be an intimidating place for others, treated like a chore about as appealing as doing the washing. More often than not the demotivating nature of it all will result in unfulfilled fitness goals, higher frustration levels and a continued dissatisfaction with your body - something you were aiming to fix in the first place. If this sounds like you then it might be time to shake up your approach to working out; getting a new perspective on the way exercise looks can do wonders to help get you back on the right path.
One of the golden rules I have always touted to clients is also a pretty simple one: the secret to success? Finding a form of exercise that you enjoy and constructing a fitness regime to work around that and your lifestyle. Exercise should fit seamlessly, becoming a habit that is as non-negotiable as brushing your teeth. Working out regularly should begin to feel positive, not put you in a constant state of dread, and help you to enjoy a stronger mind and healthier relationship with your body. And if working out at the gym isn't making you feel inspired then it is time to figure out what will.
Thankfully, with so many options it's virtually impossible to say you can't find something sweaty you enjoy. Some workouts are wackier than others, yet sure to put a smile on a your face. Here are a few ideas that are gaining popularity here and overseas:
Xtend Barre: Combining the principles of dance using a ballet barre with pilates, founder of the concept Andrea Rogers has created a unique workout that promises to strengthen and lengthen your muscles, without adding unnecessary bulk.
Suitable for all age groups or abilities (yet surprisingly challenging!) it is a fun way to practice being graceful while working and stretching your body from head to toe.
Aerial Yoga: Yoga performed with the assistance of a swath of silky fabric hung up like a hammock, designed to support your bodyweight and reduce the compression on each spinal vertebrae. Currently gaining in popularity in the US and Europe, there are only a couple of studios around NZ but they may be well worth hunting out. If you like the sound of getting inverted and playful while stretching out from head to toe, and also enjoying the traditional mind and body benefits from yoga, then this could be for you.
Trampoline Classes: Another new fitness trend that has sprung up recently. Jumping around like you are a kid again is a fun workout that will give you similar benefits to running, without the negative impact some of us face from pounding the pavement. Revive the joy of being a kid with an adult satisfaction in mind: burning a pile of stored energy.
Boot Camp: The trend started with CrossFit but has continued to pave it's way through a variety of different forms, getting your body moving to develop functional strength, agility and cardio fitness all at once has become an incredibly popular way to workout. If you're a female and a fear of 'bulking up' too much has put you off in the past, try having a hunt around for one that focuses on body weight training, or use slightly lighter weights than your male counterparts. It really is an excellent way to push your boundaries to the limit.
Invest some time into finding what works for you and guaranteed, your mind and body will thank you for it.