I needed to shake it up a little. Daily gym visits haven’t been getting me anywhere. I bring my mat and practice yoga and walk on the treadmill. But really…working out alone makes me lazy! I’ll admit it.
I really miss the challenging yoga classes I used to take in Boston. Haven’t been able to find any good ones here. The kind that made my blood pump, my energy move, my entire body and mind work at their edge.
Anyway, last week I started running on the treadmill. I hate running but I adore sore muscles. I like to feel like I DID something.
My muscles were sore for a few days, then got used to it. So what’s next? I decided to take a Body Pump class.
Ha. Me? Lift weights?
But as odd as I found Body Pump to be…I liked it.
It’s like they took the notion of weight lifting and totally girl-i-fied it. They made the weights girl-sized, the bars light and easy to use, and choreographed it to pop music. Brilliant. Because otherwise it’s really intimidating to walk into the weight room at the gym – they’re always full of dudes and really heavy weights, y’know?
So I liked that aspect. And I got a great workout, using muscles my chaturungas don’t usually tap into. But if you’re a yogi like me, or even if you’re not but you get overwhelmed by the aggression in classes like this, there are a few modifications you might want to make:
- Breathe. It’s easy to forget with the loud music, quick motions and instructor hollering. But for heaven’s sake, breathe. Stop when you need to. Relax your face.
- Listen to your body. The instructor kept giving vague indication about how much weight to put on the bar. I looked around and all these women twice my age were lifting way more weight than I was! Don’t listen to your ego. Listen to your body. If you try to lift more weight than you can handle, it’s easy to get out of alignment and hurt yourself. You can always add more next time.
- Another note on alignment. To her credit, the instructor gave some cues that were helpful. But the class moves quickly, and with many students she can’t possibly notice how I’m holding my bar or bending my knees the whole time. In general I thought the most important thing was to engage my core. Constantly.
- Be mindful. I found myself getting swept away with the tide of the room and sometimes following blindly along to the music. But even in a sea of barbells you can practice the heart of yoga with breath and intentional movement.
- Balance out your body. It’s like, 55 minutes of weights and 5 minutes of stretching. I found that entirely inadequate and stayed an extra 15 minutes in the room to fully stretch and calm my system. Bring some yin to all that yang!
How do you mix up your workouts? Have you ever done Body Pump?