Fitness is a constant passion of mine. It has taken many forms in my life – yoga, boot camps, pilates, boxing, personal training, running, triathlons… while I never stick with one thing for ages, I’m always doing something. I’ve had more gym memberships than I can count, and sign up to at least try most fitness fads. I don’t believe fitness has to take just one form, and I wanted to share some of my favourite fitness paths I’ve followed.
1. Personal Training
This is by far my very favourite way to train – one on one. If you need to eliminate excuses and bust out the most sweat for every second of your work out, a personal trainer is one of the best investments you can make. I began personal training in September last year with an awesome guy who really paid attention to my limits (broken knees mean many ‘normal’ moves are outside my abilities, and my PT wrote me some great programs to focus on all the things I could do), and helped me get really close to some of my fitness goals, such as doing a pull-up. I’m now seeing my cousin and doing more high intensity boxing PT once a week, and it’s totally kicking my butt. Where a normal boxing class usually means you can slack off a little when the instructor isn’t looking, there is no moment they aren’t looking and you are forced to perform. It’s amazing. In my time doing PT, I’ve dropped 3kg and 4% body fat, and really see some serious muscle definition in my arms.
Of course, it can be one of the more expensive ways to train, so it depends on your priorities for fitness. Currently I do a trade with my cousin of an hour of tutoring for an hour of PT, which is working great for everybody, and is a great way to keep your spend low. If PT is something you’re interested in, be creative and you never know what options are out there for you!
ClassPass has been pretty controversial recently. ClassPass was officially a start-up kicking off in the USA, giving you an avenue to try out different classes all over your city without committing to a particular membership or studio. It was insanely priced at $100/month for unlimited classes, and you may have seen some of the media releases from a few months ago where the CEO came out saying the model was unsustainable, and they were switching to $100/month for 10 classes. This model allows you 3 visits to a particular gym in a month, and a total of 10 classes across the various gyms and fitness centres that are available. My colleague and I go to Box & Bike every Monday – normally a casual drop in class is $20, and of course with ClassPass, it comes down to $10. We also hit a different boxing class on Wednesday mornings, and try out different yoga classes around Perth.
ClassPass partners well with a normal gym routine, as you minimise the stale factor of going to the same gym every week. It also allows you to try out something new without having to commit and commit big – a lot of the boutique fitness classes available on ClassPass can cost upwards of $30/class for drop in, and even their memberships can really set you back. You can put your ClassPass membership on hold for $15/month, which entitles you to one class and is perfect if you’re travelling for a period of time.
3. Sweat with Kayla
The most affordable of my suggestions so far – the Sweat with Kayla app only costs $20/month for a subscription, and is an amazing program, if you’re willing to commit to it. The app is beautifully designed, and builds in a timer to keep you moving and not resting for too long, and gives you a weekly planner, plus weekly meal plans and shopping lists to help you with a holistic approach to health. Minimal equipment is required, so you could make this work at home with no gym membership after a quick trip to the Target or KMart fitness section. However, it is self-motivated, so you should be realistic with yourself as to whether you’d stick with it.
My friend and I have picked up the habit of going swimming every Friday morning before work, and it is a revelation. Swimming is a great toning exercise, and is super easy on your joints, which is perfect for people like me with bad knees. Water also has a phenomenal healing effect, and starting the day being totally immersed in the pool is such a clarifying experience, especially when you get to see the sun rise over the pool. A swim pass to most public pools only sets you back around $5 – $6, less if you buy in bulk.
I’ve sampled Bikram yoga, ashtanga yoga, vinyasa yoga, free yoga, very expensive yoga, yoga by candlelight, yin yoga, and they’re all super great and have their own benefits. My favourite has been some yoga studios I’ve found through ClassPass, which have super luxe studios with beautiful bathrooms and shower products you can use. An hour of yoga before or after work (or just before or after starting your day), is one of the best things you can do for your body. You literally feel your body lengthen as the stretches cause your muscles to loosen and all the tension melt away. You also have the opportunity to quiet the mind, which isn’t common in other forms of exercise – where normally you’re gritting your teeth and cheering yourself on, yoga requires you to empty the mind, and concentrate on your breath. This process is so meditative, and allows you to let go physically and mentally of the stresses you carry with you.
A unique yoga experience at home can be had with following YouTube channels like Yoga with Adrienne (she is such a babe). Or you can adopt the practice my neighbour and I began, dubbed yogatinis – where we have a martini then pretend to do yoga before lying down on our mats and tipsily jabber about our lives. Cleansing in its own way.
As you can probably see, I truly believe that fitness should be a hobby and be enjoyable – you shouldn’t need to bully yourself into enjoying loving your body and teaching it to be stronger. Whatever version you adopt, or switch between, should just be another avenue for seeking joy.