May 2015 archive

What’s in My Gym Bag

Whether you’re just getting into this fitness thing or you’ve been at it for years, I have a couple of tips to make this habit just a bit easier and more fun. Who are we kidding? I have a ton of tips, but I’ll just focus on two today.

The first is to like your workout clothes, and by that I mean, buy cute workout clothes. Don’t wear your hubby’s old t-shirt, no matter how comfortable it is. Don’t wear the shorts you weed your flowerbed in either. Give yourself permission to go shopping and get some clothes you really dig, clothes that are actually designed for exercise. It makes a world of difference! Before you even start your workout, you’ll feel better just because you like what you’re wearing. Workout clothes breathe better which helps you perform your workout better. An old t-shirt gets heavy and cumbersome as you sweat and that is NOT a good feeling when you’re in the middle of a tough class. Today’s workout wear is so fun, fashionable and comfy that I still feel and look somewhat decent running errands after my gym session.

My other tip is to invest in a good gym bag. Have that sucker packed and ready everyday. When I get home from the gym, I unload my bag and restock it for the next day. It certainly does speed up the process of getting out the door each morning when my bag is ready to go.



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So, what should you have in your gym bag? I have perfected the art of packing a gym bag since I live out of mine. My gym bag may actually be a tad over packed since I teach fitness classes and want to be prepared for anything, but I’ve discovered a few essentials that everyone needs in their bag.

FOOD! 

I always have snacks in my bag. It’s a good idea to have a snack 30 minutes to an hour after your workout. I’m usually running errands at that time, so having snacks in my bag keeps me from making a less than healthy choice when I’m out and about. Sometimes, I burn through my breakfast before I’m done at the gym, so having a KIND bar on hand saves me in the middle of my workout. It’s also nice having extra snacks with me to help someone else who may not have fueled properly before class.



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Water Bottle

I bring a big, ole bottle to guzzle, not the little fun-sized, kid-sized bottles. I drink steadily throughout my workout and try not to let myself get thirsty.



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Sweat Towel

I’m a sweater so I really love my little sweat towel. You may not think you need one if you are just starting out, but as your fitness level improves, the harder you can go, and the harder you go, the more you sweat.

Baby Wipes

I have to “fake” my showers after class when my schedule is tight. Baby wipes do the trick until I can get home.



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Dry Shampoo

Again, faking it.



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Jacket

Most gyms have the AC cranked; at least they do in the group fitness rooms. I almost always have a jacket on before I start class. After class, I’m sweaty and get cold if I don’t have a jacket.

Chapstick

When you’re working out at an intense level, you’ll be breathing out of your mouth and your lips can get very dry. I always put on chapstick right after my workout.

Breath Mints

With all that mouth breathing, everyone’s breath needs a little freshening!

Those are my essentials. With cute workout clothes and a well-packed gym bag, you’ll be ready to conquer the world or at least the gym.



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(Photo taken at the Waco Family YMCA, for membership information, click here)

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Favorite Way to Workout

We all know that in order to establish lifelong fitness, we need to find a workout or workouts that we like and consistently do them. More and more studies are showing that it isn’t as important what type of workout you do. What’s important is that you DO SOMETHING and do it regularly. Don’t listen to people who say that one workout is better than another. Maybe that certain workout is better for THEM, but if you don’t like it, it’s not for you. Don’t be confused by what you see on social media. You will see all kinds of workouts and varying fitness information, but no matter what you see, the best exercise is the one you will actually do…long term.

With all that being said, I thought I’d share my very favorite way to workout. It should come as no surprise, but group fitness rocks my world. I LOVE it so much and not only because I teach it. Of course, I totally love teaching it, but I love being a participant, too. There is just nothing like it. That doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy solitary workouts. I either run or do HIIT training alone once or twice a week. Running by myself clears my mind and, as a dance fitness choreographer, I do my best choreographing in my head while I’m running. Go figure. Still and all, group exercise is special and my favorite.

I love walking in the door, seeing familiar faces, and being greeted immediately each class. I get a sense of what Norm on “Cheers” must have felt when he walked in the bar and was greeted with a loud “Norm!” each day. As you get to know the people around you, friendships form. Some of my best friendships have come from a group fitness class. I love how the people in class become a family and look out for each other. I know many people in my classes text each other or send Facebook messages when a fellow class member is absent. We care about each other and that’s not typically something that forms in the cardio room on treadmills.

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I’m much less likely to skip a workout when I know my fellow class members will be there and wonder where I am. It definitely makes it easier to be consistent when I have that built in accountability.

In a group fitness class, you push yourself more than you might otherwise. When we exercise on our own, it’s easier to stop when we probably could go a little harder and a little longer. When your instructor is pushing and challenging you, it’s easier to continue on when you really want to quit.

I feel a sense of camaraderie in class that I don’t get elsewhere. We are in the fight together. We struggle, groan and hurt together. These are my fellow warriors. My people! We laugh together, like today when I went face first into my mat while trying to hold a difficult pose in yoga class. Thanks to my friend, Holly, for lightening the mood with “She’s going down!” as it happened. We bond over our soreness and encourage each other to keep going. It’s comforting to have my buddies with me, working hard, enduring the pain and getting through even the toughest workouts together. It’s a bonding experience and I always leave feeling accomplished, empowered and just a little better than before.



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I also learn from group fitness. If you have a good instructor, he or she is constantly educating you on fitness and health and keeping you updated on the latest research and information. Also, class members share great information with each other. We swap everything from recipes and diet tips to what stores are having great sales on workout clothes. I’m constantly learning from people in my classes and it’s awesome.

Just writing this has me excited about my class tomorrow. I’m ready for a little bit of socializing and whole lot of hard work with my fellow workout warriors. If you’ve never tried a fitness class, I encourage you to give it a shot. It will change more than your backside. It could change your life.



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All photos taken at the Waco Family YMCA. For membership information, click here.