As summer looms, so does the thought of getting into shape. Whether that’s to fit into a certain swimsuit or run a marathon, there are many ways to accomplish the goal set in mind. After talking to local fitness instructors it’s clear that the goal shouldn’t be just season long, but a lifetime.
There are many gyms in the area to join, like LA Fitness on N. Shepherd Dr. or the YMCA on 34th St. Members at these gyms have access to equipment any day of the week at times that are most convenient to them. These gyms also offer group programs if working out alone is daunting.
But for the novice who has only ever used a treadmill, going to a gym alone can make the process more confusing as they try to navigate how to use and how long to use each machine.
At Pure Barre in the Heights, “Your instructor doesn’t take class with you, she is there just to help you and make sure you are getting the most out of your class,” said the owner of Pure Barre, Dory Dale.
Pure Barre provides strength training classes based around the ballet bar. Though that could intimidate the newcomer, no dance background is needed.
“The idea is to isolate one muscle group, work its fatigue, then spend time stretching it out,” said Dale.
Because Pure Barre exercises are so safe it’s perfect for expecting moms, who can continue with it throughout their entire pregnancy. Even people in their late sixties can join and still get a great full body experience because of the modifications they can add to the workout.
When it comes to setting fitness goals as a beginner or an experienced trainer, it’s always good to be realistic with what can be accomplished.
“it’s important to set realistic goals for yourself, so I think people get really excited and say they’re going to exercise for thirty days straight, but they haven’t exercised in a year,” said Dale, “That way when something happens, maybe out of your control, like you get sick you can’t [work out], you’re not like oh well in that case I’m giving up on the whole goal.”
With so many different options for getting into shape, Dale emphasized the importance of finding the right one and sticking to it because it’s so important to exercise. It not only makes you physically feel better, but with the release of endorphins exercise gifts the mind positivity for the day.
Head coach Carrie Stowell of Orangetheory Fitness, whose new location will be off I-610 and Yale Street, believes it’s essential to have fun while getting into fitness because when it isn’t, it’s easier to quit.
Orangetheory is perfect for efficiency with a work out of strength, cardio and heart interval training. The routine changes daily, so the work out doesn’t become boring.
“It’s always good to be changing things up, so if you’re doing your own thing at home I’d say that’s awesome and keep doing it, but you’re going to want to pair something with that. Whether that’s starting a different class or starting a new regime. Adding something different you haven’t been doing for the past month or year because your body does get complacent,” said Stowell.
DEFINE Body & Mind’s philosophy on fitness is that it should span a lifetime, not just a few months.
“There are three things that you need to be your absolute best and it’s cardiovascular fitness, strength, and the mindful aspect and the lengthening aspect, which I personally combine together because I feel like they complement each other,” said Casey Alff, the owner of the Heights location of DEFINE.
DEFINE offers it all. They have classes for a full body workout, indoor cycling, and one called bounce, which is done mostly on a trampoline. They also offer traditional yoga and what they call mindful classes. In one mindful class hammocks are used, and the other includes ball rolling on a mat. These classes are about lengthening the core and bringing restoration to the mind.
It’s best to try to fit one of each type of class in a week. For example, Alff suggested two body classes, one cycling class, and then a mindful class throughout the week.
But above all people must listen to their bodies to make sure they’re not over doing it, or even underdoing it.
Most of the time exercising in groups can boost motivation because everyone is supportive and excited to be there. When everyone else has a positive attitude it’s much easy to have one as well.
Aside from the environment, the results are encouragement as well.
“I feel like I am physically fit, but [the body class] will really try me and that’s the beauty of it because it helps build your core and your body muscles and it makes you a better runner. So even if someone has another fitness outlet that they do, incorporating our classes along with something else that you love will just enhance your whole workout,” said the studio leader at DEFINE, Marybeth Sanders.
Most of all, “You can’t out train your diet,” said Alff.
It’s always great to be interested in fitness, but if the diet consists of only fried food, it may be tough to stay encouraged while working out. Ease into diet changes the same way the exercises should be eased into. Set realistic goals, and at the right rate, accomplish them. Simple tips given by Alff were to cut the processed food and sugar. With less processed foods it’s easier to eat a balanced meal.
So, find the right place to begin or restart the fitness journey, but everyone should remember to listen to their bodies and to be realistic expectations of their bodies. It can be for just a season, but overall the benefits are much richer with a lifestyle change, both physically and mentally.