Five Ways To Motivate Yourself To Workout When You Don't Really Want To

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I have a confession. I’ve not been in super workout ra ra mode lately. I don’t know if it is the change of seasons or the seemingly endless amount of projects I’ve been working on, but I’m just not that into working out right now. But, this doesn’t mean I’m not working out, it just means I’m less motivated to get myself going. And that’s okay because I’m still doing what I need to do, even if it takes some extra push to get there. Here are five ways I’ve been forcing myself to workout during those times when I’d rather being doing anything else

Fashion Is A Great Motivator

Who doesn’t get excited to wear new clothes? If you find you have the cardio blahs, buy yourself a cute outfit. This ALWAYS works for me. Here are a few ideas.

So Is Money…

I am beyond overworked right now. Really, I would love to spend my borderline non-existent free time on my couch, but that isn’t an option right now. So, I’m forcing myself to plan my day when I wake up and sign up for a group fitness class using ClassPass. If you miss a class, they charge you $15 and I’d rather put that cash towards anything else. I also work best under pressure, so if I know I have to be somewhere later that day, I ‘m more likely to finish my work.

If you haven’t heard of ClassPass, it’s an amazing program that gets you the best deals (literally, I’ve checked) on group fitness classes in 43 different cities, making life so much easier if you travel a lot and still want to stick to your fitness routine.

If you’ve never used ClassPass before, use my affiliate link for a $40 credit. They have a few plans to choose from.

As Is Time….

Sometimes I want to skip a workout, but knowing what my week looks like in advance and keeping the big picture in mind makes me aware that skipping a day isn’t an option. There just won’t be an available time slot later in the week. This is especially true because I try to workout 4-5 days a week.

But Short Workouts Are EVERYTHING

Trying to motivate myself to workout for 45 minutes to an hour has been like trying to pull teeth lately. First of all, some days I don’t have an extra minute to spare. Then there’s the fact that an hour can sound like ten hours when I am super stressed. So, I’ve found several 30-minute classes that I can motivate myself to go to. Plus, when I know I’m there for a shorter period of time, I work much harder. This makes me feel super accomplished and totally exhausted when I am finished.

And Convenience Is King

This is a conversation I had earlier this week:

Me- Honey, I’m headed off to the gym downstairs in our building to go for a run.

Husband- You’ve never been to the gym downstairs.

Me- Not true, I go there all the time to use the bathroom when I’m sipping rosé at the pool.

Husband- I mean to workout.

Me- Also not true, I’ve used it five times in the two and half years we’ve lived here.

I’m not a gym person or a running person, but I can’t think of a more convenient place to squeeze in a workout right now. So, I’m starting to use the gym in my building more often. Honestly, it’s not my favorite place to workout, but being able to get in and out the most time efficient way possible is sometimes the only option I have.

Remember— SOMETHING IS ALWAYS BETTER THAN NOTHING! A 30-minute jog around your neighborhood is better than a 30-minute snooze on the couch.  

 

How A Fitness Instructor Should Make You Feel

Photo by  Hayley Fisk . Makeup by  Kinx Active . Location  dr pilates  Los Angeles.

Photo by Hayley Fisk. Makeup by Kinx Active. Location dr pilates Los Angeles.

I’m not sure if you know this fun fact about me, but I’ve taken close to 550 group fitness classes in the past two or so years. I’m not trying to brag or say “Look at how fit I am,” but I want to share what I’ve learned through the process.

Last week, A Sweat Life published an article I wrote about group fitness. I briefly mentioned a horrible experience I had with an instructor. If you haven’t had a chance to read that post (and you really should), let me recap.

Two years ago, I unknowingly signed up for a West Coast Pilates class. If you aren’t familiar with West Coast style Pilates, it’s essentially Pilates on crack. It was my first time at that studio and I felt like a complete idiot. I had no idea what was going on or what to do. To make matters worse, the instructor was particularly unkind to me for no reason. While I have seen so many instructors go out of their way to help first-timers, this guy seemingly enjoyed making me feel unwelcome. I had to hold back tears. I felt like my body didn’t work right. A good instructor will gently guide you and NEVER shame you. Luckily, I gave the studio another chance and found several instructors who were nothing like that guy. I’m happy I didn’t let him ruin it for me entirely.

A good instructor should be able to teach multiple levels at the same time, beginners to advanced.  Everyone in a group fitness class will have different strengths and weaknesses anyway. For example, some people have strong arms, but weak legs. A decent instructor should at least try to accommodate everyone. And if they can’t, someone doesn’t have a challenging workout and someone else inevitably ends up injuring themselves.

Furthermore, an instructor needs to make sure everyone knows how to the machines and equipment properly. Being short (5”3 on a good day) can be a challenge for me because most equipment is designed for taller people. Some exercises have to be modified or I sometimes use equipment differently than someone who is six feet tall.  We all deserve to get the most out of our workout and if you aren’t comfortable working with equipment, it becomes impossible to have correct form. If you feel something isn’t right or you just aren’t sure if you are performing an exercise properly, ask the instructor. Their job is to guide you.

Then there’s the playlist factor. Musical taste has no correlation to teaching, but we all know there’s only so much EDM a person can take if they aren’t on molly. But, in all seriousness, we know how much easier it is workout to music we actually like or at the very least provides a beat that’s compatible to the tempo of the exercise at hand. I once walked out of a spin class and canceled my membership to a gym after an instructor played this song. If you aren’t sadistic enough to click, it’s a super slow, annoying song and by annoying I mean pretty much a musical abomination. Not surprisingly, I wasn’t the only person who walked out of that class. As a result, my current standards for playlists consist of anything that isn’t that song.

But I’ve also had lots of positive experiences. Because I’m rather petite, if you tell me I’m strong, you win my undying love, appreciation and extra karma points. Say I have great form, then I will think of you as the American Express Platinum of fitness instructors. Because of my stature, many people perceive me as weak. I even use to think of myself as weak, until I had instructors tell me otherwise. While anyone has yet to describe me as the kind of person you “wouldn’t mess with in a dark alley,” you wouldn’t want me to accidentally kick you. 

Fitness can be transformative. It’s a cliché, but changing your mind can change your body. Instructors should encourage you and safely push you to try harder. I think this is all part of body positivity. If you are going to do something to improve your physical and likely emotional wellbeing, you deserve to do it in a supportive environment with people who make you feel more confident. It doesn’t matter what your ability is, what your body looks like or what your goals are.  And if you’re really lucky, they like Beyonce just as much as you do.

 

Drum Your Way Fit With Pound At Crunch

As someone who participates in group fitness four to five days a week, it’s really important to keep it interesting and challenging. What’s worse than a boring workout? So, I was really excited to try Pound at Crunch. Pound is a really interesting concept because it doesn't fit into a neat category. Instead it combines cardio, strength training, core work, stretching and drumming. Yes, drumming!

To be honest, I was a little nervous to try Pound. Try to think of the least musically talented person you know, such as someone who can’t even pretend to drum on a steering wheel while stuck in traffic. My sense of rhythm is probably far worse.  Before the class, I had a vision that I would drum totally off beat and everyone would give me dirty looks, but luckily that didn’t happen. I was actually surprised that after a song or two, I felt like I was able to keep up with everyone. The drumming also really helped to stabilize my core and keep me balanced, which, as it turns out, is the whole point of the class. According to the instructor, Harmonie (yes, that is her real name and no, it could not be more appropriate), being part of the Pound Posse doesn’t require any coordination, “Coordination is not a huge element that we focus on. Anyone can do this workout as long as you feel the music. Your body just flows with it and connects everything you are doing.”

Harmonie In Action

Harmonie In Action

While Harmonie is a natural fit to teach this class, before Pound, she had no prior musical experience, “I've always loved music and was in dance, but I had zero drumming experience and that’s the beauty of it. You don't have to be a drummer to do this workout at all.”

In addition to making the class good for all levels, by providing different modifications, Harmonie was a dream instructor. She was fun, fit, enthusiastic and most importantly, had great taste in music. Liking the playlist absolutely essential for feeling the flow of Pound. Every song has its own set of moves and choreography such as squatting, stretching, crunches, or cardio, followed by or integrating drumming on the floor, in the air or hitting the Ripstix together.

If Pound sounds familiar to you, it’s because this workout has been around for over four years. Kirsten Potenza & Cristina Peerenboom came up with the idea one day when day they were air drumming sans sticks. They realized they were challenging their cores and boom, Pound was born.

Harmonie was one of the first Pound instructors and she is still happily rocking out every week, “I get the biggest high from teaching class. I empower my class to let it all out and to do their best. I challenge them by asking them to think of something they want to let go of during class and then to focus on something they want to bring more of into their lives. It's quite miraculous to watch their faces when they are Pounding...it's like you can see into their soul because each one is thinking something different. I know I play a small part in their day and it makes me so happy that I can do that for them.”

Another thing I really liked about Pound is that it replaces standard weights with ¼ pound (no pun intended) Ripstix. It seems like dumbbells have become the standard equipment for every workout I do these days from Pilates to Spin and even Yoga (which goes against so much of what yoga is about, but that is a different post entirely). Adding weights adds an extra challenge that many people want, but I am not one of those people. My shoulders and arms tend to bulk easily, so I’m sticking with Ripstix from now on.

If you don't live in Los Angeles and reading this makes you have major Pound FOMO right now, don't worry. The class is taught in over 2000 studios and gyms worldwide. If you want to try Pound at your local studio or get more info, visit Pound Fit’s website.

Adventures At Crunch's Sex-Ed Class

As someone who takes 4-5 group fitness classes per week, I feel my routine can sometimes get a little boring and repetitive. Sure, every spin, barre and Pilates class is somewhat different, but I like to try new things and keep challenging my muscles. So, in an effort to mix it up, I tried Crunch’s Sex-Ed. While the class wasn’t as naughty as I imagined it would be, it was way more fun than I anticipated.

While many fitness classes I’ve taken use props toys, none have been quite like the ones used in Sex-Ed. You can choose from working with “Carlos” or “Lucy,” who are male and female sex dolls. While Lucy has breasts and Carlos has chest hair, neither has genitalia. Call me dirty, but I checked. With Lucy’s loud blue eye shadow and Carlos’ creepy moustache, it’s almost impossible to work out with a straight face. While it’s a serious workout, you can’t take yourself too seriously while doing it.

Another source of humor was Sex-Ed’s creator and instructor, Jorge del Busto. From Malibu by way of Argentina, Jorge is kind of Central Casting for the stereotypical sexy, Latin man. Watching him demonstrate the moves with his hips and dancing around with Lucy, you just can’t help but smile. While I took his instruction seriously, I couldn’t stop giggling. The rest of the class couldn’t either.

As fun and lively as Sex-Ed was, I actually found it to be a welcome challenge. In addition to dancing with the dolls (sounds like a reality show, right?), the routines consisted of a variety of movements including squatting, thrusting and shaking the hips. Kind of a less graceful and more exaggerated version of what you might do in a barre class. Jorge designed this workout to use and strengthen the core and lower regions of the body aka all the muscles you use when you get it on. And much like having sex and dancing, it looks a whole lot easier than it is. Going back and fourth and tucking, I even got a few kegels in (#multitasking). Sex-Ed was perhaps one of the more interesting lower body workouts I’ve ever had. It’s also worth noting that all of the participants of the class that day happened to be women. While men would certainly find it fun, some might be a little self-conscious to attempt Jorge’s moves outside the bedroom.

As the class was ending, I was having so much fun, I started to wonder if any of the workout was actually affective. I actually wasn’t quite sure if I spent 45 minutes working out or just fooling around with a sex doll. However, it turned out to be pretty affective because (pardon the analogy) I was delightfully sore the next day. You know that feeling!

So, should you add sexercise to your routine? If you want a class that is really like nothing else out there, yes! If you are looking for a class to take with group of friends at different fitness levels, this is it! While Sex-Ed felt more like fun than foreplay, doing it with your partner might just get you in the mood to practice some of the moves you learned outside of class. No matter what, I’m pretty sure Jorge will be leading fun fitness orgies for a long time.