Working Out is Not My Job


Like most people, I start off every year deciding to work out more and lose weight.  After two years of business school at night (while working full time and having two kids) then recovering from a parasite, then starting a new job, I decided to start 2016 by working out more!

My initial plan was to run the Nike Women's Half Marathon again.  It's an amazing race where the finisher's medal is a Tiffany necklace handed to you by a fireman wearing a tuxedo.  I'm not kidding.  That's really what happens.  I've run it before and attempted to run it for several years (it's popular and there's a lottery to even get into the race) - as a recent graduate I would get guaranteed entry.  

There were two things that stopped me:

1.  The last time I ran a half marathon, my sports doctor told me not to run another one.  I've had stress fractures, shin splits, and I repeatedly get blisters because I have something called floppy joint syndrome, where many of my joints (including in my feet) are "looser" than average and can bend and stretch more.  I finished the Nike Women's Half marathon - and most of my training - by taking Advil 1/2 way through the distance.  I  needed physical therapy for two months after the race.

2.  It's stressful.  It's so stressful.  I have to get out and run 3 - 4 x a week.  I'm so slow, so running 9 miles takes me 2 hours.   And I have to do it every week.  And can't miss a week.  And have to fit in the training.  Plus, the Nike marathon is a fall marathon, which means I have to run long distance in the heat.  In the summer.  In Texas.  Where it's 85 degrees at 6 am.

And it just suddenly hit me:

What if instead of having to fit in a run and stress out about hitting my goal, what if I just had fun?

What if I stopped acting like working out is work with goals and deadlines?

And I so I started out 2016 with the one goal of working out more and having more fun working out.  

And I've never worked out more consistently.

I had started doing group Pilates with a friend on the weekend.  So I kept doing that.  My new job was in downtown Austin, a few blocks away from Ballet Austin.  They also had group Pilates, but first you had to do some introductory private sessions (at a ridiculous discount.)  I signed up for 5 lessons, and it turns out private Pilates sessions rock, so I started doing that once a week.  

While I was at Ballet Austin, I took advantage of their day of dance and Get Fit free days to try lots of different workouts.  Zumba and Glide Board - awesome.  Upside down yoga -  not for me.  I took an Absolute Beginning Ballet workshop, which I loved.  (Guess what?  Floppy joints -- bad for running, GREAT for ballet!)  So I also took Ballet 2.  And Ballet 3.  Now I try to do a drop in class once a week.  

My husband does hot yoga, so I joined him for a class.  It was horrible and I won't be doing that again.  (He also tried my Pilates class and hated it.) The ride studio next to my office?  Not my thing.  Yoga in the office?  It turns out I do not want to do yoga at work.  

Soul Cycle opened near my house, so I went, though I assumed it would be awful after my other ride experience.  Apparently, I really need people to tell me I'm awesome with the lights dimmed and grapefruit scented candles and I love it.  

As part of my new philosophy, I didn't track my workouts, so I don't have a bunch of graphs or analysis that I worked out more than last year.  But I'm down a pants size and I now have Michelle Obama arms, so I think it's working.  

Here's what I learned:

  • Variety = fun.  I try not to do the same activity more than once a week, but last week I really wanted to do Soul Cycle twice and didn't feel like doing group Pilates, so I went for it.
  • It's almost impossible for me to work out at lunch -- though I have a class blocked on my calendar AND marked private, it almost always gets overbooked by a meeting at work.   HOWEVER, no one shows up in my office until 10 am, so I scheduled my weekly private Pilates session for 9 am and it's only been overbooked once.  
  • Variety is expensive.  A 30 min private Pilates session is $41, Soul Cycle is $30 a class, group Pilates is $25 a class, and a drop in class at Ballet Austin is $18 (so a 90 minute Ballet class is a freaking bargain.)  I do watch for coupons and specials and buy bulk classes when I can.  (I used ClassPass for a while, which lets you go to a classes at certain gyms up to three times a month.  However, it often would not let me book times that worked for me and my schedule.)  

And my 2017 Resolution?  I'm going to continue enjoy doing a variety of fun workouts and not treat working out like a job.  

Cynthia BalusekComment