I have never been one for extreme exercises and have struggled with my fitness for a large majority of life. Throughout my youth I took dance classes, swimming lessons, joined my school’s tennis team and used to bike around my hometown to get to school or friends’ houses. But nothing ever really stuck. Then I started working at YWCA Central Carolinas and it was just time for that to change.
Along with the philanthropic efforts of this organization – transitional housing, after-school literacy programs, racial justice efforts – the facility on Park Road is an incredible fitness center. With a cardio gym, weight gym, indoor pool and group exercise classes throughout the day there was no real excuse I could hold on to to not workout. So I started slow: I took walks through the neighborhood and on the outdoor track during lunch breaks to get my body moving. After a few weeks I started to revisit the machines I learned to use in High School: the elliptical, StairMaster, stationary bike, rowing machine, and all of the weight machines. I still walked when the weather permitted and decided to exercise on my own in the cardio and weight gyms using podcasts and Netflix series as incentive.
Then the time came to push even further out of my comfort zone: I started going to group exercise classes. Working out in public has always been a bit nerve racking, but sometimes you need the influence of others to test your limits. I started with Leah’s Monday night Vinyasa Yoga class. She offered an exercise that I could be proud of while focusing on my goals: fitness-oriented and not.
Then came Julianna’s Wednesday lunch-hour Tabata. Extreme cardio is not my cup of tea (running the mile in gym class was always a terrible day) but something about this class just keeps me coming back. With the modifications offered for each move and the motivational cheer she gives throughout the class it’s become a necessary Wednesday ritual for me.
And then I added Drew’s Tuesday lunch-hour Cardio Strength class. And wow. All I can say is, Drew really knows how to create a class that will constantly test your efforts, but it is so worth it.
So I’ve been proud of the fitness growth I’ve gone through and the community each class offers. Then another time for the comfort zone to be pushed came: I signed up for Industrial Strength Fitness‘s Holiday Hustle & Flow Bootcamp. Now I have never done a bootcamp before, the very word is so intimidating, but it’s led by two personal trainers and lasts for the month of November, so why not?
Last night was the first class, led by Joe. He set out stations for the class to work through after leading us in a 15 minute warm up session and every single moment I knew that I could do every exercise. I knew how to modify moves, I knew how to breathe through the thoughts of, “Oh my god, please let’s just stop and go home and watch TV,” and I knew that my fellow class members were cheering me on because I was cheering them on too.
Fitness is something we should all be proud of. It doesn’t need to look the same for everyone. It can be a morning walk before work, a group exercise class midday, swimming laps in the evening, or working with a personal trainer to map out new goals. Having a fitness routine does the mind and body some good, causing confidence to grow in every way possible. How do you want to be confident this coming holiday season? How do you want to change your routine? Can YWCA Central Carolinas help?