January 17: Fitness medley

About two weeks ago, I tried a spinning class for the first time since it was free. The recreation center concluded their free week of group fitness classes on Sunday. I attended yoga pilates, total body tone, vinyasa flow yoga, and step & sculpt classes. I have enjoyed yoga DVDs for years but never actually attended a class. With the opportunity to try classes for free, I thought I would give it a try. The other classes I chose were just from curiosity since they fit into last week’s schedule best.

I went to both yoga classes with a friend, Kim, who was also interested in yoga. While I’m not afraid to try new things by myself, it definitely helps to have someone join me. Yoga pilates was our first class; we spent 75 minutes doing sun salutations interspersed with other postures. For about 8 minutes, we performed pilates to concentrate on abdominal work. The instructor was really great at explaining proper alignment and what muscles should be felt.

Wednesday night I went to Total Body Tone. The class was way too crowded, which happens when free is combined with college students at 6:15 pm. Using too many contraptions (step, body bar, free weights, and resistance bands), we hit all muscle groups in 45 minutes. While the workout fatigued my muscles, I just didn’t have fun. And what’s the point if I don’t have fun, right?

Thursday found me in vinyasa flow 2 with Kim. It was refreshing to see men in the class; they were athletes whose dance instructor required them to attend at least one yoga class. Again, we spent most of the time doing sun salutations. A different instructor from the one who taught our yoga pilates class, Scott also did a good job explaining postures and modifications; proper alignment; and proper breathing. While I definitely want to attend Scott’s class again, it occurs at the same time as Tai Chi, which I planned to attend weekly with a co-worker.

Saturday morning I found myself in Step & Sculpt. I figured few people would show up at 8:30 on a Saturday; I was wrong. While not as crowded as Total Body Tone, a fair number of women attended. We had plenty of space, however. A young lady I met in the locker room Friday was on the step behind me; she said the instructor was one of her favorites. It took some time for me to learn the intervals, but once I did I began to have a lot more fun. I was drenched with sweat well before the class was half finished. I think that as I attend the class each week, I will do better at following along. It was a great workout that was really fun.

And as I was visiting all these classes this week, I began the aquatic distance challenge. One of my friends who came with me to spinning class agreed to be my swimming buddy for the eight week challenge. Brittany and I swim 1000 yards or 1000 meters (depending on lane availability) twice a week. It takes us about 45 minutes to swim the 40 laps. Well, Brittany swims; I kickboard *smile*. Each time I enter the pool, I practice breathing underwater. I started adding single armstrokes as I kickboard. My goal is to actually swim a few laps of freestyle before the challenge concludes. The last time I tried to swim for exercise, I became tired in the middle of the lane and panicked; that was at least 5 years ago and I’m still traumatized.

I’m really enjoying the variety of workouts. I still do Bob a couple of times a week. According to Loseit.com, I should probably step up my exercising. While I wrote a few weeks ago about my concern of eating too few calories, I went overboard with indulging in pumpkin bread, chocolate chip scones and cinnamon rolls. Tracking my progress makes me more accountable to myself. Seeing new muscles when I brush my teeth or being able to comfortably wear a flattering pair of skinny jeans is encouraging; and I am hopeful that such positives will make me think twice about overindulging in sweets.

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December 31: Introduction

I’m sitting in my living room watching Bob Harper’s Cardio Training DVD. I read reviews on Amazon and it sounded up my alley. I’m always looking for a new challenge when it comes to my physical fitness. See, I become bored rather easily. I actually wasn’t aware of this until one of my best friends made the comment a few years ago. Initially, I didn’t take her seriously, but being self-reflective I began to notice the pattern repeating in my personal, academic and professional lives.

Perhaps my constant need for change motivated me to set an ostentatious new year’s resolution for 2011: try as many new things as possible. I’ve spent eight years trying to figure out what I wanted to do when I grow up. I am a chemist by training; I completed my doctoral research in chemical education. With my sole focus on academics and training for my future career, I lost some of my zest for life; I just wanted to cross that finish line after the metaphorical ultra-marathon. Graduate school is not for the faint of heart.
Well, I have my Ph.D. and a new lease on life. I have a bigger paycheck, too, which is important because some adventures will require some funds. I should probably make a budget, but that just takes some of the fun out of it. I’m cheap, so I won’t be foolish with my money. But I like options. So, what are some of the new things I plan on trying? I asked friends and co-workers for ideas because I had a grand total of 10 at the beginning of December. I’m still open to suggestions! Below is a small sampling of what I plan to try.

Give a stranger money
Run a 10 K
See the Nutcracker ballet
Bake bread from scratch
Wear a bikini – in public
Visit a state I have never visited
Try new spices, foods, and dishes
Go ice skating
Wear skinny jeans
Automated blood donation (rather than whole blood donation)

I will chronicle my journey in this blog, which is something new for me. It’s really for me to see how much I have grown as the year progresses. Experts recommend finding a group of like-minded individuals to help stay accountable for any goal. Even if no one reads my musings, the blog serves as a barometer of how much I have grown as I strive to try as many new things as possible in 2011. Who knows, maybe someone else will be inspired to break free from their comfort zone and try some of these things, too. As for Bob Harper’s DVD, I will keep my cell phone close in case I need to call 911! Hahaha ;op