Yes, I actually stepped foot inside a gym this week. While I have some interesting examples of crazy workouts in Chapter 10 (Big Butts, Droopy Boobs and Cankles) of my book, 40-Something and Fried, I recently took a couple group exercise classes with my teenage girls.
While I am generally a fan of working out in nature and not spending a ton of money on gym memberships, I do find that exercising with others gives me a bit more motivation. To tell you the truth, I am pushed harder when I have to stand in front of a huge mirror and other people. I don't want to look like an idiot or the only one not able to do the workout.
Was I sore the next day? You bet! My calves and shoulder muscles were screaming, but that tells me that I have not been pushing myself as much as I should when I am on my own workout schedule. It is too easy to limit my time, my energy and my motivation. Maybe I am weak, or maybe I am just 40 and FRIED!
I am not advocating spending tons of money on crazy memberships, or hours at a time in the gym. I know a few individuals who take class after class, and then hang out in the weight room all day. Unless you plan to enter a body-building contest, get over yourself and back to your life! Instead, take advantage of local community exercise groups for a good workout with a friend or family member.
Many churches, mommy groups and park recreation centers offer great alternatives to high-priced, fancy gyms. At these facilities, you are also not locked into month-long or yearly memberships. You can also fly under the social radar a bit.
My recent exercise adventure happened to be in a fabulous gym on a military installation. Since I have privileges on base, and the cost is low for a single class, punch card or monthly pass, it is totally worth it. I opted for a 10-punch card so the my teens and I could share. The complex also happens to have a pool, sauna, and racquetball and basketball courts for an added bonus.
The other reason I went to the gym? To motivate my girls. I wanted to show them that taking care of their body is important, but that group workouts don't have to be a drag. We chose classes we had never done before (yoga and total tone), but that seemed interesting. So awesome to see them engaging in a whole new fitness and semi-social experience.
Mixing it up is the way to go.....work out new muscle groups and HAVE FUN! Maybe just add a few classes here and there until you feel comfortable. It is OK if it kills you the first few times. I promise, it will get better!
So while I am not ready for "yoga with goats", maybe I'll give Zumba or kickboxing a try!