This month, I set a goal to try one new workout each week. And then we had snow like we haven’t seen in a decade, which meant fun days of sleeping late, sledding, and salted caramel cocoa with my sweet boys. But it also meant very little school, and much less free time for me. That’s life! I’ve never appreciated my gym childcare more!
However, I really did want to shake up my routine, so in the spirit of progress over perfect, which is my motto of 2019, I decided to do the best I could. I got out my favorite colorful pens, and my planner, and I stacked my first week of back to school post-snowpocalypse, with three fun new workouts: Barre, Hot Yoga, and Orange Theory. Read on to find out more about these workouts, how I liked them, and what I discovered as I ventured beyond the security blanket of my tried and true routine.
Location: Magnuson Athletic Club
Cost: Included in a gym membership
Some of my most slender and graceful friends do Barre, and I have been secretly wanting to try it for years! The problem is I’m not graceful. In fact, I didn’t survive more than a month in ballet class as a kid. It was painfully precise, and I just wanted to dance, people! I also wanted to wear a pink leotard and tutu, put my hair up in a pretty bun, and don lace-up toe shoes. When I found out you had to practice for years before you could have toe shoes, I was out! I thought I might feel similarly about Barre, which is a workout that incorporates ballet moves and uses a ballet barre.
I tried the Barre class at my gym, led by the hilarious Keiko. Here’s a quote from Keiko: “I love this move because it doesn’t torture anything. (long pause) Not that I want to give the impression that Barre is torture, because it mostly isn’t.” Her jaunty little laugh filled the studio.
Happily, I didn’t find the class to be torturous. Just a few minutes into our routine at the barre, I could feel my butt and legs burning—in just the best kind of way. We also used the barre to do assisted pull-ups, push-ups, and work with a resistance band. The whole time Keiko kept us laughing, and I enjoyed feeling like the ballerina I never was. The best part is, this class is included with my gym membership! That means I can go every Friday. I will definitely add this to my weekly routine!
Location: Hot Yoga Inc. Northgate
Cost: $10 for 10 classes, if you are new. You must use them within two weeks.
At a dinner party, I was once asked to name one thing I should have done by now. It wasn’t supposed to be a big goal like writing a book, but something smaller, something I could easily do. My answer? Hot Yoga. I have been wanting to try it ever since a Professor I idolized came strolling into a coffee shop I frequented dripping with sweat and looking completely blissed out. I wanted some of what she was having. But the thought of going and sweating next to her was a little terrifying. I thought I may throw up, or pass out, or end up next to a guy who smelled and his sweat would get on me. Kind of like with ballet, I just wanted the look of someone who had gone to hot yoga, and I wanted the bliss. Sadly, that’s not the way anything is in life. I needed to do it if I wanted to get the results. Perhaps all my after workout sauna time had prepared me for this?
Turns out I was right about the sauna preparation, and wrong about everything else! I went to the Hatha Yoga class with DeeJay at Hot Yoga Inc. in Northgate, and felt terrified at first. With rooms that are 110 degrees with humidity, they have the hottest yoga studios in the city! I worried I wouldn’t make it through, and when I mentioned this before class, the teacher told me that once I went in, I had to stay in until it was over. Yikes! I almost bailed, but I’m really glad I stayed the course. I decided to set up right next to the door, which the teacher opened regularly to let in a cool breeze. However, it was still very hot. It was so hot, in fact, that I couldn’t really think.
All my internal chatter went away, and my mind was quiet. I worried my mind would be ringing it’s alarms telling me it was too hot, telling me it hurt, telling me to get the hell out of there. But it didn’t! I felt like I was truly in the moment. Interestingly, the yoga poses were actually much easier than a lot of yoga classes I’ve been to in the past. There was a lot less downward dog and inversion poses, which meant my wrists didn’t hurt like they usually do. Even still, I literally soaked all my clothes, and my towel, and left feeling amazing, calm, and detoxified. The endorphin rush of the heat, and the feeling of calm lasted all day long. I will definitely be back for more!
Location: U District
Cost: Free the first time, after that it’s a $28 for a drop in fee, or 10 for $199. You also have to buy their heart monitor which ranges from $79-$120.
A close friend of mine loves Orange Theory like my husband loves CrossFit. She swears by this workout because it’s never the same, she sweats buckets, and she loves the combo of weights and cardio. You put on a heart rate monitor, and a trainer stands by telling you what to do next to keep your heart rate in the target zone. It sounds kind of scary to me. When I mentioned my workout goals this month, my friend asked me if my workout adventure would include Orange, and I couldn’t break her heart. So I went.
Here’s what happened:
I strapped on a heart monitor, took a tour of the gym space, and was given a lot of instructions. Before class, I was also assigned a rowing machine a treadmill, and a weight bench. Class started on the rowing machine, which I had to do for 30 seconds in the target heart zone before moving on to the treadmill, where I had to get to a distance goal. You can either power walk, jog, or run on the treadmill. Then I moved to weights, where the trainer showed us the four moves we were supposed to do, and how many reps of each. You can also see these moves on a screen, in case you forget. The trainer comes around to help everyone with their form, and also to cheer everyone on. This aspect made the session feel more one-on-one than a group class. You can see your heart rate on a screen through the entire class, and make sure you are moving from your baseline to the target zones with each new cardio or weight circuit.
At first, I felt like I had information overload, trying to keep track of my heart rate, time, distance, moving from one thing to the next, but after ten minutes I surrendered. The trainer told me what to do, and I did it. Much like Hot Yoga, I didn’t have time to think about anything but the workout, and it was nice. I also liked seeing my heart rate, and calorie burn. In one hour I burned 630 calories! That’s way more than my elliptical workout at the gym. But there was never a time when I felt like I was in pain, or overdoing it. And the teacher, cute as a button Tessa, was so sweet and helpful the entire time. I would love to go back, but I’m not sure I can afford it! I need to think hard about whether or not I can make the investment.
Before each of these workouts I felt scared, nervous, and uncoordinated. I worried it would be like P.E. where everyone watched as I failed to do the rope climb, got smacked in the face with a wiffle ball, or tripped while running lines. But like many things in life, people are mostly just worried about themselves. The few times someone turned their attention to me it was to offer a resistance band that wouldn’t fly off the barre, smile with encouragement, or compliment me.
Group workouts weren’t the scary and painful things I thought they would be. They offered a chance to shake up my routine, challenge myself, and meet some new people in my neighborhood. They got me out of my head and into my heart. I’m so glad I ventured out! I haven’t felt this type of endorphin rush in a very long time. It left me craving more! I’m off to try CrossFit this Sunday! After that, I’ll decide which of these new workouts I want to incorporate into my weekly routine.
Have you tried a new workout recently? If so, I want to hear about it! Reply to this email or post in the comments below. And, if you want to try a workout curated by an Orange Theory trainer, check out this guest post by Heather Sorenson. If you liked this post, please share it!