Get in Shape in 2015 With a Fitness Wish List

The other day I ventured into a women’s clothing store to purchase some new workout pants. During the transaction, the clerk made a comment how the store is witnessing a rapid increase in sales on active wear, because it’s now “workout season.”
I looked at her in disbelief. Workout season?
I’m not usually one to continue conversations of any sort (unless I personally know you and/or I like you enough to pursue the conversation further) but her comment really irked me. In an effort to reconfigure her horribly flawed perception of fitness regimens, I was quick to reply that my workout “season” never ends. I do not take prolonged breaks of any sort, I do not get timeouts, and I certainly don’t work out under the condition of any multi-million dollar contract. I work out for me, and only me. I work out three to five days a week. I’ve been at this pace for the last few years.
One morning in April, I looked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw. Things started to gravitate in a way that was highly unflattering. I then thought about the middle-aged women with very round middles and pencil thin legs. Women don’t get that way because they’ve had kids. Women get that way because we’re going through what I refer to as “adult puberty.” I have no scientific evidence to back this up, but I never had children, so why am I starting to look this way? I did not create a resolution in the New Year to get in shape. I just got my shit together mid-year because I didn’t want to go through “adult puberty” without putting up a tremendous fight. Four years later, I am still kicking adult puberty in the ass.
The cashier seemed eminently impressed with my response, and asked what gym I go to. This is where I had trouble replying. I could not give her a definitive answer.

I am not a big fan of repetition. Doing the same routine day in and day out is a surefire way to get me in an irascible mood due to the mundane nature of it all. This is especially true of workout routines. Don’t expect me to do yoga more than once a week. Jumping jacks hurt after about 30 seconds. My shoulders are screaming all sort of expletives by the time I get to the third rep of a shoulder press. I stop in the middle of a workout not because I’m tired, but because I am incredibly bored with the same movement over and over.
fitness 2It occurred to me one day that a fitness regimen doesn’t necessarily have to include a gym membership, and it doesn’t have to be typical. I thought about all the things on my fitness wish list that I’ve always wanted to pursue. I thought about dance (any style…..yes….ANY), the most structured and toughest workout of them all. As a teenager, I took various ballet and jazz dance classes, only for the technique to be lost several years later. But my desire to re-join dance was not to be ignored, but it came with a huge challenge: my body in the present is not what it was the last time I regularly took dance classes.
A volunteer opportunity came along where dance and cheerleading was used as a vehicle to raise money for other local non-for-profit organizations. It was a win-win. My body didn’t agree. I didn’t care. It involved vigorous weekly practices and a hefty summer performance schedule that never allowed me to slow down in any capacity, and I loved it. It hurt, and I loved it.

Dancing for pride and charity. From Kalamazoo Pridefest, June 2014. Photo credit: Terry Johnston Photography.
Dancing for pride and charity. From Kalamazoo Pridefest, June 2014. Photo credit: Terry Johnston Photography.

I took additional dance classes while on the squad. This is in addition to strength training. Dance one day, pump iron the next. Now we’re talking.
It occurred to me that by doing different activities all the time is an ideal way to stay in shape. Granted, some workouts will build lean muscle faster than others. In the end, they ALL will build muscle tone to some degree. You can’t possibly be bored with your workout as long as you mix it up, i.e. muscle confusion. It might take longer to achieve your weight goals, but so what! Is there a fire? Besides, you’ll have so much fun in your pole dancing class that you just might forget the reason why you’re there in the first place. Participating in various activities is also a great way to meet new drinking pals people. Have you ever considered taking a class in aerial arts? How about a swim or diving class? Even better……….POLE DANCING (that’s definitely a class I want to take next, incase you didn’t notice 😉 ).

Eat your heart out, Esther Williams.
Swimming is good for the heart and the soul. :)
Swimming is good for the heart and the soul. 🙂

With regard to dance, most dance studios offer a drop-in class so you don’t have to commit to a 6 to 8 week session. Most gyms will give you a trial membership so you can try various classes. And you can always go to the local library and rent out various exercise DVD’s……for FREE (only applies if you enjoy working out at home…..unlike me).

I have made so many friends over the years through all of my fitness excursions and activities. Having a workout buddy really does make a huge difference because you’re supporting and motivating one another. You can laugh, joke, pal around, and you can even have a bad workout session while your friends are there that totally get you, implying that it’s okay. These sentiments mean a lot, especially if you are vigorously working hard to achieve your goal, whatever that may be.
The main point of this post is to always remain active. If you have kids, even more reason to engage in activities, such as tubing, skating, and all the other bullshitty winter sports (I’m not sorry to say I hate winter). Create a “fitness wish list” and include all the workouts/gyms/activities you’d like to pursue. You might be surprised that you would probably achieve greater results doing whast YOU want to do instead of relying on a P90x DVD as your primary workout.

If you’re not a fan of lengthy blog posts, not to worry. This will be my last one for awhile as I return to work in a couple of days. For now I will continue to amuse myself with pretty pictures, supplemented by a couple of photographs. 🙂
See you in pole dance class. 😉

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