Sweating It Out, Together

by Melissa Cates

I have a new vice. It totally quiets my busy mind.  I am guilty of leaving my kids behind and indulging several times a week; it hurts so good.

Ok, ok, before you get concerned here it is: group fitness classes. 

Hold on to your leg warmers, Jane Fonda: this is not your momma’s group fitness. I’m talking muscle-shaking, iron-pumping, can-barely-walk-the-next-day group fitness. I know I’ve written here before about my gym addiction, but here’s the ugly truth: I was TOTALLY half-a**ing it for a while. The main objective for me was to have a break in my day from my kiddos and maybe take a quiet shower. Yoga classes exempt, I was not pushing myself or even breaking a sweat when let loose on my own to those endless rows of cardio machines and confusing weight contraptions. But, oh, I have seen the light. It is twice as gratifying to get a much needed break AND get whipped into shape by a trainer on a mini stage with enviable deltoids and a mic pack. 

 Photo credit: Lifetime Fitness

Photo credit: Lifetime Fitness

My go-to fixes right now are a total body barbell lifting class and a barre class (which develops long, lean muscles and a love/hate relationship with the word “pulse”). I still squeeze in yoga classes for the stretching, strengthening, and moments of mental clarity I can’t get anywhere else. The biggest perk for me of attending these classes is the ability to be completely in the moment in my body. I don’t have to come in with a plan or wonder what to do next. Someone who really knows their stuff will shout it out to me over the bass-thumping music accompanied by some inspiring motivational phrases. All I have to do is push myself, do one more, stay with it to the end. 

My advice to you is to get pumping and add strength training to your wellness plan. Lifting weights, whether on your own with some dumbbells at home or in a class, has so many benefits. In addition to shaping your body, strength training exercise builds muscle fibers that improve balance, increase total body metabolism, and even fight osteoporosis as we age. Added to these benefits, it is encouraging and rewarding to work out in a social environment. The sweaty sense of accomplishment is shared at the end of the hour, and it gives me an opportunity to chat and meet new people. Blame it on the endorphins or the tighter buns, but I’m not cutting back on this addiction any time soon.