Last night I attended a group fitness class that I haven’t been to in ages.
The instructor is a great, sweet person—and she’s incredibly fit and encouraging—but sometimes I feel like her classes may not be the best fit for me.
In fact, I think I might be over group fitness.
Perhaps I’m being hyperbolic—especially since I still have a months old draft called “Reasons I Love Group Fitness” somewhere on my computer—but I left the gym
kind of aggravated and deflated last night.
Maybe I was aggravated at myself, for slacking on my gym attendance since before Christmas and not pushing myself like I’ve done in the past (oh, man, there was a lot of resting and regrouping last night), but I just remember thinking, “this is stupid—I am in pain!”
Not going to lie, I’ve struggled with exercise. I’ve struggled with learning to love it but also with using it as self-inflicted punishment (and probably doing too much of it).
At one point in my life, exercise was second nature. It was as much “me” as my blue eyes and brown hair.
In college, it became something I forced myself to do because I wanted to look good in a bikini.
And then, years ago, it became something I did to beat myself up for not being good enough.
But these days, even though I sometimes struggle with motivation, I exercise because I enjoy it. Because I feel good when I’ve moved my body and gotten my heart rate up a little (or a lot).
There are still some group fitness classes I thoroughly enjoy (such as BodyPump, even though I haven’t been to a class in a while, and a new-to-me class called “Cut, Cardio and Core” with several circuits consisting of 3 minutes on weights, 2 minutes on cardio, and 1 minute on core), but maybe I’m over the drill sergeant, “no pain no gain” kind of pressure felt from some workouts.
There is a place for that kind of workout (the military and Olympic team trials are the only things coming to mind, actually), but in my life—in a place where I’m trying to live gently and simply and with my family’s health and best interest in mind—there’s only a place for being kind to my body.
Sure, many things worth having require a little discomfort, or dare I say, pain. But I have to realize that, after a child and a much more sedentary lifestyle than I used to have, I am not in the same position I used to be.
I don’t run regularly. I don’t sweat my brains out in hot yoga multiple times a week. I don’t get as much sleep as I did pre-Bazooka. And I’m struggling to get my 10,000 steps in each day (as evidenced by my brand new Fitbit Alta HR*).
Clearly I’m not the girl who could suck it up and push myself through that hour or 45 minutes. Who aimed to impress the instructors and be the shining example of how to show up to (and kick butt at) class.
And, you know what? I am ok with that because any exercise is good exercise.Do you have a love/hate relationship with group fitness? #sweatpink Click To Tweet
So maybe I won’t give up on group fitness after all. There is truly something special about a room full of like-minded people, filling those 4 walls with positive energy (and buckets of sweat), but I am going to begin—and finish—each class with kindness to myself and a better understanding of where my body is in that specific moment.
Some days, I may push through, and others I may need to take a breather. There’s no shame in that!
[linking up for thinking out loud]
So tell me…
- Do you prefer group fitness or solo workouts?
- What do you think of the “no pain, no gain” mentality?
- Has there ever been a time you pushed yourself too hard and later regretted it?