Growing up I was a super active kid. This was before the days of parents feeling like they couldn’t leave their kids outside. Me, my siblings and neighbors played on our bikes and roller skates all over the neighborhood. We would be in the driveway for hours with our Skip Its, making up dances to NKOTB (look it up) and MC Hammer (that’s probably on video somewhere). I would ice skate on the pond in our back yard until it was too dark to see. Video games were in their infancy. We had a Nintendo (Duck Hunt, California Games, Mario Cart) and a Sega (Sonic), but I think my parents played it at night (maybe just my dad) more than we did. We walked to school with are neighbors that were a few grades older than us. Oh the late 80s early 90s were so innocent.
I played sports all throughout elementary, middle school and high school. No dancing (although I always secretly wanted to do ballet), no gymnastics — mostly tennis, volleyball, basketball and softball. I was actually a pretty good athlete. Good eye-hand coordination and fast. I had no chance in college sports or anything, nor would I have done that, but being active was a big part of my life.
I have always been super skinny. It’s genes — I have my mother’s slender body. Small, narrow bones, combined with always being active kept me small. Even in college eating CRAP for four years I walked everywhere, was involved in probably too many things, always going somewhere doing something. Plus from 18-22 your metabolism for many people is still high. A week after I graduated college I got married (crazy, yes). We moved to Florida where I worked really long hours, ate pizza, chocolate ice cream and drank 1-2 cider beers after work almost every day. My metabolism couldn’t keep up and I gained like 10 pounds (ok maybe 15). I probably needed it as I was tiny, BUT it was all fat. So really I could have used 10 pounds of muscle, no fat. After six months I finally realized — OH I can’t just eat like that. I started working out a little. Mostly the elliptical (which honestly I hate but was too wimpy to actually run) and it really didn’t do much for me, but I obviously wasn’t motivated to work out harder.
We moved back to Kansas City in 2006 (where I grew up), and for a few years I didn’t work out much. There were lots of 3-martini Thursday nights with my girlfriends over the next couple years…I wanted to have fun in my early 20s! I did fulfill a tiny portion of my childhood ballet dream during this time and take an adult ballet class for a few months. It was only once a week, but I could almost do the splits by the end.
My husband has always been a workout freak. He started doing CrossFit years ago when the only CrossFit gym in Kansas City was in someone’s garage. He started going, and they eventually moved into an actual space. After my husband left for the Air Force I decided I needed some activities to keep my mind off him being gone. I bought a Groupon for Maya Yoga and started going. I loved it. Then I convinced my martini-drinking friends to start coming with me. Around this time I also read the book CLEAN, I bought a juicer and started drinking green juice. It was easy since my husband was gone. I would make juice before and after work every day. No cooking meals or meat!
Even though I loved yoga, I wanted something to really kick my ass. Really whip me into shape. So I emailed my husband’s CrossFit instructor and said, “OK I’m ready for you to kick my ass.” I was always too scared to try it with him. I did go once with my husband and literally couldn’t walk for two days I was so sore, hence the scared factor. But once you hit that point where you just really want to change something about yourself, you don’t care what pain you have to go through — that’s where I was and I was ready for CrossFit (mild anxiety attack). Once I started I basically got addicted — I LOVED it. I would go three times a week to CrossFit, and every other day go to yoga. It was a great combination, I could stretch out the CrossFit at yoga. After a while I wasn’t too sore anymore and I was getting in great shape and I could almost do a pull up on my own without an assist band. There were still 3-martini nights and lots of pizza eating…
Then we moved to DC. CrossFit in DC is double the price (if not more) then it is in Kansas City, okay everything is more than double the price in DC. I obviously stopped doing it after we moved and became a bit of hermit as I transitioned from cushy job at the HQ of Hallmark to trying to figure out what my own business was going to be exactly (insert constant panic attack/me as a crazy person for a year). After about 6 months of my only activity being walking around a lake outside my condo while talking on the phone to friends and family — I felt like lob of flab. Still skinny, but all skinny flab and no muscle.
So again, (notice a pattern here) after six months I hit a point of too much sedentary living/non-activity and had to do something. I found a Groupon (again!) for a Bikram Yoga place near my condo (and since everything in the DC area is beyond expensive, a Groupon was the only option I was willing to do). I’d never tried Bikram, so this was a good excuse to try it at a discount. Two months unlimited. I was hooked. I loved it.
I’ll get more into Bikram in another post, but all of this background is just a little setup for my new fitness column. Also, as I start this fitness column I wanted you know where I’m coming from. Very active until about 18, then random cycles of activity over eight years.
I’ve been in DC for three years now, and have had cycles of intense fitness here. Bikram started it, then I started going to another yoga studio to mix it up. Then I went back to Bikram (still do go there), sometimes I’ll do a CrossFit type workout with my husband, sometimes we’ll randomly bike 32 miles on a Saturday to Mount Vernon (quads = burning), and throw in two months of running and a half marathon. So the past few years have been half dedicated workouts, half not. Cycles. Everything in cycles.
As much as I love Bikram and I’m sure I’ll continue going off and on between other types of working out (I love the heat, and love the mega sweating) I really want to try all of the awesome options of exercise DC has to offer. This city is workout obsessed. Seriously people go running when it’s 10 degrees with snow on the ground (not me). There are workout studios of all types all over the city, and no matter how expensive, the early and late classes (before and after a typical work day) are always packed. I love that about this city — a lot of people are active. It’s motivating. So, I wanted to give all of these different types of workout studios a try. Since I’ve only done CrossFit, Bikram yoga, Vinyasa yoga, running, and a very elementary ballet class (and sports growing up), it should be fun trying out some different types of classes. And like many things in my life as a blogger — I’m going to bring you along with me and write about it.
I had actually been thinking about bringing a dedicated fitness element to the blog for a while. I used to do exercise roundups for Glitter Guide and recently got an email from a reader asking me to start doing that again here. We’re on the same page because I was already planning on it! So in addition to writing about different classes I attend, I’ll also be doing more health, wellness and fitness posts. It’s become a much larger part of my life as I get older and because of the Internet, we are a lot more exposed to information about health and fitness so I think it’s become a larger part of most people’s lives.
Tonight I’m headed to my first of three Pilates Reformer Immersion class at Fuel Pilates (you have to learn the machine before you can actually take a class) — I’ve been wanting to try reformer for-ev-er. Follow along with me on twitter & instagram as I’ll be talking there about each class as they happen, then will be doing in-depth reviews of them after I do five sessions of a certain type of class.
Tell me your thoughts — Do you workout in cycles like me? What’s your favorite type of workout to do? Have you done pilates reformer? Any tips?
In photos — doing two versions of tree pose.
Photos by Yvonne Rock