Monday, June 29, 2015

My Favorite Workouts

You've heard all the benefits of exercise a million times already so I'm just gonna cut straight to it- you may feel very differently, but I'm one of those people who just isn't happy if I don't exercise. Even just a 20 minute jog and some ab work in my room boosts my mood infinitely. Without my daily sweat sesh I'm a total grouch, can't sleep, and generally feel like a slug.

Even so, I get bored working out. There's nothing I hate quite as much as pounding out 45 minutes on the elliptical and doing bicep curls while surrounded by a bunch of other miserable-looking people. Before college, I did dance/yoga/golf/various other sports just because I enjoyed them- the exercise was secondary. After testing out about a million different forms of exercise, I've found a few that I have a ton of fun with. If you're looking to switch up your fitness routine, here are a few of my recommendations!

1. Pilates                                                                                   LA Recommendation: Wundabar Pilates
    Mat classes are fine, but I'm personally a fan of the reformer. If you've never seen one, it looks
    vaguely like a medieval torture device. In a way it is, but the classes are small, the teachers are
    attentive, everything can be modified for your needs, and it activates muscles you didn't even know
    you had. I've had back problems in the past, but the core strengthening exercises have helped
    alleviate pain and improve my posture.

2. Yoga                                                                           LA Recommendation: Corepower, YogaWorks
    I'm terrible about stretching on my own. We always spent so much time stretching in dance that I
    never had to think about it, but my joint problems got so much worse when I stopped. Yoga
    provides a low-impact way to strengthen and stretch, plus it helps me get out of my head. It is
    rooted in Hindu tradition and really does provide a spiritual experience, regardless of what religion
    you are (or aren't).

3. Spinning                                                                                           LA Recommendation: SoulCycle
    Even though I would consider myself a runner, I don't actually enjoy running all that much.
    Spinning provides the same cardio conditioning in a team environment. Personally, I'm a
    SoulCycle diehard. The music is incredible and the instructors are basically therapists/spiritual
    guides. The classes include choreography that you do on the bike (don't think about it too much)
    and everyone is really supportive. They encourage you to leave competition at the door and just
    focus on yourself, so it isn't hard to really get in the zone (there's a reason they have words like
    'tribe' and 'pack' plastered everywhere).

4. Barre                                                                                       LA Recommendation: The Bar Method
    I love this because it reminds me of dance classes and allows me to relive my unfulfilled dream of
    being a ballet dancer. Think you can manage a few plies? Believe me, it's so much harder than it
    looks- you'll be feeling the burn by the time you leave.

5. TRX/HIIT                         LA Recommendation: 360 Elite Performance Sports (tell Ted I sent you)
    The gym where I go to school is a total boys club and I hate the looks I get when I use weights, so
    I've always wanted to be able to strut in and do 20 pull ups as a sort of f*** you to the guys. For
    me, this is the stuff of arm-shaking, jelly-leg dreams. It'll kick your butt, but you'll also feel
    stronger than ever.

6. Outdoor Training                                  LA Recommendation: Griffith Park, The November Project
    It's a great workout and it's free- what more could you ask for? Literally just get out, find a patch of 
    grass, and start exercising. You can do a million different variations on squats, lunges, ab exercises, 
    plants, push ups, and warm up drills without any equipment. The November Project is an awesome 
    way to workout with other people if you have a hard time getting motivated on your own, and it's 
    in a lot of cities!

7. Hiking                                      LA Recommendation: Eaton Canyon, Runyon Canyon, Griffith Park
    Again, it's free. You get to experience nature and get a killer workout. There are great views. I'm
    seeing only pluses here, so find a hill or mountain or trail or whatever and get hiking!

8. Jogging/Running                  LA Recommendation: Santa Monica, Rose Bowl, Silverlake Reservoir
    Awesome cardio if you're into it, and unless you prefer treadmills you don't have to spend anything
    to run outside. Try getting Rock My Run and Interval Run (available through the app store) to help
    you get started.

9. Rock Climbing                     LA Recommendation: Joshua Tree (if you're experienced), Stronghold
    This takes me back to years of sleep away camp. The rock wall was my absolute favorite activity
    and I'd always beg to go back after my cabin moved on to other activities. Most climbing gyms
    offer lessons in belaying, bouldering, etc. and you can take classes on outdoor climbing as well.
    Whether you want to rough it and go on a camping/climbing excursion or prefer the gym, it's great
    exercise and a lot of fun to do with friends.

10. Beach Bike Rides           LA Recommendation: I mean, take your pick. You've got the entire coast.
    Who didn't like riding their bike when they were little? This is one of those things that burns
    calories without you even thinking about it. Take a picnic along and enjoy the views of the beach
    while you're at it.

Are you a fanatic for a different type of exercise? Let us know in the comments!

Yasi "Still only at 1 pull up but I'm GOING to show up those boys"