In continuation of my “fitness journey“.
So here’s an update, almost 3 months later! Well, I did end up signing up for a membership at the gym (yes, after years of always saying “I think I’ll sign up… just not yet”, I actually went through with it) and ended up going with Goodlife Fitness as my gym of choice. I’ve tried smaller gyms but the lack of convenience didn’t work out. I’ve tried Extreme Fitness, which has nicer equipment and facilities, but I’ve heard bad things about their selling tactics (plus, there are less locations than Goodlife). And I’ve tried specialty exercise studios, which have the same issues of lack of convenience and locations near my work/home as well as the higher price point. So Goodlife it was!
When you read about the following classes below, and the names don’t really give you a good indication of what exactly the class is about, you can check out the Les Mills site for further info.
This is my favourite of all the classes I’ve been to at Goodlife. I call it the “Richard Simmons style of exercising” but for more uncordinated people. You see, jazzexercising would be maybe most equivalent to Bodyjam, which is a dance-cardio class. But as much as I enjoy Bodyjam as well, I found that I really lack the hand-eye-limbs coordination required to not look like an idiot and get completely lost. I’ll still attend a Bodyjam class when I get a chance, but I still prefer Bodyattack the best.
Bodyattack has some silly moves that, when I’ve demonstrated to people, they end up laughing hysterically at it/me. You do moves like shuffling around, running forward while punching, running and clapping, “the Superman”, weird kicks that look like a jig, and other moves that make you look rather silly. But it is definitely one hell of a workout because I end up sweating like crazy and tired to death afterward.
There are some coordinated moves (nothing terribly hard to pick up for novices or people who lack coordination), some running in circles, some ab/core exercises and then stretches at the end.
If the idea of a “Richard Simmons style of exercise”, but with more running, appeals to you, I say go for it!
I have an aunt who has taken this class week in and week out for 10 years, as she’s told me. She also fell off her step and broke her leg recently in that class. So… this has made me more apprehensive about continuing on in Bodystep.
I think one needs to be fairly well-coordinated to do well in Bodystep because some of the moves on the step are really quick and require fancy footwork to bounce from one side to another. Not to mention, you also have the added element of danger because if you miss a step in a Bodyjam or Bodyattack class, you just fall down. Miss a step in Bodystep, you tumble off your step and it could get ugly.
You’ll end up sweating a good bucket of fluids in this class and your legs can end up feeling like jelly afterward.
Everyone I know who has tried to get me to join the gym has raved about, or at least highly recommended, this class. I’ve gone to a few classes and I’m sure it provides benefits to toning your arms since you’re lifting a barbell throughout the class, but bleh, not super stoked about it. Not to mention, everyone looks so hardcore with their weight-lifting gloves on and I feel like a pauper for not having them too (note to self: look into buying some weight-lifting gloves, for reals – UPDATE! I did buy some weight-lifting gloves, with much mocking from everyone but I look legit now!).
This one is fun if you ever were into Billy Blank’s Tae Bo classes and I totally was. I remember in high school, our gym teacher used to just pop the VHS in the VCR (yes, I’m that old) and make us do the moves in gym class. Come to think of it, he was kind of lazy for doing that. But either way, I had fun air punching and kicking so it was alright with me.
Bodycombat uses the same idea. You’re doing all these different martial arts moves to music so you’re not just randomly punching and kicking, but also shuffling around to the beat. It is also quite the intense cardio workout. When you think you can’t continue on, and you have to do reps of roundhouse kicks, you’ll feel like dying. But carry on and persevere, you’ll find a second wind (especially if people without any concept of personal space -even when there’s tons of space on their other side- keeps encrouching into your area, then the possibility of them getting a swift kick or punch makes it all that more enthralling!).
As alluded to in my Bodyattack part, this is a dancing class that requires a lot of coordination. If you lack coordination skills, you either 1) end up looking like an idiot as you do *something* that resembles what the instructor and everyone in the class is doing or 2) stand there, analyzing the steps and trying to jump in somewhere once you think you get it… but no, you just missed it and they moved onto another move so back to standing and figuring out what you’re supposed to do.
I used to be the biggest fan of Bodyjam but after a good few tries at it, I have lost my enthusiasm.
General exercise regiment
Now that I am actually a full-fledged gym member, I will often go to the gym just to workout sans group exercise. I just found, before, that there was less motivation for me to actually exercise on my own because it got monotonous and rather predictable. You do 30 minutes to 1 hour on the eliptical, then bored. Maybe some time on the treadmill. Bored again. I didn’t really have any fitness goals or know what I wanted to accomplish at the gym (besides not being bored by the same old same old routine).
Then I came across Mark Malkoff’s Six-Pack Abs in 30 Days self-challenge, where he went from a guy who never worked out to a guy with actual six-pack abs. You may be familiar with Mark from The Colbert Report or his other stunts such as visiting all the Starbucks in New York City in one day and living in IKEA for a week. Anyhow, after I saw that, I was inspired and that became my new fitness goal. But instead of six-pack abs in 30 days, knowing me and my laziness, I went with six-ish pack abs in 30-ish days.
— Mark Malkoff (@mmalkoff) January 27, 2012
Though I haven’t gone as hardcore as Mark to obtain that six-pack with all the ingestion of protein/eggs, I have taken *some* steps to get there. Like, for example, I’ve pinned some good articles about toning your abs and getting that washboard stomach on my Pinterest board! (Check it out if you’re so inclined). But seriously, I do the ab targeting exercises (usually at the end) in my varous group exercise classes and actually make an attempt at it, even though I feel like death at the end. But for my routine, I primarily use the abdominal weight machine where you crunch down while contracting your abdominal muscles, as the weights lift up. Next, I’ll head over to the Captain’s Chair and do some leg raises, maybe doing around 10 before I’ve over-exerted myself. Lastly, I’ll usually stop by the exercise ball and do some crunches on it.
Besides the whole “six-pack abs” goal, I just want to work on my core. I did a fitness assessment at Extreme Fitness and apparently I have a weak core and it’s causing me to slouch more. So whenever I get a chance, I’ll use the lat pull-down machine.
I don’t know if my core is any stronger or if I’m actually slouching less. But in terms of toning the abdominal area, I think I’ve seen some results already – that, or I am slightly delusional. Either way, I’ve only been at it for about two months so maybe in three months, I’ll have that six-ish pack abs!