tales from the trail

The other day I told you all about FitCamp, which is fabulous exercise, but only my class only meets twice a week. I knew when I started that if I really wanted to get fit, I’d need to do more than that, so I started hiking with some friends.IMG_2263
This might not seem like a big deal, but I’ve avoided hiking like the plague in my adult life. The last hike I really remember was on a college orientation weekend and I spent the entire hike huffing and puffing the whole way up the mountain, while significantly trailing the rest of the group – and eventually slipping and falling in some mud and banging my knee. I was miserable. Thankfully, I survived the hike – and college – but that was the last of hiking for me for a very long time.

About a year ago, I made a new friend out here through Meetup and we ended up being good yoga buddies. She also introduced me to a group of women she had started hiking with, and before I knew it, I was joining them on my first hike. I remember driving up to the park the that morning and seeing the mountains looming in the fog in the distance. I was scared out of my mind, but I did it anyway. The hike was rather steep, but short, and I survived. I can’t really say I enjoyed it, but it felt great when I was done.

Over the next six months or so I would hike with the group sporadically, but it wasn’t until this Fall that I really started to get into a good hiking groove and actually enjoying it. How could this be? Do I really like hiking?

Here’s the thing – I’m not really sure how it happened, but my mind made an unconscious change. I went from viewing hiking as something that was supposed to be fun, like a party, to looking at it as exercise, like the gym. However, in terms of exercise, hiking is WAY more fun than the gym. Being able to chat with friends (when I’m not out of breath) is probably the best part for me, but there’s also something wonderful about spending time in nature and often the reward of an awesome view.

The more I hike, the more I like it. I’ve even got some bigger hikes planned for this year. I don’t know if it will ever be “fun like a party” for me, but I’ve definitely developed a greater appreciation for hitting the trails.


tales from the mat – fitcamp time!

It’s been months since I’ve taken a yoga class, and while I haven’t given up on it just yet, I’ve found a few other things that have been easier for me to stick to, and that’s what’s most important, right?

I’ve always been told that you just have to find a way to exercise that you enjoy, and it will be much easier, but quite frankly I never believed that. Not that it wasn’t good advice, but I was pretty sure I’d never enjoy any exercise – especially not my new exercise of choice – boot camp classes!

It all started when I was talking to a friend about getting in shape for my wedding (now three months away!) and she asked if I’d ever consider a boot camp class. I said “heck no!!!” (or something along those lines).

Well, I don’t know what came over me after that, but all of a sudden I was emailing the trainer from TotalFit Solutions, which I learned was located in my neighborhood, and offers what they call FitCamp classes within walking distance from my home. Somehow I convinced myself to bite the bullet and give it a try and I was shocked when I realized it wasn’t half bad. Here’s why:

1. Location, location, location. While you hear that when buying a house or renting an apartment, it’s really important for a lot of things. I have absolutely no excuse not to make it to FitCamp because I can pretty much roll there.

2. The people. The group of people in the class and the trainer were so welcoming to me, it’s hard not to like it. After the first few sessions I also convinced my fiance to join me, which has made it even better. Now I can look at class as not only a great workout, but good quality time with him too.

3. The actual exercise. The trainer is awesome at mixing up the workouts every week and really knowing how to adapt them for all skill levels. I feel challenged during every class, but rarely feel like there’s anything I flat out can’t do. With all of the variety I almost always feel sore after class, so I know it’s working..

4. The sense of accomplishment. Since FitCamp is something I never thought I’d try, let alone actually enjoy, completing each week feels great. I think it’s really important to try new things, because you really never know what you might just like, even if it’s something you were convinced you wouldn’t.

Boot camp style classes might not be right for everyone, but I think these elements can easily apply for other things. As a matter of fact, since FitCamp is only twice a week, I’m filling in with different exercise on some of the off days, which I’ll tell you more about later!

Tales from the Mat: Dharma Studio (Classes 2 – 11?)

When I started this blog, I promised myself I’d write every day Monday through Friday, which I’ve since realized is a lofty goal. Live and learn I suppose, right? Truckista is definitely taking up more of my time, as is life in general, but I’d still like to keep a regular schedule. On that note, if you haven’t checked out Truckista yet, please do (just don’t do it hungry)!

Now that that’s out of the way, I’d like to tell you about what I have been doing. Yoga! Yep, that’s right, I’ve actually lost count of how many classes I’ve taken at Dharma Studio. This is the best yoga practicing streak I’ve ever had and I have a few things to thank for that. I don’t want to pat myself on the back too much yet, since it hasn’t even been 30 days, but if you’re searching for the same motivation I have right now, here are a few key things that are helping me.

1. a good studio

While I think this is really only half the battle, having found a place where I’m comfortable and feel like I’m actually learning something is key. I’m sure they’ll probably continue to grow, but the small class sizes at Dharma are great. Having personal attention is really helpful (even if sometimes I’d rather blend in) and the instructors actually remember my name.

2. a good buddy

They always say having someone to motivate you can make a huge difference in sticking with any sort of workout program and I think that’s true. While I get lots of support and motivation at home from Chris, having an actual yoga buddy has been a tremendous help. Knowing I’m not the only one setting an alarm for the 9:30 AM class on Saturday mornings and knowing I’ll have to tell her if I cancel keeps me from doing so.

3. a short-term goal

While the benefits of yoga are endless, having a trip planned to Mexico in May has been a great motivator for me lately. While I know yoga isn’t exactly going to give me a bikini body in a month, slowly getting stronger still aides in my confidence and motivates me to want to be healthier all around … and of course … thinking about tank tops definitely helps ease the burning biceps when I’m trying to do chaturanga.

I know none of this is really earth shattering, but I still find it helpful. A good combination of these factors has kept me going for the last few weeks and hopefully it will continue.