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!

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Tales from the Mat: Dharma Studio (Classes 11-13 or so) and #plankaday

I’m finally getting into the yoga groove I’ve been hoping for and it feels awesome. I actually finished out my 30-day trial at Dharma Studio and purchased another 30-day unlimited pass last night. They only charge $69 per month since their schedule is kind of limited, but at that price it’s a steal. Most other studios I’ve been to charge at least $100.

Anyway, at the risk of sounding kind of lame, last night’s class was somewhat magical. I think it was partly because I finally made the transition from Living Social trial membership to actually buying a pass and committing to continuing my practice, but it was more than that.

Lately class sizes have averaged around six to ten people, but last night there were only three of us, just like my first class. Instead of feeling extra anxious or self-conscious about it, I was actually kind of excited for the personal attention. The instructor challenged us with new poses, and I think I did pretty darn okay on them.

The best part of class was really the atmosphere. For some reason the studio was extra warm last night, so we opened all of the windows, which span almost an entire wall of the studio. By the end of class a cool breeze was streaming in and the absence of screens allowed the  sheer curtain panels to swirl in wind. The sky turned gray as the sun set last night, giving the room an eerie, yet refreshing feel.

It was the perfect night to start my next 30 days.

On another semi-related note, I stumbled upon this “plank a day” challenge on Fit Chick in the City, which originates from FU Diet. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Participants do a plank pose, which is an awesome, yet challenging, core strengthener each day and then tweet about it with the hash tag #plankaday. I’ve got just about a month till Chris and I head to Mexico for vacation, so I think I’m going to give it a shot. I’m sure I won’t have six-pack abs by then, but every little bit helps (especially if I keep going to events like this for Truckista). Hopefully it goes better than my “photo a day” challenge.

If you want to join me in “plank a day,” or keep track, follow me on twitter @nicolemamato and let me know in the comments. I always love moral support!

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.

 

Update

It’s been an especially bad week for me keeping up with things here, but I’m hoping to get everything back to normal soon. As I mentioned not too long ago, I’ve been working on another project, which I’m proud to announce has gone live. You can now read all about my Bay Area food truck musings over at truckista.com. Hopefully this will make up for the slow week … and I promise to get back on track soon!

I’m about to head to my seventh yoga class at Dharma Studio, so you can expect some updates soon. While I’m not sure I’ll be able to catch up on my daily March photos, I should have some more of those for you next week too.

Happy Friday, everyone.

March Photo a Day: A Corner of my Home

I know I’m more than a few days behind on my photos, but here’s the one for today. I’m planning to post a backlog within the next few days, when I’m not running from spin class to yoga and reading The Hunger Games in between (rough, I know).  Speaking of busy, I’m actually working on another little project that I’m hoping to show you in the next couple weeks or so. Stay tuned!

a corner of my home

Tales From the Mat: Dharma Studio (Classes 1 & 2)

It’s been a while since my first, and only, class at YogaSource Los Gatos. I won’t make any excuses, but I will tell you that I finally broke down and joined 24 Hour Fitness two weeks ago to get back into spinning, and I’ve been going to three classes per week so far.

While I’ve definitely been focusing my efforts on the gym lately, I haven’t given up on yoga just yet. My intent was to check out a class at the gym, though gym yoga isn’t really my favorite, and also to get myself back to YogaSource. Well, that all went out the window when I was having coffee with a new friend last week. She’s also a yoga newbie and has been studio shopping too. She had just purchased a LivingSocial deal for 30 days unlimited at a Dharma Studio in Santa Clara, and before you could say “namaste,” I whipped out my iPhone and bought one too. I have a problem. Continue reading

Tales From the Mat: YogaSource Los Gatos (Class 1)

When I started this blog I expected to write a lot more about my yoga journey. I also expected I’d actually be practicing more yoga.  Let’s just say this year has been off to a slow start.  Better to start slow than get into it too quick and fizzle out, right?

After a so-so first class at Just Breathe, I ended up going to just one more and had basically the same experience.  Sadly something just kind of turned me off, perhaps it was the head stand in the beginner’s class?  While I’m all for challenging yourself and believe it’s a great way to take your skills to the next level, jumping into things without proper training can also be very dangerous. Continue reading