"March Madness" Fitness Challenge

03.15.2013 / Blog Posts Health and Wellness

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Becky Johnson, Certified Personal Trainer (ACE); IBNFC Certified Nutrition Coach

It’s that time of year where everyone goes crazy about….no, not basketball. They go crazy for fitness. At least that is what’s happening at the Gold’s Gym in Ashburn. Every year there is a contest called March Madness. The challenge is to take 25 classes in the month of March. That sounds daunting enough. But they have to be a combination of strength training, cardio, spin and aqua classes. And for someone like me who does a lot of strength training and very few classes, it was indeed a challenge!

For the next few weeks, I’ll keep you posted on my progress and my attempts at trying something new. I found myself in a training rut so this came at a good time. We have all been there before. Whether you are not getting results and have hit a plateau, burned out and over trained or just bored with your routine. And for me it was a combination of all three. I spend all day directing others through their fitness routines so it’s a nice change to have someone telling me what to do. It takes the pressure off of what to do and puts it into the instructor’s hand.

This week started with a Zumba class. Wow!! So much fun! I found myself smiling the whole time. How can you not enjoy an hour of dancing, shimmying and hip shaking? I did learn that I am not a very good hip shaker. I must be too uptight or just tight from all the strength training! I thought I was looking pretty good (I was a cheerleader in high school after all) until we turned to the back of the room and I saw myself in the mirror. Oh, horror!! My fellow trainer, Nick, took the class with me so he made it so much fun. He danced like no one was looking!! He was awesome. We both agreed that we need to work on our cha-cha moves. I burned 350 calories. I think my two left feet slowed me down!!

This is a low impact strength and cardio class. It’s a brand new format so I wasn't familiar with it. We used a small squishy ball and a resistance band for a variety of moves. The cardio portion included all different types of moves that were low impact yet it got my heart rate up. I liked the strength moves because we used bands vs. weights. You forget how much resistance those little bands have plus they are somewhat unstable so you have to work a little harder. We held the little squishy ball while we did some cardio moves and had to squeeze it while we moved. Every once in a while you would see a little blue ball fly through the classroom. Isometrics while moving is hard!! I only ran into my class mate a couple of times on some side to side moves but no one was hurt! I burned about 300 calories. Next time I’ll use a higher resistance band and put some more oomph into the cardio.

Me and yoga have never played well together: Once again, all my strength training is working against me. I was actually nervous about this class for a couple of reasons. First, I knew the instructor. She is phenomenal and secretly I didn’t want to embarrass myself! Secondly, I am as flexible as a piece of wood. Luckily, I found a spot next to a former client of mine, Ruth, who put me at ease. As we went through the first flow of poses, I thought I just might like this. As we progressed further into stretches and held poses longer, I wanted to call for my mommy!! OMG!! I started sweating and my heart was racing. I think I forgot to breathe for a few minutes. This is supposed to be relaxing yoga, right? 

I finally stopped fighting with my body and just let it do what it was supposed to do. At the end, the instructor said we would have 8 minutes of meditation. I had a mini anxiety attack. What am I going to do for 8 minutes? Just lie there? I’ve got so much to do. Would it be rude to leave now? But as I listened to the music and let myself relax, I really enjoyed it. It took a while to quiet my mind and chase away racing thoughts of what I need to do when I leave. I will definitely take Body Flow again. I tried to do the stepmill after the class and could only last 20 minutes when I usually go 45. My muscles were so worked but in a different way from weight training and my legs felt so heavy. I will be back Body Flow. I need you!!

For every class you attend, you get a sticker to put up on a board next to your name. Those stickers are priceless. (I wonder if there is an underground sticker market going on.) It gives you a sense of pride to see those stickers start to stack up. Next week I’ll let you know what other tortures I put myself through!

Stay Fit and Healthy,

Do you have a favorite workout class? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

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