I limbed out of my comfortable exercise box of running and using the elliptical and occasionally using the Stairmaster and yes doing my standard weight training - to take exercise classes that are basically alien to me. Why? Because I assume that's how many of you feel when you are large and de-conditioned and feeling really awful and uncomfortable as you contemplate entering a gym for the first time. You feel like everyone notices "the really big guy or girl," or like you have four (not two) left feet - almost freakish. So I decided to take two classes that would be so different to my expertise - knowing that my fitness level would have little if any bearing on the experience. And I'll talk about both in a second.
First though, I attended a Q & A that showcased the 3 IDEA award winners. Each came from totally different backgrounds - Personal training, Club Management, Mind/Body Expert and yet they all shared the same views on trends of the future. "The diversity of the fitness population must be met for the industry to sustain itself successfully." That means the overweight, the elderly, the medically compromised and all other specialty groups must be recognized and have opportunities specific to their needs - without feeling special or strange. The consensus was that "bridge environments and classes" must be created so you can join a gym on your terms. Until that happens on a global level - you need to be brave enough to find a gym or expert that will work with you at your level with your goals in mind.
Now back to - alien classes. First up - a high/lo class where clearly those with a dance background (NOT ME) excel. Why can't we do lunges, squats and plies and run in place - that's Hi/Lo!! Oh no - we have to string together lots of choreographed moves and no sooner do we get them - add more and more and.....HELP - the brain can't absorb and the body is certainly moving in the wrong direction!!! I feel like "Super Klutz" or is it uber Klutz??? I know I look ill - we're an hour in and it's just not getting better and then suddenly....Is that my cell phone I hear ringing at the back of the great hall?? It must be mine....Oh my - this important reporter and blogger must answer the phone...OK great excuse to leave and go on to the next alien class!! Seriously though it was humbling and it made me reconnect with how my new clients feel when they start a program. All good.
So now I'm off to Kranking - say what?? It's a new trend, created by the same man, Johnny G, who ignited an international exercise trend called Spinning. Due to sudden cardiac illness (viral) this incredibly fit man was forced to pull back and take 4 years to undergo treatments and recovery. Along the way - he had to re-invent his whole way of exercising and he came up with a Krank cycle - an apparatus that looks like a sedentary bike - but the hands do all the work - individually cycling or working in unison (the handles that spin are at chest level). You wear a heart rate monitor and start "hand spinning" first individually and then together and let me tell you - my heart rate shot up from 55 to 154 in less than 10 minutes (you control resistance). The beauty of this trend?? Group classes with loads of spirit and whether you are pregnant, overweight, older with balance issues, an athlete wanting to cross train or build upper body strength, a tennis player or golfer wanting to improve one arm or someone in upper body rehabilitation - or even a person with lower body injury or paralysis - this is pure fun-challenge and joy. Classes are exploding across the nation so check out www.krankcycle.com.
Mostly, though - just like I did today - and I will do it again tomorrow - climb out of that box of despair-fear-intimidation-and take the first step -even a baby step to begin to change one habit - lack of exercise and movement. Your body will thank you - your quality of life will improve - your outlook will move from despair to hope!!
Tomorrow - a whole new level of challenge for me. Stay tuned.
Published On: July 10, 2008