Wednesday, August 3, 2016

3 Favorite Non-Gym Workouts

I'm a person who actually enjoys to work out -- Outside of the obvious health benefits, it also helps me stay balanced and confident. Once it becomes part of your routine, it feels just as important as brushing your teeth or taking a shower so I definitely a notice a difference in the days that I can't fit in some sort of exercise. I have been a runner/gym-goer for many years and while these are still a part of my exercise schedule, I have expanded my options and opened my mind up to different kinds of ways to get your blood flowing...this not only keeps it from getting monotonous but is also so beneficial to your body, as you get the opportunity to push yourself in ways you might not have before.

Intrigued? Here are 3 of my favorite non-gym/running workouts:

1. Yoga By Degrees
Wearing: Top: Old Navy | Pants: Old Navy (similar) | Mat: Yeti Yoga (similar)

Most people probably don't consider their gym or workout destination one of their happy places but Yoga By Degrees is definitely in the top-5 for me. I tried the free week during the late winter months last year and after that, never thought twice about coming back so I can honestly say, it has changed my life. The studio(s) offer a wide range of classes and degrees of difficulty for all skill levels including yoga 1, 2, restorative and my personal favorite, sculpt/sculpt fusion. As indicated in the name, all classes are heated from 80-105 degrees (allowing you to choose the setting that works best for you) and personally, the heat is what makes it so desirable. It allows for a deeper cleanse of the body and boosts your circulation, plus you can literally feel it detoxifying your body (AND MIND!). 

I have always been a runner/cardio fiend and while I still need that in my life, yoga has added a whole other element to my life. Not only have I found a workout that I can’t wait to get to but I actually feel changed (for the better) every time I leave the studio. If you’ve never practiced breathing, you don’t know what a great effect it can have on you and I am constantly amazed at what my body can do. This place makes me feel like I am using my full potential every time.

2. CycleBar


I had been to cycling a few times at my gym and enjoyed it but wasn't 100% sold -- Truth be told, I had this weird thing about working out while sitting down (it just didn't feel as productive!) and not to mention, my butt was sore for DAYS the first few times I went -- Sorry but are those bicycle seats supposed to feel good? I literally was walking like I just got off a horse...But THEN I decided to give into the pressure and went with a friend to SoulCycle which I actually enjoyed...but I knew I wasn't going to be driving to the city on a daily basis for a one-hour fitness class so I was really excited when a CycleBar opened up not too far from my house. Yay, suburbs!

From the moment I arrived, it was very obvious that when you're there, they want cycling class to feel like more than just another workout. My instructor led an extremely energy-driven class using great well-timed music (which is SO key for me), dramatic lighting and most importantly, never failed to keep us motivated during the most intense moments of the ride. Unlike the cycling class at your traditional gym, CycleBar offers a more intimate vibe which makes it feel more like a “communal” activity...a “we’re all in this together” sort of appeal. The ride was definitely demanding and there's not much opportunity to slack off since your stats are recorded and displayed on the big screen at the end. At first, this seems a little invasive but overall, I think it's an effective method of challenging people...You can only improve next time if you know where you started. In addition to the great ride, the facility is beautiful..there is fresh fruit and water available in the locker room and bathroom/shower combos that look more spa, less gym. 

But P.S. the butt pain was still very real...I decided I need to bring my own seat cover and/or comfy towel for cushion next time. Anyone have tips for this!?



3. SPENGA




Wearing: Top: VS | Bra: VS | Pants: Lucy

This is not last on this last because of its standing, but because it's a unique combination of the previous two. A few months ago, I saw this place being built about 5 minutes from my house, right in the heart of our downtown. I had never heard or SPENGA but I decided to keep a close eye on it and and research it a bit further. Turns out it's one of the most unique workouts I've tried yet. personal trainer leads the class through each session, beginning with 20 minutes of spinning, 20 minutes of strength training (think burpee's, bosu balls and TRX bands), and finishing with 20 minutes of yoga (think a shortened vinyasa flow session...my favorite!). 

As I mentioned earlier, spinning is the only one that I'm still getting used to but the spinning portion here is unique, as every guest finds their own "sweet spot." The power meter on the screen is meant to push and engage riders get the most out of their 20 minutes on the bike. “Everyone’s number is different based on their abilities, but they have a baseline and a limit, and we coach them off that. On power intervals we go over the sweet spot, or for endurance we stay below the sweet spot, so everybody’s got a real number and something to improve upon." - Heather Ruff

I think the quick transitions to the next workout is one of the best parts because before you know it, you're moving onto something new and this makes it very hard to get bored with any of the 3. We talked a lot to our teacher, Laurel, after class who explained that not one single class will ever be the same. The teachers all structure their own classes with their own music and influences and there are no descriptions posted online beforehand so it's a total surprise every time you go. I LOVED that about SPENGA. My first class went by so fast and I found it to be extremely challenging (in a good way). Not to mention, I may or may not have been dancing on my bosu during the strength portion with a little help from Chris Brown. Terrible human, fantastic workout jams :)

What are your favorite workouts? 
Which one of these would you be most excited to try?