Wellness Wednesday - Fitness classes

It was the beginning of my sophomore year of college that I first took a serious interest in physical fitness. The previous year I had managed to gain 10 pounds by eating a cheese steak for lunch every day, and I looked and felt terribly out of shape. My buddy Romin and I started going to the gym nearly every day together (more or less) until we graduated, which felt great for both my social and physical wellness. We kind of made everything up as we went along and might not have had the most balanced or effective routine, but what mattered most was that we were going.

By the time I started working at IBM the January after I graduated, my routine had trailed off despite still having had access to the Duke gyms up to that point. IBM did have a gym but it required a paid membership, and for whatever reason I never decided to take the plunge and join, so my physical fitness mainly consisted of running whenever I felt like it and the weather was decent (which wasn't often enough). When I started working my current job which does have a free gym, the momentum of previous habits carried forward and I still did not get into an exercise routine.

Finally, earlier this year, Whitney and I committed to doing better and started going to the gym 3-5 days every week. For a few months I was doing a similar routine to what I had done in college (20-30 minutes of cardio followed by about 30 minutes of lifting), but since I was on my own and the workout was pretty boring, I was prone to cutting it short every now and then when I didn't feel like it or when I had a lame excuse like getting back to work. Eventually Whitney convinced me to try the classes that the gym offers, and they made a big difference.

First, you have to schedule the classes in advance, which creates a great incentive for showing up at a particular time, rather than having to motivate myself to drop what I'm doing and go. I can just schedule myself four classes every week and barring some unseen conflict, be confident that I'll go to them. Second, the classes go for a full hour so I'm not able to stop early. Third, there's good variety in the exercises done in each class, which is good for a well-rounded exercise routine, but also keeps things more fun and interesting while challenging my body in new ways. These are the classes I've tried:

Cycling - mostly cardio with some upper body/core exercises
Strength/cardio/core - quick paced total body workout
Yoga - mostly flexibility and balance
Pilates - core strength exercises
Boxing - Total body exercises mixed with some boxing exercises

I'd say my favorite has been the strength/cardio/core because it has good intensity and variety. Yoga's been my least favorite because of the slow pace, but I still mix it in to work on my flexibility.

As I've often heard, the right type of exercise is the one that you actually do, and I'm glad I've found something I enjoy and that I'm able to work into weekly routine. Doing these classes makes me feel great and is contributing significantly to my overall wellness.

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