2020 is the year of change–of surprises and firsts, uncertainty and instability. Many of us are finding out of the box ways to earn income, to spend time with family, to travel, or in my case, get some movement in. While yes, gyms are open again (thank goodness), my normal gym schedule has been a little inconsistent recently.
I am a creature of movement. I crave motion and so when things went haywire this year, I needed to make sure I kept what felt good to me in my life. I’ve done everything from hitting pads with my coach, Zoom Muay Thai technique sessions, yoga, lifting small group classes, custom weight training programmed for at home workouts….and today I branched out even more, I tried Orange Theory.
I’ve driven past the gym nearly every day for the past year, never once giving it a second glance. Nothing against the big OT, but if you know me you know, I’d much rather spend some 1:1 time with my Muay Thai coaches doing some light sparring or pad work than take any sort of group class. The introvert in me would pretty much rather do anything other than stick myself in a room where a trainer is yelling over a microphone with music blasting telling me to run to nowhere on that God awful treadmill.
Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect walking through those doors but a friend of mind convinced me to go with her. “Just try a class with me, it’s something new and completely different,” she insisted. A few masked faces greeted me, followed by a temperature check because, you know–Covid. We talked about my goals, and what I could expect throughout the class. I dropped off my phone, turned on the heart rate monitor (and my Whoop because I just had to compare,) and followed my friend as she led me straight back to rower number 7. First reaction: grrrrrreat. I hate rowing. Followed by a mindset check to think positive: “Robin, you may be out of your comfort zone, but you can do this.”
I committed. Minutes in, instead of trying to look for an escape route, I distracted myself with a goal of keeping my heart rate in the “right” colored zones (as told by OT.) They have cute names for things like “splat points” (don’t ask me what those actually are, I was crawling out of the room not focusing on definitions) to keep people coming back to their particular brand of orange exercise torture. All in all, I survived. My heart wanted to jump outside of my chest during the sprints, but cardio wasn’t the only thing I gained today, I did learn a little about myself, too. And truly, something that I didn’t quite see coming…
Once upon a time I probably would have signed up for the OT membership
DESPITE hating everything about the workout. My motivation was not to move in a way that felt actually good and made me feel strong in my own body. My motivation was size based–I’d do anything to look thinner, like the rest of the girls. I’d do anything to feel accepted, even kill myself in a workout that I absolutely hated. I’d come back day in and day out, sometimes multiple times in a day. I did not value myself. I did not value or prioritize my needs and wants. I was running solely on societal pressures and letting them get the best of me.
Now I choose happiness. I choose to move in ways that make me love my body. I choose to challenge my body to try things, to push it to lengths that I never thought was possible, because I want to, not for a size or a number on the scale or so I can eat a cookie after dinner. I move because I love me as I am right now and knowing that, I can now leave behind movements that do not serve me. I don’t feel compelled to join Orange Theory because I burned the most calories I’ve ever burned in one class (I mean that treadmill of death was SERIOUS.) I am not defined by a calorie.
This post isn’t about me trying to convince you to not go to Orange Theory. This post is here to inspire you to try new things, to really figure out what ways you love to move, to find the foods that you enjoy, to honor your body by listening to its need and wants. Maybe you’d love an Orange Theory class. Heck, maybe spin is your thing, too. For me, those are hell on wheels. My body enjoys weightlifing, a light jog, Muay Thai pad sessions, sparring and yoga. It took me years to figure out a movement practice that made sense for me, years to actually be able to find a healthy way of moving and not punishing my body for what it ate. It was a long road to no longer compare myself to those around me. The journey was well worth traveling.
I encourage you to find a practice that you love. Find something that you look forward to, something that makes your day brighter! You don’t have to move for anybody but yourself. Try something different, switch it up, and just make it fun!
Some movements you may want to try:
- Jump roping
- Hula hooping
- Muay Thai (my personal favorite!)
- Aerial yoga
- Pilates (mat or reformer)
- Pole dancing
- Orange Theory
What’s your favorite way to move your body? Comment below! You never know who you might inspire.