When I first started taking indoor cycling classes last year, I was curious about how many calories I might burn during a class. So I turned to my good friend, Google, and happened upon an article listing five workouts that burn more calories than spin class.
Four of the workouts listed were rowing, kickboxing, high intensity interval training and kettlebells. Okay, those make sense. But the fifth one was jumping rope. Really? Who jumps rope for an hour? I guess there are probably some people out there somewhere who do it, but I am definitely not one of them.
And that brings me to my point: Find what works for you. The best workout is the one you’ll do.
I burn more calories running for 45 minutes than I do cycling for the same amount of time. But I usually won’t run unless I’m meeting a friend. I’ll turn off my alarm at 5 a.m., if I’m going to run by myself, but I’ll get up for a 5:30 a.m., spin class. Indoor cycling is the best workout for me because it’s the one that I’ll do.
I’ve learned a lot about what motivates me as I’ve finally settled into a consistent workout routine in the last year. It’s taken me a long time to figure out what works and what I’ll keep doing day after day, week after week. I started out with two spin classes per week then bumped it up to three. I eventually added three strength training workouts and am now at the gym five days a week for six classes. Working out has also become my stress relief; it’s something that’s going right on days when everything else seems to be going wrong.
So what works for me? One of the biggest things is that I now know that I need the accountability of attending class. At my spin studio, if you are a no show, you lose that class AND pay a penalty. Not wasting money is motivation for me to get up even when I’m tired.
I also like working out with a group. I don’t know the other members well, but there’s a group of women who I’m friendly with and like to see at the gym. The fitness trainers who teach the classes know my name and expect that I’ll be there. I like being part of a community and that’s something that I haven’t felt for a long time.
And yes, I think I look better, too. I’ve lost some of that lingering baby weight (except for that saggy belly skin that I don’t think will ever go away after birthing a baby weighing nearly 9.5 pounds). I’ve toned my arms, lifted my booty, and added muscle to my legs. My clothes fit better, and I can finally wear some of the nice ones from my pre-baby days.
The absolute best part about working out? I feel good. No, not just good – damn good. I feel strong and healthy. I can carry my two kids weighing a combined 70+ pounds up the stairs without a problem. By taking care of myself now, I feel like I can stave off the nasty effects of my Fabry Disease in the future.
As I’ve read more books and listened to more podcasts in the self-development world, one major theme I’ve learned is that we as individuals are ultimately responsible for our actions, thoughts and feelings. If you don’t like the way you look, then put in the effort to change it. If you don’t like the way you feel, then figure out what will make you feel better.
I am all for body positivity and being comfortable in your own skin. But I also know that I am more confident and outgoing when I look more fit, wear makeup and style my hair. I don’t think it’s shallow. It’s recognizing the things that help me tackle whatever the world throws at me each day. And sometimes that’s fitting into a great pair of skinny jeans.
Real, significant, worthwhile change takes time. Don’t weigh yourself after one workout and think you should be down five pounds. Don’t fall for the gimmicks that promise drastic weight loss in a short amount of time. Take it slow. Learn about yourself and your body. Find what works for you.
So girl, you do you. That’s my only advice. Well, that and don’t give up.