Working out: my mortal enemy. I've never been one for strenuous activities. Like fashion-obsessed women before me, I like to consider shopping my personal cardio and lifting those bags and boxes my weight training.
Ever since high school, I've hated fitness regimes. Running the 5k to pass gym was torture. I would usually team up with the girl who had asthma just for an excuse to walk at a leisurely pace. Joining a sports team was a given since all my friends did too but my time was spent on the bench happily cheering them on.
Unfortunately, I've begun to notice tiny changes in my body. Suddenly my stomach isn't as flat as I remember and those super cute shorts from last summer seemed to have shrunk. But let's be honest, this isn't about size. This is about being able to climb a flight of stairs without ending up winded.
I've been putting off working out for so long that I've completely missed out on all the fads in fitness. Instead of accompanying me for evenings at movies or dinners, my gal pals inform me that they have two-hour yoga classes. I completely missed the workout bandwagon and have been left behind.
So, in lieu of wailing and whining, I've decided to not only catch up with the trendy sweaty regimens but to try them all out one by one and decide what works for me (lazy and the opposite of loyal). I'm sick of celebrity trainers and actors who are paid to be slim telling me what magical workouts they invent or take part in and the wonders they work. If this is going to be my new life, I'm going to find out for myself exactly what's out there and what it really feels like. Every week or so (I'm not the bionic woman) I'm going to be taking part in all the new and crazy workout fads popping up around the city.
Join me, won't you?
First up on my fitness calendar was hot yoga. Regular yoga was out of the question since the prospect of searing heat makes my heart flutter. (No seriously...tropical temperatures are a dream). Setting out to find a yoga studio that offers the sweaty class was easy and I settled on Hot Yoga Toronto in the Annex. You have the option of taking either a verbally taught or silently lead class. Personally, I opted for the class with words...it was going to be hard enough to follow.
What You'll Need: a yoga mat, a towel, flimsy breathable clothes, hair ties, water...so much water.
For those of you who haven't been to a hot yoga class, they're not joking about it being hot. I registered the hottest temp of the class at 112 degrees and while it does make it somewhat easier to morph your body into poses like downward dog and tree it can get overwhelming. To my delight, I wasn't the only person who had to take a break and lie down in corpse pose; instructors advise not going in and out of the hot room to the cold hallway repeatedly.
Here's a short snippet of my inner thoughts:
6 p.m. - Wow, this room is gloriously warm. I wish my house felt like this.
6:02 - Starting off with meditation, I could get used to this. *Zzzzzz* Oops.
6:10 - Loud breathing and stretching feels amazing. I'm already loving this. Look out Gwyneth, I'm coming for you!
6:20 - Why am I sweating exponentially more than everyone in this room? Okay except that guy....he's got the Nile running around his mat. Ew.
6:25 - Is it getting hotter? Those steam machines can't be helping.
6:30 - I don't mind these poses but do we have to stay in them for so long? I feel like everyone can see me trembling.
6:40 - Are these beads of sweat or tears?
6:45 - I bet the third circle of Hell is cooler than this room.
6:50 - Dear Yoga Girl at the front of the class, I hate you. With everyone so zen would anyone notice if I nudged her out of that balancing pose? Show off.
7 p.m. - Corpse pose! Suck it Yoga Girl. I rock this.
End Result: I feel so good! I've sweat so much that the skin all over my body is breathing. My limbs feel a little achy and my hair is matted to my face but a lukewarm shower (please, no more heat) will make it better.
Effort: The class hasn't left me gasping for breath, instead I feel positively re-energized, yet super calm. I was worried that I would strain myself with poses that are too advanced for a noob like me but luckily everything has an adjustment to make it easier while still testing myself.
Return Trip?: Definitely. I like that there's no expectation of having to be the best. Yoga talent in this class ranged from Yoga Girl and her perfect poses, to an older gentleman who spent the majority of the class lying down. Plus it combines the workout with the steam room that usually follows. From what I've seen in the movies, anyway.Read other entries in the series
First up on my fitness calendar was hot yoga. Regular yoga was out of the question since the prospect of searing heat makes my heart flutter. (No seriously...tropical temperatures are a dream). Setting out to find a yoga studio that offers the sweaty class was easy and I settled on Hot Yoga Toronto in the Annex. You have the option of taking either a verbally taught or silently lead class. Personally, I opted for the class with words...it was going to be hard enough to follow. Read the full story
This week I decided to sign up for a spin class at Quad on King Street West. While I had no illusions about being a yoga newbie, I always like to think that I'm an excellent cyclist. Every summer on schedule, I decide to use a bicycle as my mode of transportation and pout until my dad unhooks his from the garage ceiling and cleans it up for me. Newly pumped and shiny, it will sit in my hallway unused because cycling around the city is dangerous and it's so much more fun to walk. But somehow I still like to think I could cycle if I really wanted to. Read the full story
When I first heard about the Aerial Strength class offered by Brass Vixens on Queen West, I have to admit, I pictured something totally different. Read the full story
When I decided to start writing this column, pole dancing was the first and foremost workout that I wanted to try. I enjoy a good night out at a club and might have even won a dance-off or two. So, yea I like to think that I can dance. I always figured that placed in front of a pole, I'd do better than alright. Read the full story
I should point out that two years ago, I decided hula hooping was the best way to achieve abs so I bought one, set myself up outside, began to hoop and as soon as it dropped to the floor (which was almost immediately) I said "Nope, this sucks" and left the hoop outside. Luckily for me, Toronto has classes to turn me into my pretend alter-ego of a hippie hula girl. Read the full story.
I signed up for a Barreworks mixed level class and am told it's a good choice for a newbie like me. The instructor promises an hour of fun, serious core work and ballet-inspired barre stretches. Only opened since June of this year, the studio is the first of its kind in Canada. Developed from the super popular trend in the US, Barreworks promises a lean dancer's body through muscle sculpting, cardio training, core conditioning and deep stretching. Read the full story.
A few weeks into my quest for the best workout, a workout buddy mentioned a machine called The Reformer. While describing its uses, I could not get the picture of an 18th-century torture device out of my mind. This week I was excited to try out MisFit Studio after being recommended by a friend. The studio can be found in an alleyway in a stunning converted old coach house. I initially signed up for a "Kick Ass Mat" class with no expectations whatsoever. When I arrived I was taken for a tour of the studio (did I mention it's gorgeous?) and came face-to-face with The Reformer. Read the full story.
Zumba. Everyone is always talking about Zumba. Whenever I mention my workout quest to friends and family they practically unite in saying "Zumba! Have you tried Zumba yet? Why haven't you Zumba'd?!" Well, listen up you guys, I finally went out and tested Zumba. Read the full story.
If you haven't heard about Kangoo don't worry, you're in a huge group. Not one person I've told of my escapade knew what I was talking about. You've probably seen women at trade shows standing in a booth repping the new workout wearing boots that resemble ski shoes with oval springs attached to the bottom. If you haven't, go to more trade shows! Free swag! Anyway those ladies sell Kangoo Jumps boots to be used while you run, walk or generally work out. Read the full story.
Months and months ago, I attended a show in Toronto where Billy Blanks was appearing for a motivational speech as well as autograph signing. For those of you who don't follow the lifestyles of the fit and fabulous (of which I am not, nor do I follow) Billy Blanks invented the workout known as Tae Bo. A fusion of tae kwon do and boxing, the workout is done to a hip hop soundtrack for extra energetic movements. There's punching, kicking, stepping, crunching and a lot more. Since 1975, Blanks has touted the workout as the "future of fitness" and comes complete with an incredible backstory that made me tear up during his speech. So I bought the DVD. And got it autographed. Sometimes I hate me. Read the full story.
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