08/26/2014 12:48 EDT | Updated 10/26/2014 05:59 EDT

Exercise Is Like Music -- There's Something For Everyone

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As a therapist and certified personal trainer, I often have clients tell me that they don't like exercise. This makes no sense to me. It's like saying you don't like music. There is such a wide range of music, it's impossible not to find something that suits your tastes. These days, the same is true of exercise. Moreover, our bodies are designed to move and exercise is essential for health, so it's also like saying you don't like breathing.

I often tell people that exercise is like flossing your teeth. If you haven't been doing it regularly, it will hurt at first, but once you start doing it, that discomfort will mostly go away. The key to sticking with exercise though, is finding an activity you enjoy, and if you look hard enough you will find it! Whether you are feeling bored or burned out from your usual routine, or you are currently inactive, I encourage you to try something new. Not only does taking risks and pushing limits yield greater fitness results, in general doing so makes us have happier and more fulfilling lives.

I also encourage people to exercise for reasons beyond weight loss and aesthetics. When it comes to weight, 80 per cent of it is diet. Why? Well consider that it can take a good hour of high intensity exercise to burn 500 calories but only five minutes to consume them. This is why so many people get discouraged. But don't! Exercise still helps with weight loss and maintenance (especially strength training), and it is absolutely critical for good health and quality of life. Believe me, once you make exercise a regular part of your life, you'll see the benefits! Set health or performance-related goals and you will see a positive change in your appearance eventually. It just won't happen overnight.

My good pal Nathalie, an experienced exerciser, was feeling bored and uninspired with her workouts and was not getting the results she wanted either. Gidon Gabbay, owner of the Big Hit boxing studio in Toronto, generously offered her a month of training to see how she would benefit.

Nat admitted that she'd fallen into a rut of doing only cardio, something that happens all too often with women. The problem is, people often find endurance activities boring, and become fixated on simply burning calories. But after slogging it out in the gym regularly and not seeing or feeling major changes, people get frustrated and quit. Big Hit is one of the first studios in Toronto to offer high intensity boxing classes featuring BOB: Body Opponent Bag (i.e. human-shaped punching bags). I've tried a class and I can tell you right now, these classes rock. They are just as fun as they are challenging. How can it not be awesome to be flogging a dummy you are pretending is your a-hole boss, ex, or the driver that cut you off earlier in the day? Big Hit classes are cathartic and empowering and provide both cardiovascular and muscle conditioning. I knew Nat would love them, and I was right!

Following just three to four classes per week for four weeks at the Big Hit, Nat managed to lose four inches of her stomach, one inch off her thighs and a half inch of her arms. Wow! She also reports that she feels stronger, more confident in her overall ability and fitness level, and she can see improvements in her muscle definition. She found the classes easy to learn and follow, extremely challenging, inspiring, empowering, confidence boosting, while also being safe, although she warns they may be too advanced for complete newbies. Although her complimentary month is over, she plans to continue with classes at the Big Hit.

Perhaps boxing dummies isn't for you, but I can assure you, there is an activity out there just for you. Don't like to run? Don't run. Don't like gyms? Don't join one. There is no rule that you need to go to a gym, join a class or buy expensive equipment. The only thing you need to bring for a great workout is you. Don't believe me? Give me a call and I can help you get started.


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