Group Fitness Changed My Life

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

I never thought of myself as an "LA" girl, but since moving to Europe I have realized that I am very "LA". Furthermore, this post is bound to be the most "LA" piece on my blog as it is all about how group fitness changed my life. I know that may sound fairly dramatic but when I think about how I viewed exercise before trying group fitness classes and how I view fitness now... it's like night and day.

Before I signed up for group fitness classes, I was a fairweather gym visitor. Some weeks, I would go three times and some weeks I wouldn't go to the gym at all. When I would get to the gym, I would feel a little lost. I had a personal trainer in the past but I always struggled to feel like I was working long and hard enough on each muscle group, not to mention I always feared I was missing a muscle or two entirely. Each gym trip also was accompanied by thirty minutes on the treadmill. While I still hop on a treadmill from time to time now, at this point I felt like this was my most productive part of being at the gym and, boy, was it a long and monotonous thirty minutes. On top of everything, going to the gym was something I thought of as a boring, annoying, uncomfortable task - but I assumed this is how everyone felt. I had no idea that going to the gym could be- dare I say it- actually fun.

I had noticed a barre studio in my neighborhood three whole years before I got the courage to go and try a class. I had danced in high school and I always felt that dance was the only workout I had ever tried that I didn't absolutely loathe. I finally got over my shyness and anxiety about trying something new by bringing my mom to a class with me at the barre studio.

My first class was horrendous. The pace was fast, the positions were new, and halfway through I had to step out and catch my breath because I was lightheaded and thought I might faint. Still, I felt like something was there. I felt like I could get better. I kept going. My mom is a fit lady and decided that while she liked barre, she is more of a spin person, so I had to start going alone.

At first, I would go to class at 5:30 pm for one hour, come home exhausted and shower and go straight to bed. I started going 2-3 times per week. It was difficult but I felt myself mastering the class, knowing what to expect, and getting stronger.

After a few months, I was going to class 4-5 times per week. I started to build relationships and settle into the community of my studio. Most surprising of all, going to my class was the highlight of my day.

From time to time my studio would run a promotion: If you attended 30 classes in 30 days, you would get a free month of unlimited classes. I was daunted by the thought of coming to class that many days in a row, but I made it my mission to try it. I figured I would shoot for the moon and land amongst the stars. No one was more shocked than I that at the end of 30 days I had been to the studio 30 times.

After that, I started visiting the studio every day I could. If it was a weekday, I was at the studio, guaranteed. If I wasn't traveling on the weekend, I was in class and ready to sweat. I became friends with the instructors and my fellow regulars. I loved socializing and working out all in one place. My body was so much stronger. I felt like I could rely on my own strength for the first time in over ten years. I got to the point where missing my class was like missing a social date with my girlfriends.

When I moved to Europe, it was hard for me to leave my beloved studio and my friends. Moving to a new city can be isolating, especially for those of us that work from home. While I still miss my studio and the fantastic workout that I got there, group fitness was a great way for me to make new friends and be social in my new city. Very luckily for me, every class I've taken here in Amsterdam has been taught in English. While I'm still looking for the exact studio I want to call my "home base", I've found ClassPass to be a terrific way to try studios in the area without having to commit.

I've done yoga, spin class (pre-Amsterdam Riann did NOT spin), and barre at studios all over town. I've met so many lovely people and had the opportunity to try things I would not have before! Two classes that really mixed it up for me are "face-lift" yoga (cannot wait to report back to you on that one) and Ashtanga yoga! Plus I am planning on signing up for hot yoga and kickboxing!

Whether you decide to try an aerial silks class at a studio in your neighborhood or sign up for ClassPass, I hope you give group fitness a chance! You have so much to gain!

Oh, and for sustainable, ethical workout sets check out my video about Girlfriend Collective!

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