I’ve been working out regularly since I was in college. I swam in freshman/sophomore year of high school, but wasn’t one for sports otherwise. I have somewhat of an athletic build, with zero athletic ability – ha! I started with machines in college – elliptical, treadmill, weight machines. After school, I started taking classes at the local fitness club. I was working in the suburbs and living at home, so it just made sense.
Once I moved to the city, I had to start from scratch. I didn’t know where to go, what to do. I stopped working out for nearly 6 months during that transition…and then I discovered CrossFit. Yes, I was a CrossFitter…for four years! I wasn’t competing or taking myself too seriously, I was just looking for a quick & tough workout. I found both of these things on top of an awesome community that I never experienced before. People held me accountable for not going to the gym, motivated me to better, and I found myself working out more than ever. I was in the best shape I’d ever been.
But then, things started to hurt. I started to get sciatica down my left leg, because I wasn’t stretching enough to offset all of the high impact exercises I was doing. My shoulder started to hurt. I began contemplating whether or not CrossFit was good for my body long term. Did I need to be lifting THIS heavy to be fit? I was going through a change of jobs at the time, which made getting to my gym more difficult. I decided to take a break from CrossFit & experiment with a new routine.
Over two years later, I’ve found a new fitness routine that’s been working for me…and still haven’t gone back to CrossFit. Do I miss it? Sometimes. I miss going to the gym & seeing familiar, encouraging faces, but I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with new workouts & switching things up. Variety is always good when it comes to fitness, and I’m loving it! I try to workout 3-4 days a week (some weeks are better than others), and I’ve highlighted the workouts I rotate between below. I’ll be sharing my favorite Chicago studios in my next newsletter, be sure to subscribe to get the list! And yes, yoga isn’t on my routine currently, but I’m working on making it a regular thing!
The first time I did spin was with my mom in my teenage years. I HATED it at the time, mainly because I didn’t set up my bike properly and couldn’t walk straight for a week. TMI, but it’s the truth! Over the last year, I’ve rekindled my love for spin. I’m not a fan of running, so spin is a great way to get my cardio in while still getting that energy of a class environment. I do this once a week, usually on Mondays.
A more recent addition, boxing has made it’s way into my regular routine. Another cardio workout I love, it’s also an awesome stress release! I haven’t tried working with a coach one on one yet, but I’m digging the classes. You essentially do 8 rounds of boxing, and they provide you with a different combination in each round. Most classes incorporate abs in between rounds or at the end. I recommend buying your own wraps & gloves before going! And don’t be afraid, I had no idea what I was doing (& frankly still don’t), and still get in a killer workout.
Another workout I didn’t try until post-CrossFit, pilates! I used to blow it off thinking it was overrated, and not challenging enough. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Pilates is TOUGH. I particularly love classes on the megaformer – it’s uncomfortable and difficult but the results are incredible. I leave these classes with sore muscles I didn’t even know I had. I haven’t been as regular with pilates the last couple of months, but it’s my goal to incorporate into my routine weekly!
I couldn’t completely let go of my weightlifting after my CrossFit days. After all, it’s super important to lift weights for many reasons outside of just looking “fit”. It builds up your bone density, and helps you increase muscle mass which in turn burns more calories throughout the day. I also really enjoy it. I weight lift twice a week with lighter weights & body weight exercises. I typically do this in mini circuits – i.e. kettlebell swings & dumb bell incline presses, pull ups & sit ups, rowing & step ups. Squatting is also one of my favorite things to do. Again, switching lifts to focus on various body parts & exercises also applies here!