I'm no guru, but I came from a very sedentary lifestyle to an active one. I tried a lot of various workouts in an attempt to find balance and keep myself interested.
Somehow I went from not working out to 5-6 hours a day. I went in the morning and at night. I'd warm up with an hour on a machine then classes at the gym. I had exercise bulimia. On top of that, I didn't fuel my body enough. I lost weight quickly, but my body resisted and gained the weight back plus some even with all of the working out and eating restraints. The most shocking part: I wasn't all that big, but my body fat was high! All the working out was burning muscle and holding onto the fat.
I am currently working towards fixing my body and its hormones. After losing my period for 6 months at a time, I've had it for a whole year! There is hope, and this is my journey.
- Nike Free Quick Fit XT - I bought these on sale. I wanted black and purple, but the electric blue was cheaper and Nike had 20% off, which covered shipping. I love them and the color is awesome. It's bright yet not too crazy. I haven't seen another pair of these babies either. They're honestly the best sneakers I've ever owned.
- New Balance WX20 - Working out has made my feet, um, difficult. New Balances are perfect because they run wider. These pair are minimalist and already soft so there's no need to break into them. The shoe does not have much tread.
- Reebok CrossFit Nano 2.0 - After my New Balances, I decided to roll with a new brand. I read tons of recommendations before deciding on a pair of neon green ones. They are minimalists as well but have more tread than the New Balances and thus, are also more stiff. When I first got them, I had trouble with burpees and lunges or any workout in which I use the toe of the shoe.
- Hexagonal weights - I bought these a long time ago. They're basic and look "tough." Any kind is good, but I like that these aren't round on the edges. I found that they don't roll around when I do plank rows.
- lucy Endurance Capri - I worked at lucy for a year and a half and never tried these capris. These are the only capris I've ever purchased that fit snuggly and do not fall down when I jump rope, run, or do box jumps. I have 2 pairs!
- lululemon Retro Groove Gym Bag
Gyms & studios
- Orange County, California
- 24 Hour Fitness Fountain Valley for the classes (Jamie S., Robert S.)
- Bikram Yoga Huntington Beach
- I tried Bikram for the first time in Asheville and bought a Groupon for 10 classes here. I didn't use them all. This has nothing to do with them - they're clean, professional, and overlooks the ocean almost. I just prefer the variety of flow over Bikram.
- Club Fitness Addiction
- The deal came with barre and spin classes. I went to a few barre classes and used the facilities a couple of times. I went once, around 5 P.M., and there was not one other person working out. The facility is clean and has everything, including kettlebells, but not much space. Because it's so small and there are such few people, I found it hard to get motivated. Instead, I felt awkward.
- CorePower Yoga
- I bought a Groupon deal and utilized the free week. The studio is actually quite nice - one room has a wood ceiling and feels like a resort. The heat is controlled by the instructor so it varies. The instructors here are the good ones I recognize from 24 Hour Fitness. I've done yoga for awhile so Level 2 is perfect, especially with modifications as necessary. The studio I went to was rarely packed.
- CrossFit VSP
- I finally tried CrossFit. I was hesitant at first and cherry-picked my WODs, but the more I go, the more I enjoy it. I love feeling strong even when I'm weak - at least I finished. I may not be the best, but hey, I'm actually not the worst. The biggest sell? The people. Everyone is nice and hang out together outside of the gym.
- Gold's Gym Huntington Beach
- The location recently shut its doors. I bought a deal for a year and rarely went. I like the hustle and bustle of 24 Hour Fitness and the nice old ladies and gentlemen I worked out with. This gym is much nicer, much cleaner though. The group fitness class was dingy, however.
- Harmony HB
- My friend and co-worker Alison teaches here. They have a great vibe and challenging instructors.
- Studio Fusion
- The studio is primarily a children's dance studio, but they have barre classes. The majority of my barre experience is from this location as I've had several deals through them. I like them, but I don't like barre.
- Ra Yoga
- Ra is my favorite yoga studio. They are very similar to CorePower but locally owned. Most, if not all, of their classes are heated. They have yoga with weights as well as a 60 minute Bikram-styled class.
- Asheville, North Carolina
- 24 S.E.T. (24 Hour Fitness, various locations)
- I'm still working on figuring out the format of this class. It incorporates step moves with Body Pump and sometimes uses free weights. I've even taken a class where no barbell was involved. So far I'm not in love with it because I'm so confused, but I'll just have to take more of 'em.
- Aqua Zumba (The Rush, Patton Ave. Asheville, NC)
- We did the same Zumba moves in the water. It's hard to move and I didn't feel the benefits.
- Barre (Studio Fusion, Huntington Beach, CA; Harmony HB, Huntington Beach, CA)
- Ballerinas have lean bodies and this attracted me because I want leaner legs, if possible. Low weights, high repetition. I had to use smaller weights than I thought. This is great for those who don't lift often but want to get sore. I love being sore, but I'm rather weak. I like to feel strong so feeling weak sucks. You wear imaginary high heels to work out. I never wear high heels so it was hard. Moves are small but I shook, particularly my inner thighs, and sweat.
- Bikram yoga (Bikram Yoga, Asheville, NC; Bikram Huntington Beach, CA)
- When everything else was closed due to snow storms, these yogis opened up shop. They're hardcore. Because you get hot, you actually perform better than you'd think. Most people are focused and quite advanced. Doing this once in awhile is great and provides so much energy, but too much really drains me. I also get bored from the repetition.
- Body Pump (24 Hour Fitness, various locations)
- I'm a huge fan. Read my review of Pump under "Power" because it's honestly the same thing.
- Hip Hop Hustle (The Rush, Patton Ave. Asheville, NC)
- Sometimes Zumba can incorporate too much world music and I'll admit it, I like modern songs more. This would be my favorite dance class if any place offered it more - I only see it once or twice a week on most gym schedules. My most memorable class involved a whole story of a relationship to teach the moves.
- Hot yoga (HB Hot Yoga, Huntington Beach, CA; Asheville Community Yoga, Asheville, NC)
- I just felt uncomfortable. It's like walking around in the desert. Whereas in Bikram, you sweat so much it feels good, this is dizzying.
- I definitely liked the hot yoga in Asheville much better though because there were less people in a nicer space.
- Kickboxing (LA Boxing, Huntington Beach, CA)
- Everyone kept asking me if I hit bags. No, not usually, but I tried it out. The area has a bunch of bags, you hit it, and there's cardio moves in between. No stopping as you kick, do burpees, and jump rope. I was able to keep up with my shadow kickboxing training.
- The venue I tried smells like sweaty men because it's open to the rest of the gym. The patrons were of all levels.
- Power, a weight lifting class similar to Body Pump (The Rush, Patton Ave. Asheville, NC)
- This is considered cardio lifting. Since I can't lift a lot, I get frustrated all the time. However, it's a good class for me. You really do build muscle and shape though, and you can always add more weights.
- Pilates (The Rush, Asheville, NC; 24 Hour Fitness)
- I haven't had many stints with Pilates, but it's more active than yoga. I don't much like ab workout classes so Pilates incorporates the perfect ab workout for me. My inner thighs get a good workout also.
- Reformer Pilates (Happy Body, Asheville, NC)
- The contraption was fun to play on. I thought it would be more complicated. We don't do enough of any one move to actually feel much of it. I did start feeling some inner thigh muscle getting work, but again, we didn't do it for long enough.
- Spin (The Rush, Patton Ave. Asheville, NC)
- Spin is my least favorite workout. I'm okay with hill climbing, but I'm not a fan of sitting down and going fast. I tried it for a few months. When I think of working out in a group, I think of learning some moves. I don't need others to bike indoors. I'd rather bike on my own because I get as good of a workout.
- Step (The Rush, Patton Ave. Asheville, NC; 24 Hour Fitness)
- I hated step to begin. It isn't great on my knees, but I was determined to get over the fear. My heart rates goes up and I can traverse that step with two risers like no one's business now. I like it and look forward to it on Mondays.
- Tai chi (The Rush, Patton Ave. Asheville, NC)
- I took this after step so I was a little tired. Arms get sore from staying up for long periods of time.
- Turbo Kick (multiple locations: The Rush, Studio Fusion, 24 Hour Fitness w/ Chalene!, Cheshire Fitness)
- I love both regular kickboxing and Turbo Kick. I feel strong and the moves are simple to learn. I didn't like Turbo Kick at first because it was faster and has too much choreography, but once I got trained, I found it less difficult. It's a good brain challenge to learn choreography.
- The instructors are generally fit and their personalities attract me.
- Yoga (Harmony HB, Huntington Beach, CA, multiple locations!)
- Yoga is usually a win with me. There are so many forms that I can't review them all.
- Favorites are strong practices with weights, heat, Ashtanga, and Vinyasa. Conversely, I love yin yoga.
- I'm not as much a fan of Hatha or restorative yoga.
- Zumba (The Rush, Asheville, NC; Studio Fusion, Huntington Beach, CA; 24 Hour Fitness)
- Zumba was my first encounter with group exercise. I loved it for a long time. I took 4 classes in a row once. Then my cardio built up and Zumba didn't make me very sweaty unless I warmed up on a machine for 30 minutes first. Choreography is easy, but it doesn't seem like many instructors are in shape nor do I believe that all of the choreography is based on exercise science to maximize success.
- Zumba training is only one day so keep that in mind as compared to 200 hour yoga trainings. Instructors are not all equal; private studios tend to have better instructors.
- Bob Harper "Cardio Rev Conditioning"
- This is hard at first. I sweat a lot with this workout. The fitness models have trouble with the workout, which I think is staged to make me feel better. Cause they can totally do it with some practice. My roommate says Bob is mean. The moves get kind of boring and the locker room background is not attractive.
- Chalene Johnson's "Turbo Fire"/"Turbo Kick"
- I bought the Elite '11 DVDs with 11 rounds of Turbo Kick, the live version of Turbo Fire. It's about the same. I got it at a great price and thought it would double as a home workout. Like Turbo Kick, I love it. Having done "Turbo Fire" once, I like Turbo Kick DVDs more because there are less people in the videos and there's no stage. I like when DVDs are more intimate.
- Debbie Siebers' "Slim in 6"
- I started at the beginning when I wasn't fit. I've had this for more than 7 years, but I really enjoy it now. Squats, lunges, some weights, abs, and etcetera still work after all this time. I feel sore still even though it's less than before.
- Jillian Michaels' "30 Day Shred"
- Workouts are quick and do get harder. The first level is pretty easy but gets progressively harder. Like all her videos, she splits up each workout into circuits.
- Jillian Michaels' "No More Trouble Zones"
- I didn't like her as much as Bob at first, but her workout is more fun. It's a circuit where you do every move twice and it incorporates both arms and legs in each workout. It's one of my favorites!
- Jillian Michaels' "Yoga Meltdown"
- Each workout is only 30 minutes and I did not get very sweaty. This is a great supplement to a day of pure cardio or on a rest day.
- The Color Run
- Tons of people sign up but few run. 1 in 10 or so run. The event is huge though so there are multiple waves if you're a little late.
- Love Mud Run
- I would call this a light mud run. It's a 5K, which is all I can do on this kind of terrain. The obstacles are not as intense, but there are lots of tunnels that hurt my knees. You can go around them if you really can't do them.