Monday, April 1 2013 12:00

What Do You Do When Your Workouts Aren’t Working Out?

Written by Christine Thalwitz, ACAC

  If you struggle to make working out part of your lifestyle, you’re not alone. Nearly all of us want to look good, be healthy and treat ourselves right, but the “exercise” pill can be hard to swallow week in and week out. The demands and deadlines of daily life can undermine our best intentions. The key to sparking your exercise enthusiasm may be to try something completely different.

  Do you dread working out?Exercise has to be fun for most of us to stick with it over the long run. “The trick is to think about activities you enjoy and create those types of fitness opportunities in your life,” says Amy Clements, of ACAC Fitness & Wellness Centers. “If you love to dance at weddings or go to nightclubs, you’ll love a class like Zumba, where the music and energy draw you in completely.”

  Ramiro Munguia, a Cardio Dance Party instructor, agrees. “When you come to dance and break away from your everyday routine, it’s magical,” Munguia says. “Electricity runs through your veins. You can’t explain it—you just feel happy.” At that point exercise turns into something that people can’t wait to do again.

  Are you bored? Consider trying something exotic, such as bellydancing. “Most participants have no idea what to expect when they walk through the door,” says Grace Wallace, a bellydance instructor. “It’s an age-old art form, and people are drawn to the mystery and sensuous beauty of the dance.”

  Many of the movements involve torso isolations that gently lengthen and strengthen the spinal column and abdominal muscles. Veils and coin hip-belts accentuate the movements and lend mystique. Wallace notes that it’s one of the few classes done barefoot, which can be very freeing. Participants also re-learn stabilization, without the aid of foot gear.

  Do workouts take too long?Look for a workout that maximizes efficiency. If you like group classes or personal training but don’t have an hour to spare, try a shorter, more intense workout like Les Mills’ 30-minute CXWORX class. Les Mills is the same company that developed the popular BODYPUMP and BODYSTEP classes. It’s easy to follow and extremely effective.

  Les Mills reports that the average burn during a CXWORX class is 230 calories. Participants can expect not only to work their core muscles, but also to improve functional strength for balance, mobility and reduced risk of injury. The best part is that you need only 30 minutes!

  Are you not seeing results? Maybe you’ve been stuck in two-dimensional exercise patterns for too long. Pushing and pulling exercises are a great start, but they don’t fully prepare us for the twists, turns and sideways movements of daily activities. Performing functional exercises with specialty equipment—suspension trainers, kettlebells, sandbags, battle ropes—can be much more varied and fun than grinding through the same old machine-based routines.

  “There are an unlimited number of ways to use all these ‘toys’ to improve strength, power, flexibility and endurance,” says Clements. She sees small group training as a growing trend in clubs across the country. “It’s a great way to get personalized instruction on the latest training gear without the one-to-one price tag.”

  Bottom line: Redefine the term exercise for yourself. Working out doesn’t have to mean cycling or running on the treadmill. The best exercise regimen is comprised of activities you enjoy that mesh with your daily routine.

  Keep trying new things until you find what works for you. With all the variety at local health clubs, YMCAs and community classes, there’s something that’s the right fit for you!

Christine Thalwitz, at ACAC, has 25 years’ experience as a group instructor, trainer and continuing education provider. Once a “gym class dropout,” Christine hopes to inspire others to discover a love of activity and lead happier, more fulfilled lives. To learn about ACAC programs, call 610-431-7000.