generic post title because I just couldn't with "gettin' my sweat on" or the like.
Someone asked for me to write about my workouts, so here you go! If you don't care about my exercise habits, you can skip this one!
I do not work out every day. I aim for 4 times a week. This is for several reasons. First, on weekdays I trade off with G to go to the gym. He goes M/W/F and I go T/Th. I also go Sat/Sun. Second, I have to wake up really early to work out so its nice to have a little more sleep on the other days. It allows me to stay up a bit later, too, so I'm not going to bed immediately after the kids every night and I can read, watch TV, work, or hang out with G. Third, I think my body does better with some rest days.
For the past 17 months I've been doing Les Mills Grit 3 days a week (T/Th 6:15 AM, Sun 9:30 AM) at our local Y. Its a 30 minute high-intensity interval training class. Its supposed to be "small group training", but the group size varies from 2 to 20, depending on the day. Its broken into 8 week sessions (with a week off after) and you alternate weeks of strength, plyometrics, and cardio. In reality, all 3 are combined into each workout, but the for strength you have a heavy bar for certain moves, plyo you have a bench and more jumping over/on the bench, and cardio has no extra equipment (for all 3 you also do moves with a 10 lb plate).
Its very intense. You warm up for 3 minutes, and then do bursts of maximum effort with very short breaks. the last 3 minutes you do core work. My heart rate is up the entire time, and my legs/arms feel like jello often. You really do use your entire body---core, shoulders/back, chest, thighs/glutes. Not much focus on calves, biceps/triceps so if you want to build those up, you'll need to do your own there.
There are many "releases" so during a given week you may do 3 different workouts, and thus, multiple different exercises. It seems like each release is getting harder & harder; there is a new release every 6 months or so. Your old favorite burpees, push-ups, lunges, clean & press, and squat jumps will keep repeating, though.
There is a really good vibe with the group. You do the cheesy hand-in-the-center at the beginning and high-five each other on the way out. There is friendly competition encouraged during the work-out; i.e. "Ana is beating you guys with the mountain climbers! come on, catch up!" The coach comes around and corrects your form, or pushes you harder pretty frequently since its a small group and we circle around---its not like the huge classes where the instructor is in the front and there is a sea of participants in the back. Its about 50/50 male/female participants and we currently have one male & one female coach (they do different days, but often show up to work out on their "off" day). There is absolutely ZERO "bikini body" nonsense being spouted which I always hated about female-heavy workout classes. The pep talks are more about "being an athlete", and building strength and speed. There is no mention of diet/nutrition (unlike Crossfit) other than, "you will be hungry after this. Feed your body!"
I love it because its quick---30 minutes early in the morning and I've gotten an entire, intense, full-body, high- calorie-burn workout. Its also really increased my strength---I could barely do push-ups before, and now I can do them by the dozens, all kinds! I can lift heavy stuff over my head, and carry L on my shoulders for miles. I've gained a lot of confidence in what I can do with my body. The class pushes me way out of my comfort zone, something I have a hard doing when I'm just running or even strength-training on my own. There is no way to "half-ass" this work-out. You just wind up going all in, no matter how tired you are when you show up. When I was running, I would catch myself running too slow, just ambling alone, lost in thought. which brings the best part---I CANNOT think during the class. No matter what anxieties/sadness/stress I was ruminating on when I got there, it all goes out the window and my mind is completely empty. Bliss.
I've also met a diverse and interesting group of people. Everyone is friendly, and I chat with people before & after class. Its a neighborhood gym, so I'll see them out & about, which is cool. If I'm on vacation and gone for awhile, I get asked about it. Its nice to be a "regular' somewhere.
One downside is that it can be hard on the joints. Lots of jumping & lunging, that leave my knees a bit sore some days. Also, as I mentioned, the workouts don't focus on certain muscle groups. To address that, I've been adding one day of BodyPump to my schedule. Occasionally, I'll do a 3-4 mile run for my 4th workout (though after years of running being my primary form of exercise, and LOVING it, I sort of despise it now...I hope I'll come around again because I enjoy being outside). I really want to try a Barre class, and might do that this winter instead. I'm intrigued by on-line & video workouts but I've never been successful at maintaining an at-home routine, and its even harder with kids around. Going to the gym in and of itself is a nice break, so I think I'll stick to classes. Its like going back to my roots, I started doing group exercise classes in college, all through med school and had to quit in residency because, well, residency. I'd forgotten how much I enjoyed it!
While I'd love to do something most days a week (I did 6-7 days/week for years, pre-kids and not during residency!), 4 days a week is good compromise for me. I've tried to convince myself to wake up earlier on Monday and Friday (I go into work really early Wednesday) to do some at-home exercise, but I just can't do it. I do plenty of walking every day, so I'm getting activity. Another area in which I'm accepting my imperfection!