Part Two of our reflection series is a big one for us. While our recipes make up a majority of the content we share, a big reason we started this platform is because we love fitness. As you’ll read below, we both went through a somewhat similar ‘transformation’ with fitness in 2018—and we’re not talking about a physical transformation. We know our journeys are constantly evolving, so we’ll keep you all posted on how we continue to progress in 2019!
“For me, fitness in 2017 (and many years prior, now that I think about it), was always focused on/motivated by weight loss. 2018 was the first full year where I felt comfortable with my weight, and fitness meant so much more + many different things to me. I’d be lying if I said I’ve gotten to a place where the number on the scale doesn’t matter to me at all, or even if I didn’t wish it was a little lower at times. But, I am way more comfortable in my own skin, proud of what I’ve accomplished, consistent, and really see fitness as a means of self-empowerment.
Before I really started to educate myself regarding fitness, I had always been cardio-obsessed. 2018 was the year I really left that mindset behind, and I saw the best results I’ve seen yet.
I spent the majority of 2018 in group fitness classes. I did the max package on ClassPass and would jump at any free classes I could get my hands on—a new studio opening, free-trial, a Groupon—you name it! Group fitness is fun for me too—not just ‘going to the gym’ to ‘get that workout in’. Growing up, I always played competitive sports and I am still very competitive. For me, group fitness satisfies both the teamwork and competitive aspects of playing sports that I miss. Motivating instructors are also invaluable to me, in addition to the variety of classes I was able to take via ClassPass. It’s nice not to have to commit to just one studio or one type of workout. And let’s be real, that cancellation policy really made sure I showed up and crushed it. ‘Getting there’ is always the hardest part for me.
But, as 2018 progressed, and I became more knowledgeable about exercise and my goals, I knew group fitness wasn’t going to get me where I wanted to be. Was I healthy? Sure. But what I really craved was building lean muscle. As I mentioned in our food reflection, I started working with a coach in October, with the goal of losing fat and gaining lean muscle. Prior to starting my program, I knew I’d be doing more lifting, less cardio and less/no group fitness, but once I actually started doing the workouts, I couldn’t believe how satisfied I still was, maybe even more so, with my performance and the effects.
Lifting makes me feel powerful. I feel like I am doing ‘work’, and I love focusing on one/few body part(s)/muscle group(s) per workout. It’s also an awesome feeling to work your butt off in the gym and then be super sore the next day, directly feeling your hard work pay off. I was feeling sore from group fitness classes of course, but purposeful and focused strength training proves more efficient for me. In terms of cardio, I was doing mostly steady state cardio, specifically uphill walking, which previously I thought wasn’t good enough for some reason. I actually hate running on the treadmill because I get so bored, so incline walking and talking with a friend is much more enjoyable for me!
I’m looking forward to pushing myself with strength training in 2019. As I sit here typing my reflections on the major shifts I made from cardio, to group fitness, to primarily strength training, I find it so interesting that I’ve gotten countless mental benefits from strength training. I did see physical changes, which was the initial goal, but the all of the added effects and feelings of empowerment might be even better. Gasp.”
“Where to even begin? 2018 has brought me more fitness experiences than probably every other year of my life combined. I’ll let that sink in for a minute.
Let me preface this by saying that prior to 2018, my fitness endeavors consisted mostly of running outside or on the treadmill—usually training for half marathons, which I signed up for as incentive to get myself to ‘work out’. It was extremely rare to see me lifting any weights (8 pound dumbbells, max), and I had never mounted a spin bike, erg, or pilates reformer or exceeded a 6.5 mph speed on the treadmill. That said, I was always pretty content with my physical appearance, which is why people work out, right? (Keep reading.)
In 2018, Hope and I dove head-first into the Philly fitness community with guns blazing, thanks to the ClassPass app. Not only did we want to be known as ‘thought-leaders’ in the Philly fitness community—the people you could come to for answers to your questions about any given boutique studio in the city—we also genuinely enjoyed trying every new workout and meeting every new coach. (FYI: My favorite studios are Unite Fitness, RippedPHL, BPM Fitness and Solidcore. Check them out!)
From January through June, I combined my ClassPass membership (about 10 classes/month) with my gym membership at Sweat Fitness—which at that point I solely used to take Shawn’s Wednesday night boot camp class and do some occasional treadmill running. I was taking classes spanning everything from barre to spin to HIIT to [beginner] CrossFit to pilates, etc. And slowly but surely, I started seeing results. I could sprint on a treadmill at 10 mph without being terrified, I wasn’t afraid to grab 15-20 lb. dumbbells, and I survived more than ten Solidcore classes (surviving is a feat in itself, IMO). Still haven’t hit that 300 score in a Flywheel class, though. One day…
When I moved to a new neighborhood in July, I canceled my gym membership and solely worked out via ClassPass for two months. This is when I started to really hone in on what my current workout preferences and personal fitness goals are (e.g. to lose fat and gain lean muscle mass). I was no longer afraid of lifting weights, in fact, I really enjoyed it. This realization prompted me to join City Fitness and reduce my monthly ClassPass classes, so I could have more control over my workouts (and save some money, TBH).
So in September, I started working out on my own—taking everything I had learned from months of different group classes and instructors and combining it with my personal fitness goals and whatever my body was feeling on any given day. Some days, that means focusing on one specific area of my body, and others it means a full-body workout. Some days, I lift heavier weights with shorter reps, while other days, I do the opposite. Some days call for cardio, while others do not. True story: I just Googled ‘intuitive exercise’ to see if it’s a thing, and indeed, it is. I’m going to use that term now…
This approach has been great for me. By focusing on what my body wants or needs on any given day, I’ve been able to get more experimental in the gym and let go of my fears of the weight room floor. The most important thing is that, every time I go to the gym, I’m pushing myself in some way—bench pressing a few pounds more than I did last time, sprinting .2 mph faster, holding a plank for longer, etc. I still try to get in 1-3 group fitness classes per month because I do love having an instructor and classmates there as motivation, and honestly, I now see group classes as a learning experience—there are always new exercises to learn, take home, and perfect on your own.
In October, I started studying for my group fitness instructor certification through ACE Fitness. I’ve realized that fitness is so much more than a means to an end for me—feeling and performing my best has taken precedence over looking my best. I have so much more to learn, but the key thing I’ve learned is that I genuinely feel my best when I move my body in some fashion every single day. And I feel called to share my newfound passion for fitness by helping others learn what works best for them, the same way group fitness instructors have helped me.
The fitness goal I’m most excited to crush in 2019 is passing my group fitness instructor exam and to start helping others reach their fitness goals in a group class setting. Then, who knows? Time will tell…”
What fitness goals did you crush in 2018? We’d love to hear your yearly reflections too! Check back tomorrow to read about our 2018 health and wellness reflections. Happy New Year!