Julie Lawson Timmer grew up in Stratford, Ontario, Canada. She lives in Ann Arbor, MI, with her husband, their four teenage children, and two rescued dogs. By turns, she is a writer, lawyer, mom/stepmom, and dreadful cook. Her first novel, Five Days Left,
is out in paperback. Her second book, Untethered, was released earlier this month. She shared this personal story exclusively with FirstforWomen.com.
Thanks to the example set for me by my extremely athletic older sister, I’ve been a gym rat for almost four decades. Until recently, that involved slogging through the same old 30-minutes-on-the-treadmill-then-30-minutes-of-weights routine, morning after morning. After years of that humdrum workout, I became bored and uninspired, and my fitness level took a hit.
I’m so glad those days are over. In the past few years, so many new kinds of classes and specialty gyms have popped up, so it’s easier than ever to keep my workouts fresh and interesting and fun.
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But who has the time and energy to try out each of the new rages and decide which are worth keeping on the weekly roster? Well, I did. A few years ago, I became so sick of my gym routine that I decided to spend an entire summer trying out every other option in town. Let me save you a little time (not to mention money—these classes aren’t cheap!) by sharing what I’ve learned about each new trend I tried, and my decision to either keep it as part of my new workout regime, or dump it.
Before we begin, please note I said my sister is extremely athletic. I am not. I have zero flexibility and grace, I feel like I’m losing strength and coordination every week, and because of a collection of hip and knee surgeries, certain of my leg muscles have gone into hiding. So, this article isn’t Follow The Jock As She Masters Every New Fitness Class She Tries. It’s more like Try Not To Laugh As The Aging Woman With Bad Joints Fumbles Her Way Through Another Attempt To Work Out.
Spoiler alert! Some of these fitness classes I loved, and some I didn’t care for--or my body didn't. But what I did discover turned my workout routine around! Doing three or four of my faves each week, along with some walking, swimming, or easy bike rides on other days, keeps me feeling and looking a lot fitter than my old, drab gym routine ever did. Variety is a big part of that—muscle confusion helps with fitness gains, so it’s best to switch things up. I also work out harder most days now because I’m no longer bored. And on the days I don’t feel like pushing so hard, I choose a low-intensity class.
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Although no two people are identical (for your sake, I hope you have more flexibility and grace than I, along with fewer joint challenges and fewer years on your skeleton!), I hope my little tour of exercise classes will help you add some excitement and joy back into your workout routine.
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