If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say, “I hate working out” or “I hate going to the gym,” I would be able to afford working out in lululemon clothes for the rest of my life.
Ok, maybe not.
But still, those all-too-common “reasons” for avoiding exercise aren’t reasons— they’re poor excuses. I have a 24 Hour Fitness membership, but I am a big believer in not needing a gym in order to stay fit. Whether you’re an indoor or outdoor guy or gal, there are unlimited forms of physical activity that don’t involve touching a cardio machine or weights. And guess what? There’s at least one form out there that you enjoy (or at the very least, don’t mind). I promise. It may take a little bit of Googling and experimenting to find what it is, but it’s out there. I mean, I bet you didn’t know embracing your inner drummer rock star counted as a workout!
A couple of months ago, I wanted a break from my usual treadmill and dumbbells routine at the gym. 24 Hour Fitness does offer Zumba and Cardio Dance, but I wanted a dance class that was challenging in terms of skill and technique. I’m the girl who gets sucked into a black hole of watching Beyonce choreography videos. With a background in music and some years of Irish dancing, I definitely don’t have two left feet, but I’m by no means a true dancer. I wanted something that matched my level, so when I found Banana Skirt Productions, I had to sign up for a class. They offer a few different types of classes; I chose a choreography-based one that featured the song “Finesse (Remix)” by Bruno Mars and Cardi B. BSP welcomes participants with all levels of dance experience (even none at all), yet I still felt challenged the whole time!
My friend Kate signed up to do it with me, so we met up outside Ripley-Grier Studios in Manhattan, feeling like glam pop stars headed to a dance rehearsal for an upcoming concert. Hey, a girl can dream. In all seriousness though, the dance studios inside that gleaming skyscraper were legit; we passed some sort of theater audition with a sign on the door that demanded quiet in the hallways.
Our instructor was a cheery, bubbly woman named Matia. She quickly went over the structure of the class for us rookies: a warm up, then learning the choreography piece by piece, splitting the class in half to “battle,” and then dancing all together… ON CAMERA.
You would think this sounds nearly impossible to accomplish in one hour, but it really was quite manageable. I think we all felt pressured to perform our best for BSP’s Instagram audience, though Matia’s priority was for us to have fun! When we couldn’t nail the tougher moves (i.e. two-stepping while swinging your arms back and forth, then in a circle), not once did she give us a hard time. When Kate declared that she was “awful” and “will be staying in the back,” Matia exclaimed, “Girl, your butt will be front and center with me for the video!” As you can see in the video above, she totally kept her word. (Kate is in the gray tank on Matia’s left, and I’m in the blue shirt).
You see those smiles? We—or at least Kate and I— were having so much fun dancing, we forgot we were even working out! Exercise is necessary for a healthy life, but being miserable while doing it is certainly not. I want you to find that workout that brings the same smile to your face. Maybe it’s kayaking or karate. Maybe it’s step aerobics or swimming laps. Maybe it’s tennis or going for a bike ride. Use the buddy system; try something your friend suggests or invite them to try something with you! And if you already found what you enjoy? Tell me about it in the comments!
~Remember to follow Fit by the Fork on Instagram~