I have never been one to hop on fitness bandwagons. I’m a lone wolf by nature, and prefer to exercise on my own. I have written about my dislike of running in herds, and I feel much the same way about other forms of group fitness. It’s been interesting going through a long injury recovery process. I have received a lot of suggestions for things I should try and I’ve also done a lot of reading on different ways to keep fit. Without experiencing any of these alternatives, I’ve already firmly decided that they are not for me:
1.CrossFit: At the top of my list is CrossFit. This will be controversial. People who love their CrossFit, really really REALLY love their CrossFit. In all sincerity, I can see the appeal if you thrive on competition, or a sense of community, or if you have a body that functions properly. I’ve had people recommend CrossFit to me ad nauseam after my SI injury as a way to rebuild strength. What I’ve learned from working with my trainer, though, is that I need to be watched like a hawk at all times and I need to move slower, not faster if I’m going to have any hope of keeping my form in check. The whole AMRAP thing would be the kiss of death to my ailing SI. Also, I am not a community joiner (see lone wolf comment above). So, no thanks CrossFit. I’ll stick to my personal training sessions.
2. Barre: I imagine that this would be a great workout and would enhance my flexibility, yet I will avoid it like the plague. Why? I have had a life-long fear of scary ballerina girls, formed solely by books (like my personal childhood fave, Bad News Ballet) and movies full of really mean and catty ballerina girls. Sorry, ballerinas, but pop culture has made you all seem evil. I realize that Barre classes will not actually be full of ballerinas but, once the association is there, all hope is lost. Also, any class that requires a semblance of coordination and/or a room full of mirrors is so not going to do my ego any favours.
3. OrangeTheory: On the surface, OrangeTheory seems perfectly sound. It combines cardio and strength and doesn’t require a specific pace. What it does do, however, is track your exertion. I find this problematic for two reasons. The first reason is that, even though OrangeTheory purports to use heart rate monitors, I have a personal belief that all of these classes overstate caloric burn. If I were to see that I burned 800 calories, I would want to believe it so badly for the sole purpose of eating twice the ice cream. This would defeat the purpose of working out, particularly when, in reality, I probably only burned 500 calories. The second challenge is that I do not want to see my level of exertion. I do not need evidence of how much I slacked off. I am a master at looking like I’m trying really hard when I’m not, a feat which is greatly aided by the fact that my face turns beet red and I sweat like a beast even with minimal exertion. I prefer to delude myself into believing that I’m working harder than I am. Keep your stats to yourself OrangeTheory.
4. SoulCycle: Combining dance and upper body movement with cycling sounds like a recipe for both disaster (see above where I talk about coordination not being my jam) and for injury (as stated in a number of articles about safety concerns in SoulCycle). I’ll leave the whole argument about whether it’s a better workout than standard spin aside and just stick with the fact that I’m not interested in embarrassing myself in front of a room full of strangers by demonstrating my lack of rhythm, balance and coordination. Also, my dark little soul can barely handle the forced enthusiasm in regular spin classes. I can only imagine how difficult it would be for me to handle the so-called cultish enthusiasm of SoulCyclists.
5. Aerial Yoga: I have a confession. I despise yoga. It would be great for me, I know, but rather than finding it calming, I am irritated by the quiet and grow impatient with the pace. Aerial yoga takes my hate to a whole new level. Hanging from silk ropes, or worse yet flipping around in them, sounds like my worst nightmare. I imagine myself plummeting head first into the floor, or perhaps dangling upside-down and precariously by one leg. Neither appeals to me, and both sound like surefire ways to throw my SI into extreme spasmodic discomfort. Once again, my issues with potentially embarrassing myself in front of others come into play. I would be that pupil requiring constant and remedial attention–and possibly first aid!–from the instructor. About the only thing that looked appealing about these aerial yoga classes was pictures I saw that essentially looked like people napping in silk rope hammocks. Now that I could get behind.
Suffice it to say, I think I’m going to stick with my (attempts at) running, standard spin, hiking and strength training for now. I have no doubt it’s safer for me…and those around me.