I was always a decently active child. I say "active" vs. "athletic" because I'm not quite sure I had the coordination or dedication to consider myself the latter. I played soccer from about age 7 to 17, and then in high school I dabbled with cheerleading, dance, track, and cross country. Following high school, my exercise consisted primarily of running. I participated in numerous 5k's, 10k's, 1/2 marathons, a sprint-triathlon or two, and of course, I recently completed my first full marathon. Running was always my go-to form of exercise, but my relationship with running wasn't necessarily a positive one. I was a fair-weather runner, so during the winter months I almost always belonged to a gym....and I almost always hated going to them. Gyms made me feel indecisive in regard to what exercise equipment I should be using and how to use my time efficiently. They also made me feel self conscious and anxious as though I was one wrong move away from living in #GymFail gif infamy like this poor individual:
Stepping Outside of My Comfort Zone
I really wanted to use my unexpected move to DC as a catalyst for making some really positive life changes. In addition to becoming the type of person who volunteers, I also wanted to become the type of person who exercises regularly... and actually enjoys it. I had always heard the annoying quotes like, "the secret to staying active is to find the type of exercise that you enjoy so that it doesn't feel like exercise." I thought people who said things like that were liars. Exercise for me always felt like ...exercise. It felt like the thing that I did so that I could do the other things that I enjoyed... like eat a lot bread.
As I was in search of a new fitness experience, I clearly knew that I did not want to join a typical gym, but was not sure what I did want to do, until I stumbled upon 9Round. 9Round is unlike anything I had ever done before. My husband, who is in incredible shape, and I went in for our first free workout, and the following day we could barely move. Although I felt initially a bit awkward with the equipment and the lingo "jab...hook...round kick...huh?" we took a leap of faith and signed up for a year-long membership. We have both been very pleased with our decision, and here's why:
- There are no class times. It's circuit training with timed rotations every three minutes. The buzzer sounds, and you move on to the next station. So shortly after you walk in the door, you are almost always able to start working out right way. It also prevents you from making excuses like, "I'll never make the 5:30 class, guess I just won't work out tonight."
- I don't have to think. Gone are the days of wandering around the gym looking for an open exercise machine and contemplating what other exercise I should do next. Everything is decided for you, and in a full-body comprehensive approach.
- Every single day is different. At each station there is a dry-erase board with a new exercise listed, so you never get bored. During the rotation period, the trainers are hustling around to each station where they individually demonstrate each exercise for you. To prevent you from ever becoming an awkward #gymfail gif internet sensation.
- Individual Encouragement and Support. The trainers are really fantastic. They offer encouragement and adjustments as needed.
- You burn a lot of calories. You get a heart rate monitor with your membership, which is synced to an overhead screen which shows which zone you are in, and how many calories you've burned. It's a great way to monitor your own level of intensity. I typically burn about 350-500 calories per session...depending on the level of intensity that I can manage for the day.
- You get to hit/kick things. It's an absolutely cathartic experience to punch and kick the bag, especially after a particularly stressful day at work. You'll leave the gym with a Ronda Rousey swagger just hoping to get jumped so that you can go all Fight Club on some unsuspecting fool... or maybe that's just me. (Please Note: I do not actually want to get mugged).
- People aren't staring at you. Everybody is doing something different at each station, so there is no way to compare yourself to others. There is also no structured time to sit around and rest. So you won't ever feel the watchful eyes from some individual who happens to be drinking their gallon of water between reps as you self consciously attempt to do squats.
- Your whole body will change. Obviously, you get out what you put in. I try my best to work-out hard when I'm there, and have seen some really positive changes in my body for the first time in a long time. Not only do I feel more toned, but I can do things that I never could before like real push-ups.
- I enjoy it. Apparently those people weren't lying. All of the things I listed above have resulted in actual exercise enjoyment. I tend to look forward to my workouts, and the 30-minutes fly by!
I know I'm a few sentences away from this becoming a full-blown info-mercial, but for additional reading, check out an article that was recently in the Washington Post about 9Round. 9Round is a franchise, so there is a good chance that there is one in your area.
I'll leave you with two videos. The first of which is from when I discovered that my phone had slo-mo capabilities and I was obsessed with taking videos in slo-mo of pretty much everything. The second, is a promotional video that gives you a better sense of what 9Round looks like. Each gym obviously various a bit.
All The Best,
One Last Thing. The experience of stepping out of my exercise comfort zone was such a success that I will soon be reporting on numerous other forms of exercise and exercise classes, so check back soon if an uncoordinated but active girl's perspective interests you!