Sweat and Other Forms of Awesomeness

I have a confession to make.

I love group fitness classes.

Over the past several years, I’ve taken everything I can get my hands on: step-aerobics, circuit-training, TRX, Zumba, trapeze, Pilates, Pilates barre, power yoga, deep-water aerobics. I even bought a Groupon for classes at a pole-dancing fitness studio, but I forgot about it until after the pass had expired.

I love exertion, sweat, trembling muscles, and the feeling of being utterly spent.

My newest experiment is Crossfit. Maybe you’ve heard about it? If you do a Google Search, you’ll find videos of unbelievably chiseled men and women lifting weights to motivational narrative and music. Nobody at my Crossfit gym looks like those people, but I suppose it’s great marketing. The classes are filled with barbels, rowing machines, pull-up bars, climbing ropes and scary moves called the “snatch, clean, and jerk.” It’s amazing and terrifying. But mostly terrifying.

After my work-out last night, I had dinner with my friend who knows me so well we may as well be sisters. Barbara saw me rubbing my shoulders as she pulled plates out of the cupboard, and asked if I was feeling sore. I explained my new classes, and told her how excited I was to be using my body in a way that feels so fresh, new, and out of my comfort zone.

We talked about routines and adapting to change, and marveled at how quickly we absorb the new elements we add to our lives. The rapid speed we are able to turn “newness” into “normal” struck me, and got me to thinking about how often I flip into auto-pilot during the day. I was a bit saddened to think that when things don’t feel new, they can sometimes feel like nothing.

But that doesn’t have to be true!

I decided to make a list of all the new things I’ve done and learned so far this month, and the process helped me remember that there is newness happening nearly every day.

Here’s a little sample:

  • Ran a 5k while wearing a fake moustache
  • Made homemade soup using Sunchokes (WHATchokes? My thoughts exactly.)
  • Learned a new strand of HTML
  • Wrote my first blog post!
  • Won a prize in a raffle drawing (a haircut at a fancy salon!)
  • Applied to be on the board of my local farmer’s market
  • Learned how to properly secure a Christmas tree onto the roof of my car
  • Took my niece to see  her first performance of The Nutcracker
  • Took my Mom to her first ever yoga class
  • Had my picture taken with a real, live reindeer
  • Played in the first snowfall of the season
  • Slipped and fell on the ice for the first time of the season
  • Lived through the most painful massage of my life (A Groupon I should have let expire, and another adventure with Barbara.)
  • Learned all the components of the “snatch, clean, and jerk” weightlifting technique – and I did it a whole bunch times!

So, I try new exercise classes when I feel like my life needs a kick-in-the-pants and it’s simply not practical to quit my job and move across the country. I love a hearty dose of physical challenge when the rest of things are feeling sluggish; it’s my way of channelling the restlessness that sometimes creeps its way in. But now I think I’ll keep this little method of list-making tucked away for future times when I’m feeling a twinge of the auto-pilot-blues and my muscles are just too sore to make it to another work-out class.

Try it and tell me! What are 3-5 new things you’ve done this month? I would LOVE to hear about your excitement!