For many moms, exercise is seen as a luxury we simply don’t have time for. Whether you’re a working mama or a stay-at-home mama, the responsibilities are never-ending and many of us feel that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get all of the “things” done. Maybe you’ve been digging through a mountain of unfolded laundry just to get the family dressed, not to mention the load that’s been sitting in the washer so long that you’ve got to re-do it to get the staleness out. Maybe you’re so stressed about the report that’s due soon at work that you’ve had to keep putting off for one reason or another. Maybe you’ve got spots, crumbs, hairballs, and other questionable items on your floor annoyingly reminding you that it has been too long since you’ve swept or mopped. Maybe you’ve had a long hard day at work or with the kiddos and all you want to do is curl up in a ball on the couch, but you know life doesn’t stop – dinner, dishes, homework, bath time, bed time tasks, etc. call, and the kids (and your partner) need your attention. With all of that, we’re supposed to find time to exercise as well? Ha!
I hear you, mamas. I get that it’s incredibly hard (and sometimes actually impossible) to find time to exercise – I honestly do. And I won’t get into the plethora of research and science that touts the importance and countless benefits of regular exercise – you’ve undoubtedly already heard or read it, and your time is valuable. Whether we do or don’t exercise, most of us have had the thought at least once, “I should probably try to get more exercise…”
Here’s the thing – moms who exercise regularly haven’t discovered some secret unknown to others. We aren’t necessarily better with time-management or more disciplined. And for the most part, we aren’t solely driven by vanity (though there are always exceptions). Don’t get me wrong – there’s definitely a healthy level of vanity that can push us to put ourselves together enough to affect our self-image and overall well-being, which in turn positively impacts our whole family – but that’s a whole different discussion. The point is, making a commitment to exercise is really no different from making a commitment to any other form of self-care. “Extra” time doesn’t present itself and corners often have to be cut in order to make it happen (this is definitely the case for me!). But we do it because we’ve found that it adds real value to our lives – it helps us recharge and fill our cups so that we can continue striving to be the women, mothers, wives, whatever that we want to be.
To be clear, even though I’m focusing on exercise as one form of self-care, anything that fills our cup counts. If you’re already practicing other forms of self-care regularly and exercise isn’t a part of your routine, that’s truly awesome. We know ourselves better than anyone else does and we know what works for us and for our lives. BUT if you’ve been struggling with self-care and considering trying to incorporate exercise into your routine, or you’re just looking to add consistency or motivation to your current exercise routine, read on!
There are so many ways to exercise, and again, I won’t waste your time by going through an exhaustive list. The point is really just to move our bodies – even better if we can do it for a dedicated period of time and get our heart rates up a bit (yes, even 10-20 min in your garage without your kids jumping on you is great). In my opinion, the key to making exercise a regular part of your routine is to find a form of exercise that you genuinely enjoy, or at least one that you don’t dread.
That’s where group exercise comes in – the whole point of group exercise is to provide motivation and camaraderie for those who struggle or get bored exercising on their own. There are many different types of group fitness classes offered in many different environments (e.g. gyms, studios, wellness centers, healthcare clinics). Like dating, you might have to kiss a few frogs first – you’ll definitely try some classes that aren’t your cup of tea. But when you find your class (or classes, if you’re lucky), it’ll rock your world and give you motivation to return, even when life is chaotic or you don’t really have the energy to do it.
In case your interest is piqued but you’ve still got doubts/hesitations, here are the most common reserva tions and concerns I hear from people considering group exercise (along with the reasons you should just chuck those concerns):
Concern: “I have no idea what I’m doing. Maybe I’ll try it after I figure some of this stuff out.”
Truth: That’s what the instructors are there for! We don’t expect anyone to know what to do, and new people come to class all the time. Pick a class that seems interesting to you, and go introduce yourself to the instructor beforehand. A good instructor (and there are so many great instructors in town!) will show you the ropes and give you helpful information throughout class. Personally, it makes my day to have new people in class – it’s my chance to try to give them that experience my favorite instructors gave me as a new group fitness participant.
Concern: “I’m out of shape. I’m not strong enough, fit enough, flexible enough, etc. Maybe I’ll try it someday after I get myself back into shape.”
Truth: “Someday” rarely comes, especially when we’re mom-ing hard. When we put something on “someday status,” it often becomes little more than a pipe dream (one of my current “someday” goals is to Marie Kondo my master closet – yeah, not gonna happen any time soon…). And how miserable is it to try to tackle the incredibly daunting task of “getting yourself into shape” before you’ll allow yourself to try a group exercise class?” Just…no. Group exercise is for everyone, from novices to trained athletes. Instructors are there to provide options for a wide range of participants. Just pick a class, and do whatever you can do. Over time, you’ll become fitter and able to do more – and that feels amazing!
Concern: “I don’t want all those people judging me. I’d rather just work out on my own so I don’t have to deal with that.”
Truth: OK, take it from the queen of introverts: for me, there was once a time when the thought of exercising with a group of people sounded like some kind of sick torture, and I couldn’t understand why anyone would willingly do it. But today I teach several classes per week – and I’m just as introverted as ever. For the most part, people who attend group fitness classes aren’t there to judge others, and many are so caught up in the workout that they don’t even pay attention to other specific people. It’s all about the feeling of working together and using our collective energy to motivate the group. Yes, occasionally there’s a “Judgy Sally” in class. But she’s the outlier and not the norm, and the class environment makes it relatively easy to ignore any negativity just enjoy the experience, especially with practice.
Seriously, if you’ve ever thought about trying a group exercise class and haven’t – just do it! You might find that it’s not for you (though I highly recommend trying a few different formats/instructors first), then at least you’ve learned that about yourself and you move on. But you also might just find that you love it and never look back.
WarmLine Sustainer Group Fitness Bios
If you’re looking for a great class to join, check out those offered by three of our WarmLine Sustainers!
I started teaching Group X 12 years ago! I am not teaching any regular classes right now but sub at both Body Xchange and Fitzone Bakersfield and always share about it on my FB! I do a lot of my training online so I can help even more people. Check out my online training here!
I started exercising regularly when my daughter turned 1 as I needed to feel better about me and turning fitness into one of my hobbies seemed like a great choice. My new passion for my own health and nutrition lead me to instructing, then starting an online coaching business as I found so many mamas couldn’t get to the gym regularly and needed a stronger support system. Fitness is key to my sanity and makes me feel so much better about myself as a woman, a mama and a wife! I love that I can keep myself healthy, pay it forward and help others get healthy and earn an income so I can continue to be a SAHM (my kids are now 16 and 14) all at the same time!
I’m currently an XGT coach and working towards becoming a personal trainer. XGT is a super fun weight training, natural body movement and cardio class.
I chose to work out because it helps my sanity. I’ve been working out for the past 3 years 5-6 days a week. I love being on a schedule and this is part of my daily routine. I love being a good role model of self-love and health to my children. I remember my mom and grandma always going to the gym on the daily when I was a child. I see the result in their life and I know the benefits it truly has. I feel like when I work out daily, I am much happier, laid back and I love that I’m able to get on the floor and play with my kids. I chose to teach because I made it my New Years resolution to get out of my comfort zone and help others build the body they want and most of all have fun and be healthy.
Sarah’s Schedule: (as of 2/27/2020)
Body Xchange Allen: Mon 5:00 am XGT (weight training, cardio, natural body movement)
Body Xchange Calloway: Wed 5:30 pm XGT (weight training, cardio, natural body movement), Fri 9:00 am XGT (weight training, cardio, natural body movement), Sat 8:30 am XGT (weight training, cardio, natural body movement)
I’ve struggled all my life with depression and was fortunate to learn many years ago that exercise does wonders for my mental health. Though I never regret working out after the fact, it’s often a huge struggle to get myself to do it. Further, I truly despise exercising on my own – I count down the minutes in misery when I use the treadmill or the elliptical. So, what better way to take the “Should I, or shouldn’t I?” out of exercise than to teach group exercise? Nowadays, I teach so often that I don’t have much time to take classes, but whether I’m the instructor or a participant, I truly love group fitness. Group fitness motivates me and makes it relatively easy to stay consistent with the most important thing I do to maintain my mental health.
I started teaching group fitness on and off about 15 years ago, a couple of years after taking my first class. I started out with various dance fitness formats and over the years shifted my focus toward strength training and mind-body formats. A few years back, I found PiYo (pilates/yoga), my holy grail of formats that gave me everything I wanted in a workout and more – it completely gets me out if my head and allows me to set my huge mental load down for an hour. I pushed myself to become proficient at it and had several thriving PiYo classes per week, but unfortunately it was recently discontinued and is now being completely removed from my main gym. Dramatic as it sounds, I’m heartbroken – I wasn’t ready to close that chapter of my group fitness career or to give up the format that brings me such joy and has become a critical part of my life and routine. On the other hand, every group fitness instructor has to begin thinking seriously about longevity at some point, as teaching definitely takes its toll on our bodies over time. I’ve had some recent injuries that have made me acutely aware of that fact, so I’ve decided to again shift my focus – this time toward classes that will restore and sustain my physical (and mental) health for many years to come. Just this month, I started a comprehensive yoga training that I hope to complete by the end of the year.
I’m a total group fitness junkie and I’m connected to many instructors at many different gyms/studios around town. If you’re looking to try out some group exercise classes, I’m happy to try to steer you toward a few options that might work for your goals, needs, schedule, etc.
Naomi’s Schedule: (as of 3/2/2020)
In-Shape Seven Oaks: Mon 9:30 am BodyFlow (yoga, pilates, tai-chi)
In-Shape Coffee Rd: Tue 5:30 pm BodyPump (weight training)
24 Hour Fitness Gosford: Wed 9:30 am PiYo (pilates/yoga), Fri 8:30 am BodyPump (weight training)
In-Shape Riverlakes: Thu 5:30 pm BodyFlow (yoga, pilates, tai chi)
Post submitted by Naomi Jackson, WarmLine Member