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Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Do you exercise? (On purpose?)

Do you exercise?

For years, I've just biked and walked around town, but now that I'm 35 with two babies, it's not cutting it anymore. I feel creaky and achy, and my back always hurts. (It takes me like 30 seconds to straighten my back after standing up, no joke.) I'd love to get more toned and flexible and maybe take an exercise class. So, I'd really like to know: What kind of exercise do you do?

My history of exercise:

Childhood: Running around.

Teenage years: Daily ballet classes. Riding my mom's NordiTrack in our foyer.

College: Tae Bo on VHS with my roommates. (It was actually kind of amazing.)

One summer in my early twenties: WALKING on the treadmill at the gym every night while watching Felicity reruns. (Team Ben, btw.)

One day in my late twenties: I took a yoga class and was so inflexible that I felt embarrassed and didn't go back.

Twenties, early thirties: Biking and walking everywhere and hoping it adds up to a decent amount. Taking stairs instead of elevators (see: phobia).

So, now that I'm an old lady, I need to bolster my routine. When Jessie raved about SoulCycle yesterday, I was really intrigued. I'm also wondering if I should give yoga another chance? Or pilates, Pure Barre, Zumba? Brazilian Butt Lift?! I would LOVE to hear what you do! Please send any and all suggestions my way :) Thank you so much!
P.S. Seeing movies alone, and riding bikes with babies.

(Photos: International pupils at an outdoor physical education class at the English-Scandinavian Summer School by William Vanderson. Aerobics class at the Helena Rubinstein Salon, 1958, by Inge Morath)

557 comments:

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erica Dunsford said...

Joanna, your exercise history sounds exactly like mine...anytime I want to get active and just feel better I go for a "wog"(walk/slow jog)or hot yoga,the heat seems unbearable at first, but then makes it so much easier to get into the poses. have fun,most importantly!!
Erica PEI Canada

Ashlee Spear said...

I love Zumba and 1980s-esque Step classes. As others have mentioned, the instructor makes a HUGE difference, especially in Zumba. So if you take one class and aren't into it, don't write it off. Just try one with another teacher.

Jodi Kendall said...

I'm on my second week of CrossFit (at CrossFitNYC) and loving it so far! My brother and sister raved about it for years before I was brave enough to try it. After a good friend – who has a 1 year old – got in incredible shape last year through CrossFit, I decided to take the intro class. I was SO terrified, but I'm glad I did it! The workouts are actually fun and although they're hard, the durations are high intensity for a short period of time, so easier for me to mentally push through. Now after five sessions under my belt I'm already feeling stronger and more confident (I have a two-year-old and have been loose in the cage for what feels like ages). I have no real history with weight training, and I love how I'm learning how proper form + technique on the moves plus incorporating cross training too, like rowing and jumping rope. The group mentality feels encouraging and not judgey/intimidating as I had feared. Also after the intro class there's what they call 'Elements' which is basically a series of beginner classes that you're required to complete, so you feel comfortable with everything before joining the regular workouts. It's worth a try! CrossFit NYC offers a free intro class and has tons of classes throughout the week which makes it great for a busy mama.

also, I adore Bikram yoga! Bikram NYC is a fantastic studio

Jillian said...

I was an athlete my whole life and all through college. After that phase ended, I couldn't rely on being in the gym cause it wasn't automatically part of my daily schedule anymore. I didn't want all the bulk muscle anymore so I've picked up yoga (which I can focus better in now that I'm done with my high intensity sports) and my friend has been getting me to go to zumba lately (very humbling especially since I used to pride myself on my rhythm- but tons of fun with the right instructor). And of course running.

tobylynne said...

I am obsessed with Barre! It is incredibly challenging but so worth the pain. I combine it with walking and running to get in some cardio as well. I go to Barre 3 (after trying Pure Barre and Barre Method). They just opened a new location in West Village and you can take a free class during their grand opening next week! http://www.barre3.com/locations/west-village/

isabelle m said...

I do Fitness Table or Gymnastique sur table in French. It mainly works your core muscle, back, legs, arms. You lay on a wooden table on a mat and pillow and move around a little bit. This type of exercise was initiate by a ballet dancer and she taught this method in arts and drama school for performing arts students before opening her own studio in Montreal.
I do this 3 times a week and headaches have gone away, I feel more tone and overall happy!

Jodi Kendall said...

Oh! And a friend of mine just told me about RowHouse... have you heard of it? It sounds like a tough full body workout, but fun.... Can't comment from experience yet, but here's the link: http://www.rowhousenyc.com/

Lauren Ross said...

The Bar Method! I'm admittedly biased because I'm a Bar Method instructor but it's a game-changer. Super challenging but gentle on your body and very effective.

Petya K. Grady said...

I was like you for most of my life. I knew that I should be exercising but never found the time, it just didn't fit into my day. Ironically, the one thing that has actually helped me stick to a routine and see visible benefits is doing MORE exercise (not less). I run 3 or 4 times a week and go to pilates or yoga once a week. The one piece of advice I have for you is to pick SOMETHING and do it at least three times a week. That way your body remembers your last workout and you don't end up feeling like every time you exercise it's your first time all over again.

Elizabeth said...

I did cardio on my own at the gym for a long time and was in ok shape but nothing to brag about. I took a Group Power class on a whim (Body Pump is more common and is the same thing) and although I never expected to go back, I've now stuck with it for 18 months, 2x per week. It's weight training set to music and I can't say enough good things about it. I have gotten way stronger than I was before, had fun, and it has made me much better at my favorite hobby, hiking. I still do cardio whenever I can, at least another couple times a week. But for overall feeling better (I'm also a mid-30's female) I am a big proponent of strength training, now that I've experienced the benefits. Just find a group activity that you enjoy, if you're new to it.

Lee Taylor-Penn said...

I also have back pain due to oscoliosis. I tried barre, but it made my pain worse. I started running in college when a friend and I did the Couch to 5K plan. Running with a friend (or spouse) makes it so much more fun! Now, I run, bike and do yoga.

I also love taking a sporadic group exercise class--TRX, Zumba, Bootcamp--if I feel like I am in an exercise rut. It usually gets me excited about working out again.

Elizabeth Morris said...

I started running in the past couple of years and love how easy it is to do. I can slip on my shoes and run wherever I am and whenever I like, and get a high return (calories burnt, endorphin high) from only about 30 minutes of activity.

When I needed some extra motivation last fall, I signed up for some short races and had so much fun doing them! The training programs I downloaded kept me on track and helped me build up my endurance.

Jana D. said...

I'm a big fan of Blogilates! Sometimes I also go for a run and do some yoga just to stretch out a bit :)

Katie said...

I go back and forth between pilates and the gym (weights and treadmill) with a personal trainer (what can I say I need someone to tell me what to do!)On a good week I'll even go running!

Find a place that has a fun vibe, not too serious and with people like you. For me it's all about having a scheduled time and knowing your new friends are there waiting for you! Otherwise it's too easy to slack off.

Good luck! Let us know how it goes!

Sarah Dunbar said...

I work out over lunch. I love it! It makes me feel good about myself and I tend to sleep better. My "Routine":

Monday: Power pump (Weights with cardio)
Tuesday: Pilates
Wednesday: Core and More (a core specific class with weights and Pilates/yoga mixed in)
Other days: I tend to ride my bike a lot in the evening and on weekends. We head to the farmers markets on the weekend, and I often have a "girls ride" with a girlfriend. I'll pull my daughter in her burley on a regular basis. side note: My daughter calls her burley her "rocketship". Love that! I would love to try barre class and we have a new suspended yoga studio! In the brutal winter (Ice, snow) I'll head back to spin classes to get my two-wheel fix.


J Johnson said...

I got a dog xD Seriously, though, jogging for an hour a day with a furry running companion does not seem so bad when the alternative is having your favorite shoes chewed to shreds. Other than that, I built muscle mass (and balancing skills) by taking an adult ballet class and a belly-dancing class :) I had a back injury in my teen years, but after taking both classes the pain has started fading away.

Ivy F. said...

Another vote for CrossFit! I love the workouts, the people, the commitment to community and charity. Be careful to find a really well run "box" (gym), though. Not all CF boxes are created equal.

Betsy W said...

I've also found myself too inflexible to go to a yoga class, so I swim laps a few times a week, lift weights on my own and stretch a half hour per night. I love my little schedule.

Johanna said...

I love barre and TRX classes. At home or at the gym, I'm pretty obsessed with the Nike+ Training Club app. I never get bored with the workouts and you can do most of them anywhere with little or no equipment. Download it for your smartphone and try it out!

RayRay1234 said...

My yoga teacher always says "being too inflexible for yoga is like being too thirsty for water". Give it another try :)

Elise said...

I am a competitive Highland dancer so that keeps me in shape but when I'm not training I like to balance my routine with Barre Method DVDs, hot yoga and my newest obsession Nike Training Club (a free app with over 100 workouts). So much fun!

Becca said...

Let me be the one millionth person to say yoga! It does exactly what you're looking for - firms, tones, and makes you flexible. Plus the relaxing breathing and shivasana at the end (when you get to lay down with your eyes closed for a few minutes!) is a nice meditative break in and of itself. And you might be better at it now that you've got those two babes - it's amazing what "Mom Arms" can do for a few yoga poses. Maybe give it a try!

Lynn said...

I will also throw my vote behind getting into barre. It's ridiculously expensive in NYC (but what isn't?) but I love it. I'm DC based but I know that Pure Barre and a few other vendors are in NYC so I would def check it out. I got 2-3 times a week and what I love is that I see results (and I lose them if I don't go!) I feel and see myself building strength in my core, arms, legs, everything!

Autumn said...

Love the Bar Method. It's a great mix of stretching and low impact cardio. I always feel challenged and the long lean muscle definition especially in arms and legs is so sexy. I have seen fabulous, immediate results--especially after my first child.

Ellie Lucash said...

I LOVE Zumba! My grandma has been going 4+ times a week for years now and it inspired me to just try it. I was unemployed for about 6 weeks last winter and had time to try some of the classes at my gym. I love the music, I love how good I feel after and I especially love that the general attitude is to have fun and MOVE. Everyone is so focused on themselves that they don't notice when you mess up...they're too paranoid they're about to mess up! It's the only workout I've ever done where I'm sweating my butt off and also smiling! Definitely give it a try!!

lexi said...

Jo,
It sounds like you need a postpartum pelvic PT consultation. That back stiffness you mentioned is a sign of potential pelvic/SI ligament laxity that happens to women during and after pregnancy.

Check out Renew PT, Five Point PT, Brooklyn Health PT, or others who specialize in postpartum stiffness & soreness. You'll want someone to customize an exercise plan for you, and insurance can cover part of it.

You might injure your back/SIs if you jump right into something high intensity.

Wendy said...

Hi Jo,
I have done everything from biking swimming walking P90X ETC.
The very best work out is The Tracy Anderson Method!
You can try some samples from U Tube before you buy a DVD 3 month program but its great because you can do it at home with nothing more than a yoga mat and it works like nothing I have ever tried.
48 year old mom who is now super toned for the first time in my life.
Just 30 minutes in your living room.
Love Love Love it

Elaine Findlay said...

Lving in rural Scotland we don't have the luxury of many fancy exercise classes, so I run around the hills and forests, near my house 4 or 5 times a week, rain or shine - the scenary never fails to uplift my spirits and make me feel glad to be alive

Sophia Mellein said...

Cardio kickboxing is amazing! I always leave my class with so much energy.

Sandi said...

Hi Joanna , I'm 57. I love the outdoors and living in the Midwest there is a lot of trails so I distance bike. Typically 60-80 miles during the week. Spin classes in the winter. I also found as I've gone through menopause that a mixture yoga, Pilates and barre helps with muscle tone, balance, flexibility, so I try to hit 2-3 45 min classes a week. Good luck dear the place you are in your young life it is hard to find that time for yourself.

Mandy Huey said...

I highly suggest yoga! There is a great community on Instagram with challenges that you can do at home. The people on Instagram give you tips on how to do the poses. You can follow along even if you don't want to participate in the challenge. Also, YouTube has a lot of great videos (e.g. YogaWithAdriene, Leslie Fightmaster, etc.), so you can do everything in the comfort of your own home! Alternating jogging/walking is also a great way to ease yourself into exercising.
Good luck and have fun!
xo

Mandy
www.mandydacandy.com

MelanieKPrice said...

TEAM BEN ALL THE WAY!! Haha. I started taking classes with a 'Bar Method' studio and love it. It is pilates, yoga and ballet mixed together. It's an intense workout but low impact and is all about toning, strengthing and increasing flexibility.

Amanda McCracken said...

For me the key is identifying a set of activities I love and doing them regularly. Right now that's yoga, swimming, biking, loooooong "power walks" and Jillian Michael's 30-day shred when I just need a quick, challenging, muscle building workout. I try to do Jillian's at least twice a week because it has the biggest impact on my body right now and then I do at least 3 other workouts from the list about depending on the day -- long bike ride with the husband for date night, yoga with a friend on a Saturday morning, a few laps in a pool to clear my head or a power week to listen to this week's This American Life. It feels like I'm doing enough to feel good but I'm also able to make them fun/enjoyable parts of my days.

mba said...

BAR METHOD changed me. (I think it's pretty much the same as Barre.)
I'm late 30s, one 4 year old. I was a runner before baby, also love yoga. But nothing transformed my body like Bar. It gives you lean muscle AND the mental benefits of feeling less anxious, less stress, mentally clear. I sound like I sell the stuff.
Any regular exercise is awesome, especially when it has some stretching for those post baby bodies that can get all bunged up from holding and lifting and co-sleeping and stooping over. ENJOY!

Eliot Davenport said...

Yoga! I've been practicing for 2 years and it has completely changed every aspect of my life. I was the most uncoordinated and unflexible person for so long but persistence has paid off. I'm currently in teacher training and hope to teach full time someday! Give it another chance.

Bryn Troll said...

Pilates! I'm not very flexible but Pilates helps tone my core AND improves flexibility. There are so many different levels of Pilates, if you're worried about learning the moves (or your flexibility at the start) you can find lots of good starter workouts on DVD at the library to try! Good luck!

The Higher Common Sense said...


Check out yogaglo.com. I have a subscription and you can enter at any level and do for any amount of time and save your favorite classes. The teachers are totally different, so once you get a crush on one you can just do their classes for a while. That way you can yoga at home however you want and rewind or switch levels. And no one laughs at you! Except maybe your kid.

I also think just a little bit of cardio is so important for everyone. I run with a jogging stroller, and I also go to the YMCA where they have free childcare. I do 22 mins (which happens to be the length of a Mindy Project) of stairmaster and 5-10 mins of sprints on the treadmill, and stretching and weights. (Strength-building is so important for my mental clarity, I find!)

I like barre a lot too (I second Pure Barre in Brooklyn Heights), but the most important thing is finding something you can be consistent with that isn't too intimidating and that you can ramp up as you get more fit.

Exercise sucks if you aren't used to it, but you can feel results so quickly that soon you can't live without it. It's actually more important to me after baby because it's my me-time. And I sleep much better. Good luck! You can do it!

Unknown said...

I take aquafit classes at my local community centre. It's easy on the joints (I have some arthritis issues) and you get great resistance from being in the water. You really get out of it what you put into it - my classmates are mostly older ladies wearing shower caps, so they take a bit of a slower pace, but if I want to run faster/kick higher/punch harder in the water, it's easily done. And it's really fun!

Ann said...

Thank you for posting this - I am in the same boat! 35, 2 kids, and my lower back is the worst! I need to get exercising, too. I am looking forward to reading the comments for advice!

Michelle Ash Latham said...

Try a bit of everything to find something that works for you! The best exercise is something you enjoy doing -- you'll be much more likely to stick with it :)

Mersey said...

Right now I'm doing 40 minutes on the elliptical plus a pilates or yoga class daily. I'm a dancer and this is to get me into ballet shape.
In the past I've really enjoyed hiking up mountains (cardio, leg toning, plus sunshine).
Also, I recently took a pure barre class and loved it! I think you would really like it. It's intense and is a good all-around workout. I was sore for a week!

Loribeth Tanner said...

I lift weights with my husband a few times a week and I guess walking our dog a mile twice is exercise too! I mostly lift weights with him because it's something he enjoys and it gives us time to chat.

Sarah M said...

I'm enjoying the free workouts on fitnessblender.com right now. There are hundreds of workouts and you can search by workout length, style (weight training, cardio, yoga, etc.), and fitness level (beginner to advanced). The couple that puts the videos together are cute - but not annoyingly so - and inspiring. And heck, it's free!

Elaine Hayes said...

Joanna - it sounds like Pilates would really benefit you from what you say about your back. I would recommend finding a good studio in NYC (Ellie Herman in Brooklyn is fantastic) and going one-on-ones for a little while. Who knows, you might even be able to leverage the blog and get some freebies. :) Then, once you feel comfortable, I would recommend trying some group Reformer classes. Pilates can seem intimidating at first, but I promise you it is the most sustainable and effective way to stay in shape for the rest of your life. Good luck! xo

Hanna DeArkland said...

You NEED to try The Bar Method! It is amazing workout and you will not only see results quickly, you will also relieve your body of those achy pains you're feeling. It was designed with physical therapists so all of the exercises are not only effective but safe. The instructors go through extensive training on not only the method but human anatomy, so if you do have injuries they are well equipped to give personalized modifications to the exercises. It is also safe to take pre and post natal. They are just opening a new studio in Brooklyn in September and they have a great new client special that you are sure to love. Undoubtedly, this is the best workout you will find, especially if you don't consider yourself a workout junkie. I have been going consistently for two years and wouldn't turn to anything else. While at first its difficult you will soon be finding yourself carving the intensity of the workout. You got to try The Bar Method!!! ASAP :)

Ms. Shypoke said...

I have a 4 acre property to take care of.. and it has HILLS.. so walking up and down.. mowing etc.. is exercise.

But, I also do a Team Beachbody workout Focus T25. 25 minute workouts that vary from cardio to strength to flexibility and balance. They are great and they have modified moves for those who don't want to go as high impact.


I definitely have gotten much more toned and have lost over 40 pounds. I'm 48.. yikes.. so it's definitely something a lot of people could do!

I like doing the workout at home vs having to travel to a gym.. I am done with my workout in the time that it would have taken me to get anywhere!

I also walk my dogs 3 miles a day.. minimum. So, while that's not really high value aerobics.. it does add up!

Maura said...

I have done a bazillion different things, including couch surfing because I can't decide what to do. When I was a child, I ran around, played soccer, took ballet, lyrical, and jazz; as a teen, I competed on volleyball and track teams; as an adult, I've gotten in daily running routines for a stretch of time, then I'll switch to lots of yoga, then circuit training, indoor cycling, and I even worked with a personal trainer in grad school when I had no mental space to decide what to do for a workout.

What I've learned from all of this is that there isn't a specific type of workout that's always going to be my default. SoulCycle is wonderful when I want a complete escape from my world but need the motivation of others; running is best when I'm rattled with anxiety, want a deeper burn, and need alone time; yoga's great when I feel out of touch with my body, stiff, and hunched; circuit training including weights is great when I'm feeling weak.

Bottom line: any kind of movement is better than sitting hunched over at my desk or squished up on my couch, and the most successful exercise routine is what I'm most excited about trying at the moment.

Axon L. Parker said...

Barre3 Online! I love it so much...the very first exercise I have ever loved. It makes me feel taller, leaner, calmer, and more elegant (as opposed to sweaty and awkward and grouchy!) I end look forward to workout time and have even (gasp!) given up some of my precious morning time in order to do more. It's all about posture and grace, so as a mama of three much inclined to slump and slough, it has been a godsend. Convinced yet? :)

Jvir said...

All of the above! And also an adult ballet class!

Maura said...

I have done a bazillion different things, including couch surfing because I can't decide what to do. When I was a child, I ran around, played soccer, took ballet, lyrical, and jazz; as a teen, I competed on volleyball and track teams; as an adult, I've gotten in daily running routines for a stretch of time, then I'll switch to lots of yoga, then circuit training, indoor cycling, and I even worked with a personal trainer in grad school when I had no mental space to decide what to do for a workout.

What I've learned from all of this is that there isn't a specific type of workout that's always going to be my default. SoulCycle is wonderful when I want a complete escape from my world but need the motivation of others; running is best when I'm rattled with anxiety, want a deeper burn, and need alone time; yoga's great when I feel out of touch with my body, stiff, and hunched; circuit training including weights is great when I'm feeling weak.

Bottom line: any kind of movement is better than sitting hunched over at my desk or squished up on my couch, and the most successful exercise routine is what I'm most excited about trying at the moment.

Didi said...

Hi Joanna -
I would recommend girotonicss to get your flexibility back on track -- feels wonderful and really helps -- and the instructors will help with your weak back -- but to really get in shape -- take up SWIMMING!!! and take your boys along and get them swim lessons too. Swimming will improve your lungs, your muscles, your flexibility, and your confidence and keep your weight down. I was not a swimmer and took it up as an adult -- take a lesson or two with a coach to get the technique right and get those laps going!

Tanya said...

My sister like you is not particularly fond of exercising on purpose =) However, she is in love with Barre classes.

I on the other hand love exercise, currently during the week I go to spin class, yoga or bodyworks classes at my gym (LA fitness) depending on the time of the class and day of the week, and I also get in an occasional swim on the weekends.

When my schedule is too crazy to make it to the gym, I tend to do some at home workouts. I love the beachbody Insanity and T25 tapes, T25 is great when I'm super busy with work and life because the workouts are only 25 minutes long! That is hardly any time at all, so I feel like I can't make an excuse to not do it, but when I'm done, I'm drenched in sweat and definitely feel like it helped. It also has modifications and isn't as high impact as insanity. My husband has bad knees and he never has trouble with these workouts. They have a new workout series called PiYo which I am dying to try and blends pilates and yoga. I also did the brazilian butt lift for a while, but there was so much dancing involved, so I wasn't a huge fan and not good with the coordination.

Lastly, I sometimes like to mix it up with circuit workout printouts I found on popsugar.com which are fun and short and you can modify based on your level. Overall, I love just mixing it up and I also have two dogs so we take quite a few long walks to get them some exercise as well. =) Hope you find what works for you!

erinnicole said...

I cross-train by doing a few spin classes weekly mixed with a few yoga classes.

Don't be embarrassed if you're not flexible at first (or ever)! Yoga is all about you and your particular body and how to treat it best.

Ditto with cycle--I was so weak and flabby when I first tried it that I could barely hold myself on the bike for 45 minutes, let alone do "tap-backs." Adore it now. Definitely recommend Soul Cycle, or a similar mood-lighting, invigorating music, positive instructor-type experience.

Amy said...

Boxing is an amazing stress reliever and a GREAT exercise! There are Title Boxing places (and other brands) everywhere and it is not intimidating at all (group classes where you all just hit the bag at the same time).

Courtney Estes said...

I love to exercise! I do it about 5x a week to keep sane. Barre classes are fun! If you are interested in running, join a running club. It keeps you accountable and it's nice to chat while exercising.

Btw, don't think anyone is judging you. Most people are very supportive and encouraging!

Mallory said...

Everything! I do yoga, run, LOVE Spin classes... but I didn't start seeing a huge change in my body until I started heavy lifting. Like olympic style lifting, much heavier weights than the 10-12 lbs we're told to lift as women. Want a Jessica Biel booty? Lift heavy.

Taylor / Fifteen November said...

Pure Barre 100%. No questions. You will get a great workout where you can focus on yourself for an hour. Excellent toning with low intensity, but it is hard! I have never been one who likes to work out and with the results I have seen I love going back. Most Pure Barre studios offer $99 for a month unlimited classes. You should try it!

Christie. said...

The title of this post cracked me up. I could just imagine you saying it with a shocked look on your face - 'On PURPOSE?! WHY?!'

I happened to be reading this right after I'd been to the gym. :) I joined recently and have been going three mornings a week after I drop my daughter at preschool, and it's been amazing. I run for a while (I'm setting a personal goal of being able to run for 30 minutes non-stop and even on days that I only run a few minutes I still feel fantastic), I take different classes (yoga, ab workouts, pure barre etc). I even tried a personal training session and it was brilliant.

Really, you can't go wrong with exercise - any kind. Just try different things and see what you like. My husband and I go rock climbing together (or with friends) sometimes, and that's always a lot of fun - go for a climb and then beer and pizza afterward. :)

And of course, you should report back on the blog if you try something! :)

Reina Rodríguez Taylhardat said...

Hot Yoga is the best! At first it's horrible, but then you learn certain things (breathing through the nose, keep your eyes open) and everything improves and you feel great after each class (and the heat really makes you more flexible)!

LK said...

Since you did ballet growing up you would probably enjoy barre. I did ballet for 10 years and now I go to barre classes and love them. I also really enjoy Zumba. It's important to have an instructor that makes you feel comfortable. My favorite instructors are the ones who start class by saying as long as you keep moving I don't care what you do. When I don't get the move I just make my own thing up. It's really fun.

playersofprincearthur said...

Straight up running (outside)! I like 8-12 km distances. It's not for everyone, but it's a great way to explore new neighbourhoods while getting some cardio in. Make sure you've got solid shoes and don't forget stretching. :)

Megs said...

I swear by Barrys Bootcamp.

Rachel Baddorf said...

About this time last year I downloaded the Yoga Studio app on my phone and started off slow. I would do a 15 minute class a few days a week until I got comfortable and then worked up to a 30 minute class. Eventually working up times and skill levels.

I love that it was easy to begin, I could be flexible with my time, and best of all I didn't have to go anywhere or be in front of anyone as I learned.

A year later I'm finally trying yoga classes in a local studio.

Alice said...

There are a lot of comments here - so many great ideas. I am in a similar boat. For me right now, with very little time to myself, is to do a 15 minute high intensity interval workout in the morning and take a walk at lunch. I really like MommaStrong! Then on the weekends I'll take a run or go on a bike ride with my family for a longer workout.

Before kids I went to the Iyengar yoga studio in Manhattan (they have a new one in Brooklyn). That style is all about alignment and strength, and it really helped me repair some back issues I had (it was actually recommended to me by my doctor).

Sophie said...

So many great suggestions! I'm going to be the millionth person to mention yoga but I love its versatility. I do it every day because I can find a flow for whatever I want to work on: relaxation, strength, flexibility, even cardio! I also love that I can do it in my own home (without an audience of super flexible super-yogis).
My favorite online teacher is Erin Motz. She has a bunch of videos on YouTube and she's about to start a new daily challenge (http://erinmotz.com/challenge/). I also love MyYogaPro, such great classes. Have fun exploring!

The-Pastry said...

agh, i so envy people who love to exercise. i'm just not one of them! here's my solution if you'd like to take a peek. i call them 'whenever it works out workouts' (!) xx stacie

http://www.the-pastry.com/2014/05/health-fix-my-whenever-it-works-out.html

Sarah said...

Love this! I'll chime in here-- a few months ago I read this little article http://thehairpin.com/2011/05/hot-yoga-changed-my-life-body-and-spirit-animal
and for some reason it struck a chord of motivation in me. I have now been going to yoga 3-5 times a week this summer and I can DEFINITELY see changes. (I do the classes at Equinox, highly recommended, the teachers are amazing!!) I'm almost giddy over the positive changes that yoga has made in my body and in my life. Keep us updated, and good luck!!

Ali said...

I wanted to be more consistent in my exercising so I tried the 30 day yoga challenge on youtube. I'm currently on day 27. I like it because it's only 15 min a day which is doable and I feel good each day I do it. Plus, the whole 30 day challenge keeps me coming back because I don't want to miss a day!

Shelley Musleh said...

I wake up at 5 each week day to exercise before work. I do weightlifting and cardio after.

I think its really important for women to incorporate lifting into their routine - it is excellent for keeping bone density and improving your body's functions. It's also very empowering!

my current workout "split" as they call it is:

Back and cardio on MON
Quads, calves, cardio on TUES
Chest, core, cardio on WED
Bis, tris, and shoulders on THURS
Glutes, hammies, cardio on FRI

Weekends I do things I enjoy like going for a long walk or swimming

I highly encourage stepping into the weight room! it will change your life not to sound cheesy :)

Britt said...

I run... everywhere. A) It's cheap. Just put on your shoes, and go explore. B) It's pretty much the best alone time. C) It's invigorating. I can promise you that if you get into it, you'll have solved the world's problems throughout the duration of your run. D) There isn't any sort of confinement unless you choose treadmill. You're not relegated to the gym. The world is your gym, and I think that's pretty awesome. Sure, it gets cold in New York, but I promise you that there are plenty of clothing options to facilitate a great winter workout.

Linnea Rading said...

I love barre classes so much. They are expensive, but completely worth it! Living in Rio, i miss these exercise classes so much but as they don't have them, I picked up running. I wrote about it here:
https://taleoftwocities.squarespace.com/blog/2014/6/24/rio-staying-active

Amanda said...

The Dailey Method, like barre only better. Combines yoga, Pilates and ballet to tighten and tone. I've always bee a runner but after my second baby I needed something to put things back where they belonged. It makes me feel so strong and has really improved my flexibility. Highly recommend!

nicole said...

I'm 31, and I've been going to a bootcamp class (circuit training-style) for four years. It's super high intensity but in short intervals, for instance, 30 seconds on/30 seconds off, at each station. I tell myself "I can do anything for 30 seconds." :) The stations are typically body-weight only (think: push-ups, squats, lunges, planks, etc.), but we also use TRX, kettle bells and resistance bands. I do it 3-5X a week, and I try to get in one or two 20-mile bike rides a week, as well. I do it to stay active and fit, not to lose weight. I feel stronger than ever - inside and out. Good luck, Joanna! xo

merec said...

I've been a long distance runner for about 20 years. I started on a bit of a dare (I told some friends in college that I was signing up for a marathon, and they thought it was hysterical and in no way believed me). I like to have a race signed up for in the near future to keep me motivated, and preferably with a friend who will do long runs on the weekend with me. I do most of my runs during the week after kids go to bed (never been a morning exerciser).

I also bike as transportation most of the time and love yoga and barre, but don't do either very often. I have a hard time justifying the cost of barre3 classes, but do some of their short workouts online when I can.

Shawna said...

Please try yoga again. If you find a teacher and type of yoga that is a good fit for you, you will be amazed by your emotional and physical transformation.

BeauDEEful said...

HUGE FAN OF BARRE!!! Change my life and my body by only going once a week. I exercise on purpose and always have. I'm 29 and in order for me to feel balanced, happier and more confident I need to workout at least 2-3 days a week. I stopped working out for 6 months back in my early 20's due to a depression i went through and put on 20 pounds. Ever since then I vowed to never do that to myself again and have never looked back. Regular exercise is literally good for everything. No stopping me.

Vonkata said...

I'm a big fan of yoga, but I've always been one of those bendy types, so I can see how it's intimidating for less flexible newcomers! :-) In that regard, you can have a great workout/class at any level if you have the right instructor. I'd try an introductory offer at a yoga studio (X days or weeks for X dollars, generally) and try out lots of different instructors to get a feel for whose style you prefer.

Otherwise, Pilates is a good toning workout (I've only ever done mat Pilates, though some people rave about the variation on the special machines). And I've done some Barre videos which are similarly great--I bet classes at a studio would be even better!

Tiffany said...

I am totally shocked that you never exercise on purpose. It's crazy that you are so thin!! I am a runner, have been since my early twenties. But have also tried tons of other things: spinning, yoga, trx, boxing etc. Recently I worked with a trainer and started learning about weight training. I do think weight training is really important but it is still a whole new world for me and find it a bit intimidating, mainly because I still feel like I have no idea what I am doing.

My recommendation though is try several different things. You can do this easily and cheaply with Groupon or Living Social, and see what you like.

megan said...

Rowing. I'm surprised to see I'm not the only one who rows! I train with a crew three times a week on the water and hit the rowing machine on or two more times a week, then balance it all out with weights, yoga, running and spin... so yes, I try to sweat once a day on purpose (helps me avoid sweating the small stuff)!

Gwen said...

I too started to become more active at age 35. I did the couch to 5k program and a year later I am signed up to run my first 1/2 marathon. Get out and move that body and appreciate what it can do!

Hillary Perlman said...

YES to soul cycle!!! As a non-exerciser, I LOVE it. xoxo

Abby said...

I walk, use the elliptical at the gym, bike, and occasionally run when I'm really delusional. For the past year I've been struggling with an unrelated wrist issue, but my physical therapist has introduced me to some great stretches and weight exercises that I've incorporated into my daily routine, and they make all the difference.

My biggest issue with exercise is that I get SO BORED. So I listen to books on tape when I run or walk outside, and when I'm on the elliptical, I read a ton. Probably not the best way to get a full workout, but otherwise I wouldn't do it at all, so...better than nothing! Plus it's a good way to fit in reading.

Auxi said...

Try bellydance!! Funny, nice and relaxing music (sometimes), energic music (other times), nice and feminin movements... I have been dancing for some years and the body, even the way I walk... is different

Ashley Nodar said...

I too had back pain (and my mother as well), and we both rant constantly about how pilates changed that!

I used to take classes at Streamline Pilates when I was living in Cobble Hill. The instructors are all very lovely women, and the attendants in class range from regulars to newbies, young to mature, very fit to out of shape! The mat classes specifically mix bar techniques. It's a great workout for alignment and developing long, lean muscles!

Elizabeth Saucier said...

I'd give yoga another try, specifically at-home beginner yoga. I bought a beginner kit (with mat and instructional CD) from Gaiam.com. I do the "am yoga" routine, which is a light workout, mostly stretching, moving at an easy pace. It's super helpful for loosening tense muscles.

Sarah Jackson said...

Flexibility is something that is really important! I completely understand being embarrassed to go to a yoga class because I have the same problem, but I am working on it! I suggest looking at some online yoga videos. If you have Amazon Prime video, there are so many great beginner yoga videos. Maybe just work on some basic poses a few times a week. Hopefully that helps!

tara said...

Yoga is amazing -- you're supposed to be inflexible, that's why you're in class!!

I sometimes like running, but rock climbing is awesome and I've been wanting to try barre and SoulCycle.

Colleen Treleaven said...

I'm 30 and my second baby just turned one. I started doing the dvd series Insanity...it is well..Insane but it works and I have never felt better or looked better. I have always been small (5'6'' 120) but never toned.

Unknown said...

When I lived in Carroll gardens we were members at the y on Atlantic. Walk to the gym, treadmill/swim/Pilates/yoga class, grab groceries at trader joes, walk home. It was a great routine.

I also used to do adult gymnastics at Chelsea piers! And have taken various adult dance classes. Adult ballet might be fun for you!

Cristina said...

I hate working out in the traditional sense. Hate it. Barre? Those girls were mean! Pilates? Awkward and I pinched a nerve. But I do find ways to exercise because I know I should and because of all the reasons you think you should. I've recently taken up aerial yoga and indoor rock climbing and they're both SO much fun, great workouts, and activities you can enjoy with a partner. I can't get my husband to yoga, but we hit the climbing wall a three nights a week together--it's kinda sexy watching his muscles work. I feel stronger, less creaky, and I've lost a few inches to boot. As for regular yoga, give it another shot and stick with it. I am NOT flexible, but it helps. You'll see a difference if you just give it time. And it's good for your mental health, reducing stress and calming the mind...eventually. Start with youtube videos until you're comfortable and then find a studio that isn't full of aholes :) You shouldn't feel judged by your instructor, your classmates, or their $100 yoga pants.

And Tao Bo was killer, wasn't it? I was JUST talking about how intense that was. Good ol Billy Blanks.

Scott, Annie, and Nathaniel Green said...

I only have time for the gym or a class once or twice a week, but I ALWAYS can squeeze in one of these 10-40 minute at-home workouts!

http://www.fitsugar.com/class-fitsugar

These workouts are fun, fast, and really effective! I think I gain more strength doing these than anything I'm doing on my own at the gym.

Jennifer Torres said...

When I need to jolt my body back into shape I use the Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred! Otherwise, I like to maintain with Pure Barre!

I've also taken a few trapeze (performing art, not circus) classes and found those to be incredible exercise and lots of fun!

emy said...

Never having been much of an athlete (my gym class nickname was "Daria" because of the volleyball scene in the opening credits), everything changed when I started Bikram yoga seven years ago. Yes, it's tough and requires a time commitment, but I'm absolutely addicted to the mental & emotional benefits that come along with the physical. I have scoliosis and failed the sit-and-reach test every single year of elementary school! Within a month of regular Bikram, I was no longer experiencing back pain and could easily touch my toes. I took some time off during pregnancy and postpartum, but now that my son is older I go 2-3 times a week. I don't consider it exercise so much as meditation and a place to shower in peace! It keeps me sane, strong, and flexible (again, in more ways than one).

Lisa said...

Definitely give yoga another chance!
#1 everyone started somewhere (look out for a beginner's class)
#2 it's highly likely no one even noticed, but you
#3 it's so great for your entire body (and mind)

Sarah said...

Up until two years ago, I was a long distance runner, and that was my main (er, only) form of exercise. I broke a bone in my left foot training for a 1/2 marathon, and haven't been able to run since. It took a very long time to not feel bummed about this - and I still miss running - but I've adopted a new fitness routine:

Les Mills Body Pump and Body Jam at the gym (Do this! I've never felt more toned and strong!)

I've tried a barre class once and sweat bullets! Loved it.

Swimming (great workout, easy on the bones and joints)

Walking around the city; taking the stairs

Hiking (I'd love to go every weekend, but that's just not realistic. My husband and I have commited to hiking 1-2 x a month)

Countian said...

Consider returning to ballet. I did that a number of years ago. It's hard at first but it got easier as time went on. And, as an added bonus, it helps with muscle tone and flexibility.

Mariana said...

Pilates or anusara-inspired yoga. You've got biking for cardio.

kel.bow said...

@kaciafitzgerald is an amazing Beach Body coach! All of the exercises can be done in your own home. When you join her challenge groups you are part of a team and all work to encourage each other. She is energetic, genuinely loves what she does, and just recently moved to NYC!

Liv said...

Another vote for Shrink Session! It's like a dance party for your body and your soul. You learn a simple combo and do it while the whole class yells affirmations. Sounds insane (maybe?) but totally amazing.

Mina said...

I've done it all but nothing frequently. I am also in my 30s and I like barre, yoga and zumba best. You will be self consistence in the beginning but your body will feel so good afterward!

megan bachmann said...

i'm terrible at joining gyms then just wasting money by not going!!!! but I figured out a BIG trick... get a personal trainer! I go to a small gym (its her own studio) and train 2x per week. its a big trick because if you make an appointment YOU ACTUALLY go!!! Yes its more expensive but if you don't use your membership thats more expensive!

Sydni Jackson said...

I recommend looking up Erin Motz on youtube. She does a beginner's yoga 30-day challenge, and you can do it in the privacy of your own home. She's super calm and encouraging :)

Sarah Marie said...

I do yoga twice a week. I love that it's 90 minutes that combines a workout for your body, mind & spirit! You should definitely give yoga another try! My husband used to throw his back out all the time but ever since he's taken up yoga in the past year, his back/sciatica pain has been much more manageable! As others have said, I bet yoga could help your back & anxiety. xoxo

lisacline said...

3 years ago i got into heated power vinyasa yoga. i was super inflexible and the heat helped with stretching me out! it feels so good to stretch, push my limits and to grow deeper into my body and mind. i've since also gotten into running via my husband. great way to stay toned and it clears off stress like nothing else.

with both things, the first time i did them, i knew i wanted to continue doing them forever, that i wanted to be better at them. they instantly engaged me. and for me, it was more than just being fit. they both engage me on a mental, emotional, and spiritual level. for me "working out" is so much more than a "work out" .. i've always needed something that allowed me to work within.

So, all this to say, find something that engages every part of who you are, especially the deepest, most sparkly parts of your self! Your exercise routine should help all parts, but especially those parts of yourself, grow.

Connie Field said...

If I could only do one form of exercise for the rest of my life it would be ZUMBA. I started a few months ago having never done it before. First few classes were pretty humiliating - it's choreographed and I was always 3 steps behind. But I stuck with it (thankfully) and don't think I can ever go back to my boring, soul sucking gym workout.

p.s. Shop around for a good teacher. Mine was a 7 months pregnant Jamaican lady and she was a riot!

Georgia Fyke Nesbitt said...

If you're looking for a equipment-free, do-in-your living room option, Pop Pilates is pretty fun (https://www.youtube.com/user/blogilates). If you still want to workout at home, but maybe invest in some weights (although they do have plenty of equipment-free workouts AND a great search feature that let's you find those easily) FitnessBlender is AMAZING. It's a husband + wife team. They do everything out of their garage, but it's super professional - you'd never know. They're real and realistic, and they're very good about explaining form, helping you modify, etc. I love them. LOVE them. (http://www.fitnessblender.com/)

jennypal7 said...

You shod join class pass. It's a hot startup that allows you to take ten classes around the city for $100 per month. So essentially, $10 a class for some really expensive classes. There's everything! Flywheel, rowing, Pilates, bootcamp. You name it, they got it. I really loved underwater spinning at aqua studio in TriBeCA. :)

C B said...

I'm a crazy person and do almost everything, but that's mostly because I found myself 2 lbs away from being obese and a pack a day smoker at 25. Running is incredibly rewarding (Couch to 5k has you run at 60 sec increments and in 8 weeks you can run a 5k), and yoga is indispensible for me (but you've got to find a great studio and an instructor you connect with). I love, love strength training in a group fitness atmosphere, and spin (esp soul cycle) is awesome. Barre is effective, but I find it boring, and if you have a dance background, you'll probably hate it.
More than anything, you've got to find something that makes you beam and feel full of life afterwards. People ask me all the time about "what exercise is best" and I'm a firm believe the answer is the one you love doing and will stick to. And for me, as a writer, I need my social fix, so any social exercise is the one for me. I look forward to hearing more about your new routine!

tyler said...

I love spin and yoga, and recently got back in to lifting weights! I hired a personal trainer to help me get back into it, but if there is a gym near you that offers Body Pump classes I would highly recommend it for an intro into weight training! Fun music and you learn all the basic weight lifting moves.

Nurse Me said...

Someone else mentioned in the comments the importance of having the right teacher and type of yoga- I completely agree with that and think you should give it another try! Also, have you ever tried a foam roller? You can buy them easily on amazon and roll out your back...it feels amazing! I personally love Crossfit... it's a little intimidating at first but you'll get over that!

N said...

I've been in and out of an exercise routine too. That said, I like to mix it up and it's okay to leave if you don't like something and then come back to it. Spin class is fun but Soul Cycle is EXPENSIVE. I have been finding more results with just biking everywhere and using the trails when I can. Plus, it doesn't feel like exercise so I'm doing it more and using it as a method of transportation. I did a cross fit class for one month and that helped me with a routine (of course, I didn't go everyday but the results were noticeable). Crossfit will help you with strength and daily activities. It's not as macho as you think (but it can be. Just go at your own pace/level). I would say go back to the yoga class. I swear, nobody is looking at you. Plus, it will help your achy back so much and if you really focus get you into a zen state of mind. There are also studios where I live that do a mix of things (from yoga to strength training and dance). That may be a good fit for you too. I'm sure NYC has them. Good luck and looking forward to hearing about your results! Natalie

Valerie said...

As a former dancer myself, you should give yoga another chance! A good vinyasa flow reminds me of my former ballet days. I stream classes online at yogaglo. Cheaper than a studio, plus you can take a class whenever you want!

Lauren said...

Also a fan of barre, yoga, and plain old running!

Kristina Poulter said...

ZUMBA all the way! My first class I could barely keep up, but the music made it so much fun. I stuck with it and now I can do all the routines! I think the key with any new workout is that it will be hard at first, but if it's fun you just need to get through the first few difficult weeks.

Alison Orrico said...

I would suggest the hot style of yoga. I am also super inflexible but something about just being present in the hot room, it incredibly challenging, while also soothing.

brooklynash said...

Hi Joanna - I'm a certified Jivamukti yoga instructor (who actually lives in Carroll Gardens as well). I'd be happy to give you a private to see if yoga is something you may want to pursue!

Erika Jallins said...

Yoga! If you stick with it for a few months and let yourself be okay with feeling a bit awkward at first, it's both a wonderful way to exercise and a great way to de-stress.

netanya said...

YES I exercise and love it! I didn't start till I was in college (not counting one year of JV cheer). I usually work out 6 days a week, alternating between running and yoga. I love barre, too, but barre classes are always crazy expensive! I belonged to Yogaworks when I lived in L.A., and I would highly recommend their studios to anyone. I know they have some in New York. They also have a new website called myyogaworks.com, where you pay a monthly fee and get access to hundreds of videos, from 10 minutes to 90 minutes, from beginner to teacher-in-training, from cardio to gentle stretching to pre and postnatal. I seriously love it and it really is a viable substitute now that I moved to Denver and don't have a studio yet. And, since I was a member, I only pay $5 a month for it!
Oh, and I am NOT naturally flexible at all. Yoga is slow to show results, but they are lasting and noticeable, and anti-aging! What I love about yoga is that, after many years of going to boot camps and other fitness classes, I finally feel like I'm taking care of my body instead of punishing it.

Courtenay Verdun said...

Pilates is amazing! You can get great, free videos from blogilates, which I highly recommend. :)

Sarah K. said...

I am the fattest sloth around (not really fat, just lazy and generally exercise inept). However, about three months ago I decided to give running a try for the first time in my life. Starting out I couldn't even do a 60 second jog without stopping. Now I'm almost up to 4 miles! I'm only in my third month and I fully credit my success to the iPhone app Couch to 5k. It has three workouts per week and VERY gradually trains you.

It's been wonderful bc it provides a very manageable routine and is low commitment if you're not sure or don't like it (it's only a $2 app and there are several free versions that offer exactly the same program). I can't express how much I hated running before this app and how much I enjoy it now.

urbanrhetoric said...

lord baby jesus, i HATE working out. but after turning 36 and having 2 kids, my metabolism has saying 'bye bye bye' like nsync. so i run daily (ugh, hate) and i do pure barre once a week. that kinda works for me.

veena rangaswami said...

I started running at the age of 28 and found I actually enjoy it -- I try to run 2-3 days a week, even if it's only for 20 minutes.

I also recently discovered FitStar, an app on my phone that is like a personal trainer. After each exercise you enter how long you did it and how it felt, and each subsequent exercise will tailor to your abilities. You can select which program best suits your schedule, and you can enter feedback after each workout. It was especially great while I was traveling, because it doesn't require any equipment.

Good luck figuring out what you like best! Can't wait to read about it!

Teffy Perk said...

I have always been quite active (except during my first 2 years of university) and I've tried from ballet to kickboxing to sports.

I currently love yoga and strength training, as well as anything that I can take in a class! So uplifting!

I know people who swear by swimming as well, as it's low impact and pretty amazing!

Xx

suzanne morris said...

Crossfit. I'm a 53yr old mother of 5. I've been doing Crossfit for 2 years & have never been more fit or felt better. Wonderful community of encouraging friends.

diana guerguieva said...

Hot yoga for flexibility, rock climbing for strength + as a mental challenge, and swimming because it's great for everything. I've never liked gyms so I prefer to combine a bunch of activities I really enjoy. I used to swim in high school and have always loved it and picked up climbing a few years ago. It's really interesting because there is an element of figuring out problems and developing a skill and also overcoming some of your fears (falling!). I go to a rock climbing gym regularly and outside in the summer, which is mostly an excuse to go for a hike. Highly recommend trying it at least once - it would also be a great date night! I know hot yoga has become a bit of a controversial topic, but I always feel great after (and stretching is easier in a hot room). But make sure you are well prepared (hydrated, haven't eaten, and can have lots of water and bananas after).

Bucktown Mom said...

Aha! As a reader of this blog for a few years now I suspected you were one of the lucky ones who just looks great naturally without having to work out a lot.

I didn't read all of the comments, but the trick for me is some combo of cardio/light weights or resistance training/and flexibility (yoga). Although I've gotten away from working out since becoming a mom and really need to get back into it.

I agree with all of the people who said not to give up on yoga. It totally depends on the class and instructor. I recently went to a new yoga studio and thought it was kind of meh, but I LOVE Bikram yoga. I just don't have the time for it now that I have a small son.


I also love running and group exercise classes at the gym. I just love the social aspect of the gym, but also the solitude of running by myself.

Ultimately it all boils down to what you love...I'm sure someone has suggested this, but I'd love to see you try out some different things and report back. I'm impressed by how much you have been able to work out at home in the past. That is the hardest thing for me--I really need to get out the door if I want to exercise.

Julie Arthur // alonewithmytea.blogspot.com said...

Try yoga again. There are some great beginner videos on youtube and hulu (type in yoga zone on hulu) that will help get you ready for a class. They're seriously so easy and one of my sisters, who used to shun yoga for years, is now hooked because of the hulu videos!

Alexandra said...

I love to exercise, I am a mother of a toddler and it gives me so much energy to get through the day. Otherwise I am tired all day.
I do 30mins of cardio a day and I also go to yoga once a week. Yoga is so great to strengthen your spine!

s said...

if you have back issues, iyengar yoga is great (other types, probably not so much), which is strengthening and great for posture. Pilates machine classes not mat classes are also a godsend-- and sometimes referred to as the lazy girl's exercise!

Mackenzie said...

Crossfit South Brooklyn is not too far from Carroll Gardens -- it's on Degraw and Third Ave in Gowanus.

It is a GREAT place! Lovely community.

www.crossfitsouthbrooklyn.com

Alice said...

Yoga yoga yoga.
I have two ruptured discs and was told I'd never walk straight or dance again without an operation. Five years of no op but lots of yoga later I manage my back, and my heavy baby, very well and almost never feel pain.

I see a yoga therapy instructor who gives me a personalised plan for what I practice at home, and then do a group class on top.

Maybe a case of finding the instructor, rather than the style, for you? Got to start at inflexible to get to elastic band, right?!

But I'd drop it all for HR high waisted shorts aerobics in a flash.

Helena said...

November Project. Started in Boston, but there is a family tribe in NYC. Check out the tribe at www.novmberproject.com. It may seem intimidating and/or a little crazy, but I promise that it's worth doing at least once. No one ever regrets the workout once it's done. Just show up.

Plus the experience will be a great blog topic. ;) There really isn't anything quite like it.

annie gray said...

Team Ben. Ha. Me too. Also, team yoga!

logan said...

At my work, we have a gym. So I take their aerobics class during lunchtime every work day. The classes range from kickboxing, step aerobics, spin classes, circuits, hiit, strength training. It really does make you feel good. I try to go as often as I can. Even though I'm struggling to actually lose weight (even though I go to the gym regularly), it does make me feel good :) I never could get into yoga. If soul cycle was in Atlanta, I'd give that a try. And I really want to try barre method. Let us know what you choose and your progress! Good luck!

Susan S. said...

With your ballet background, I'd think you'd love Pure Barre ... it will all seem very familiar.
As for yoga, if you felt embarrassed, you were in the wrong class or studio, or had the wrong teacher. There is a HUGE variance. I started and stopped 4 times before I found a place that felt right. You'll know it when you're there. Yoga is NOT AT ALL competitive, but unfortunately nowadays, that's not the feeling you get in so many studios where there is a "show-off" culture that's allowed to flourish. In the right place, you will feel nurtured and forgiving of your inflexible self.

Stasha said...

I did pilates and Ab Cruncher (that title! baha!) videos every day in high school and 10 years later I swear that core strength has lasted! Now I just walk and bike… I've wondered if that routine will cut it now that 30 is looking me in the eye!

Lou Ann Brown said...

At age 50 I was stiff in the knees and adding weight due to menopause. Hatha yoga saved me, both mind and body. I can now move better than most 30 year olds and am able to easily manage my mood and weight.

Santwana Singh said...

Yoga with the right class and right instructor for you is the key!'d highly recommend giving it a try as I did on my sis's cajoling and 'm so grateful to her. I do Power Yoga and Bikram for couple of days a week. Bikram is the best if you can find a class close by. You'll never look elsewhere.

Genevieve Dupuis said...

Body Pump! It is the best - surprisingly a cardio workout even though you are just doing weights. But it's weight lifting coordinated to fun music (squats for a song, chest press for a song etc). It's such a good workout, but not overwhelming since you get to pick your weight. And muscle tone faster than anything else I have done! I recommend! :)

p.s. spin is awesome too :)

Eva said...

Try doing yoga videos! Yoga with Adriene and Ali Kamenova on YouTube are great and doyogawithme.com is another great free video source. Practicing at home helps feel more comfortable with going to classes.

Also: last year the NY Times came up with a scientifically backed 7 minute workout...there's an app that times each exercise and tells you what's next. Highly recommend for anyone short on time!

Good luck :)

Alexa Norstad said...

The Bar Method! I have done a lot of different exercise classes over the years and often end up tweaking something or - worse - actually injuring myself and having to take a bunch of time off of exercise. The Bar Method feels like the most supported and secure exercise I've ever done. Plus you get to feel a little bit like a pretty ballerina. And, inexplicably, your arms will look amazing in their mirrors. True story. Here's a great blog post on it: http://forevertwentysomethings.com/2014/07/31/100-thoughts-i-have-during-pure-barre/?fb_action_ids=10103114852467489&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=[886631468033702]&action_type_map=[%22og.likes%22]&action_ref_map=[]

One location in Brooklyn and two more in the city!

Jenny said...

Like many others on here, I absolutely love barre. I NEVER worked out before I started going to my local Barre3 studio two years ago. Now I'm hooked. It's taken away my need for the chiropractor and I can actually see my arm muscles for the first time in my life. Plus having it in a class setting gives me the necessary motivation not to stop and curl up on the couch and read (which is what happens if I try to exercise at home). Hope you find something you love!

MelanieAnn said...

I have fallen in love with yoga. Baron Baptiste's Power Flow yoga has really done fantastic things in my life. :) I sign up for classes at my studio online then immediately add them to my calendar. I am much more likely to go to class and not flake outwhen I feel like my time is already scheduled.

JennyR said...

YOGA! I'm not sure where you're moving in Brooklyn but YogaWorks is a studio that has multiple locations, including a new one in Brooklyn Heights. The teachers are typically great and their approach is a blend of styles that focuses on alignment (to avoid injury). Not hippy-dippy--just smart. I have my favorite teachers but like therapy, it can sometimes take a few visits to find the 'right fit.' Also, start with a level 1. Build the foundation first. And don't get discouraged! Not being flexible isn't a reason not to practice as only practice will help encourage flexibility. It's a bummer but true--and they don't call it a 'practice' for nothing. Good luck!

Katie said...

I've always loved running and training for long distance races keeps me in shape. It's tough on my knees though, and I haven't done it for the past year.
Yoga is too slow (and hard!) for me, but I loved the few Pilates classes I took.
Lately I've been lifting weights and doing squats, and I hate doing it but love that I can see results so quickly!

Catarina Abreu said...

I love yoga for the stress reduction, meditation and toning it gives. Don't worry about being inflexible. All that takes time. Just make sure to find a studio that is supportive towards newbies.

Tara D. said...

Hot yoga! I practice at Modo, which is in NYC as well. Love love love it! It's all about doing what you can do and accepting where you are. It's changed my life. Give any yoga another chance!
PS- it's the only thing that cured my chronic lower back pain!

DuckySu said...

You should check out Yogaglo: http://www.yogaglo.com/. It's an online yoga class forum that costs $18 a month. So you could take a class a week or month or more! I just learned about it today and apparently there is a free 5 week trial.

DuckySu said...

I was totally wrong btw, it's 15 days :) Wishful thinking!

dasher1086 said...

You should join Class Pass. For $99 a month, you can try out all different types of classes at great studios such as Fly Wheel and Pure Barre. If you register before August 30, you will get unlimited classes a month for the rest of 2014 (typically it is 10 classes/month).

Laura said...

Now that I sit at a desk all day I've found that I must exercise! I go to a spin class once per week, walk around a nearby lake (5 miles) a few times a week, and do my own arm exercises with weights at home once per week. I also consider cleaning the house as exercise. Carrying a vacuum up and down the stairs isn't easy!! ;)

AubreeStafford said...

Hi Joanna! This is my first time commenting on your blog. I just couldn't resist. I'm turning 32 next week, I have 4 kids and I love to work out! I think the key is changing things up regularly so you don't get bored. I run, hit the heavy bag (awesome stress reducer!), do Insanity or T25, and yoga. I usually work out 5 days/week. It used to be my alone time, but as we've had more children at least 2 or 3 of the kids are with me. I'd love the alone time (which does happen occasionally), but I also think it's important for children to see that their mom is strong and fit. My parents were always really active and it stuck with me. My children just know that we work out in the morning while the baby naps!

Good luck finding something you love!

ewang said...

Yoga, yoga, and more yoga but no weird chanting.

Marie-Luise said...

Honestly, try Yoga again. Please!!! Take a few beginner Vinyasa classes and don't be put off by inflexibility because Yoga is for the inflexible! It will do wonders for your body and mind. Strength, flexibility and endurance training in one. I hope you try it again! X

Marie-Luise said...

Honestly, try Yoga again. Please!!! Take a few beginner Vinyasa classes and don't be put off by inflexibility because Yoga is for the inflexible! It will do wonders for your body and mind. Strength, flexibility and endurance training in one. I hope you try it again! X

Lindsey said...

Hi Joanna! I have been really into fitsugar.com workouts lately, many of them are 10 minutes long, good intensity, and effective! My personal favorite: The Victoria's Secret Full Body Workout! My boyfriend gets a kick out of it when I do that one.

http://www.fitsugar.com/Victoria-Secret-Model-Full-Body-Workout-21416942

keepingitcaj.com said...

I'm a big fan of Barre classes. I'm the kind of person that needs fast-paced exercise to hold my interest (and pass the time), and I find Barre to be a perfect mix of toning, strengthening and cardio, usually with great music! :)

Myfanwy Hood said...

Definitely give yoga another chance. Everyone sucks at first but that's the point, to improve your flexibility, strength and balance over time. It's a really great work out and so good for mental well being.

Kristen said...

I've tried everything since I "became old" from running to trendy classes to videos. What finally got me in the habit of exercising regularly was weight lifting. I read somewhere that Gwen stefani works out "like a man" and I figured if it worked for her it could work for me. I had my husband help me get started and I love it now! I've been doing it for about a year now, 4-6 times a week and I feel incredible. The changes are subtle, but so rewarding. Good luck!

Kristen said...

I've tried everything since I "became old" from running to trendy classes to videos. What finally got me in the habit of exercising regularly was weight lifting. I read somewhere that Gwen stefani works out "like a man" and I figured if it worked for her it could work for me. I had my husband help me get started and I love it now! I've been doing it for about a year now, 4-6 times a week and I feel incredible. The changes are subtle, but so rewarding. Good luck!

tatum said...

Oh Joanna! Sometimes I feel like we are the same person. Or at least really, really good friends ha! I feel old, too, and just started hitting the gym a couple months ago. There is a gym in our apt's clubhouse and we have a free membership. And as you know, we absorbed new hours for our ayi, so I really have no excuse since she is here so often. I go while my girls are napping. Typically I would just stay home and space out on the couch, but like I said, now that ayi is around more, I have no excuse! So off I go. It's not fun, but working out has become one of those things that has become more of a necessity rather than something to do in your spare time. Something that is so hard to come by for busy moms! Hope you find something you enjoy.

JessieMC said...

Pilates and yoga can really help with strengthening, toning, weight loss, general health (mental, physical, emotional, and even spiritual), and should help with your back pain. Back pain usually comes from tight hamstrings and/or a weak core, and pilates and yoga can help with both of those areas. I have a hard time doing yoga unless I go to a class. Pilates, however, seems to work for me in home-video form. I have a "10-minute solutions" pilates video that lets you target all major body areas and you can pick and choose your work out segments, so you can work out for anywhere from 10-50 minutes, depending on the time you have. Like everyone else said, though, it has to be something that's enjoyable for you! Once you find that "thing", it makes all the difference. Good luck!

Elizabeth C. said...

I'm going to put in another recommendation for Pure Barre. It's the only exercise class I've ever stuck with, and I felt my body changing much quicker than expected. Plus, you feel really good when you're done! Energized and strong. The Cobble Hill location is great. Also, welcome to the neighborhood!

K.W.S. Burns said...

Yoga to the People at St. Mark's place is a great yoga class for all levels, and it's totally free! Their candlelit yoga on Sunday nights is a lovely way to end the week. I belong to Equinox, and take spinning, barre, kickboxing, and Pilates there. I have the all-club membership, which is fairly pricey, but when you break down the monthly cost (roughly $190), it actually amounts to the same thing as six Soulcycle classes or six classes at Pure Barre. I exercise 3-4 times a week, so it actually ends up being cost-effective, and Equinox locations all over the city as well as in Brooklyn, so it's super convenient!

Dalia said...

I love Pilates and credit it with being able to pop my son out in 30 min! I also do some spinning , TRX and Barre class. Try a couple of things and see what's right:)

Lauren said...

Another very satisfied ClassPass member here! The best way to find classes you like!

Caroline Wachtler said...

To echo the other 7 girls that mentioned it, you should try ClassPass! It's a great way to try lots of different things.

RR said...

I never worked out in my adult life until a friend opened a studio near my home. Now I'm a Barre and YogaSculpt addict. It's been transformative. You need to find a workout that speaks to you.

Jen said...

I am SO glad you are starting to talk about exercise!! It is one area of your blog that is seriously lacking! Thank you!

janelle said...

definitely try yoga again. i'm always one in the class taking my time and not being so flexible, but it really does make me feel great.

this summer i bought a bike and have been riding home from the work...fortunate my ride is all trails, no roads.

Chris said...

I'm in my 60s and have had a personal trainer for 3 years. He helps keep me strong, fit, and healthy.

Kayla Riley said...

I just tried spinning and loved it! It's a fast-paced workout. I think you should definitely try yoga again. It may take a little bit of patience, but please don't be embarrassed about your flexibility or lack thereof! Yoga takes practice and you will get there. It will help your creaky bones and achy muscles for sure.

Nicki said...

CrossFit! Plus the occasional yoga class, biking outside, walking in all the parks around NYC...but no running/spin classes for me. Unless I'm forced to run at CrossFit, of course ;) No matter what you decide, DEFINITELY do some sort of weightlifting as it'll keep your bones strong and get you looking how you want to the fastest - trust me!

Rachel Ann said...

I love, love, love Barre3 online classes and also the Yoga Studio app ($2.99 and TONS of videos). Good luck!

elizabeth said...

I love Barre3! I believe they just opened up a studio in either Brooklyn or New York, but I use their online subscription service. It's $15 a month for unlimited usage of their videos and recipes. It is a combination of ballet, yoga and pilates. I love it and I'm not coordinated at all!

Lauren Knight said...

If you were into ballet your teenage years, you should totally try Bar Method. It's AMAZING!

I was really athletic as a kid and teenager, but didn't do much in college, then in my 20's I ran all the time.

Now I am 34 with 3 kids and my two passions are Bar Method and static trapeze! There's something so amazing about getting a great workout while... playing. I feel like a kid hanging from a trapeze bar and learning crazy tricks. I don't even feel like I'm working out, but I'm always really sore the next couple of days.

Whatever you choose, good luck! :)

Jamie Valentine said...

I love the at home workouts from bodyrock.tv! They are FREE and offer short, high intensity workouts! I like to do them before a quick run or just them alone. Highly recommend!

goodnightstars said...

Try hot yoga! It helps your muscles stiffen more. Also, HIIT workouts ate super intense, quick, and effective.

Alison August said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kodi Jensen said...

I really love fitnessblender.com -- they have tons of different types of workouts that are all quite effective...and can all be done in your living room. Love it!

A Latte Lipstick said...

Strength training is super important to get toned! It also helps to keep you burning fat throughout the day! Also, barre3 is awesome. You can try workout classes online for $15 a month and get a great workout in comfort of your own house.

I also have some great workouts I have created that you should check out :) like this booty/thigh workout

XO Chloe

Emily Parliman said...

It seems like you're close to the Cobble Hill New York Sports Club. If you're willing to sign up for a membership (or try their 30 days deal), I recommend any class with Elgin McCargo--especially his Pilates class, which combines barre with contemporary Pilates and Beyonce.

Jennifer said...

I did a barre class 2-3x per week for several years before I moved to a small town where it wasn't available. I really liked it. Now, I have been doing cross fit for two years, and absolutely love it. If you find a good box, the trainers should help you with your form and help you find a good weight to begin with--nobody knows how when they start, and no one can usually do the recommended (rx) weight when you start. I love that it is quick, social (you usually work out as a group), and the workout is laid out for you. I feel strong and proud that my body can still perform at 38. My husband has been doing the new P90x3 at home which has been working with his schedule better--it is only 30 minutes. Exploring different fitness options would be a great series for you to do on the blog. You could explore options yourself, or you could also feature different ladies like you do with your beauty series or mothers abroad. Good luck!

Tang said...

I would try Tara Stiles beginner yoga videos on YouTube! And also Tracy Anderson's goop workout. I just do the arm workout once a day and I really feel a difference in my arms after two weeks now!

Jennifer said...

Yeah I do not do much. Except 55+ pounds of kids in and out of carseats a couple times a day. And pushing them through the neighborhood in a stroller is no joke, either!

I did yoga during both of my pregnancies and loved it, but feel much more intimidated when it is not a prenatal class.

laura kinsey said...

I love Brooklyn Bodyburn... and they are opening a Cobble Hill location on Friday :)
It's a megaformer class. There is a similar classes at SLT in the city, I just happen to prefer the vibe at Brooklyn Bodyburn.
It is really very hard at first, but the machines let you target your core (entire body, really) in a way no other type of workout does, for me at least. I'm much stronger since I started going, and my lower back problems have mostly disappeared. Also, I can see my abs for the first time in my life! (I'm 38).

laura kinsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jamie B said...

I do a mix of Tracy Anderson method workouts usually focusing on areas that don't easily stay toned for me (hips, butt, thighs, waist) and yoga. I was always athletic but have never been flexible and it is ok to do what is challenging for you--don't worry about other people. I also took some ballet and West African dancing classes that I enjoyed, but that wasn't on the regular.

If I can offer a general suggestion, if you have something in particular that you you want to work on (maybe in this case strengthening your back), consider the person who founded the exercise method or someone that does it religiously and you will see the overall outcome of that particular workout when used consistently. Determine if that is how you want to be shaped or not. It can help you rule out which ones aren't a good use of your time. Ballet and Pilates can be great for strengthening the back.

Good luck!
Jamie

Donna W said...

Hi Joanna!

I would definitely recommend getting back into ballet since you've got a ballet background. It's just like riding a bike (minus the need to work on balance and flexibility).
I am trying to get back into my ballet routine. I miss it so much!
I plan on taking the leap and attending class at least twice a week starting in the fall. My favourite classes are the ballet bootcamp, ballet stretch, and barre.

Can't wait to see what you decide to go with!

xo

Donna

hveng said...

Hi Joanna!

If you were once a ballet dancer, I highly recommend getting back into it! I also danced for most of my life, through college, but stopped for several years. It took a while for me to work up the courage to take ballet classes again, but once I restarted, I found them so much more rewarding than I ever did when I was younger. (A little bit more about what that was like, here! http://nycexpeditionist.com/2013/06/09/ballet-versary/) Kat Wildish, who teaches at Ailey, is fantastic--and has inspired many other former ballet dancers to dance again, as adults!

Lindsay said...

Yoga -- it takes a lifetime to become a master, so definitely try again! So great for stress relief, immune system, flexibility, etc.
Hot Pilates
TRX
Insanity
Bar Method DVD's

Patricia said...

I've been an avid barre goer for almost 3 years now and I love it. In LA, I was strictly a Bar Method member and appreciated every instructor's attention to form, but since moving to Brooklyn last year and being faced with the expense of classes in NYC, I started trying out various barre workouts with Gilt deals. Core Fusion really gets you sweating, and I just started doing Pure Barre in Cobble Hill which I've been enjoying also, but neither have as much focus on form as Bar Method. They're opening a studio on Pacific and Smith soon and the new client unlimited month is absolutely worth it, especially if you live in the neighborhood!

Km12 said...

My advice as a physical therapy student is you should talk to a physical therapist who specialized in Pilates - it is excellent for getting your deep abdominal/core muscles active and working properly again and may help to reduce your back pain while helping you stay fit.
Walking is also a really good exercise, less impact on your joints than running, just try to go fast enough that you get a little short of breath and can feel your heart beating faster.

msmisty said...

Like you, I grew up dancing (for 18 years) and playing sports. Now that I am in grad school and only have a few hours a week to dedicate to exercise, I really love going to CrossFit. I know there are a lot of haters, but like any sport, you have to know your body and be smart about your scaling. I found a good gym with knowledgable and supportive coaches and can honestly say my workouts are one of the highlights of my week. I am much stronger (and confident) since I've started a year ago. I also try to fit in some yoga when I can.

denise said...

I started doing Derby Lite after my baby. I mean, those Roller Derby girls look so tough and awesome! I found a Derby Lite class in my city and it is pretty addicting! I couldn't roller skate for the life of me before... http://www.derbylite.net/home.asp

denise said...

I started doing Derby Lite after my baby. I mean, those Roller Derby girls look so tough and awesome! I found a Derby Lite class in my city and it is pretty addicting! I couldn't roller skate for the life of me before... http://www.derbylite.net/home.asp

Aurelie said...

I'm an exercise addict. I was a competitive swimmer in college and even post college and until about 2 years ago (post baby #1 and post move to a place that wasn't near a public pool). now post baby #2 i try to get to spin class once a week and a few times a week i do ballet beautiful dvds at home while my baby naps! gotta have an at home option for me these days. it has really helped me with my toning and strengthening as well as flexibility. after baby 2 my back and hips were a wreck. i highly recommend! good luck!

Anne Marie said...

I always resisted yoga because I thought I wasn't flexible enough (how silly!) but it is practicing yoga that helps increase your flexibility. I found a yoga dvd that I love and works for me so I mostly use that because I can't afford classes and I would be a little embarrassed to practice in front of others.

Laundry Saturday said...

Hi Joanna! I've been doing yoga since 2011. Well, give or take, since I'd go MIA sometime, at least 2 years and I loove it! I am based in Singapore and it is a fast phased environment, too. It's a very good way to de-stress, and give your self a full body massage which is very expensive here. I find meditation very relaxing. Also, yoga makes me understand and appreciate my body more, be in tune with as they say. :)

Jodie M said...

Gyrotonic is fantastic for overall fitness, posture, flexibility, nervous system and strength! You'll feel great after a class and I've never had any back problems after having 3 children including twins!

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