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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)

558 comments:

1 – 200 of 558   Newer›   Newest»
Jenna | The Eighty Twenty said...

Huge huge fan of barre. I write about it all the time 100 Days of Barre might be a great place to start: http://theeightytwenty.com/2014/08/07/100-days-of-barre/

Meredith {Martha Chartreuse} said...

I'm a big fan of the barre method, pilates, long walks and light weight training. :)

Jesselyn said...

I do some pole exercise. I think you should try it! Its fantastic upper body and core strengthening. Give yoga one more shot. Got to a easier yin class to start if that helps you ease into it. I despise running for the sake of running! Or! Because you love the dance, I would look into taking some adult ballet classes

Jennifer Wilson said...

www.balletbeautiful.com
You can stream videos - no need to leave the house if you don't want! And feeling a teeny bit like a ballerina is worth it

quesoburgesa said...

i do trx, indoor cycling, cardio circuit and i ride my bike everywhere. so i exercise on purpose everyday and i LOVE how it makes me feel. I've never felt more confident and healthy!

jennyjoy said...

I'm all about low impact exercise (and I'm only in my 20s) -- I love yoga (but it took me about a year to actually love it because everything feels so hard at first). I highly recommend Pure Barre for a great (but not super sweaty) workout and you'll see results pretty quick if you go regularly.

Georgia said...

Jo, i have done yoga on and off for a few years, and I have to tell you, for us awkward, stiff types, the right class and instructor is key. I think you would enjoy it if you start at a beginners level, surrounded by other people who are in similar shape and levels of skill, with an instructor who teaches to that group. I have never been great at yoga but going to beginning-intermediate classes I feel comfortable
Because we're all there to learn, improve, and take care of our bodies- no matter what your start point is. I'd highly encourage you to give it another shot, and let us know how it goes here on the blog :)

Respectfully,

An equally inflexible woman (Georgia)

Katie said...

I jumped on the Beachbody bandwagon. I've done ChaLEAN Extreme, TurboFire, COMBAT, T25, 21DayFix, and now doing PiYo. All DVDs that I do at home.

Appel Flap said...

I row! Which is very different from canoeing and in general a great "all body" work out (and does wonders for my cellulite). I love being able to go in a single scull on a warm summer night and enjoy some "alone time", row in a double 4 during with team mates in winter time and row on a rowing machine when it's freezing. It's so versatile, I absolutely live it.

Meredith said...

Lifting heavy weights is amazing. It makes me feel powerful, and really builds muscle, but as a woman the muscle just looks normal until you flex. No big muscles at all. Also, the exercise is quick, and cheap :).

I also run and bicycle.

PJ Mintz said...

Hi there(first time commenter - I love the series on international motherhood - great stuff!) I've also got a bad back at the ripe old age of 35, and I've been doing PiYo for a couple months now. It's definitely improved my flexibility and core strength (those pesky back muscles), and the workouts are relatively short at 20-30 minutes each.

Liz said...

I run and do yoga--though I don't have any kiddos yet. I definitely recommend giving yoga another shot. In my experience, the instructor really makes a difference! It makes me feel super relaxed and after I always feel like I'm better able to put my life in perspective. Nothing like cultivating consciousness of your bones and body to ground more heady anxieties :)

iLa said...

Hei! I also often experiencing back pain (especially lower back pain). The time I was practicing yoga and a bit of pilates was the time my back was feeling no pain! I was doing ashtanga yoga and it was though. Then I did not practice for some time. And now I need it again (my back pain was back). Recently I discovered Kundalini yoga, a very different kind of yoga that has been very effective.
So I would suggest you to give yoga another chance but I am also curious about others suggestions.
Best,
Ila

Liz said...

I run and do yoga--though I don't have any kiddos yet. I definitely recommend giving yoga another shot. In my experience, the instructor really makes a difference! It makes me feel super relaxed and after I always feel like I'm better able to put my life in perspective. Nothing like cultivating consciousness of your bones and body to ground more heady anxieties :)

Liz said...

I run and do yoga--though I don't have any kiddos yet. I definitely recommend giving yoga another shot. In my experience, the instructor really makes a difference! It makes me feel super relaxed and after I always feel like I'm better able to put my life in perspective. Nothing like cultivating consciousness of your bones and body to ground more heady anxieties :)

Kate said...

Check in to NYSC, I used to go to WSC and they have some excellent group exercise classes. I hate hate hate running or just doing machines at the gym, so I always seek out good/challenging group classes. I'm doing a combo of Flywheel and Flybarre now and love it. It's pricey, but tough to put a price limit on being fit/healthy.

Liz said...

I run and do yoga--though I don't have any kiddos yet. I definitely recommend giving yoga another shot. In my experience, the instructor really makes a difference! It makes me feel super relaxed and after I always feel like I'm better able to put my life in perspective. Nothing like cultivating consciousness of your bones and body to ground more heady anxieties :)

Pink Cake Equals Love said...

Core Power yoga is awesome. Such a good sweat. I always leave with a sense of calm, too. They have beginner classes. The first week is free if you're new. I grew up swimming and running, which I still do.

tiffany said...

kayla itsines bikini body workout - you can find it online. the guide costs about $60 but the workouts are amazing. 28 minutes and everything can be done at home if you don't want to go to a gym.

my sisters (there are 4 of us ranging from 24 - 40), their significant others and our male bffs are all doing the 12 week challenge together!

Jessica Chavez said...

I love an online program called Tone It Up!! They are routines that can be done at home or print it out and take it to the gym :)

PS. I'd give yoga another chance, give your body time to give in.

Pearl said...

Pure Barre in Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens is great! I find barre classes are the only thing that really make a visible difference quickly (in about 10 classes) for me. Personally, that is my best motivation - to be able to see that all the slugging it out in classes shows!

Also, I joined a sports rec team (soccer) which helps too and is so fun. You can see friends, run around, be slightly competitive, and it forces me to block out time for it. My parents always told me I needed an "adult" sport - but I sort of love that I do something I loved as a kid!

I get pretty bored of exercise so I've also tried:
- dance (hip hop, swing, ballet...I jump around absolute beginner classes. No one is supposed to be good it makes it less scary than a boot camp for me where people are so fit and dedicated!)
- SoulCycle
- Yoga

Liz said...

I run and do yoga--though I don't have any kiddos yet. I definitely recommend giving yoga another shot. In my experience, the instructor really makes a difference! It makes me feel super relaxed and after I always feel like I'm better able to put my life in perspective. Nothing like cultivating consciousness of your bones and body to ground more heady anxieties :)

EvaS said...

Actually, I think I've pretty much done all of the ones you mention. Now I'm into running, but I love yoga (give it another try it depends a lot on the teacher and the kind of yoga you choose) and pilates. I've also done the Brazilian butt lift DVDs and Chalene Extreem DVD. What I like about the latest ones, or any other DVD program, is that you can do them at home, so while the kids are napping, if yours nap at the same time, you can squeeze 20-30 mins of butt lifting :-). Although I love yoga and pilates, it's a pain to make it to the studio after work, and then find parking. The joys of city living.

http://www.sunfogandotherthoughts.com/

Megan Allen said...

I purchased Mary Helen Bowers book "Ballet Beautiful" this summer and I love it. The moves seem easy at first but then all of a sudden the swan arms seem impossible. I'm also thinking about buying her DVD. I also took a ballet barre class at my local rec center, but it was unique in that it was combined with RIP. I loved fitting in that class in between my college courses and it really worked.

Megan @ Pink O'Clock said...

I LOVE Pure Barre. It hurts so badly during (the burn! The shake!), but you feel SO good afterward. And because you have to focus so intensely on making tiny little isometric movements, you can't think about anything else for the entire 55 minute-class--which means that I always leaved feeling much more mentally clear than when I walked in (which is usually right after work). Definitely try it!

Caitlyn said...

I liked yoga, but then I found a Meditative yoga class that I LOVED. It really changed my perception of yoga. It is certainly not the most athletic, but it so amazing! So I would give yoga another try and I would try out a few different kinds, I think the different types really suit different people (I personally think hot yoga is the devil, but others rave about it).

Also, I love water aerobics. LOVE it! The first few classes I took mostly consisted of older ladies, but then I signed up for a new one that was called Aqua Challenge and it kicked my butt. The teacher reminded me of Jillian Michaels and sort of scared me, but I think I got more of a workout than I ever have :)

I find classes work better for me, I'm not very good at self-motivating when it comes to fitness.

Jennifer Bauer said...

Before I actually started doing yoga I made up my own stretching routine. I used bits I knew from past sports I played and youtube videos of dance stretches. It never took longer than 15 minutes so it was always easy to fit into the day and it was a great way to ease myself into yoga so I didn't feel way over my head when I began.

stickgirljam.com said...

I was embarrassed post baby because my back hurt would hurt just from the constant bending and lifting - I had no core (let alone toned abs) so husband and I started doing a once a week PiYo class - it's pilates + yoga. I love it and always feel so energized and refreshed afterwards. At the first class I was dripping with sweat and out of breath the entire time and I felt so ashamed, but on the way home my husband said it had been a really tough workout for him too, which was encouraging. It's a nice Sunday morning ritual for us now that gives us time afterward to drive around the neighborhood, grab coffee and chat over a bite to eat before heading home to the babe.

Jeneric Generation said...

I just started doing yoga (via youtube, and in the comfort/privacy of my living room) a few months ago, and I love it! It makes me feel like I have just finished a ballet class afterward. That is always my litmus test for working out: does it make me feel as awesome as dancing?

Jacquelyn Clark said...

I am probably the least athletic person in the entire world. I was always the girl who "forgot" her gym clothes so she could sit out - and much preferred time on the computer than bike riding with family (I know!) I used to be so lazy. But last year I downloaded the 5k runner app - it promised to get me from couch potato to 5k in 8 weeks. It seriously changed my life. It starts really slowly - and to be honest I couldn't even run the full thirty seconds at first, it was that brutal. But I powered through and I've been running 30 minutes 3 times a week religiously for the last year now. My mom and I meet three times a week and run on the boardwalk and it is my very favourite time now. How things have changed! I'm less achy, I have my energy, and my legs and butt have never looked better ;)

danica and nick said...

i didn't get into exercising until after college and grad school - but now i am a nut about all things fitness. nyc has sooo many options for exercising. some of my favs include flywheel, pure barre/exhale/physique 57, HIIT classes (like @ the fhitting room) dance cardio, and yoga. if you want to sample a bunch of different classes, classpass is a great option. i started using it this summer and loooove the ability to go to many studios!

Joanna Goddard said...

@stickgirljam, yes! even regular daily things hurt, let alone exercise! post-baby is tough!

Sara said...

I have just gotten into an amazing routine of the Nerd Fitness Beginner Bodyweight Workout every other day and yoga once or twice a day. This is on top of my usual daily walk.

I have been loving it! The strength workout has done wonders for toning and the yoga (in the privacy of my living room) keeps me from getting too stiff and sore. And, the variety keeps me coming back for more.

Ellen said...

Mommastrong. (http://mommastrong.com/) I started with the postpartum core camp (a year and a half postpartum...) and am currently doing the 30-day Hook (15 minute per day high intensity workout). I've never been into exercise videos especially, and I'm not especially athletic, but these are working for me. Feeling so much stronger. I would highly recommend this!
~Ellen

super sushi pizza said...

Over the last two years, I've definitely started focusing on fitness and making it a priority. Currently, I make it to the gym 2-3 times a week for strength training, I attend a spin class 1-2 times per week, and do some yoga at home (using yogaglo.com) once a week. I'm also currently taking a 6-week absolute beginners aerial silks workshop ;) Essentially, I need to mix it up or I get bored!

Also, I'm definitely not very flexible, but the more yoga I do, the more I see my flexibility developing. One thing I did that helped me with yoga was take a 4-week absolute beginners workshop (I'm all about absolute beginners workshops, hahaha) to make sure I had the foundations and then go from there.

And, YES to seeing movies alone ;)

Zoe said...

I do Crossfit and love it! I started it on a month-long Groupon (as a joke, because I am NOT the weightlifting type!) and fell in love right away. Crossfit people are a passionate, fun-loving community of all ages and ability levels. It is really for everyone :)

Anna said...

As a fellow 'old lady' with as 'colourful' as workout history you have I have found that since turning 30 - my desire to be toned and fit has grown. With two little boys, I have found that walking and getting out and about has been fantastic but I have had a need to do some of my 'own time' fitness. I absolutely love yoga - different types as well as regular gym fitness classes - weight classes and one we have here in Denmark called 'Stram Op' - which translates as 'tighten up' - for me it's just a great time to get some non-Mommy time as well as keeping fit!

stephanie said...

Swimming is the best! My doctor told me that going once a week is enough to keep you fit. Also, it is so relaxing for me.

Betsy said...

YES! My sanity depends on it. I've always been active (my parents were college athletes in the 60s) and was raised with a love of activity and preventive health.

I really love yoga, swimming, the elliptical, and swings on the playground in addition to family walks in the evening and the occasional bike ride. Texas is really hot for about half of the year so I really use my gym membership a lot. I'll go at 9 pm if I have to, and I am always glad when I do. I feel better not just physically but mentally.

PS: I had both of my children in my 40s and I give a lot of credit to easy pregnancy and delivery to exercise before and during pregnancy. I know a lot is good fortune, but it still made a difference to me.

Good luck getting started! Taking care of your health is a wonderful investment in your family.

super sushi pizza said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christina said...

Try yoga again. Don't give up on it! I can't speak for everyone, but most people are focused on themselves when they're in class. No one cares about your lack of flexibility. ;)

- Christina www.cityloveee.blogspot.com

Katrina Fleetham said...

I used to work at a gym and therefore had a free membership, so I've tried a lot of different classes. I loved Zumba, but the only classes that I really left feeling like I actually did something were the muscle classes. Mostly because I had trouble lifting my arms above my shoulders for several days. Zumba is definitely fun though, and yoga isn't so bad if you go to a beginner class to ease in. My advice is kind of worthless right now though; I'm nursing a broken foot and ankle, so my only exercise is watching youtube videos of how to do cardio from a bed (spoiler: it involves a lot of arm flapping).

Good luck!

Katrina
kateandfleet.blogspot.com

Jessie Vivian said...

Well, I have never heard of Brazilian Butt Lift so I can't knock that... But I just started a women's boxing class and I am finding it so satisfying. It's hard, but at the end of each class I feel so strong and so proud of myself, which is a great feeling! But, especially as I age, I find that I need to do yoga in conjunction with any other exercise... everything is stiff!

AmberLee said...

You write the best things. Urban running is my fave, but it's hard to beat a shamelessly cheesy Zumba class. I am thinking yoga is inevitable though as I age

lindsaymarie said...

i also did near-daily ballet as a kid/teenager, but stopped around age 18. now, at 27, i've recently been taking sporadic adult beginner classes at the joffrey ballet school in the west village and i LOVE it. the classes always have a range of ages and abilities but the teachers are really supportive of true beginners and those of us beginning again as adults who are significantly less flexible than we were 10 years ago! it's a lot of fun and definitely a good workout.

Amy said...

I'm at that point in my 20s where I worry about the inevitable metabolism slow-down. So I take walks on my breaks and occasionally lunch (but lately, it's been too hot for that). Before that, I would sweat it out dancing "Just Dance" on my roommate's Wii every now and then. And I would walk and bike since UCD was so bike friendly.

I can't say I ever committed to a long exercise routine. Certainly never signed up for a gym or for classes.

Clementine Buttercup said...

I've really gotten back into running over the past few years. I can easily squeeze it into our family's schedule and my workout starts as soon as I leave my front door!

Unknown said...

This is my first time commenting on your blog, but I feel your experience of exercise is very similar to mine. I actually hate exercising on purpose, have only entered a gym once, and promptly left... however, my thirties and a kid and a different life routine has meant I have to exercise on purpose now.
But I have found a workout that is only 16mins or so long (3x a week), that is not unbearably boring, or crazily hard, that seems to do the trick for me. It is called "T-Tapp Basic Workout Plus", and I first learned about it from "Ask Moxie". The website is a little cheesy, and seems a little too good to be true.... but I have really felt better doing it and I would recommend it to anyone. I like the fact that all kinds of bodies can do it--elderly, pregnant, athletic, tall, petite, etc...

Meghan Dowell said...

You should give Physique 57 a go. I noticed the biggest change in how I felt with that class.

Vivian Peets said...

I totally recommend hot vinyasa yoga. The heat loosens up your muscles (making you way more flexible)and sweating out all sorts of toxins is an added bonus!

mandy said...

Thank you, thank you for posting on this! I am in need of some physical-activity inspiration, as well. I am always happier when I'm getting some exercise -- so therapeutic! Looking forward to reading through the comments : )

megkeen said...

Team Noel!

Sarah said...

Because I am kinda cheap I run outside 4 days a week and then do p90x and Tracy Anderson videos 2 days a week. But I had to work up to working out 6 days a week but now I love it! I know running doesn't sound fun but once you get the hang of it, it can be obsessive. Start with run walks of a mile or so and work up from there. Before you know it you will have signed up for your first marathon :)

Carol said...

There's going to be so many comments, I don't know if you'll even see this one. If you do, please look for a book called Move Your DNA. It's brand new, just shipping. I read a version of it before it was released. The author is a biomechanist who wrote her masters thesis on women's pelvic floors. She is the founder of a new movement paradigm that is based on health, not fitness; how you work versus how you look. If you search for Katy Bowman or her blog Katysays.com you will be able to read a bit more. The exercises and philosophy are in the book. There are certified Restorative Exercise Specialists in NYC and Brooklyn, or you can work on your own. It's very much about gait and walking and natural movement. Good luck.

Louise said...

I like to run. It's the best as all you really need is a good pair of shoes and you're good to go, anywhere, anytime. You can put your baby in a jogger and bring them along for the ride! Sometimes I find the act of driving to a gym, putting my stuff in the locker, climbing onto a machine, etc - an obstacle. I can go outside and run, it's faster and simple and a good dose of nature. When I started I'd just run to a telegraph pole, walk for a bit, and repeat. I also have hand weights in the house. Pretty basic. I'm 38. :)

Pinguin im Pyjama said...

What i learned is: there´s no comfy, slow exercise. You HAVE to work your ass off if you want to get in shape, lose weight or similiar.
I used to be a dancer in my teens and twens but had to stop because i was underweight. Then i gained so much i now had to get active again.
I started to run. It´s cheap, you can do it anywhere, anytime, clears your mind and teaches you a lot. Running is my yoga! =)

Babe Hey said...

you need yoga! you'll quickly become more comfortable and it will compliment your biking and walking perfectly. downloading videos on your ipad will make it easier to do at home, in your pjs, when you feel like it.

Fer said...

Pilates is just SO GREAT! I think you will love it. Xx

Molly~ Specs & Wings said...

I love to walk the treadmill with my iPad watching Netflix! (haha! totally watched Felicity too but I was team Noel until about halfway through the seasons) Anyway, now I also love to do yoga at home with my app "Yoga Studio"! It lets you design your own classes and do them anywhere you take your phone/ipad! Hope you find a good fit for you!

Sarah said...

Love seeing what everyone else is doing for exercise.

I have found that having a little routine at home works for me because I don't have the excuse of having to pack up and going to the gym. However some of my mom friends love the 2 hours of free child care and don't want to see the monthly membership go to waste! It's all a mind game. :)

I love using Fitness Blender videos- there are so many that are about 20 mins each! I also like Jillian Michael's 30 shred-- she keeps you moving for 20 mins so you actually feel good about working out for that long. Hard part for me is being consistent.

xo

LittleMy said...

I do free weights, swimming, running and am hoping to restart adult ballet. I love adult ballet, it's so relaxing but you have to concentrate loads. Hope you find what you are looking for :)

kendra said...

1) team Ben forever. And ever.
2)I got the Jillian Michael's 30 day Shred. It's incredible
3) i tried the Tracy Anderson dance video. The issues is...she's the worst. So I only do that if i'm burnt out on Jillian's dvd

Jessica Karle said...

Love Soul Cycle and have gotten into pilates. Trainers are great (but pricey!) and I try to work in stretching...always a pain in the but but it helps the next day workout.

Monica Stolbach said...

The Pure Barre studio in Cobble Hill (266 Court St) is fantastic. And close to Carroll Gardens! They have a promo for new members going on also.

PPS said...

I love Gretchen Rubin's approach to exercise: activity doesn't matter - convenience matters! Make it convenient (gym with childcare, running stroller, fitness buddy) and you're much more likely to keep doing it.

I think so much of exercise is psychological...it just takes daily motivation (especially when you have a job or kids or a significant other or really just a life) to make yourself do it. I have all sorts of motivational phrases I tell myself when I don't want to run (including ones like "you pushed a baby out and now you whine about running for 30 minutes?? you GOT THIS!)

Crisis said...

Shrink sessions by Erin Stutland are amazing and Bex Borucki has great trainings in Youtube (you can workout at home!)

jona said...

Jazzercise!

Megan F said...

Yes! I started working out 5-6 days a week about 8 years ago, after taking a hiatus in college. Like other commenters have mentioned, it did wonders for my sanity (and sleep problems). I also felt healthier and looked better, too. I love yoga and strength training; I have done CrossFit for a couple of years and now build those principles into my workouts. Strength training is super important for women, especially as we age, since we lose an estimated 5-10% of muscle strength each decade. (Seeing my very healthy but non-exercising grandmother struggle to hold my newborn put a finer point on that for me.) I have a 14 month old now with another one on the way, so my routine has changed a bit, but still working out and looking forward to tougher workouts post-partum.

Laura Ryan said...

I love yoga, spin, cycle, bar, and pilates fan. I have enjoyed going to these a great deal throughout the years. You meet nice people, and its fun.

I also recommend finding a way to exercise on your own. Some days, you want it to be short and sweet, to get your sweat on for 30 minutes and get out of there.

In that way, I recommend classes, but also think a personal routine and strategy is very important.

Megkathleen said...

I love Barre, but I find that it's really hard to find time now that I'm a mom. Lately I've been running. It works well for me because I can make it work with my schedule and if need be I can take the bebe with me.

EPW said...

Now you're a Brooklyn-er, check out Fifth Avenue Fitness (http://5thavefitness.com/). I've been a runner forever and always hated the gym but these folks have changed by mind incrementally and gotten me in killer shape for my wedding. Seek out Andy -- the owner -- who is truly amazing!

It's an all trainer gym and never crowded and perfectly tailored to you. Worth ever pennny.

Emily said...

I turned 35 today, so I take offence to you labeling me an old lady. However, onto the subject of exercise, I've always played sports. I play soccer for a league Wednesdays, and I run most other days. Pretty easy.

Camille Tyndall said...

I've been doing yoga for a while now. I also started taking adult dance classes at a local dance studio...I did dance through high school and college, and quit because I had no time in grad school. I love that it gives me a good work out as well as a creative outlet, plus having a class to show up to means I will actually show up, and it's a heck of a lot cheaper than Pure Barre!

Anna said...

this winter i started doing buti yoga and i am a total convert (http://butiyoga.com/about/). it’s by far the hardest workout i’ve ever done, it works your whole body, and you leave feeling relaxed but accomplished! i like it more than regular yoga because it’s more aerobic and strength-focused. the biggest change i’ve noticed in my body since i started doing it is more core strength, and i’ve also found that my back hurts less often. also, it involves a lot of booty shaking, so what’s not to love? :)

when i don’t feel like leaving the house i do the barre3 standing slim workout (on youtube) or jillian michaels six week to six-pack abs (on amazon prime instant). both are short but sweet!

Emily Robinson said...

I love yoga and it does wonders for stretching you out and helping your body feel rejuvenated.
I also just did Brazilian Butt Lift yesterday! It's more energetic and a bit hardcore if you're any kind of out of shape, but if you're looking to tone up and build some muscle it's a great choice! Plus who doesn't want a sexy butt?

Cassie said...

Yoga is my very favorite, but it definitely requires a time commitment to see results. I also use an elliptical (because I truly hate running except maybe twice a year when the mood strikes,) and do the Barre Method. I alternate depending on the mood I'm in.

Madeline Stevens said...

My exercise history sounds very similar to yours. I love Barre3 now--there is a studio opening in the West Village in later this month and they have great online workouts (with modifications in every video for going easy on sore places and those of us who aren't very flexible). It's a mixture of ballet barre, pilates and yoga. So you get your strength training, cardio and stretching in all at the same time.

Annie Malhotra said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katie said...

Yes! Exercising is as much mental as it is physical for me. It keeps my anxiety (mostly) at bay if I move regularly. I have a ballet background too and LOVE Pure Barre. It's actually fun, and it truly makes you stronger. Highly recommend it!

moop! said...

SoulCycle! I wish we had one in PGH! I spin almost everyday..when we moved to the country I bought a spin bike for my house..one of my best purchases. (I have a Keiser bike). I get home pretty late in the evening and don't always have time to go on an evening ride (rain, country dogs, etc.) so, having the option to cycle indoors is really great. But, i spent years doing classes before I did so. It has helped me to make sure I'm really working and not just lazily riding while looking at instagram and trying to call that exercise.

Ana Merriken said...

I am a huge fan of the Blogilates youtube channel - its all pilates based workouts, so unlike yoga, you don't necessarily have to be flexible to do the workouts. I have done tons of different workouts for years, I'm kind of a work-out junkie, but Blogilates has been some of the best workouts I've done! Its free, you can do it all in your living room, and most of the videos don't require any equipment. The exercises really strengthen your core (which should help your back!) and everything else in my body has been getting super toned as well. The girl that does the videos is SUPER peppy, which I'm sure annoys some people, but it honestly distracts me from the pain of my workout, so I'm okay with it. I also love how positive she is.

Lindsay said...

I agree with all the other women about Pure Barre. I hate going to the gym and having to motivate myself, so a structured class is great, and the community at the studio I go to is just great- it's nice to have this friendly group of women and all be really physically miserable together! And then the results are totally worth it, I feel really strong and toned and happy. Highly recommend!

Rachel Cornelius said...

As a fellow mama I've found the best (and easiest to stick to) are short workouts (15-20 mins). A friend of mine in Boston is a trainer and posts free/awesome videos online that are focused on strength training/toning. I never mind making myself workout because I know it's only about 20 mins... it's an easy pill to swallow. Also, because of this I've been consistent about working out 5ish days a week. I have muscle tone! It's amazing! Small, consistent steps for actual results. It works. I finally feel like I'm working out SMARTER.

My favorite videos of hers are wedding arms here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0NV8lZSb7Q&list=PL-TWpZ7AyVwU-AkhmA07ZEbWtSlicvfGy

and the butt (my husband is a fan of this one): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0DSTe5E6Wi8&list=UUTmAxqt83Eg-20ZUe8bfY3Q

good luck!

Lindsey Arotin said...

Try exhale spa's Core Fusion classes! They have a ton of locations around NY and are a blend of pilates and yoga! I run the west coast region and would be happy to help you get set up with a few classes on the east coast. With your ballet background...you will LOVE it!

Jo said...

This trainer has a great blog and phone ap with lots of useful info on working out, but also goal setting, diet etc.
http://www.12minuteathlete.com/

Her workouts are high intensity, so you build muscle and strength while pushing your cardiovascular system. She is also sympathetic to readers that don't have equipment or live in apartments. The exercises are also scalable, you don't have to be able to do 30 seconds of incline push-ups on your first go!

Richie Designs said...

I have a really bad back and Pilates and Girotonics has helped me the most - get long and stretch and strengthen.

If my body didn't want to take shortcuts to protect my fragile back status I could do the other things mentioned including Yoga. I need someone to stand over me and make sure my muscles don't cheat.

I also have a foam roller at home that I use for 30 min every morning to avoid those "can't stand up" moments.

Pearl said...

Thought I'd also follow up with a few neighborhood specific suggestions in case that helps...

- Bodyburn - just opening on court street
- Pure Barre - personal favorite
- Area Yoga / Prema Yoga / Mala Yoga - heard good things about all 3. Seem to be the best overall yoga places to me with lots of different types incl. beginner
- Prana Yoga - hot yoga only!
- Lulu Lemon - holds runs and free yoga classes
- NYSC / Equinox / YMCA - if you're looking for a more traditional gym
- CKO Kickboxing - I've never done it but have friends that swear by it
- Brooklyn Boulders (if you want to try out rock climbing!)

Plus you can always run, jog walk, or bike along the waterfront / piers which is lovely!

Rachel said...

I love spin classes, but if you're used to just walking around town for fitness, yoga might be worth revisiting. I also love barre classes, particularly CoreFusion (at Exhale Spa or via DVD...but I highly recommend live streaming the classes from YogaVibes.com). Both barre and yoga fit into my lifestyle better as I get older because I get less sweaty and can fit them in whenever.

Also it took me a LONG time and several failed attempts to commit to yoga. What finally did it for me was sucking it up and joining a yoga studio. Paying a high monthly rate made me want to get the most out of it, and I feel like really committing to it is what it takes to get over the initial embarrassment. It's done great things for my body (because I often feel like my spine is turning to mush from working from home all day) and now I'm hooked. But barre will do the same too! :)

Unknown said...

I love running and hot yoga. The heat helps your muscles stretch a bit further during the yoga class (and you sweat a lot, which feels awesome!). My best advice is to find a studio that teaches variations of poses to all levels if you're not as flexible. For running, I have a lot of nature trails near my home so it's great to go outside (easier on knees than roads). If you download an app like Nike running, you can measure the distance of your run and start with a small goal and gradually increase it. I love both because they are personal workouts, the only person I'm challenging is myself :)

Manuela said...

Join a Crunch hym or NYSC which both have great classes and try all the classes and see what you like best! It's cheaper to join a gym then to take other classes.

But if you like specialized classes, ever heard of ClassPass?!

Sharon said...

I loved the barre classes that I took in Austin at Dancers Shape! I would recommend those for the short cardio and the toning, and because you have experience with ballet classes. I saw results very fast and the classes were actually fun!

Christina said...

Hi Joanna! I also highly recommend Soul cycle and have recently gotten back into Yoga because it helps with anxiety and stress reduction I find. Running helps for that kind of stuff too. Also, Pole Fitness! I found some deals for class packages and took a bunch of classes at Body + Pole. It was so much fun and what a workout! I looked and felt way more toned after just one class! Good luck!

Jo said...

Barre and Zumba are my favorites. I had a hard time feeling excited about exercise until I joined a gym with only group classes and instructors whose energy I like. Class schedules keep me honest and peer pressure makes me work a little harder (or feel okay adjusting for my comfort).

Daniela said...

I have been notoriously bad at exercising, pretty much always. As a child I rode horses and bikes but for fun and not exercise. Lately I have started feeling moody and also very dizzy. I started running and doing yoga, with other stuff like cardio or ballet barre thrown in and wow. What a difference. Exercise keeps me healthy in all senses. I sprained my ankle over a week ago and haven't been able to work out, and I feel emotional and ill again.

Addie Natalie said...

I stream ANY Chris Freytag "10 lbs slim down" work out (you can find them on youtube). She is amazing and they are all 20 min in length (I have 2 small children and work full time too). The yoga routine is one of my favorites and if you decide to do yoga outside the house it prepares you enough so you won't look like a fool :)

Kristen said...

I do a boot camp class which I like to describe as "cross-fit lite." We do lots of body weight exercises like push-ups and burpies but also use kettle bells and a nifty device called the TRX. I'm hooked. Super fun and I've never been in better shape or stronger than I am now :)

Brisaquita said...

Give yoga a second try, I was super stiff, awkward and clueless when I first started but I was lucky to take classes at the Chelsea Iyengar Institute their focus is in alignment, the instructors are very helpful and patient, they will modify poses for you and encourage you until you finally get it. I highly recommend Michelle and Lucianne classes for level 1 but also they have introductory series for 4 weeks you learn the basics and truly helps you to feel a bit more confident.
You can also try Studio Spine in the west village
Classes are very small and the instructors and students are super kind, helpful and welcoming,
try marthas class. I'm a huge fan of Iyengar Yoga and I think you will enjoy it : )

Kathryn (Katie) said...

Joanna,

You should sign up for "Class Pass" http://classpass.com/home. It's $100 and you get 10 classes from participating studios (many in Brooklyn) per month (spin, pure barre, zumba, yoga, etc.)It's great and a single class at most of the studios is $15-$35, but through class pass you can try it for just $10! After spending 3 years cooped up in law school and another year starting out as an attorney its been great to figure out what kind of exercise I actually like and to start feeling healthy again!

Amy P said...

I`m planning to try waterfit this fall and winter. I took a prenatal yoga class once which was great for stretching out the lower back pain that I had (My abs stretched reeeeally far apart so I had very little support), but I haven`t taken a regular one or really done any other intentional exercise in my life. I definitely need a class to attend to get me motivated.

I`m excited to do waterfit because
a) combo of weight training and cardio, without putting too much impact on my bunion (I'm 26 and I have bunions! Ack!)
b) it`ll be so warm and humid in the pool during the winter, and I can hit up the hot tub at the end before going home!
c) it`s cheaper than many classes - I only have to pay admission to my pool, no extra fees!

Jess said...

Running is such an easy and inexpensive way to stay or get in shape. No schedule, you just step out the door and go. It tones your whole body, even your arms. I would recommend finding a friend to do it with to stay accountable, or if you get a jogging stroller, you can take your kids along. My two year old has gotten me moving more than once by insisting that "he" wants to go on a run!

chelsea said...

Hey Joanna! It's so funny you should post this now... I go to Sfactor and it's amazing. They teach a sensual feminine movement with pole dance mixed in. It's the perfect combination of strength and flexibility-building, fun, sexy, empowerment with other women in a safe, supportive space. No men, no mirrors. Sheila Kelley, the founder of Sfactor, is also a mother of 2 and developed this movement just after her daughter was born. Her friends started to notice that she was glowing and asked her to let them in on the secret.. That was over 10 years ago and now there are studios all over the country!

You can try it out with an intro class - the studio is on 23rd street: http://www.sfactor.com/index.asp! I hope you'll try it out :)

Jiva said...

I used to dance competitively for about 12 years, and then stopped during undergrad and did spinning occasionally. In law school I went back to spinning, but got tired of it always feeling like the hour would never end. Then I tried zumba and I LOVE it. I went to classes religiously while studying for the bar because it honestly felt like the only fun/distraction I could actually justify having during the day. It has also gotten me in great shape. If you like dance, you'll love it. Beware, there are some not great instructors out there. But when you find an energetic instructor with tiring/hard hitting routines, it is so much fun! Please, please, please try it!

Jenny said...

I hated yoga too :)

I walk 3-4 miles every day and keep tabs on my FitBit. When it's nasty weather (or I just feel like some free babysitting and cable tv) I do it on a treadmill at our cheap cheap local gym. 3 times a week I do some light weight training targeting my arms, core and lower back. Motherhood is hard on your body!

Izzy said...

Adult ballet classes for sure! I took ballet growing up, and so prefer ballet class to Pure Barre. PB is great for many people, but for me, it felt too much like "working out" (torture) and not like dancing. I love losing myself in the music and enjoying the artist side that comes with dance class. You could branch out too--try modern or jazz or African!

jacque said...

Please give yoga another shot!

Joanna Goddard said...

emily, haha, so sorry!! 35 is an awesome age :)

Kathryn Sutton said...

I've tried the UK version of soulcycle and it was so much fun, even if I could barely move the next day... It's quite pricey over here though, which is the main reason I haven't done it more often - not sure if it's more reasonable stateside?

My most recent exercise discovery is bouldering - seriously fun! Everyone seems to be quite intimidated when I mention it, but it's actually a lot less scary than it sounds and so good for you. I have muscles - ACTUAL MUSCLES (this has never happened before...), although not scary body-builder-esque ones. It is really good for toning your arms, legs and core though. You should check it out!

Kat x

Izzy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jackie said...

Be patient with yoga. It is like dessert--there are SO many different approaches. Once you find your favorite, you'll find that it is something that you can't imagine living without. The physical practice is amazing-but learning how to breath through tough transitions on the mat definitely help you cope with the outside world.

I love booking classes ahead of time (yoga/Soulcycle/barre). I put them in my calendar-and treat it as an appointment. Plus, in most cases you lose your class if you cancel. My husband and I also make it to yoga together at least once a week and then go out for tacos.

kirstiepatricia said...

I hated PE growing up, I took a yoga class in college I half-heartedly went to so I wouldn't fail a class - it wasn't until I started working when I started to exercise consistently. My boss is a huge exercise buff and I take her strength training class during lunch 2x a week.

Let me tell you - your boss being your teacher is the BEST kind of accountability. I hope she'll develop a habit in me that by the time I leave, I'll love exercising myself!

www.ajarofpicklesdesigns.com

Sara said...

I recently have loved cardio circuit classes, the class I go to has a minute and a half intervals so even if it's really hard you don't have to do it that long! I've noticed a big difference. It's mixed with some strength training and ends with abs both of which have helped my sore back. For some reason, yoga seems to make my back worse even though I loved it before I had kids (and prenatal yoga was awesome!).

Annie Malhotra said...

Hi Joanna,

I love barre3 (barre3.com) and would highly recommend it. I do their online workouts (though I have been irregular) since there isn't a studio close by, and absolutely love it. I never thought I would be a home-exercise-video kind of person, but the way the videos are shot, it feels like the instructors are with you and the workouts are very energizing. The instructors do a great job repeatedly reminding you of the correct posture for all the poses. You can also choose the length of the workout and/or the body parts you want to target. It's also highly affordable at $15 a month.

Other than that, like yourself, I walk and/or bike (I love my bike) to most places - for leisure and work/errands.

Best,
Annie

Ling Wang said...

I highly recommend giving rock climbing a try! It's one of a few physical activities I can think of that is a whole-body-toning activity with minimal joint impact and is a actually a really safe sport, so long as you're not Alex Honnold free soloing. It also does a great job at training your focus & builds your self-confidence. I also think it is SUCH a good thing to do as a couple: I feel like my husband & I learned to communicate kindly & effectively with each other through climbing & there's the whole building trust thing too. I climb with people of all shapes, ages (as old as 65 that I can think of), and abilities, which is another great thing about climbing: it's such an inclusive sport! Outside of climbing I take a mat-based pilates class too, which helps build my core for climbing.

Jackie said...

Be patient with yoga. It is like dessert--there are SO many different approaches. Once you find your favorite, you'll find that it is something that you can't imagine living without. The physical practice is amazing-but learning how to breath through tough transitions on the mat definitely help you cope with the outside world.

I love booking classes ahead of time (yoga/Soulcycle/barre). I put them in my calendar-and treat it as an appointment. Plus, in most cases you lose your class if you cancel. My husband and I also make it to yoga together at least once a week and then go out for tacos.

Wildes Waldwesen said...

Yoga, yoga, yoga!! 100 times yoga!
I know the feeling like you're a chunk of wood, but believe me.. you get so much stronger and more flexible so fast!
And it doesn't only relax and strengthens you, it makes you shine from within.
(By the way: it does wonders when it comes to anxiety, because your breathing changes. And anxiety attacks have a lot to do with shallow breathing!)

Lana said...

I seriously LOL'd when you said you walked on the treadmill and watched Felicity. My best friend and I used to walk around the block (which couldn't have been more than a mile...maybe) and watch it, too. We were Team Ben, also. :) My exercise regime of the moment is breast feeding. That counts, right?

Katie said...

I try to use the Nike Training app, which is geared toward women. They have different programs with different goals, and I was pretty surprised by the results when I stuck to it. A typical week will probably include 5 workouts: 2 cardio circuits of 30-45 minutes, 2 runs, and 1 yoga. I didn't always do all of the cardio exercises (I must be out of shape, because some of it is freakin hard!) and would make sure I did at least 3-mile runs, even if it told me to do 5. And I always skipped the yoga. But I felt so much fitter! I'd recommend it.

Daniela Rossi said...

Run!

Kaitlyn S said...

PHYSIQUE 57!!

It kicks your butt, but it's so enjoyable. And since you live in NYC it's totally worth going to a class (even though there are DVDs and online workouts, having an instructor there to correct your form makes all the difference). It's really fun too because no matter how good you get, even people who have been going for years take beginner classes and have to rest. Amazing class :)

Marisa said...

You sound just like me . . close in age and like you I've started experiencing creaks and aches, and in particular an achy back and hip. I felt it time to do something about it before I get too old! Also like you, I've not been much of an exerciser . . . But a few weeks ago I started taking Gyrotonics classes (I know, name sounds funny!) And let me say - they have been absolutely phenomenal!!! I've never done anything where I felt such a big result after my very first session. Basically you use equipment to help you get a deeper stretch in your body. It feels wonderful and I feel looser and less achy after I go - and stand up straighter. It's really great - and so far low impact - but I think it will increase over time. You should definitely look it up!! I'm a fan and I've never enjoyed any form of exercise before!!

Lisa said...

I have actually created a google account JUST so I can comment on your posts Joannda! (actually very annoying as I have wanted to comment for years but it doesnt allow me unless I log in)

Anyway, I would highly recommend that you try a few different things and start slowly. My biggest mistake is always going on full speed, then I have a bad week or something, get sick or out of town or whatever, and then it take me a month before im back.

"It is OK to workout without feeling like you are going to die" one personal trainer friend told me once. "You dont even have to break a sweat, go to a chill yoga class and get familiar with your body - THEN start pushing it".

That was the breakthrough for me. I went to a beginners yoga class and was so nervous I was shaking - very out of shape, stiff and even overweight I thought people would laugh. But no. Alla ages, all shapes, and no one gives a damn about what you are doing.

Swimming is also awesome if you have that opportunity, as its gentle and you can make it as hard as you want. I also find it easier as I dont notice how much I sweat, which makes me think its much easier than it actually is.. :)

Good luck!

Joy said...

My friend of mine (who's also a yoga teacher) always says something really great to people who are hesitant to a take a class and worried about their inflexibility. she says: do you sign up for a spanish class already knowing spanish? yoga isn't about being flexible -- neither is the goal to be flexible. it's about lengthening your body.

I love that she says that - and it's so true. Yoga is great for people sitting at desks all day in front of their computers (ahem) but it also totally puts your mind at ease. I'd highly recommend! I think you'd love it. xo

CRISTINA/TINI said...

Oh you have to try Chaise Fitness - it's like pilates, trx, and ballet all in one!! And they're really great to you when it's your first time - you wont be embarrassed :) I need to post about it, I think you'll love!

anniematic said...

Soulcycle is THE. BEST. EVER. It feels more like dancing to fun music and the time flies by - unlike any other spin class I've ever tried. Your bank account will suffer but your body and mind will thank you!

Joanna Goddard said...

lana, breastfeeding totally counts!! :)

Elizabeth said...

Right now I'm working with a personal trainer at Equinox in preparation for my wedding. In general I LOVE Equinox for the great variety of classes and the lovely locker rooms & products. I think this could be a worthwhile investment in yourself if you think you could make it & make use of a location with childcare or have Alex watch the kids a few times a week. I do mostly strength and cardio classes. I run outside but WILL NOT run on a "dreadmill" or do any cardio machines. Given your exercise history & history as a dancer I would also recommend Pure Barre or Physique 57.

Joanna Goddard said...

these comments are amazing, THANK YOU!!!!!

Joanna Goddard said...

(i'm feeling so inspired!)

Amanda Z said...

I tend to work out at home because I get self concious and don't like people watching me! I do a mix of these:

1. Ballet Beautiful. I bought the DVDs online so I can do them anytime, anywhere.

2. Pilates. I have one of the Mari Winsor DVDs.

3. YouTube has tons of awesome free workout videos! My favorite is Fitness Blender--so many to choose from that you'll never get bored, and after a few weeks of doing their HIIT workouts I feel so strong and athletic!

Elizabeth said...

I danced for 17 years so I'm not good at finding exercises to do on my own. I do Les Mills' classes. My favorites are Pump (free weights to music), Flow (yoga, tai chi, pilates), Jam (updated aerobics) and Combat (kickboxing). I'll walk/run the dog on off days, but I try to be active a little bit everyday.

Sam said...

Pilates! I am incredibly inflexible and when I went regularly before my pregnancy, I noticed a real difference in my strength and flexibility. I'm finally getting back into it post-baby as I am also getting creaky with old age.

Kelly said...

I change up my routine every 6-8 months because of boredom, but I love crossfit (at a crossfit only gym). It has gotten me toned and lean, something other workouts in my mid 30s have never done. After this baby comes out, I am back to crossfit for sure.

caitlin said...

I would love to try SoulCycle, but I don't think they're in Chicago yet!

Kathryn (Katie) said...

Joanna,

Definitely try classpass! It's a great way to try out different studios to figure out what works for you. I tried it this month and discovered I LOVE spin classes! I've never been much of a biker but the classes have been so exhilarating!

W8 Housewife said...

I live in London, so classes may vary here, but I would suggest an Equinox gym membership and using the creche (babysitting) there so you have the kids taken care of and then you can vary your class choices until you find one you like. Also, 12 Minute Athlete is a great blog that has AMAZING workouts. I used to be a trainer in Hollywood before moving here and I still find her workouts to be innovative and fun and wonderfully only 12 minutes (anyone can do 12 minutes while the little ones nap). Im 7 months post baby number 2 and Im in better shape than ever. It takes work-Good luck!!!

Sarah Thoren said...

When I lived in NYC I was a HUGE fan of Physique 57, which is a ballet barre class. It is amazing, fast paced, and it works wonders!

K said...

NYC has so many fantastic open adult ballet classes for all levels. Tons that are worth checking out. I particularly love the classes at Alvin Ailey.

Barre classes are great workouts - though you will definitely feel the pain (in a good way hopefully). I have found Pure Barre to have good instructors and intense classes.

And I love Lauren Hefez's very quick, effective youtube workouts - https://www.youtube.com/user/lhefez/videos?shelf_id=1&view=0&sort=dd

Ms. Luzader said...

Yoga, running, and some weightlifting.

I'd highly recommend Laughing Lotus Studio in NYC. I live in NOLA, but the owners visit and hold classes at our local studio, and they are truly amazing.

I take long walks with my dog everyday, so that's good for both of us. I usually try to end the day with a 45-60 minute walk with him.

I like to jog/run outside, but nothing too crazy. Just a few miles a few times a week.

Nina said...

Good old fashion weight lifting! I've always been the dreaded "skinny fat" where I look skinny because I'm 5'6 but under my clothes I am all out of shape and pudgy.

My brother does personal training on the side and he took my husband and I on to his program (http://nielpatel.blogspot.com/). He's taught me to slowly become stronger and more confident in my body. I never thought I would find lifting weights something enjoyable but since April I have seen a huge difference in my energy levels and mood. I've stayed around the same weight but my clothes are loose and I finally have some muscles that I can flex!

I would highly recommend finding a strength and conditioning trainer that you feel comfortable with and will be able to make the journey as fun and enjoyable as my brother has done for me. It also helps to have a workout partner, maybe your husband? ;)

Sunray Pena said...

I'm 34 and I never really exercised regularly until earlier this year! ;) I say try them all once just to see what you like. I tried running and walking on the treadmill, yoga and Zumba before I found the Bar Method which I love and have been going regularly.

K said...

(And I also love Equinox - I'm an instructor there so slightly biased, but have taught at most other gyms in NYC and they have fantastic range of classes and really beautiful (CLEAN) facilities - and one right up the road from you in BK Heights)

Jessica said...

I am in love with Pilates. Especially if you're a dancer, you will like the control you have to have over every part of your body. On top of that, it's also fairly low impact. Sometime I feel "creaky," but Pilates never irritates that.

Lyndsay said...

I really have to recommend Yoga Union in NYC. I felt the same way after I took my first yoga class and found out how inflexible I was and slow to catch on. I've only just started going to Yoga Union and I am so comfortable there already - I specifically go to the Yoga Union Center for Backcare and Scoliosis, and it focuses so much on alignment, stretching and breathing that I've found it immensely helpful throughout my every day. I really appreciate the attention you receive in class there, very informative.

Jennifer said...

Girl, I'm telling you - Buti Yoga!!!!

I can't rave enough about it. It's not yoga, flexibility intimidating at all. It's a mix of dance, plyometrics, and yoga and it's just fun! After a few months of doing it 1-2 times a week I've already noticed my butt's a little higher and stomach flatter.

There are a few workouts you can try yourself online, too: http://youtu.be/dnm1KXiIRTg

In the beginning some of the hip and chest movements don't come naturally but if you keep going at it then it gets easier. Good luck on your quest to find some fun excercise!

Emily said...

I love Barre3 (they have studios all over and their online workouts are great too) and I run (outdoors - I hate gyms!) while listening to podcasts (my trick is to save my favorite podcasts for a run. For some reason music doesn't distract me quite enough but talking does). I also love activities that trick me into exercising, such as dance classes.

Allison Winter said...

I do barre3's online program and I love it! I'm not a mom, but they constantly talk about how they design their programs with busy moms in mind. It's so great!

Maureen said...

I am 36, haven't exercised CONSISTENTLY since college and feel like my body is falling apart after two pregnancies. Whatever you do - wear proper shoes! I got "flat foot"/plantar fasciitis from wearing flip flops when I was pregnant the first time and now I have achilles tendinitis from squatting all the time with my toddler. Agony! Neither is reversable and I have to wear orthodics and sometimes a brace for my feet to not be in pain. My back is always killing me and now my knees too (I feel like I am an 85 year old! Seriously, WTF?). The exercise I do is maybe a little lame, but it works for me - Leslie Sansone DVDs (www.walkathome.com) with my co-workers on our lunch break. It is low impact "Walking" with arm movements, but if you do a dvd 4 times a week, you will see/feel a difference and you won't be sore afterward since it it so chill.

Steph Williams said...

So many exercise ideas here! I also was really interested in the Soulcycle after reading about it... I am already a member of a gym that does Spinning - does anyone know what the difference is? Thanks.

Rémy Robert said...

I do barre and spinning -- both are very challenging but don't make you feel like you're going to die (or if they do, it's in a good, non-masochistic way!). They also balance each other nicely :) I think how you like your exercise depends a lot on how you like your teacher. I found two instructors (Annie and Lindsay) at my Williamsburg gym, Chalk, and they actually make me look forward to the classes.

Jane {In The Pink & Green} said...

My sister who lives in NYC does this thing called ClassPass, that allows you to pay a monthly fee and you get to go to all different studios all over the city and she loves it for the variety! If I lived in New York, it's definitely what I'd do! I also took a SoulCycle class last time I was in the city and loved it! :)

A said...

My routine lately is running a few times a week along with a Flywheel class. I've done Pure Barre a few times (and their DVDs which were great to do during naptime after baby #2), and yoga (though I really only went faithfully during both of my pregnancies). For me, I find that I need to exercise a few times per week just to feel good, sleep well, and not go crazy!

I'm a fan of 7-Minute Workout too - great for those days when you're totally not motivated to do much, but it still gets you going for a few minutes.

Kristin said...

You should definitely give yoga another try! You will feel so accomplished when you master new poses, and it's amazingly calming, too! Videos are a great resource is you don't want to start out in a class.

Desirae said...

It has to be FUN. It can't actually feel like I'm working out. For me that means games and/or frequent changes in moves. And maybe a teeny bit of competition between class-mates.

I've done Punk Rope in Maine. They have classes in NYC (among other places). So much fun. You will leave sweaty!
http://punkrope.com/punk-rope-classes-3/


I've also heard great things about November Project, which is located pretty much everywhere BUT Maine. :(
Also? It's FREE!
http://november-project.com/

Jam-packed Life said...

Definitely all about Pilates! I would recommend finding a women's gym or even one that caters to prenatal and postpartum clients.

Katie Krieger said...

I've always played sports, but fitness didn't become a serious priority for me until last November. I always worked out "3 days a week" (read: more like 1 or 2).

I had a friend with a 1-year old who was doing 1-hour workouts 6 days a week. I thought, if she can do it, I should be able to do that. So I set the bar high and aimed for 6 days a week. I actually found that it makes working out SO.MUCH.EASIER than when I was trying to work out 3 days a week. For me, routine = key. I can't push things off until "tomorrow".

I love running (just did my first half), playing in my rec volleyball league (1 game a week), and I am trying to work more yoga, pilates, and strength training in.

With your ballet background, it seems like pilates or Pure Barre would be a great fit. I highly recommend FitnessBlender's workouts on YouTube if you want something quick, free, and effective.

Di Yund said...

I second (a very strong second) everyone who suggested barre. Specifically, Pure Barre (http://purebarre.com/).

I simply cannot do it justice, to say that I love it (which sounds crazy as I type it, I mean who loves a work-out class?) is an understatement. Not only has it reshaped my body, but it's done wonders on my mental and emotional stability and outlook on life. It's hard to get bogged down in the nitty gritty details of every day life when all you can think of for 55 minutes is "tuck, shoulders down, up-an-inch, down-an-inch, holy cow I didn't know my thighs could shake like that, 10 more, how long is 90 seconds?!"

They're yelp reviews and customer testimonials say it all --

Lady Baughman said...

Running and yoga. I thought yoga wasn't for me initially but then I injured my back and took yoga as a means to help me recover. Not only did it fo wonders to strengthen my back buy I also found an instructor that I love and I continue to go. I had a baby a month ago and once I am cleared for exercise that is the first place I am going. A great instructor made all the difference. Good luck! :)

Shannon said...

I was a huge yoga person and thought it did wonders for me but then I had my baby and it got harder to find the time to go to a full yoga class. So I started mostly going to the local gym and doing the treadmill for 25 minutes and that helped. But, we just moved to the "country" and I'm having to rethink my routine again. So far what I recommend:

http://pickleandpepper.blogspot.com/2014/07/it-hurts-to-laugh-today-workout.html - this youtube video is fun, is a great workout, and is only 30 minutes!

https://www.yogaglo.com/ - my yoga teacher friend recommended this site to me. I've used it the last couple weeks and it is meeting my yoga needs so far. The key to yoga is to find the right teacher/class and go at your own pace. Even though you may not be naturally flexible Yoga can still be fun and beneficial as long as you know the modifications or how to do the pose at the right level for your skills.

The things I like about the above is I can do them at home while the little one naps or at the end of my work day before I pick the little up from daycare.

Hope that helps!!

Kate said...

I do a combination of cycling (commuting really), walking/hiking, running and yoga. I reeeeally recommend the yoga to you. It seems to make all my other workouts better and balances them out. The other thing about yoga is the breathing. Taking this time for yourself and breathing is really beneficial for our health. Also, as you get older you might want to consider do some reps with weights. This important for women for bone health among other things. I would also recommend the barre workouts, as you've done ballet in the past. The most important thing is that you enjoy these activities, otherwise they probably won't become habits to you.

Little Giant said...

Hi Joanna. Love your blog! I'm actually a dance/fitness instructor and recommend dance, of course! ANy beginning/adult level ballet, jazz, or movement will work the entire body and not just parts of it. Although I'm not based in NYC, I'm sure you won't have a problem choosing a dance class. Not only is dance the best, but the music is healing. HIGHLY recommend. I've been teaching for over 15 years and it has kept this "old lady" young! Good luck.

Angela said...

Pure Barre in Cobble Hill is great. I just started and have seen a big difference. I actually saw you and your boys walking home from a class one evening (not to be creepy). Welcome to the 'hood!

Shannon said...

O, and for the lower back pain I highly recommend sitting on a yoga ball while working! I was starting to have lower back pain which I assumed was all the lifting and holding of my daughter. When i finally got my new home office I decided to give the ball a try and the back pain disappeared. I sit at a computer all day so I'm glad to have the incentive to use better posture.

meaghan said...

Like one of the previous commenters, I tried CrossFit because a friend sent me a Groupon for her gym. I was really skeptical about it, but I'd recently read a blog post about it so I thought I'd give it a shot. The first day was only a 15 minute workout, but it was so hard! And the next day, I was incredibly sore. I kept going basically just to use up all the classes I'd bought (10), but around the 7th class, it just seemed better. So I decided to join, and I've been at it a bit over a year now. It sounds dramatic, I know, but it has made such a big difference in many different aspects of my life: I sleep better, I eat a lot better, I'm more patient, I have more energy. And the craziest (to me) - I really miss it when I don't go! I can tell a difference in the way I feel and the way I sleep when I've missed a few days in a row.

I like CrossFit because it's a little of everything - both light and heavy weight lifting, cardio, body resistance exercises, a little running and rowing, etc. - and the workout is different every day, so I never get bored. And another benefit is that I never really have to think about what to do - our coach does that for us!

Beth E. said...

Just go back to ballet! You can take beginning ballet classes to start out and they will really help you with flexibility and building up strength in your back. It will do wonders for your posture. I danced seriously from age 4 until I was 19, but I didn't go back until I was 32. I found that I had a lot of muscle memory for the barre exercises. The classes aren't easy when you start out, but I find it really relaxing now compared to how I found it in my teens. Nobody to compete with except my reflection in the mirror. I recommend black tights and a more serious sports bra than you used to wear ;)

Emily said...

You should DEFINITELY try Classpass! For $99 you can do unlimited classes in NYC at like 40 different studios. They have everything-- barre, yoga, spin. I'm obsessed and it's a great way to figure out what you like!

Tess Malone said...

If embarrassment is an issue, I prefer exercise DVDs over classes. I highly recommend Ana Caban's pilates DVDs, which will give you a strong core in just a few months but only take 20-40 minutes.

I also kick box because it's a great way to get out stews and keeping up with the combos keeps my mind off other things.

Kristen said...

I love ClassPass. You get to try all sorts of classes - yoga, kickboxing, cycling, pilates, bootcamp, dance classes, barre. It can be difficult to get into some of the popular classes but I never have a problem reaching my 10-class a month limit.

Angela said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Margaret Chasler said...

Yoga is great for the body AND the mind. Also, it teaches you not to worry about what you can't do and to take it day by day. My teacher always says that that little stretch that you work on each class will someday gracefully become a complex arm balance. That is why it is called Yoga PRACTICE.

Patricia said...

I went through a Bikram Yoga phase last summer, but it just wasn't sustainable. I didn't like the fact that it required so much extra stuff too (membership, yoga clothes, extra laundry, the studo, the mat, etc).

Now I go for long runs every other day. I recently read What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami. I highly recommend it. I feel so much more healthy now that I have a regular cardio routine. They say even 5 mins of running a day can be transformative for your health. 35 mins daily is said to radically alter your ability to handle stressful situations!

On my off days from running, I use the Strong Lifts 5x5 app on my iphone. I just started getting into weight lifting and it's made a big difference on my body too. It's super easy to get into! Check it out :)

Good luck!

Tess Losada said...

One of my friends from undergrad teaches amazing classes here in NYC: http://movingstrength.com/

The teachers are all appropriately certified which is important as a beginner - jumping into a Pure Barre (or something similar) can be dangerous, especially if the teacher isn't correctly trained or doesn't take the time to address your personal needs. Particularly with a stiff back, I would not start with Pure Barre.

Danielle Mills said...

dance class for fun/exercise. pilates is amazing for strength training/lean muscle building; additionally, since I started pilates 3y ago, I have not had any issues with my back due to the amazing core strengthening. Biking is great cardio. Mix it up, and find something fun! I find exercise improves my mood as well as my overall well-being/energy level, productivity.

B.Ruwe said...

Bar Method!!! It's the only workout that I've been able to consistently do and I'm not a work out fan. The class goes by quickly and I feel so good after going! It's a little weird the first time you try but stick with it gets better. Teachers are awesome! It's the first time I've ever noticed muscle definition! And totally helps with posture and back pain! I'm a barre lifer!

Tricia said...

Joanna,
I am also in my 30s, with a kiddo (only one so far). I can be quite anxious and restless so instead of settling on one form of exercise, I found a gym that offers amazing classes AND childcare. I alternate between the same two strength training and pilates classes a week. I always stand in the back so that I don't feel self-conscious about being the weakest one in the class. I found that getting to know the instructors helps me feel compelled to show up week after week. They start expecting you there and ask when you miss a class. Hope this helps! PS: I was lucky enough to find a nice women's gym in Boston which also sorta helps.

Ashley Antkowiak said...

Hey Joanna! There is a free workout series on youtube called Bikini Body Mommy and it is amazing! I'm on day 80 of her 90 day challenge and have lost 12 lbs. and 11 inches. I definitely recommend it! My arms are toned for the first time ever, and I can actually do more than 1 push up now. Definitely check it out! Easy 20 minute workouts that break a sweat and are easy to do when you've got little ones running around!

Brigette Olmos-Arreola said...

I agree, yoga gets better with time. I also love toneitup.com the girls are so fun and the workout can be done at home in 30 minutes or less. I've seen great results from their stuff.

Michelle S said...

The Bar Method (http://barmethod.com/) is wonderful and sets itself apart from other barre classes by incorporating physical therapist approved moves throughout the workout and all the instructors are so well trained in making small adjustments (as well as providing alternatives when you are injured or pregnant) for each individual.
Also yoga will probably help you stretch out your lower back and also strengthen your core to help with those aches and pains.

Alexandra Petroff said...

Based on your ballet background it sounds like you would enjoy barre. Different studios do it differently though, I go to pop physique in SF (LA based), and its really upbeat intense music, but i know there are barre classes that do more elegant movement and the tone seems a little more ballet oriented. And since you're also really looking to tone, not lose weight, strength and toning classes will serve you better especially since you get in all that biking and walking! I don't suggest spin since its really a cardio thing, although I absolutely love my spin studio (pretty similar to soulcycle). Maybe look for a more athletic focused yoga class that will get your arms shaking and heart pumping and is less focused on who can twist their bodies into the weirdest shapes.

Jess said...

Crossfit crossfit crossfit! Seriously, it's the best thing I've ever done for myself :) I bought a groupon on a whim over a year and a half ago, and I'm so hooked I now go 5-6 times a week. I love doing things I never thought I was capable of - handstands, rope climbs, lifting heavy, etc - and I'm surrounded by positive and encouraging people every time I go. It's so varied each time that I'm never bored, and at 31 years old I'm in the best shape of my life. Find something you love and go for it!

Catie V said...

Hire a trainer for a month or so. A good trainer one that has come recommended and doesn't let you complain your way out of exercising. Lift weights. Any trainer that tells you light weights are best so you don't bulk up is not competent and you should run the other way. Youll be amazed at how strong youll get and how great your body feels. And guess what, you wont get bulky! ENJOY!!

Amapola said...

37 with a kid, I just manage to go to pilates on Sundays while my toddler and husband take their siesta :) it's sometimes tough but I enjoy the time for myself and feel like pilates is giving me a lot for just doind it once a week

Chantel said...

I've been doing spin, which is cray-zay. I also a barre class now and then.
team ben 4evr.

Brooklyn said...

So....kind of in the same boat. Two kids, 34 years old; I ride my bike and walk everywhere. Also haul children and gear up our 3rd floor walk-up (yay). And nope, it didn't cut it. I've never in my life exercised and have always been intimated by Yoga and Pilates and that whole scene. Also, yes, I'm not flexible. At all. Then I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in a month or so - and she was TONED! And then I got hooked. I bought this workout program called 21 Day Fix. It's 30 minutes of working out each day, at home. I do it in the morning or while the kids nap. I ignored the food/dieting plan btw, because I love food. I didn't want to lose weight, just get more toned. And it worked. For the first time in my life I can see my abs, and it feels good. xoxo Frauke

Katie said...

Yoga is simply amazing. It stretches achy backs, relieves tight hamstrings, and you end up feeling relaxed AND rejuvenated! If you aren't super flexible, don't worry. Good instructors always give simpler variations to the poses that require true flexibility. And a main theme of yoga is to love and care for your body the way it is, rather than fiercely push it to be something it isn't. So, no pressure if you can't do a crow pose! I promise, the more you do yoga, the easier it will be, but it's rewarding from the very beginning.

anabel said...

I'm a total believer in yoga. I get you with feeling totally awkward this first times around--that's how I feel anytime I step into any kickboxing class. But it gets better with practice and the benefits are real and totally felt. (increased flexibility is just the tip of the iceberg). I teach vinyasa style and totally recommend it :)

po-pam said...

I enlisted in the army when I was 19, so exercise was something I simply loathed for a solid three years. Running in boots? No thanks. Running in formation with men? Oh hell no. Hated it all.

Once I got out, I learned quickly that exercise helped me deal with stress and keep my weight under control, so I did it my way. I ran at my own pace and on my schedule. A few years later, I started taking fitness classes like zumba, spin, cardio blast, kickboxing, you name it. I love them all, but I spin like clockwork. It's intense enough to burn calories and keeps my core strong. I also lift weights a couple times a week. I'm now 40 and my doctor says I am as fit as a 20 year old. Now, my body doesn't LOOK it, necessarily, but my weight is normal and my heart and body are strong.

Exercise has always been a way of life for me, so it doesn't feel like a chore. But anytime is the best time to start. You just have to find what you love and what works within your lifestyle so you'll stick with it for the long haul. I believe it is our best chance to feel good as we age.

Good luck finding your niche.

Brooklyn said...

Oh and most importantly, my back pain has disappeared and I can wear my little dude without a problem.

Rebecca said...

I used to do just barre and spin (which I love and highly recommend!) but I stopped seeing results after a while so I've started mixing it up more. My favorite spin teacher/trainer says you have to change what you are doing every 90 days to keep seeing results and not hit a wall. Now I've started running and mixed in outdoor group exercise. You should look up the November Project. It is an awesome free fitness movement in many major cities including NYC. All you have to do is show up and you get an amazing outdoor workout with a great group of people. http://november-project.com

jenny said...

I'm actually a Stroller Strides instructor! It's a hour long workout that you bring your stroller-aged kids to, and throughout the workout you interact with your babies! For example, doing a wall-sit across from your baby while singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider, or doing Ring Around the Rosie side shuffling around a circle of strollers, and when we "all fall down" we do burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks, etc. I love it because I would never leave my daughter to go to a gym. This way I get my workout in, I get to converse with other moms, and my daughter gets to interact with other kids!

Kate Saliba said...

You live right near newly improved (and still being improved) Brooklyn waterfront. I would walk or run there. Both are inexpensive and fast ways to exercise and get alone time! I run there every time I visit.

Megan Gilger said...

T25 from Sean T is seriously KILLER...in a good way. Began it a month ago and you sweat hard for 25 minutes but you see results. Add in some light stretching every day and you will be amazed with the results.

Joanna Goddard said...

@frauke, i love that!! totally inspiring.

Joanna Goddard said...

can't tell you guys how much i love these comments. thank you so much :)

Wendows said...

Someone put the tae bo tapes on youtube and I have been hitting them up again. Free and still amazing.

Laura said...

I am learning to be a yoga teacher right now and just had an awesome weekend work shop with Jimmy Burgio and Jackie Simon in my city. They both are at Pure Yoga in New York and I would definitely recommend them. :)

Jasmine Johnson said...

I''e just started taking TRX classes (suspension training) and I LOVE it. It's a great combination of strength and cardio. And as a former Tae Bo-er myself, I'm also a big fan of cardio kickboxing classes. Les Mills has a program called Combat that's the modern Tae Bo.

Ann said...

I had a similar issue with my back - taking a LONG time to stand up straight when you get up. Pilates reformer classes helped massively. I'm addicted. Since you took ballet in the past you'd probably love them. A little pricey but worth every penny, have made a huge difference for me.

Allie said...

I have just started getting into this: http://www.theminimalists.com/18min/

Its basically just floor and some pull up exercises. I love that it is 18 mins, doesn't cost anything, and I can do it on the floor with my kids.

Maddy from MPDaily said...

I really love Barre. It is a class which means you can't leave (I sometimes left to my own devices end a work out way too early), get sweaty and use muscles I would never work out otherwise. I really love it.

Nicole FR said...

I'd say give yoga another chance! Especially if you have back pain. I started and couldn't even touch my toes, but if you find the right studio, and keep in mind that each session is personal (as opposed to competitive) that won't matter!

My yoga teacher just shared this with us last week: "saying you're not flexible enough for yoga is like saying you're too dirty to take a bath" :).

I am also a huge fan of rock climbing. It's a fantastic workout. Can you tell I'm a hippie?

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