3 gym classes you should try

Disclaimer: I am by no means a fitness guru. I have worked out for a number of years, but have no qualifications in this field; I’d just like to show you some things I’ve personally found to be of benefit to my body & mind.

Year on year, I try to take my fitness to the next level. I’ve been working out at the gym for around 5 years now, yet recently my routine became a little mundane. Don’t get me wrong, I would still hit the gym up at least three times a week, and go relatively hard when there, however it felt as though my body was getting used to the workouts I was doing. You see, working out is a bit like your sex life with a long-term partner, it needs to be kept interesting by trying new things.

So, one of my 2018 resolutions was to try some new gym classes, and having never done a class before, I was a little apprehensive. But, I thought, “F*CK IT – what’s the worst that can happen?”…

1. BODYPUMP

With a little help from my colleagues friends, I hit my first class. Bodypump was an apt class to start with as the gym, Kent’s, is close to my office, and you can pay on a class-by-class basis. This is ideal as I already have a monthly subscription at a different gym. I’d recommend checking out options near where you work; you need to make it as convenient as possible, so it’s difficult to find excuses for missing the class. And, believe me, you’ll do your utmost to find the excuses 😉

Growth tip:- Every time you don’t give in to these excuses, you build your prefrontal cortex (PFC). I’d suggest reading up on the science behind it, but I like to think of it as my ‘willpower muscle’ which is strengthened by resisting, and pushing through, my excuses. For instance, it’s pissing it down outside, so you could easily decide against walking to the gym and getting wet. Making the DECISION to walk anyway builds your willpower, even if it’s by 0.0001%, so the next time you make a decision it’s easier to ignore your own excuses. 

Bodypump is a barbell workout, led by an (in my case, hilarious) instructor, which involves lots of squatting and lifting, to music. As it’s based on high repetitions, it’s more likely to get you toned and lean, rather than helping you to build huge muscle mass (if you are looking to get ‘bigger’ the general consensus is to lift heavier weights for fewer rep’s). Bodypump is a great way to get into gym classes in general because you can use as light or as heavy weight as you like, depending on your ability at that point. Also, there is an element of rhythm involved, which seems to be the case in many classes, and so it gets you used to this. Alternatively, if you are looking to focus more on your rhythm as well as get fit, Zumba could be a great shout.

2. METAFIT

After a few weeks my body began to adapt to the strains of Bodypump, and so I decided to join the class before it as a kind of ‘warm-up’. Little did I know what I had signed myself up for… Metafit is a form of high-intensity interval training, which basically means quick, intense bursts of exercise, followed by short recovery periods. You’ll find yourself doing exercises like burpees, sit-ups and squats… and sometimes all three at once! This is a shorter class than Bodypump, normally half an hour, but you really get put through your paces. The first time I did it I thought my heart was going to explode out of my chest. Although there is no barbell, your body-weight is enough to get you seriously panting. I see Metafit as more of an intermediate class, and before beginning it, I’d recommend getting a base level of fitness. If you don’t feel you have this, you could try jogging around the block, just to get your body used to recovery after exercise, because re-paying that oxygen debt is what Metafit’s all about.

3. SPIN

So, at this point, I was doing two classes a week at the gym near work and thought I’d mix it up a little by doing one at Energy Mill where I work out a few nights a week. I was slightly spoilt for choice by the number of classes available, but a friend recommended trying a Spinning class. In on respect, I’m grateful to this friend… In another, I’m questioning their friendship. SPIN IS DIFFICULT. It will really test you, both physically and mentally. Essentially, it’s a high intensity cycling workout (on a stationary bike, may I add) where you follow the instructor, pedaling against varying degrees of resistance. To alter the resistance you turn a knob on the bike, so you really do have to mentally tough in order to keep the resistance at a point where you are giving your all. There’s been many times, sat on that bike, where I’ve been SO tempted to turn the resistance down when climbing that figurative hill. But no pain, no gain. You must resist that temptation with all of your will. It is an amazing workout and I don’t think I’ve ever sweat so much. I really like the feeling of being part of a ‘team’ during Spin; fighting against that resistance together, compared to my other two classes which feel a little more individualistic. To me, Spin honestly can feel as much like a spiritual practice as it can fitness.

So, there you are, 3 gym classes you should try. At the moment, I’m really enjoying these 3, and I think they complement each other nicely. I’ll be sure to update you with any new classes I undertake 😉 Comment below with any classes I should try 🙂

As always, thanks so much for reading.

Peace.

A

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coconut oil helps my eczema

Since being a baby, I’ve suffered with eczema. Over the years it’s flared up all over my body for a number of different reasons, including stress; excessive drinking; poor diet in general and cold weather.

Recently eczema became prevalent on my scalp. Don’t get me wrong, I’m used to moisturising after showering every day in order to stop it flaring up, but scalp eczema is much more difficult to treat. It is a different beast. Applying creams, lotions & potions to a full head of hair is at best hilarious, and at worst, extremely problematic. So, I experimented with lots of methods (stopped washing my hair for a bit :/) to treat my scalp, but to no avail!

Then I stumbled upon coconut oil… I’d been hearing lots of things about this super-power-ful oil and all its benefits (think Popeye and spinach) over the past few years, and couldn’t help but think it was yet another marketing (says me, I know) ploy to create a trend and charge 10x the price for it. Nonetheless, I was at my wits end. My scalp had become extremely dry, and the dandruff was creating a lovely Christmassy look on my shoulders.

So I quietened the cynic in me, stopped splitting hairs, and went for it.

john_travolta_grease_slicked_back_hair

John Travolta as Danny Zuko in Grease, 1978

Unless you’re going for a Greased lightening look (he looks cool AF tbf), I might not recommend leaving the house after applying this bad boy to your scalp. Plus, always wear a towel around your shoulders as not to ruin your favourite carpet… This stuff will begin dripping all over the place.

To my ecstatic surprise, coconut oil worked wonders for my scalp.  It felt so hydrating, and within a few uses the eczema had fully cleared up. This was a great confidence booster – I was really appreciative of the recommendation – so I thought I’d share with you guys, just in case I could help anybody else in need. And on that note, for any scalp eczema sufferers out there, I’d also recommend trying T/Gel shampoo in conjunction with coconut oil for maximum effect.

The amazing thing about coconut oil is how multi-purpose it is. It can help with your health, hair and skin, and you can also cook with it. Find some proper coconut oil uses and benefits here. In terms of picking a bottle up for yourself, you can find it for under a tenner at most major drug stores including Holland & Barrett, or I’d suggest heading to an independent health food shop which should stock it.

Disclaimer: I’d like to reiterate there are many different types of eczema and different types of sufferer; what works for me, may not for you. However I would, nonetheless, encourage you to try as many alternative treatments as possible until you find what helps you most 🙂

Thanks for checking this post out, slightly different from the norm, so I appreciate you sticking with me through it.

Peace.

A

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Feature image taken on an iPhone by Alex Pegg