Where Are You In The Cycle Of Exercise?

Where Are You In The Cycle Of Exercise?


At a holiday party last night, I was chatting with a woman about Barre class. As we spoke about the ballet-inspired workout filled with deep plies and excruciating core work, I reminisced how I used to love taking that class. Though not much of a cardio workout — my butt was always sore the following day. It gave good results.

Then my series expired. I didn’t go back.

Often there are sales for this Barre studio (there’s one happening right now!) But my body isn’t craving that routine — even if it comes at half price. I’m onto something else in my cycle of exercise.

Fitness experts have long claimed the benefits of changing up a routine to work different muscle groups and continue building strength, stamina and effectiveness. But that’s not why I constantly switch. For me, it’s more of a mood thing. I like my exercise to fit into my lifestyle rather than vice versa.

For example, in yoga (which is exercise for the mind, body and soul) I recently felt a little frustrated with the gentle pace of the classes I’ve been taking. Though there is definitely a need for slow flow classes (and I probably need those more than most because of my propensity towards Type A behavior), I’m attending yoga about 4-5x a week, which leaves little time for my other, higher impact workouts. These days, I’m looking for more physicality from my yoga practice…so I’ve gone back to Ashtanga.

My Yoga Journal Moment in Mysore Class — My Down Dog landed right in the gutter of the May 2000 issue

In the 90s I had a solid Ashtanga practice, Mysore style. I’d bike across Houston Street –fast and furious — to make the 7am. Ashtanga is an intense style of yoga — I think it made me a little aggressive back then. But this time around, I’m balancing it with more slow flow and meditation. And what is working really well for me with this series is the predictability. I always know what will come next. In life, when so much is uncertain and sometimes feels out of control — it’s nice to have some stability in my exercise routine. With Ashtanga it’s always 5 Sun Salutations followed by 5 rounds of Surya B and so on. It’s comforting. And still challenging. And it’s a very physical practice.

There have been times in my exercise cycle when I wasn’t doing anything at all. Obviously around childbirth and those years when M & GL were teenies this was the case. In fact, my yoga practice went on hiatus for years at that time. My primary exercise was walking allover town, baby sling slung on. I never considered that I’d quit working out. I had accepted where I was in the cycle, and how exercise was fitting into my lifestyle.

Now, I’m really into yoga. In a month I could be back at Barre. The beauty of the exercise cycle is it gives me exactly what I need.

Where are you in your exercise cycle?

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15 Comments

  1. jillcampana@gmail.com' Jill Campana says:

    I teach Nia (www.nianow.com). I would really love to be more disciplined with my yoga, but it’s not there yet. At the tender age of 64 (in January), I love my body and I love my life — doesn’t mean that there’s not room to add some more “exercise” into my daily or weekly routine. Happy Holidays Elysha!!

  2. I love the approach to Nia — that you’re not working out, you’re working in (I saw it on the site.) It seems like such a well rounded + grounded practice. Happy Holidays to you too, Jill. I hope all is well.

  3. girlgatheringwisdom@gmail.com' girlgatheringwisdom says:

    I think the key word is”cycle”. It has meaning as a type of exercise but more importantly it has a life meaning. Isn’t it wonderful as you tell us that we can come up with different plans or cycles for exercise depending on our cycle of life. I have found that an aerobic dancing class (i.e.. Jazzercise) keeps my heart pumping and puts a smile on my face. Thank you, Elysha, for reminding us that it’s all good!

  4. I’ve had aerobic dancing in my cycle too — I loved it when I was much younger. Lately, I’ve had trouble with the choreography — which I found to be frustrating so this kind of exercise has flown out of my cycle. But you never know when the right class will come around, and I’m back at it. Thanks for your support, GGW — I appreciate it.

  5. I like to walk, do some yoga–stretching is great, and ballet exercises. They all work for me.

  6. chloedance@comcast.net' SirenaTales says:

    Such a wise and mindful idea to have our exercise reflect the cycles of our lives, Elysha. Sadly, I think a lot of folks stop moving when their exercise no longer suits them and their lives, rather than trying something else. I was going to answer that I am dancing, as usual, but in fact, as I mentioned a few days ago, I have started up attending yoga classes again in addition to dancing. Most of the dance classes I give or take have gone on break, so I am taking some different ones till things start up again in a couple of weeks. I am also walking more. I wish a lot of people would read this post–have you thought of submitting it to journals/magazines? Thanks for more terrificness (not a word, but I am rolling with it anyway :)). xoxo

  7. robtaylor@outlook.com' Rob Taylor says:

    Informative post….Yes, those interrupting life challenges.

    I always strive for 4-6 days a week. Weights and cardio in the early morning….Moksha yoga in the evening….too much fun 😉

  8. Michele, it’s so good that you’ve found the exercises that work for you. And it seems like you and I are into the same moves– I too like walking, yoga and ballet fitness. I find them all to be great for both mind and body. Happy Holidays!

  9. Rob, you’re an early bird like me! If I don’t get my exercise in at that time, it becomes increasingly difficult to do. I rarely do any type of fitness in the evening. Moksha yoga…is that hot yoga?

  10. robtaylor@outlook.com' Rob Taylor says:

    Hi Elysha,

    Yes….hot…..I especially like the powerflow sessions.

  11. ST, I think it can be hard to jump back onto the fitness train when we’ve fallen off which is why so many probably give up. Also, I do think some people are more naturally inclined to move so feel more compelled to keep at it. Love that you’re doing yoga! I haven’t been dancing. I still think about it though…I guess it’s just not in my cycle for the moment. Thanks for your terrificness!! xx

  12. Yes, I’ve heard of it and I know where they offer classes near me. I think hot yoga would suit me well now in the winter months. Thanks for pointing me in that direction. Happy Holidays, Rob!

  13. robtaylor@outlook.com' Rob Taylor says:

    Thank you, Elysha…same to you. The hot yoga is addictive…. 😉

  14. tshen00@gmail.com' TERRY SHEN says:

    Consider yourself blessed, Elysha. Knowing your cycle gives you the flexibility to tailor your workout to your mood/ lifestyle. And not to mention the overall toning benefits. Not everyone knows what they like, exercise wise, let alone their cycle. Curious if your workout cycle incorporated the time dimension? For instance, I run but one day in the future I will have to give that up. Our bodies change overtime as well.

  15. That’s an interesting point you make, Terry, about the timing. I have taken a break from running for now. Though I still love the thought of heading out on a run…when I do this, my body hurts afterwards.

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