I had never been one to join a gym or take fitness classes. In fact, I was the kid in school that hated P.E.  I always preferred to get my exercise in the ‘real world,’ by being active: hiking, gardening, biking, etc.  I got away with this for a very long time and I appeared to be ‘fit.’ I should mention that I am blessed with a fast metabolism so weight loss has never been an issue.

However, about two years ago I noticed I wasn’t as strong as I’d been in the past, and I was getting minor injuries from doing normal tasks. I kept getting back pain from gardening or from lifting boxes during organizing projects. I also had Tennis Elbow from throwing the ball for my dog. I decided it was time to do something about this loss of strength.

I knew I wanted a fitness class as opposed to joining a gym and working out on equipment. I wanted to be taught how to properly do the exercises and I wanted the class atmosphere for motivation. I also knew I didn’t want a ‘Boot Camp’ style class. Boot Camp classes remind me too much of High School Phys Ed, plus I didn’t want someone pushing me to do movements beyond my capability. My goal was to build strength and flexibility without injury. I’ve never been a fan of Yoga, but Pilates seemed interesting.

It turned out that most Pilates classes on equipment, which was what I was looking for, wanted you to first have some private lessons if you were new to Pilates. I signed up for three Pilates classes with a Pilates trainer to see if Pilates was right for me. It may have been my instructor, but I found Pilates to be boring. There was so much concentration on breathing (which I know is important) and the progression of the workout felt very slow moving — an hour workout felt like an hour, or longer. I learned that Pilates was not right for me (at least not from that instructor). And, I learned the importance of breathing, posture and connecting with my body.

Photo by Patrik Sklenar

Photo by Patrik Sklenar

I was still determined to find some type of fitness class that would work for me — that’s when I stumbled upon TRX (Total Body Resistance Exercise). TRX, as seen in the picture (courtesy of The Fuse Fitness, Kensington, CA), is a suspension training tool that uses your body weight as resistance against gravity.

I liked the fact that all levels of experience and all body types could do TRX. The straps adjust, and you adjust your body to change the difficulty of each move. There are so many different moves/exercises you can do with TRX. You can get strength training, flexibility and aerobics all out of one class (dependent on the instructor).

I have to admit it was intimidating going to my first TRX class. It was the first time I had been to any type of fitness class as an adult. After feeling a little stupid and uncoordinated, I began to get how the TRX straps worked. I’m glad I listened to my body and pushed myself to go. I also learned that not all instructors are the same and some may push students more than others. It is important you know your body, your limitations and remember your reasons for taking the class. I did and it saved me from injuries.

I found TRX classes to be fun and to go by really fast – an hour class can seem like only a few minutes. And for me, the best part is that I see improvement relatively quickly and without doing a million reps of the same thing (which would be boring). For instance, the first time I did a Side Plank I could not do it without using my free arm for support. Then after about a month, even though the classes I had been in had not incorporated a Side Plank as one of the exercises, I was able to do the Side Plank without support, and I was even able to hold a weight with my free hand. The fact that all the exercises work your core means you can improve on a specific movement without doing that movement a gazillion times.

I have been taking TRX classes for almost a year now and I am not bored yet. I am more fit now than I ever was, and I’m having fun keeping fit. So me, the non-gym/fitness person, now looks forward to fitness (TRX) class.

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