Failed Relationships...With The Gym: My Fitness Alternatives

I am NOT a gym person. This isn't to say I don't like to exercise and be fit, but the method of doing so at a gym has never worked for me. In the past, my gym memberships have been like hot & heavy summer flings. Things pick up quickly - I'm infatuated, devoting my late nights, early mornings, and everything in between to my new crush. I'm thinking of new ways to work muscles I didn't know I had, reach levels of flexibility I didn't know existed, and find ways to make each time with my crush better than the last.

Then, all of a sudden, things cool off. My calendar shows that I have a pre-breakfast date; I sleep through it. I'm supposed to meet up with my crush after work; I decide to cancel. Eventually, I call things off...the infatuation phase is over, but nothing more serious ever developed in its place to keep me interested.

My personal issue with the men I've dated gyms I've attended in the past is that I get bored easily. I would usually go to the gym on my own, which was ideal because then I could work at my own pace. However, it's a catch-22, because I would often get bored being there by myself. No one there to motivate me, challenge me, or tell me when I needed to cut the water break short and get back to work. I have no shame in admitting that it's difficult for me to self-motivate in a gym atmosphere. No matter how hard I tried, I'd get bored to death of treadmills and waiting for weight machines, and I'd eventually cut my losses and move on.

So, what's a girl to do when she likes staying fit but hates the gym? There are a multitude of alternative work out options available to us here, both in the city and online. Here are a few that I have tried - they keep my body moving, but always give me something new to look forward to so that the boredom stays at bay:

Socacize: Socacize is the ultimate Caribbean workout. Created by Ayanna Lee-Rivears right here in Toronto, Socacize is a multi-faceted program that incorporates weight training, cardio, core strengthening, and fun dance moves to the tunes of soca, calypso, and reggae. Attend a regular weekly class, or step it up for the quarterly Socacize Bootcamp sessions - 6 week programs with 2 hour classes to really get you in shape! A fun, encouraging, welcoming environment, you'll find people of all fitness levels takin' a wine. Be on the lookout for the Socacize Lifestyle Challenge, coming soon!

Afro-Cuban Dance: Toronto is known as a melting pot of various cultures, so it's quite easy to find a way to dabble in the arts of other nations. Dancing has been a passion of mine since childhood, so I was excited to start taking Afro-Cuban dance classes 2 years ago. I took lessons at AfroLatino Dance Company in downtown Toronto, and their classes are amazing! My muscles were worked in a way I've never had them worked before, plus I always got a small history lesson with instructor discussions on the music and dance moves. My favourite segment is the Yoruba fundamentals - click here for a taste of Afro-Cuban dance.

Nike Training Club: Now that I've joined the iPhone world, I truly realize that the saying "there's an app for that" is real. There are tons of fitness applications to be purchased, but one of my favourites is the Nike Training Club - and it's FREE! NTC offers 30- and 45-minute interval training sessions, targeted at various muscle groups and for various results (weight loss, toning, strength, etc.). You'll be led through a series of exercises (don't worry, breaks are included!), and the more you work out, the more points you earn for various rewards, such as celebrity workouts. This app is great if you don't feel like leaving the comfort of your own home, plus with the short duration, it's easy to slot in the time to fit a workout into your day. Tip: download this app when you are somewhere with wi-fi - it's a fairly large app, so you don't want to eat up your data!

Body Rock TV: A great online resource for workout regimens and fitness tips. One look at Zuzana's body, and you'll see that this stuff is serious. I like to challenge myself with her workout regimens, but even just like to review her exercise moves and add new ones to my home workouts. She has some of the most creative exercise moves I've ever seen, so one visit to her site usually zaps any fitness boredom I may have been feeling. Want to learn more about how to start doing Body Rock? Click here!

Hopefully these links will help you if you're not a gym fan like me, or even if you're just looking for something new to add to your repertoire. Speaking of which, remember that 90-day challenge I wrote about here? I've been FAILING on the "physical" section...let me go fire up NTC :)

Are you a gym enthusiast? If so, how do you motivate yourself to stick with your gym regimen? Has anyone tried any of the options I mentioned in the post? Do you do anything different to stay fit? New Year's resolutions are just around the corner - let's get ahead of the game!

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