If you grew up an athlete, then you will relate to the statement I'm about to make regarding fitness. The harder you push and train, the more fit you become. Do you agree?
I started swimming around age 7 and officially retired from competition in 2000, at a pool in Fairfax, Virginia, with Michael counting my laps for the 1650 freestyle (also known as "the mile"). When I climbed out of the pool after that race I was finished with swimming. Done. For 15 years, I had focused on the black line along the bottom of the pool, for sometimes 6 hours a day and I was tapped out. But the fitness lessons I learned along the way stuck with me -- the more you sweat, the harder you push and the more sore you feel, the better you become.
I started two- a-day's in 6th grade, from 5-7am I swam and again from 5-7:30pm, plus dry land exercises (running, body weight work, stretching). We lived an hour from our club team. My family applied for a transfer to another school so I could be closer to the pool, making it easier on my parents who had two other children (Whitney & Michael), in different schools. So from an early age I learned to push myself, hard. Fast forward a few years to my first Ironman. Yep. The lessons of competitive athletics got me through the training and the race. But again, it was push, push, push... stronger, harder, faster.
When I think of fitness, that is exactly how I imagine all workouts should go. Imagine my surprise when I found activities that are equally as challenging, but not as aggressive. First, is Barre3, but more on this will come later in the month. This is a long winded way of saying that I found a new fitness routine, that seems foreign to me, but I love it! Called the Tracy Anderson Method, it's the same workout Gwyneth Paltrow, Courtney Cox and Molly Sims credit for giving them their long, lean, toned body.
Each session is an hour long, with 30 minutes of cardio and another 30 minutes of strategic muscle exhaustion, which works the smaller muscles most often ignored. Her website describes the workout as:
Based on over a decade of research on different muscular structure groups, Tracy Anderson has created a fitness method that can transform any problem area or body type. Tracy has created and patented over 3,000 varying fitness movements that target every muscle in your body. The sequences strategically exhaust the muscles in a way that does not create bulk, but strengthens the connection to the body. This program is designed for anyone wanting to achieve a perfect body naturally.
The workouts are specific to your body type, which is determined by answering a group of questions. When they DVD's arrive, it's like getting your own personalized workout. The cardio portion is dancing and as a water-sport athlete, on-land coordination is a bit challenging. I'm thankful this is done in the privacy of my home, as I'm sure I look like a drunk clown throwing my body forwards and backwards, arms in the air, but I enjoy it. Really enjoy it. Oddly, it's also helped me with body placement. By doing the same exercise (running, cycling, swimming) for years, my body is used to those movements and that rhythm. This dance sequence and odd (for me) movements have my body guessing as to what comes next, making it an effective fitness routine.
I've been doing the DVD's (in combo with other workouts) for 10 days. The workout disks have a total of 90 days, with continuation options available online. For me, it's a huge shift in thinking to do something fun for a workout and days I feel as if the workout "didn't count." If you want to give it a try, check out some of her video's on You Tube (cardio or arms or full body) and move. Seriously... Dance like no one's watching!