Are you stuck in a rut? Working out all the time, hoping to lose weight, but nothing is happening? Even modifying your diet isn't changing things much? Maybe it's time to change your workout. At least, that's the conclusion I've recently drawn.
When I was in my 20's I absolutely loved working out in a gym. You'd find me with the guys (fewer women did this), using weight benches and free weights or cable machines, curling and repping whatever weight I could. I'd tackle a few sets in a muscle group and move on. Weight training provided amazing results, but was seriously boring. And sometimes, lonely. If I didn't recognize anyone in the gym who I felt comfortable asking for a "spot" or if I just didn't recognize anyone I could talk to, I didn't workout as hard or for nearly as long.
When I started doing Dance Trance in the late 90's, it was the variety of music and choreography that really drew me in. I did notice weight loss and toning, but at the time, that was secondary to my need to improve my balance and flexibility. So the two workouts complimented each other. Eventually, I just dropped weight training all together. It seemed like Dance Trance was covering all my needs and I didn't really have time for more. Recently, I've realized, how wrong I was.
Don't get me wrong. Dance fitness is fantastic. It's great to be able to get high cardio in for an hour that is so much fun I don't realize I'm working out but, my 43 year old body isn't what she used to be. All the twisting, jumping and pounding has taken a toll on my knees and feet. More so than I expected. A couple of months ago I learned that an assumed interal blister, as I had told myself, was in fact, a tear in a tendon in the ball of my foot. It took a trip to the podiatrist to learn the truth. I was sidelined for the prescribed 6-weeks.
I couldn't dance but I didn't want to just sit around doing nothing. I mean, I own a fitness studio for peet's sake! So, I started taking Sculpt and Pound. Mostly because that's what we offer and because each of the classes has one thing in common: low impact. I told the instructors of those classes what my limitation was and that I would either be doing the exercises in a modified way or do another exercise entirely. No one seemed to mind. And everyone was inviting and encouraging.
After a few weeks something happened: I saw my muscle return, in addition - I saw less cellulite, improved strength and stamina, less pain in my knee and foot... and yes folks, weight loss! And what I realized is I have to change my workout habits if I want to see new results. That's not to say I don't dance anymore. If anything, I am dancing and teaching way more since but I've discovered that my body doesn't respond to just Dance Trance anymore. It needs additional exercise help. It needs the muscle or I won't be losing any weight. And really, the scale isn't even playing a part here. We're talking 2-3 pounds lost but I look and feel so much better and stronger.
That's not the only workout I plan to add. In 2017, I'm going to go back and work on my flexibility again. Likely with yoga. I think you have to have all three components (cardio, weight training and flexibility) to keep your body in a position to function without injury and with best results. I encourage you to try a fitness buffet yourself and let me know if you see the same benefits. If you've been a Surfer, Pounder, Bootcamper or Sculpter, maybe add Urban Ballet, DT or Barre for lengthening and cardio and if anything, keep me company as I try to vary things up from my same old routine.
About the Author
Sandi Cano Cauley is a small business owner, fitness instructor, dancer and retired broadcast journalist. She operates Turn Cardio Jam Studio in Richmond, VA (founded in 2015) with goals to mesh dance + fitness and connect others with some of their youth. She is also a 3 x boy mom, a Tejana, a wannabe