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The art of modification

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Christine Dailey goes beyond fitness for your stage of life

The thing about working out is that there’s always a really good excuse not to. Whether your nine to five is more like a seven to seven, or you’re a new mom just trying to find time to shower, there’s a lot that gets in the way. As women, we are motivated by the mental aspects of a gym. What stage of life are you in? Take your workouts beyond the “fitness” part and find what stimulates your body and your mind.

Young and fit (ages 18-25)

Walking into the gym and spending 45 minutes on the elliptical isn’t as exciting as going to the club, or the latest movie with your friends. You know it’s important to exercise but to be honest, your calendar is pretty chock-a-block, reserved for school, social or sleeping. Plus, up until now, you’ve never really had to think about working out because school sports usually checked that box.

Can you imagine a spin class that has a hot, bumping playlist, wicked club lighting and a group of motivated friends? Go to a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) class with an energetic, fit instructor and just try to stay away. These classes will give you that “team” atmosphere, where everyone is pushing you to that next level. Group classes make it easier to commit and take the hard work out of the equation because all you have to do is show up, your coach will take care of the rest.

Career fit (ages 25-35)

You stomach a 60-hour work week, lunches are reserved for meeting and greeting, and you are absolutely wiped out by the time seven o’clock rolls around. You know that the best thing for you to do is to move, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get a proper workout in.

One of the solutions might involve you becoming a morning person. The best time to bang out that workout is before your day even starts. Set that alarm for 5:30 AM and hit the gym. A group class has tons of energy, the studio is buzzing, and it beats showing up to a half-empty gym only to try and figure out what to do by yourself! Check it off your list and move on with your day.

Post-partum fit (ages 30-45)

Once you become pregnant, health is at the forefront – pregnancy yoga and breathing classes, light swims, and relaxing walks. One step into postpartum means fitness and self-care get put on the back burner. You’re lucky to get a shower in, let alone a workout! Not to mention, your pre-pregnancy body seems more like a far-off dream than a reality.

After the go-ahead from your doctor, it’s all about finding what you enjoy as an emerging mother. Ask yourself what motivates you, while listening to your body – what can you realistically do? Find a personal trainer that can work with you to increase your pelvic floor strength at your own pace. You can eventually integrate into group fitness – strength classes, circuit training and conditioning, with an energetic instructor that speaks to your inner voice and motivates you to re-invent and love your new body.

Menopause fit (ages 50 +)

Your body doesn’t move like it used to. Running may no longer be an option, or that lower back pain gets in the way. You might be frustrated that you are no longer able to work out like when you were young and fit.

Like all stages, this is one of exploration. You will have to step outside the box and try something new. You were a runner, but have you tried indoor cycling? It will work up the same sweat and get your heart pumping, with less pressure on your knees. Any good circuit class or boot camp will have modifications to help you build to your full potential. If you’re feeling a bit nervous, a personal trainer can seamlessly find a workout that is tailored to challenge you, while working with any previous injuries.  This is the time your body needs the exercise the most – if you don’t use it, you lose it.

The secret to your stage of life is the art of modification. Check in with your own body to find out where you’re at. Whether your too cool, too busy, too tired or (feeling) too old, it’s all a matter of reprogramming your mind. As a woman, you most likely know what you want in life, fitness is no different. Figure out what works for your body and mind and find it. Your life depends on it!

This article was originally published in the Fall 2018 edition of RG Magazine.

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