Exercise and I have a love/hate relationship. When I’m thinking about it, or doing it, I hate exercise. But afterwards, when the endorphins flow and I start to see results, I love it.
That said, I don’t like to pay to exercise. I mean, I don’t want to spend my disposable income on something I’m not entirely sure how I feel about… I’d much rather buy a pretty Aspinal of London handbag, or a nice meal, or a gorgeous outfit for bubs – all of which give me a rush of happiness with very little hard work! But this happiness is short lived until the next purchase, whereas the happiness that comes from exercise is longer term – my body feels better, my mind feels better, and therefore I feel my best self.
So, instead of paying a hefty gym membership, I go running with the dog three times a week and practice pilates using a DVD or YouTube video a couple of times a week.
And this is exactly why I love ParkLives (a scheme funded entirely by Coca Cola that offers free activities in parks across the UK). As much as I’m obsessed with not missing my running, I also know it’s good to change things up when you’re exercising to avoid getting bored or stuck in a rut, and ParkLives offers a huge variety of activities to choose from.
I signed up for the Insanity class as a way to maintain my cardio workout while introducing a new technique – which worked, because it was RELENTLESS and HARD WORK but I felt the burn in muscles I didn’t know I had, and I actually really struggled to go up and down the stairs for 48 hours solid. The kind of pain that feels good, you know? I took the class on a Monday night and only on Thursday morning had the aching muscles eased…
What is Insanity? It’s basically three sets of fifteen minutes; within each fifteen minute segment you do three sets of different moves, three times. You do them back-to-back, as fast and hard as you can. Think squats and lunges and jumping jacks and burpees and a whole lot more that I can’t remember because it was so fast paced. You don’t need any equipment, just your workout gear (leggings and a t-shirt with trainers will do!) and a positive attitude. I actually had a great time, laughing at how ridiculously difficult it was to keep going but loving how much fun it was trying the moves. It was like musical chairs in a way; thrilling knowing that the klaxon sounding 10 seconds was coming – but not knowing if I’d actually make it to the end…
But, of course, I did make it. I made it to the end of each rep, to the end of each fifteen minute segment, and then to the end of the 45 minute class. And it was done, and I was soaked (from sweat and rain – as if the class wasn’t enough, we also endured a torrential downpour), and most importantly I was HAPPY. Happy to have worked my body, happy to be lucky enough to have a body that worked, and happy to have put myself out of my comfort zone by trying something new with a group of new people.
And the people are great – the class was fairly small (around eight people) of varying abilities. Our instructor, Cally, was very inclusive and brilliant at motivating us as a group and as individuals. She also gave us the high intensity option and a lower level option so that we could vary each move to suit our own ability and fitness level. It might seem scary, going to a new class in a new place with new people, but the scariest part is the thought – once you’re there, you’re there.
And I can guarantee you that no matter how fit you may or may not be, Insanity is a brilliant way to get fit and shape up, whether you want to go to the class, do your bit, and leave, or meet new people and laugh with the others. Everyone is there to feel good, so there’s nothing to be afraid of. Just go, and I can promise you’ll love it.
I hate exercise, but I loved Insanity so much I went back for a second class. And guess what? It didn’t hurt quite so much. But it felt equally as good – if not better – than the first time.
With thanks to ParkLives for sponsoring this post. Visit the Park Lives website at www.parklives.com.
See what’s on in Dundee.
Images: Kris Miller.
Location: Dawson Park.