FQ challenge: Getting out of an exercise rut

Lucy Slight wears adidasLucy wears the new adidas I Got This range: adidas Racer Back Bra, $70; adidas Work Out Tight, $100.

Ever feel like you’re stuck in an exercise rut? FQ features editor Lucy Slight came up with a way to get out of her own one.

On a mission to get fit for summer I’ve been going hard at the gym, but I realised last week that I was stuck in an endlessly repeating cycle of Grit / yoga and needed to shake things up to avoid the dreaded plateau. I set myself a goal: To spend just one week trying to vary my routine to see if I found something that could put the spark back into my workouts. That meant no skipping out on sessions because I wasn’t in the mood and no doing my usual classes at the gym; the aim was to expect the unexpected. So here’s how my ‘shake it up week’ went…

Day 1: Body Pump
Let me preface this by saying, I don’t like Body Pump. After I got hooked on Grit (high intensity interval training), Pump just became too boring. And a whole hour of it? Forget about it. But since I was on a mission, at Monday lunchtime I did the 30 minute express session. Pump cut in half! Now that I can handle. I went with a friend from work which always makes it much more fun. We made pained faces at each other after doing maybe 100 squats with a bar bell on our backs and collapsed together on the floor after too many tricep press-ups. But the class invigorated me for the rest of the day and man did my glutes hurt on Tuesday. If I can stick to this 30 minute Monday thing, I may well find myself back on the Pump bandwagon.

Day 2: Budokon Yoga
To celebrate the launch of adidas’ new I Got This range, I was invited to take part in a Budokon yoga class at 7am on Tuesday morning, which ticked two boxes – an exercise session I was locked in to, and a new type of workout at that. Budokon is a combination of yoga and martial arts and is very fluid in nature. Unlike other yoga I’d done in the past, there was a strong focus on undulating the spine – something that doesn’t quite come naturally to me. I spent a lot of time feeling like I needed to loosen up my body, but my body wasn’t playing ball. But once I stopped thinking about what I looked like and just let go, I really got into it. We pulled imaginary swords from our holsters and slashed our ‘opponents’, we kicked our feet up in the air and landed like frogs and I felt like I was just playing like a kid for 45 minutes, rather than exercising. The dream!

Day 3: Body Jam
What I’m about to say is no word of a lie: Body Jam is the most fun you can have while exercising, hands down. On Wednesday night, I dragged another workmate along to an after work Body Jam class at the gym. Body Jam, if you’re not familiar, is like a hip hop dance class. Think carving up the d-floor like a total legend, while wearing Lycra and sneakers, rather than a dress and heels. The soundtrack included bangers from Usher, Fat Man Scoop, Justin Bieber and even a new one from Will Smith (I think he’s about to make a comeback) and regardless of whether or not you’re a dancer (for the record, I am not), you can’t help but spend the whole hour grinning from ear to ear and sweating just as hard from all that booty shaking. I was big into Body Jam a few years ago so I knew what to expect, but my best piece of advice if you want to give it a go is, don’t give up after the first time. You will find it hard, but give it a few sessions and you’ll pick it up in no time, trust me!

Lucy Slight wears adidasLucy wears the new adidas I Got This range: adidas Cycling Tank, $45; adidas Work Out Tight, $100; adidas Ultra Boost shoes, $250.

Day 4: Tennis lessons
I’m entering a work tennis tournament with Tyla (FQ’s fashion assistant) in January, and since neither of us knows how to play tennis, we accepted the offer of some pre-game coaching sessions so we could learn some skills and avoid complete embarrassment come match day. The closest we’ve come to getting good at tennis is scrolling through the adidas website looking a cute tennis dresses, so when it came to mastering our hand-eye coordination, our prowess left a lot to be desired. Thankfully, there were two coaches on hand to each us about forehand vs backhand grip, volleys, serving – you know, the fundamentals. And I’m pleased to say, after only an hour I felt like I’d really got the hang of it. I was definitely one of the least experienced on the court, but if there had been a trophy for ‘Most Improved’, I would have certainly been in the running. Speaking of running…

Day 5: Running
I just moved into a new neighbourhood, so what better way to check out my surroundings than with a run? On Friday night I laced up my adidas Ultra Boosts and hit the pavement to see what I could find. And you know what, running is so much easier when you’re more focused on taking in everything around you (and trying not to get lost) than figuring out how you’re going to make it to the next lamp post. All up, I clocked up 4.5kms, found a new fruit shop, a sports field and even a movie theatre, so I’d say it was a pretty darn successful mission. I did take a few wrong turns and had no idea where I was most of the time, but thanks to Google Maps I managed to find my way home in the end. Though, I might need the GPS to locate the fruit shop again…

What a week! While the idea of committing to a new workout every day had me feeling a little daunted, I think I really nailed it (if I do say so myself). Mixing up my routine made exercising a lot more fun and I had a buddy along with me for everything except the run, which made the incentive to keep going when things got hard, that much easier. Now I’ve just got to keep it up…