Sunday, January 26, 2014

My New Exercise: Why it isn't Crossfit

I knew my exercise program was failing when I got depressed from, well, lack of exercise. I'd been lifting weights and doing lindy hop (an athletic American partner dance from the late 1920s). But after ten years, six of which I lifted weights three times a week, I was bored with weightlifting. Even though Slow Burn doesn't demand much time, I wasn't making enough time for it. And there are so few men in Denver's lindy hop scene that I only got a few dances a night. When you subtract the people who only dance with their date or stand around in a huddle with their friends, the ratio of women to men is probably three or four to one.

Why not crossfit--it's all the rage, it's a tough workout and there are several places to do it close to home or work. Mostly, I don't need to throw up from working out. Google "crossfit vomit" (without quotes) and you'll get 95,100 results. I also don't need the snooty attitude I've heard so much about. I'm sure many crossfitters are lovely people, but it only takes a few bad apples pretending they don't see you or offering advice you don't want to ruin it. I had enough of that in the lindy hop scene, though most of the bad actors left Denver some years ago.

I never encountered any snobbery at my old taekwondo school, where the master there was also the Olympic head coach. The martial arts I'm familiar with have a tradition of discipline and showing respect to others, probably because a bunch of cocky, pugilistic students would be a liability to the community and ultimately their school. Recalling a positive time spent at my old school, I joined a traditional karate school near my home. I'll have to relearn all the terms in Japanese, but the place feels like my old school. I've had my first class, and had forgotten how precise the movements are supposed to be. I think it will be as mentally challenging as lindy.

For strength training, yoga is underrated. Some yoga classes are less strenuous (like lifting inky-dinky weights) but are good for stretching and relaxation. I've found a yoga class with a terrific instructor at a pleasant studio that's quite challenging, and I feel like I'm gaining strength and balance. One thing I like is that the class is different every time, and so I don't work the same muscles with every workout.

Most importantly, yoga and karate are two things I should be able to stick to. 


Lowcarb team member said...

Yoga sounds good.

BTW Like the new look to your blog.

All the best Jan

Lori Miller said...

Thanks, Jan.

Galina L. said...

I love yoga , the best thing about it - it could be practiced till forever, and classes are always different. I think it preserves youthful way of body to move. Many old people start to shuffle just because their hamstrings get tight.
I recently also got hooked on a pole fitness, mainly because my favorite yoga instructor I know for at least 10 years opened her own little vertical fitness studio in collaboration with another pole-instructor. Some people are great and inspiring teachers whatever they teach. I always thought I lacked upper-body strength, but during pole classes I found with amazement that each time I can do a little bit more than i thought i could, and it gives a great spirit-lift.

Lori Miller said...

I used to tell noodle-armed leads to imagine a pole-dancer trying to dance without a pole. Swing dancers are supposed to use each others' weight.

Anyway, that sounds like more fun than anything called "WOD," "Murph" or "Fran."

Angele Style said...

I have had a sore hip that is preventing me from going back to ballet and do not have a gym mentality where pumping iron sounds attractive in any way. I have heard Martial Arts is second to ballet training in using body. mind and spirit. I think of MA as a fighting sport. I do not like to fight. Would I like MA??

Lori Miller said...

IME, even taekwondo isn't as grueling as ballet (even though you do a lot of kicking). IIRC, kung fu uses mostly arm movements, which would be better if you have a sore hip. You could look into capoeira, which is a dance/martial art and looks like a lot of fun.

My best suggestion is to ask some schools what they expect of their students, and let them help guide you in the right direction.