Thursday, January 8, 2015

Fitness for the Fearfully Busy / Keeper of Funny Hours / Loather of Gyms

I love the Internet. I actually think it is better than sliced bread, but that's really only because bread goes mouldy after time, whereas the Internet just keeps getting better and better with time.

One of my major dramas last year was the ability to find the time to get to the gym to attend classes. I am not someone who can run on a treadmill, nor am I a huge fan of running deserted streets in the dark (be it pre-dawn or post-sunset). I am a fraidy cat of both the dark and strange people, so running alone is not, and has never been, an option for me. I am the girl standing towards the front of a class, frowning when someone blocks her view in the mirror (Vain? You betcha. But there is method to this vain madness - the only way you can work out effectively is to check your form), and frowning further when said person in front can't pick up the moves/is off the beat consistently. Some would say aggressive, I would say aggressive gym bunny with limited time in which to enjoy her work out. If you can't tuck jump, get thee to the back of the class!

Unfortunately, I don't make it to my class of choice very often, mainly because gyms frequently cater to people who are out of work and into their gym gear by 5:15pm and/or to the early birds who work out at 5:30am. I fill neither category.

Thankfully, 2015 seems to be the year of the online workout.

Tracey Anderson, that formidably fit trainer to the stars (Gwyneth is one of her biggest devotees, and who can argue with her excellent form?), is leading the charge with her video streaming subscription released this year.

Gratuitous Gwyneth-on-the-red-carpet shot

As her website attests, regardless of where you live - worldwide - you can access Gwyneth Paltrow's trainer through a series of weekly videos from Tracey, working out alongside her classroom clients (I expect these will be a step up from the Aerobics Oz Style girls I used to love watching back in the 80s). Ok, so at US$475 for 6 months it doesn't necessarily come cheap, but it is comparable to a gym subscription, and you have the bonus of variety as the videos are updated weekly (great for those with mindbogglingly short attention spans) and accessibility at whatever time of the day and wherever in the world that suits you (i.e. the living room, centimetres away from the Cherry Ripe you just ate).

Other live-streaming options include Ballet Beautiful, which allows you to undertake a customised Barre-esque class (you don't need a barre, just the back of a chair is fine). They also update the classes you undertake bi-monthly, and you have unlimited access to the streaming library, again from whatever device you happen to have at your disposal, wherever you find yourself on this gorgeous planet. Priced at US$39.99/month, this option is a little more accessible.

Actually, you don't need a leotard, ballet shoes or any other ballet clothing. It's just pretty to look at!
There are also a treasure trove of apps available for your iPad or phone. I have Pocket Yoga which I tend to do when I travel (you can change the settings to a small room, and the workout is customised to your space). What I like about this app, is that you can set your level depending on how you feel (Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced), and you can choose the length of your session (30, 45 or 60 min).

I am also a big fan of the 7 Minute Workout (no points for guessing why!) - there are loads of apps for that, which offer basically the exact same workout.

Then there is the more involved Nike+ Training Club app which allows you to choose a work out based on your goals (get lean, get toned, get strong) and then your fitness level (beginner, intermediate and advanced). I have the app on my phone, however have never used it, mainly because I find you need bits of equipment, which suggests you should be at least a little bit organised, and be at the gym (or buy a medicine ball etc).

Somehow, I don't think the cushions off your couch will suffice for this one
All this talk of physical fitness is making me feel rather guilty, having just polished off a pizza after nailing my mum's Christmas cake earlier this afternoon.

The downloading starts tomorrow...

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