Last week, I shared 5 of my tips for getting the most out of my classes and staying motivated through the Earned in Winter challenge. This week, a few more.
1. Front and Center: Yesterday, I fought the rain and a mangled umbrella to walk into class late, right as the stretching started. There were no mats left, except for in the very front of the room, right in front of the instructor and everyone else. I grumbled to myself. I usually like to stay off to the side, not too far away, but far enough from the spotlight so I was loath to take my position. But, it was SUCH a boost to my motivation. I didn't feel like I could slack with so many people behind me. It gave me a little kick in the pants to get my knees up, my butt down and to take less breaks. (Don't be scared to try this. The reality is that no one is really paying attention, unless they are looking for a leader. I rarely see the girl at the front, since there are so many people between her and me and I'm concentrating on myself.) Even still though, you feel the pressure anyway, and it helps.
2. Schedule Smart: If you're like me, you already spend an inordinate amount of time trying to figure out what classes you're going to take--which instructors, on which days, in which studios. (Can I get an amen??) But, somehow, despite this, I often don't take my whole scheduling picture--social life and habits--into consideration when I get on MindBody. I tend to focus more on getting on the schedule at all, rather than scheduling smart. This leads me to forget about a meeting or dinner plans, which has me realizing--way too late--that I should have scheduled a morning class that day, instead of an afternoon one. So, I've begun keeping my smart phone calendar out in front of me when scheduling so I can't forget about the commitments I can't move. Taking it a step further, I'm also trying to gauge patterns in my energy. When am I up-beat? When am I dragging? If I know that Monday afternoons are a low-energy time for me, I don't schedule myself for a high cardio class for that slot. Instead, I pre-plan for a low-impact, sculpting class that day so I'll be more likely to follow through with it.
3. You're So Vain: On last week's post, someone shared their tip of looking in the mirror, and it's a really good one. Getting yourself in a place where you can get a clear look at yourself in the mirror is a good habit. I know most of us feel uncomfortable gazing at ourselves for 60 minutes. (I personally find it challenging not to focus on the parts of my body that I'm unhappy with, or the rogue hairs sprouting all over my face), but it's actually proven good practice for me in multiple ways. Not least of which is to encourage myself to look beyond my insecurities to my form. When I can SEE what I'm doing, then I can make adjustments. When an instructor yells FLAT BACK, I can check and see if I'm flat and adjust. When she asks me to make sure my knee isn't going over my ankle during lunges, I can double check from the side reflection. Keeping tabs on form through the mirror has helped me vastly improve.
4. Stretch Armstrong: I hate stretching. I'm using the word HATE about stretching. I know how crucial it is, but still I hate it. It hurts. I'm inflexible and I suck at it. It's one of the reasons I hate being in class early, because I feel forced to stretch on my own--like others around me--and I just don't wanna. BUT, I do commit to the stretching IN class. I know it's not much, but that makes it all the more important. Before and AFTER the class. We've all been there, when we are lithing at lunch and need to hurry back to work, or we have a ride waiting on us downstairs, so we skip the stretching at the end, step over some people, and get a towel and rush back to our mats and out of class before everyone else. I certainly have. But, there are some folks that make this the rule rather than the exception just to beat the locker room rush, and I can't help but feel like I'm getting cheated out of my much needed stretch when girls are stepping over me or spraying me with mat cleaner while I'm down in a straddle. We all need a stretch, even if it's just a few moves, and let's be honest, hitting the elevators two minutes before everyone else isn't worth skipping out on it. A few stretches a few times a week, really does add up to increased flexibility. So stay to the end of class (if you actually have the time), I and your neighbors, and your body, will thank you for it.
See you in class!