Making Exercise More Fun and Social

On Sunday night Rachelle and I signed up for a new local fitness studio membership. The place is 5 minutes from our home and is called TruFusion. They only do group classes, so this helps me move forward my intention to make exercise and fitness more social this year.

We attended our first class that same night, starting out easy with a 75-minute candlelight yoga class. This was yin yoga, so it was slow and deep stretching, relaxation, and some meditation and mantras. It was very non-strenuous – my Apple Watch reported that my average heart rate was only 86 bpm – a nice way to glide into getting that first class checked off without killing myself just yet.

Yesterday we did a 75-minute hot yoga class, which was more intense, especially since I haven’t done hot yoga in many years. My heart rate peaked at 176 bpm in that workout, averaging out to 144. I couldn’t do all of the postures yet, but I’ll gradually work my way into more flexibility.

I like this place so far. They have lots of variety with five different rooms for classes, two of them heated. They offer 65+ different types of classes: numerous forms of yoga, indoor cycling, bootcamps, boxing, kettlebell workouts, pilates, battle ropes, TRX, and some classes I’m not familiar with yet. They run classes all throughout the day including evenings, weekends, and holidays – 240 classes per week – so there’s always something to chose from. They’re located in a local shopping mall where we often go for walks or other errands, which makes it easier to slot this into our lives.

This studio has 545 Google reviews with a 4.9-star average, so people really love it. We’re doing a 30-day membership to start, and if it still feels aligned after that, we’ll go for an annual membership. I’m feeling optimistic about that since the staff and members that I’ve interacted with so far have all been very friendly. It reminds me of the camaraderie at the Tae Kwon Do studio where I used to train in the 90s.

TruFusion’s style and vibe feels like a good match from what I’ve experienced of it thus far. They approach fitness from a mind-body-heart-spirit perspective, so it’s not just about the physical. In addition to many upbeat workout classes, they include meditation classes as well as extra trainings and occasional retreats for the members. And during the times of year when the Vegas weather is nice, they offer some outdoor “yoga on the lawn” classes next to the studio as well. I think that’s part of their promotional strategy.

Rachelle is very much onboard with this too, so we’re doing this together. She had done a prior 30-day membership at this studio more about two years ago and is happy to pick it up again. She’s been doing daily yoga at home for 2+ years now (mostly Yoga with Adriene videos on YouTube) and is looking forward to mixing it up and challenging herself more.

I expect that sometimes we’ll do classes together while other times we’ll go separately, depending on our interests. For now it’s nice to go to classes together since there’s so much to try. I’ve never joined a gym with so many different group classes. Since I love variety and stimulation, this aspect feels exciting and fun. It’s been way too many years since I’ve had the experience of showing up to exercise and not knowing what to expect.

My one disappointment was that the boxing classes don’t involve sparring – just bunching bags or pads. So it’s not real boxing, just boxing conditioning. I can understand if they exclude personal sparring for liability reasons. But punching a target that can punch back seems more fun.

This studio could also be another outlet for us to make more local friends who are aligned with personal growth. The vibe is more social and friendly than you’d find at a gym you might join for solo workouts. Earlier this month we joined a kinky meetup group as well, so this change-up of social flows ensures a different kind of year for us. The contrast between these outlets makes life feel more interesting and varied. Tomorrow we’ll likely engage with both. For one group we’ll bring a yoga mat, and for the other we’re supposed to bring duct tape. I’m not entirely sure what the duct tape will be used for yet.

While many people are capable of joining a gym and not showing up, we’re not such people. If we join, we always go… and go often. Our big decision was whether to sign up in the first place.

Any kind of change takes some adjustment. Slotting more things into my life is a challenge, but what I like about this one is that it’s likely to give me energy rather than consume it. It feels like this will help rebalance my life in ways that I’ve been craving lately.

Rachelle and I may also do some date nights that start with a workout, shower, a nice vegan meal at a local restaurant, and a movie. All of these are within easy walking distance of the fitness studio. I suggested this to Rachelle, and she smiled and said, “That sounds yummy.” Maybe I can work in the duct tape as a special surprise. 😉

I’d been thinking about joining this studio since it opened a few years ago, and now I have an actual membership card. What helped to tip me into joining was some story-related work I’ve been doing in a coaching program I joined earlier this year as well as working on the Stature course and thinking about the direction of my character’s story. This helped me see where my old story was being clingy and inflexible, and it also helped me get excited about a new story.

I feel like my new story doesn’t have to be perfectly developed to be effective. It just has to be good enough to tip me into new actions. And then those new actions will lead to new experiences that help co-create other parts of the new story.

I feel like my new story in this area of life has the broad strokes right, but the details are going to have to emerge over time. For instance, I have no idea which of those 65+ classes will become my favorites. And I don’t have clear fitness goals in terms of the physical side, nor do I really care to set them. For me this change has more to do with lifestyle balance and social flows. While fitness is obviously a part of it too, I’m more concerned with freshening up the way I engage with my body, mind, heart, and spirit and how I balance and integrate these aspects of life. I especially want to bring more heart-alignment into how I engage with exercise.

Right now I feel excited to lean into a nice big field of new possibilities to explore – with so many classes to experience and so many people and instructors to meet. Getting back into explorer mode in this area of life feels very aligned. Other improvements, such as increasing my flexibility, will happen if I just keep showing up, and it feels good to allow those changes to unfold organically for now. It resonates with me to frame exercise as being fun, social, varied, and challenging again because that motivates me to show up. I can’t get myself to care about stats or metrics.

I also find the edginess of this motivating. I’ve done enough solo exercise that it’s hard to make it feel edgy because it’s too predictable. I’ve changed my routine numerous times, but I feel drawn to get back into social exercise again, which I haven’t done since kempo training about a dozen years ago. I want to show up to new classes that will knock me off balance. I want to go to classes where I’m the worst in the room. It’s nice to be terrible at something, knowing that if I just keep showing up, I’ll get better.

When the energy of my life grows stale in some area, I feel compelled to break from the old patterns and mix things up to restore the feeling that I’m progressing. I don’t see progress as akin to climbing a ladder. I tend to think of progress as playing in a vast role-playing game.

Am I gaining interesting experience? Is my character growing and evolving? Have I been following the same routine for too many months or years? Where is the path with a heart now? Where’s the fun? Where does the energy want to flow next?

When a part of my life becomes too routine, I feel that it’s wise to break it. Get some fresh energy flowing in a new direction. A great way to do that is to change up the social flows. New social flows generate new energy flows.

I love that with TruFusion, I could go for 30 days in a row and never attend the same class twice. And even when I do attend the same classes, there are many different instructors to engage with, each with their own style. Fortunately the instructors seem to have plenty of freedom for creativity and self-expression, so they aren’t required to teach every class the same way. I like that – I think it’s way better for the instructors too.

The vibe of this studio reminds me of what I missed about doing martial arts. While working out solo is certainly cheaper and more convenient, there’s just no substitute for the vibe of training with other people, especially open-hearted people who are aligned with supporting each other.

My new story will probably involve a lot of soreness this week.

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Read Making Exercise More Fun and Social by Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina

Steve Pavlina is an American self-help author, motivational speaker and entrepreneur. He is the author of the web site and the book Personal Development for Smart People.

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