So do you remember way back at the end of January when I was so proud that I was starting to develop arm muscles that I could actually see? The circuit training I was doing was making a difference that I could actually see. And I was happy. By the end of the eight week set of classes, I not only had more defined arms but I could do far more pushups and situps than I could that first day when I was horrified by my inability to do situps.
Well, now it’s been two months since I finished those circuit training classes and I’ve been either working out at home – and we know what that means – or doing the dance classes of Zumba or Latin Fusion or Belly Dancing four to five days a week, depending on my schedule. While my fitness level has definitely increased, there have been tradeoffs.
My feet can’t continue to move as quickly and accurately as the professional ballroom dancing instructor, but I’m no longer winded after a few songs, and I can make my feet do what I want them to do for the vast majority of class with the fancy steps before my muscles just stop responding as quickly as I want them to. That’s the good news. I’m enjoying the dance classes, and I realize how much I missed them before. I’m also developing a nice comaraderie with the other ladies in the class, which makes it even more fun.
But the downside is that it’s pretty much all cardio. And fitness isn’t just cardio. Building muscle is an important factor, and I realized last week that I was ignoring this. I finally had enough time after my Monday Zumba class to stick around for the Stretch and Strengthen class immediately afterwards.
It’s nowhere near the circuit training I was doing – especially as the instructor is newly pregnant and unfortunately battling some nasty morning sickness – but we worked on several areas with weights and balls. The leg work? No problem. I’ve got that, hands down – no pun intended. Then we laid on a mat and passed the exercise ball from hands to feet while laying on our backs. And I realized that my ab muscles I was so proud of and loving working on had melted away from disuse.
And I’ll be honest that dancing in front of an entire wall of mirrors means I can see myself as I’m working out every day. And my arms? They’re drooping.
And so this is my wakeup call, my reminder that you can’t follow one routine to the exclusion of another. I love dancing, but I need the circuit training to maintain muscle mass because that’s important to me. For right now, I’m committed to the dance studio for another month, and I’m enjoying my classes. Come June, I need to reassess where I’m spending my time and money. In the interim, I need to go back to working on my arms and abs at home. My legs and cardio get plenty of workout while in the dance classes, especially from the dances we do mostly on tiptoe.
It goes back to balance. It’s all about balance in everything you do in life. You can’t simply follow one path or dream but instead need to keep focused on the big picture and what it will take to get you there. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a few situps I need to go do. What are you working on this week?