It was not too long ago – less than a year – that I viewed exercise (or “activity” as WW likes to euphemistically call it) as painful, something to be dreaded and endured. Even though I was going to a personal trainer twice a week, I rarely did anything on the other days. And I often could barely get through my workouts. Sometimes I cried. Sometimes I threw up (I am not kidding). Sometimes I acted like a total whiney wimp so my trainer would have mercy on me and go easy on my poor pathetic self. It wasn’t pretty. I’d also use exercise as a tool to flog myself when I ate too much. Again, NOT pretty.
But things changed when January 2009 and this blog and my diabetes diagnosis rolled around. I knew that I was going to have to step it up or my body and health were in for big trouble. So I upped the trainer to 3x a week, and started myself on the Couch-to-5k running program. It was not so easy at first, but eventually my 60 second runs turned into two minute runs, then three and five and fifteen minutes. Around that time I actually began LOOKING FORWARD to working out. Once I began working out 5-6 times a week, I began feeling that endorphin rush that I had believed was a mythical state of being. I started feeling happier and more energetic. I stopped wanting to take naps every single day.
For many months, I felt like the longer, the harder, the better. I would go to the gym and go at the elliptical like a mad woman. All this was good. I got a lot stronger. I lost weight. All good!
But I started thinking, how the heck am I going to keep this up when I am sixty years old? Seventy? The idea of it made me feel kind of nervous and worried.
Not long ago, a friend of mine brought me to a Nia class for the first time. It was really one of the most unusual exercise experiences I have ever had. I was not sure what to make of it. I sort of mocked it but I had to admit that it made me feel good, and after that class, I really wanted to do it again (that’s always a good sign!). So yesterday I went to my second class. It was even better than the first one. I enjoyed it so much. The teacher had fabulous dimples (I am a complete sucker for dimples) and kept using words like “juicy” and “gooey” and “yummy.” She was just like that – yummy! and really happy. At the end of the class she put on this song called “Dream” and she was singing along with it really loudly and joyfully, just like you sing in the car with the windows rolled up. I mean, she really belted it out and it was so great! I did not have the guts to belt it out along with her, but it was great to hear.
Today I went to another class, at another place. This teacher was super graceful, elegant and willowy and just beautiful to watch. (that’s her in the photo above!!) She was so cool. The other two Nia classes I went to both made me want to laugh out loud (I did, actually) but today’s class had me almost crying in parts. I got really emotional and lump-in-throat as we were moving around. But in a good way.
If you look at the Nia website, one of the testimonials has this woman saying she used to pump iron and such, but now all she does is Nia and she is in super amazing shape. And I had to think, WOW, could you really be in such awesome shape from something that is so much FUN? It does not seem possible. And this is something that seventy year olds can totally do. And thirty year olds.
But I also did not think it was possible to lose weight while eating yummy foods like cheese, brownies, birthday cake and Prosecco. And here I am, doing just that.
It’s made me rethink all the ideas I had about “dieting” and “exercise.” Maybe it doesn’t have to be torture. Maybe the secret is that it CAN’T be torture. 🙂
August 23, 2009 at 10:01 pm
This is really excellent! I posted something similiar on Friday about whether or not you can sustain a high level of exercise if you aren’t an athlete. The general consensus was just as you said. It would be hard.
For me, exercise is hard work, but there is definitely an element of pleasure to it.
August 23, 2009 at 10:05 pm
Ok, so where are you? You need to come to one of my classes. I have dimples. I say juicy all the time. I will make sure to add yummy. And just last week I squeaked out a verse! 🙂
Your post made me laugh and get teary-eyed. JUST LIKE NIA. There will be laughing moments and emotional moments. Most always powerful moments. I am so glad that you are enjoying it.
I am not sure where you are, but you talked about the Russian River and so that leads me to believe you are in CA. On October 4th in Berkeley they are having a Nia JAM! Oh yeah, babayh! A JAM. Where a bunch of teachers teach and we just dance and sweat and laugh. As soon as they get the flyer out I will let you know in case that is do-able for you.
Thank you for your post and thank you for sharing!
August 23, 2009 at 10:41 pm
Ooh!! I live close to Berkeley! I totally want to go to Nia JAM! Yes!!!
You’re so funny. You have dimples and you say juicy? And you are willing to say yummy? Well then I’m on my way!! LOL
August 23, 2009 at 10:51 pm
Yes, dimples and juicy covered. (I SAY juicy as well as BE juicy) I will add the yummy instantly—in fact I do say yummy sometimes, but not as much as juicy. I will work on “gooey” and belting out the tunes. All for you. (How exactly did she use “gooey”? That is making me laugh!)
And I am so glad that you are close to the Jam. Here is the info I have:
2301 Bancroft Ave. Berkeley, CA 94720
(FREE to CAL gym members)
And when the flyer is done or whatever I will make sure you get it.
How fun will that be? So cool!
You can spot me easy, I’ll be the one with the dimples walking about saying—no make that SINGING “juicy, yummy, gooey”.
August 23, 2009 at 11:00 pm
She used “gooey” in the warmup – ie, “We’re warming up, our body is feeling all yummy and our joints are getting gooey…” LOL! She was a hoot. And totally delightful. As I am sure YOU are.
Your class is 48 miles, one hour drive from where I live. Maybe when I’m feeling time-rich.
And I’ll be the one Tweeting/blogging into my iPhone the second the class is over! Ha!!
August 23, 2009 at 11:23 pm
Ha! I say our joints are getting juicy. I am gonna work in the gooey. That is awesome.
One of these days when you feel like a drive, yeah, come down. Especially when you are “time-rich” because if you come ALL the way down here will will have to go to lunch/breakfast/dinner . . . . something (depending on the time you come)! I don’t get up that way to their classes because they are early and it is an hour or so drive. But one of these days. When I plan on it, I will let you know so that maybe you can go to and we and meet up!
Did you get the tweet about Free Nia in Walnut Creek on Wed 8/26? I don’t know your schedule but that is in the am I think.
August 23, 2009 at 11:53 pm
I have never even heard of this NIA you speak of. wil have to look into this. Thanks.
August 24, 2009 at 12:13 am
wow, I have been going to the Dailey method and is really punishingly hard not juicy or even smiley. I may have to try Nia!
August 24, 2009 at 12:18 am
Punishingly HARD? NOOOOOOOOO!!!!! I will never do a punishing workout ever again.
And I think you would totally love Nia, Leah. (hey that rhymes, sort of) You have to come with me sometime! Yes you do!
(Saturday at The Hills 8:45am, Sunday at 7th Heaven Yoga, and Wednesday 7:30pm The Hills) There may be more, too.
August 24, 2009 at 1:15 am
Hmmm? I might have to trek over there (to the Hills — wherever that is) one of these Wednesdays at 7:30. Hmmm. I will have to look into that.
We will get all your readers JUICY and GOOEY and feeling Nia YUMMY!
August 24, 2009 at 3:19 am
I agree with you 100%. It should never be a chore!
August 24, 2009 at 11:53 am
I think exercise, just like life, is always a mixture of great and …er, not so great days.
August 24, 2009 at 11:56 am
Nia sounds fascinating. I’m going to have to check that out.
Like you, I always viewed exercise as torture or punishment but I don’t anymore. I have realized that I feel so much better after a run or any other type of exercise that even when it’s challenging, and it is still challenging sometimes, it is so worth it. And actually, so enjoyable. Thanks. This was a great post!
August 24, 2009 at 12:04 pm
I do think you should like your exercise – whatever form you choose to do. It kind of bothers me to see people refer to their “dreadmill” – shoot, why do it if you dread it so? I like to be pushed a bit, and my trainers know this and do so accordingly. I also like to just mess around and ride my bike all over my neighborhood – I can get a five mile ride in while feeling like a kid, which is fun! This Nia sounds interesting – I will have to check it out one of these days!
August 24, 2009 at 12:17 pm
You are an inspiration. For more then 20 years I rejoiced in daily workouts. I was a beast. When I became ill last Dec I was mentally incapable and have been unable to recapture the joy. Now it is an all too infrequent chore.
August 24, 2009 at 12:43 pm
Gayle, I would realllllly recommend trying a Nia class. It is sort of the opposite of being a workout “beast” which I also recognize… it’s more like playing, and the side benefit is a great workout. I hope you are able to recapture that joy!
August 24, 2009 at 4:30 pm
This is a great post! And you’re right, it really ties in with my post today about exercise not being punishment. I looked at the nia site, and there is not one within an hour’s drive of me but I know I can find SOME kind of exercise that I will truly love.
August 24, 2009 at 4:57 pm
‘Scuse me, please, Foodie, for jumping in on your blog, but:
Lyn–Nia is BEST experienced in a class. It is soooooo fun to get the energy and gooeyiness from other participants but . . .there are DVDs that you can get from the site. I love, love, love, love, love Global Unity. There is a song on there “I Love Baby Cheesey” that I cannot do without smiling.
If you can ever get to a class you will love it. Also you might want to try contacting the teacher that is closest to you because even though we are encouraged to put our classes on the NiaNow site, not everyone does. So there could be one near you that is not on there.
August 24, 2009 at 5:37 pm
OMG. “I Love Baby Cheesey” is the best song title I have ever heard.
August 24, 2009 at 6:16 pm
So now I am really curious and excited to check this whole nia thing out. You and your new things! LOL
August 24, 2009 at 7:54 pm
You can get “I Love Baby Cheesy” by Banco De Gaia on iTunes. “The Magical Sounds of Banci De Gaia” sound the closest to the one on the DVD, but I like the one on the Nia DVD better. So I didn’t buy the version on iTunes. I bought the CD (haven’t gotten it yet) from Nia HQ. (I originally spelled Cheesy wrong, sorry.)
Foodie I LOVE YOU. Thank you. You have done a tremendous job of spreading the word of Nia and I am so grateful to you. All of your readers know about it now whether they try it or not, more people know about Nia and the more that know the better. Hopefully all of them will be able to experience it somehow. Thank you.
August 25, 2009 at 12:00 am
Sorry, me again. I forgot to tell you, I said “GOOEY” a few times while teaching this morning. 🙂
August 26, 2009 at 1:08 am
ok saturday morning. 8:45. The hills. do you have to be a member of the hills? can I go with you so I don’t feel like such a nia-phyte ; ) ?
August 26, 2009 at 1:48 am
No, I’m not a member. You just pay a $15 guest fee. Unfortunately I will be out of town THIS Saturday, but the following Saturdays I would love to see you there!
August 26, 2009 at 2:30 am
You have a Lovely Blog Award waiting for you at my site. Thanks for your blog – I really enjoy reading it.
January 5, 2010 at 3:42 am
you’ve given me a little bead of hope. i think i spend a lot of my time avoiding my body – and the responsibilities that come with owning one. and i forget about the joy. you make it sound possible – even if for a second. thank you.