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Picture this... we’re about a year into a global pandemic, it’s dark by 5 p.m. before you even get off work, and it’s a crisp 40-50 degrees outside at night (a bit chilly for an outdoor spin ride). Not only have you watched every show and movie on Netflix, Hulu, and possibly even Disney Plus—you’ve scrolled through every virtual workout class in your general range of fitness. Put simply, you’re bored and craving something that makes you feel alive—that pre-COVID connection and sweat. Something out-of-the-box that feels like the summer of 2016 when you wore real clothes, and the world was your oyster.
Okay, now that I’ve set the scene—this was exactly where I was at, mentally, when I downloaded Mindbody Flex. A part of me wanted to download it as motivation to exercise more, but I also wanted to experience working out virtually with real people and instructors, from all over the US.
So, I’m scrolling through my class options for the day, and I think to myself, “let’s see what’s going on in Miami.” I mean, why not? Miami is the healthiest and happiest city in the US, I was curious. I was immediately blown away by my options. I was expecting yoga, barre, meditation, and sculpt classes, but Tai Chi, sound meditation, self-defense, life coaching, kickboxing—all in one place? All for the same price of one pre-paid pass? I had never seen so many diverse and unique classes in one place. I wanted to take a week's vacation just to try as many as I could. The world, and my choices, felt big for the first time in months.
After a few moments passed and I was able to process all that was in front of me—I had this epiphany moment. I was going to make it my goal to try the most out-of-the-box, fun, and interesting classes. After almost a year of being in my comfort zone, I desperately craved the feeling of switching it up and learning something new. I made this my mission and got to work signing up for classes.
Since the app lets you see workout classes and their times weeks in advance, I was able to plan my classes out for two weeks. I decided on a Barre class with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, a twerk-aholics class, beginner’s Tai Chi, a sound meditation, and kickboxing to name a few. Even though I wasn’t leaving my house for these workouts, I felt like I was going places. It made me so happy to get that same excited and partially nervous feeling of trying something new, with other people who would also be doing the same thing.
Like a cliché rom-com, the hero of this story fell back in love with her past-love turned enemy. Just like you’d expect. But it reminded me why I loved going to group classes so much in the first place. With livestream real-time workouts I instantly had that feeling of being coached when you go to a new class and step on your mat, bike, or on that machine, you’ve never been on before—whatever that feeling looks like to you. I looked around and saw real people just like me that were about to take that same journey. While I didn’t get to see those people face-to-face, they were there with me. We took those classes together.
I also loved getting to try such a wide variety of classes without signing up for five different memberships or studios. It was a great way to see what clicks for me. I mean, the chances of me getting to fly to Dallas for a single workout with the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders? Ambitious, but unlikely. I could start my day and pick a workout that fit my mood. Raining and gloomy? Let’s do a cleansing sound meditation. A case of the Mondays? Time to release some steam with a kickboxing class. The possibilities are endless and personalized to me.
Ab-so-lute-ly, yes. Even if you’re not silently resenting your current virtual workouts and colder weather outdoor classes, I would suggest you try this out. I say this because I believe we could all benefit from that feeling of traveling, getting out of the house, trying something new, and connecting with other people who have the same interests as us. It’s comforting to be reminded that we’re all in this together and the world is still much bigger than the places we’re hunkering down. Workouts can still be riveting, and we can still try new things that get us a bit more out of our comfort zones with each new virtual experience!
I know I’m not the only one who feels like they have fallen into a virtual fitness rut as of late. This is precisely why it’s the perfect time for you to expand your horizons when it comes to your at-home workout routine.
For the first time ever, the globe will be watching surfing take center stage at the 2020 (postponed to July 2021) Olympics. People from all over the world will be appreciating the sport, many for the first time.
This symbolizes the surfing community breaking through centuries of negative stereotypes. Though conditions play a big part in the sport, the biggest hurdle the athletes will have to overcome to see success is mental. The winner will be the one who chooses their waves wisely with their understanding of the conditions and ability to intimidate and therefore overcome components. Meanwhile, they will be challenging themselves to emerge from crashing barrels, fly into the air, and land on the shifting surface gracefully. No big deal.
You’ve probably heard the invention of a wave pool, which creates the perfect man-made wave. In 2007, Kelly Slater founded his wave company with a passion to build the perfectly rideable wave at his surf ranch. It was debated whether the Olympics should be held in the ocean or on a manufactured wave, with many differing opinions on what would be right. The decision was made, and the event will take place in the sea, at Tsurigasaki Beach in Japan, about 40 miles east of Tokyo, where the rest of the 2021 games will be hosted.
As you watch, take a moment to reflect on the century of effort for this to happen. This initiative can be traced all the way back to the 1912 summer games that took place in Stockholm. Duke Kahanamoku, known as the father of modern surfing, won three gold medals in swimming, and while accepting his medal, he expressed that it was his dream to see surfing be added. To add fuel to the fire, International Surfing Association, recognized as the surfing world's governing authority by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), began lobbying for the inclusion of surfing in the Olympics in 1955.
Surfing is a multidimensional sport unlike any other. Nothing compares to paddling out to the serene silence that awaits beyond the breaking waves. Once you get out there, you immediately escape the many annoyances ingrained in everyday life—the constant notifications on your phone and laptop, your back-to-back schedule, answering to other people. You’re no longer on the time that your watch reads, you’re on mother nature’s time. You’re also no longer in control of your surroundings. Now, all you can do is surrender and wait for the next set to come, while trying to position yourself for when it does.
The high from catching the perfect wave is so addicting that surfers would fail on one hundred in a row just to catch that one. After you catch that perfect one, you replay it in your mind for the rest of the day.
A successful session is reliant on so many factors of mother nature—a force way bigger than us. For ideal conditions to exist, a good-sized swell must approach from the right direction, the wind must be flowing offshore, and you have to time your session right with the ebb and flow of the tide.
The sport is always teaching you life lessons. It is humbling, even if you’ve been practicing it for many years. One reason why it takes so long to master is that the conditions are going to be different every time you get out there. You might have caught a million yesterday, but today makes you feel like a kook because you can’t land one decent wave.
The community of people that you become a part of when you surf is special. A shared obsession with the ocean that brings you to dive into the water at dawn to get a session in bonds you quick. When you’re out there, you’ll find yourself interacting with people of all ages and backgrounds. People enjoy sharing the stoke of the sport. When you see someone out there teaching somebody new, you’ll encounter them cheering at the top of their lungs when they catch a good wave, and as you look around, you’ll see smiles all across the lineup. The other day, I caught a long wave in to be met with a cheering crowd of locals who frequent the spot that I do. When I got to shore, a local showed me their secret stash of hot packs to access in case I, or someone else, gets stung by a stingray when they aren’t around.
Being out in the ocean and abiding by her rules gives surfers a deep love and connection to nature. It’s common to see sea animals out there, like dolphins, stingrays, and fish. When you have an encounter, it’s a reminder that we are invading their territory. It sucks when you see trash floating in the water, or on the sand in its route to the water. It’s a sad reminder of the negative impact that humans can have on natural environments. It inspires you to pick up trash and advocate for sustainability so that we, as a collective, can take care of the beauty that we are lucky to have access to.
Tune in to see surfing break into the biggest international sporting event in the world beginning on Saturday, July 24th.
Do you live by the ocean? Paddle out with an instructor.
Don't live by the water, but still want to train for your next surf trip? Consider these classes.
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