New Fitness Chapter: More Than Cardio and Yoga

Fiona (left) and Reilly (right)

Fiona (left) and Reilly (right)

by Reilley Shannon
The 8-week challenge at RHF has been a very rewarding experience for me. I expected it to be a springboard back into my old habits of fitness, but it turned out that it has opened up an entirely new chapter of fitness and wellness in my life.
Many of my pre-challenge goals were not realized because they were based on my old habits. I expected to go to the gym five to six times per week and attend multiple group fitness classes each week with a focus on yoga. I was able to do five cardio workouts during week one. However, I only attended one group class during the first week of the challenge. I enjoyed Jen's yoga class, but it just didn't feel very inspiring to return to my same old cardio and yoga routine.
My partner, Jason, was also floundering in the first week. He came to RHF and used the treadmill, but he didn't know "what else to do." Jason helped push me to join him in trying a Group Training session and it totally blew my mind!
I had not done any high intensity style training or weights since playing sports in high school. At that point I was really tight and had several injuries, so I moved toward yoga and Pilates for my fitness to help heal and I never looked back. What I love most about the RHF Group Trainings is that for the most part they feel very balanced between strengthening and stretching. This balanced approach made me realize there are healthy ways to build strength besides yoga and Pilates.
My favorite aspects of Group Training are the team-like vibe and the mental competition to push yourself. After a week or two of Group Trainings, I gained a new repertoire of exercises that I could do on my own for shorter workouts as well. I also met Fiona and gained an awesome workout partner. 
Even when I come to the gym at 4 PM feeling tired, the trainings usually leave me physically spent but mentally uplifted. That energetic effect is exactly what I was looking for when I joined the 8-week challenge--I just didn't know I would discover it in an entirely new way of working out.
As the weeks progressed, I have changed from 60 minute cardio sessions to 20 or 30 minutes with more intervals. Paired with Group Training, this has been a dynamic combo. I've gained a lot of strength.
Two specific goals I had were to be able to do full push-ups and stay flexible by stretching post-workout. I can do a eight full pushes up now which feels like a huge accomplishment! I slacked off on stretching a bit weeks four and five and my knees really started hurting, but after discussing it with Marla I got back on track. I haven't lost any flexibility with the strength I have gained and that feels good.
The fitness tests were another awesome reality check in during the challenge. Noticing what I improved  in and in what way gave me way more information than a number on the scale.
All in all I am really proud of what I achieved during the challenge even though it wasn't exactly what I expected. I am really grateful for the sense of community RHF provides and the amazing supportive spirit of everyone I've meet during the challenge.
Without the token competition I may be slightly less likely to do fifteen burpees everyday and there may be some weeks that don't allow for five workouts, but I think I've found a realistic workout routine for my life right now and I am committed to continuing Group Trainings and doing workouts with Fiona. Most importantly, I feel confident that I can fine tune my workouts and diet to adapt to changes in my life instead of putting my health and wellbeing on the back burner.