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Find Your Happy Place

Ever get that happy-go-lucky, nothing-can-make-me-sad-today feeling? Welcome to your happy place! For me, most of the time, my happy place is in the outdoors. As an athletic woman who enjoys many sports, I was struggling with the "right" kind of happy place. Being an outdoor enthusiast and a co-founder of an outdoor adventure non-profit, I felt that I had to be in the out-of-doors to get a "proper" workout. It seemed wrong to be in a gym even though I've been a gym rat for 15+ years because of volleyball and teaching physical education. So recently, I found that making the excuse "I should be outside getting a workout" wasn't working at all. I wasn't working out outside. I didn't find joy in running in the cold anymore. I couldn't find a good time to ride mountain bikes with friends. I started to get lazy and depressed. Then three opportunities came into my life.

1) Give it I randomly found this site while surfing Facebook during one of my lazy stints. There was a story from Huffington Post about a woman that had been working out for 100 days straight and had documented every day by video. She was very inspiring and I was intrigued by this site. I immediately went to and checked it out. There were hundreds of people documenting their goals to "Give it 100". Some were learning how to juggle, unicycle, ski and much more! This was the first step, getting me motivated to work out for at least 30 minutes a day, for 100 days, no matter what the activity, indoors or out. 

2) OrangeTheory Fitness- I had received a phone call from a friend. She told me she needed me to go with her to try a new workout. Usually, this friend and I go to the Manitou Incline together. Not today. We would be traveling 62 miles to this workout. What? And it was indoors. WHAT? I was a little skeptical and at first and didn't want to go. Again, I was telling myself that I needed to be outside to get a workout. But this wasn't what I should be doing. Forcing myself to "get outside for a workout" made it feel like that's all I was doing, I wasn't able to enjoy the outdoors anymore because I felt pressured to get my sweat on. Time to try something new.  So…off we drove. After an hour, we arrived at the Highlands Ranch location of Orangetheory Fitness outside of Denver, CO. Immediately I was excited. The inner gym rat in me was free. This gym was everything I needed and I didn't even know it yet. Treadmills (or as I call them…dreadmills), rowing machines, a small weight room and a coach. We grabbed a dreadmill, excuse me…treadmill and started warming up. Being new to the whole thing, I had no idea what was going on but caught on quickly. All participants started at the same time, half on the treadmills, half in the weight room. The coach made his way around the room (they use a very good speaker system so you can hear them wherever you are), to let us know our first instructions. Treadmills performed about 25 minutes of various speeds including "walking", "base pace", "push pace" and "all-out". I ran over 3 miles during this workout so I was quite pleased. I had to get over the fact that I did it on a treadmill and not outside but at least I was moving my body. After we were done, we moved into the weight room and performed our first block of exercises with weights, a Bosu Ball and TRX straps. Each block has about 5-6 different exercises in it and after 3 weight training blocks, we were spent. We had done numerous full-body activities in about an hour. Brilliant! It was fast paced but I could control my speed and weights. The coach was motivating but not pressuring me and in only an hour, I felt like I do after my hardest outdoor workouts, ready for a shower and a nap! The reason why it's called "Orangetheory" is because you wear a heart rate monitor that keeps track of the times your heart rate is in the "orange" zone. The goal being to produce 12-20 minutes of training at 84% or higher of your maximum heart rate and if you burn 600-1000 calories during the workout, you'll burn 200-400 more during the next 24-36 hours. Not to mention also an increase in energy immediately and improvements in weight/cardio in under 6 months! I went ahead and got a membership to the Colorado Springs location that day. I let myself relax and get over the fact that it was a gym. I justified the membership fee because it's worth it to me to be able to work out with a friend,  have a motivating coach and get a full body workout in one hour so I'm ready for anything the outdoors might give me! 

At Orangetheory, a coach explains our heart rate results.

3) 9 Round Fitness & Kickboxing- On the opposite side of town, and opposite side of the workout spectrum is 9Round. This is a 30 minute workout that also focuses on some weight training as well as kickboxing techniques. This is my go-to workout when I am crunched for time. A typical day at 9Round looks like this: drop off son at school at 8am, get to 9Round at 8:05, start session, 8:35 get on with my day. Yeah, that's right, I can start "late" at 8:05 because they do not have a class schedule. They have hours that they are open but you are free to start anytime. Essentially, sessions start every three minutes. Starting at "Round 1" a coach helps get you on the right track and you warm up with some jump rope, plyos, or other strength building skill to get the heart moving. At the end of 3 minutes, you perform a "group exercise" in the middle of the gym. A coach leads this and motivates you through the exercise. After that, you move onto the next rounds with instructions from the coach. Rounds 1 and 2 are strength training, 3-8 are a variety of kickboxing bags for you to punch, kick, bob and weave your way through to Round 9 which is dedicated to core workouts. At the end of the rounds, a boxing bell beckons your attention with a "1 ring= good workout, 2 rings= great workout and 3 rings= you kicked my butt". I go with three rings every time! 

Every "round" is filled at 8am in 9 Round.

Doing activity in a gym ensures that I will be in better shape to just enjoy the outdoors again. And to allow my trail to be just that, a trail, and not my gym. One constant that brings working out in the gym and outdoors to the same level is that no matter what physical activity I'm doing; activities with UpaDowna, trail running, mountain biking, snowboarding, Orangetheory or 9Round, when I'm active, I'm happy and that's the only thing that matters. 

Wherever your happy place may be…

Adventure On!


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