David Bowie urged us to "turn and face the stranger" for some "Ch-ch-ch-changes" but you don't have to turn that far from your own gym to see changes in your performance.
I've been unable to perform the olympic lifts due to a scapula injury for the past few months so I took my training outside the weight room last week. I dabbled in some other fitness adventures so I wouldn't go crazy. I mean, come on, squatting, benching and accessory work isn't any fun. Especially when it's all you can do.
Here are three workouts I'm glad I tried and why you should try them too: rock climbing, Pure Barre, and a group conditioning class.
Rock Climbing, Slidell Rocks, Slidell, Louisiana
Aside from pushing yourself past your fear of heights, climbing makes you feel like a champion. Well, when it's over. Your first climb up is a little intimidating but once you get past the nerves, you'll feel like you can conquer the world. You can always practice your Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible III impression while climbing too.
Indoor rock climbing is an intense shoulder workout but it's also really fun. You'll take turns climbing and belaying, both of which are shoulder burners. If you are belaying then you are the "spotter" for the climber. You will continuously pull the slack out of the rope while they ascend and safely bring them back down when it's time. I got a nice shoulder and bicep pump when I belayed. Great for you guys who want to get your #swolefie on
You can also try your hand at bouldering. This is my favorite thing to do. While climbing looks cool and you have to conquer your fears each step, bouldering keeps you closer to the ground so you aren't as afraid to jump or dive for a position on the wall. Plus you work your core like nobody's business.
Pure Barre, Purre Barre Mandeville, Mandeville, Louisiana
I thought Pure Barre, a workout utilizing bodyweight and small isometric movements, would be easy. I lift heavy weights. I jog. I've ran half marathons. A class with a ballet bar surely couldn't be any harder. Well, let me tell you: it is.
Those tiny pulsing movements with 2 pound weights, a tube, and a nonweighted ball obliterated my soul. There was a lot of tempo work and very small movements (in an inch, out an inch) that left my stabilizer muscles, abs, glutes and thighs sore as can be. Most movements were single arm or single leg so you can focus on gaining some structural balance too. You know, what you lose in your compound movements that you do day in and day out.
Your first class isn't expensive ($10-$15 dependent on the area) so I recommend finding a location near you & giving it a shot. I went three times in one week so safe to say I may be a little biased.
Group Conditioning, Garage Gym (Stephen Vallette), Mandeville, Louisiana
I do not like conditioning as much as I like strength training. (Maybe that's why it's second in my business name? Disregard the fact the profession is called "Strength & Conditioning") So if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it with other people.
My old friend Stephen Vallette is a traveling personal trainer in the North and Southshore of New Orleans so I caught up with him when I was back home for a nice conditioning workout.
Rounds included: 30m sled sprints down and back, 10 Russian Kettlebell Swings, 10 medicine ball tosses with 20# on each side, 20 push ups, various ladder drills, and suicide sprints.
It felt great to sweat hard again....after I was done. I wanted to die during the session but I was glad I did it. It's no surprise one of his clients has lost 10% bodyfat with his classes. Check him out at LaMarque Street Park every Saturday at 7:30am in Mandeville for the group strength and conditioning class and message him for more information on any other classes.
3 different workouts, 3 different styles but they were all fun, fresh, and didn't leave my scapula hurting. Don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone every now and then. You'll never know what you've been missing if you don't try. It's always "fun" to be sore in muscles you never knew you had before.
Have you tried any of these workouts before? Drop us a line in the comments, shoot us an email, or sound off on social media and let us know what you thought about them and what other workouts you tried outside of your normal gym.