Ask a Millennial: what should I do for fitness?
My millennial gurus, Alyssa and Freddie, count steps. I live in NYC and don’t own a car. I walk all the time. I hit 10K steps a day easily. My body is used to it. I’d have to increase my daily steps by at least 5K if I wanted to see any change, but I’m so bored with step-counting. I’ve also joined gyms (so sick of the elliptical) tap dancing (fun but not good cardio), couch to 5K apps (working out alone is a drag!), pilates (not my thing), on and on. I’m STUCK! I need something new.
To mix things up, I turned to another millennial for inspiration: Chandler Massey, a/k/a Will, the other half of the fabulous (sadly, now-defunct) Will and Sonny supercouple on DAYS. He recently posted on Instagram:
Chandler does CrossFit. Great! CrossFit it is.
I booked a Fundamentals class at CrossFit NYC on New Year’s Eve Day. I’d heard that CrossFitters can be on the cult-y side. Maybe it’ll be the cult for me!
There was only one other person in the class, and the trainer was super nice. He showed us the proper forms for squats and jerks and lifts. Then we moved on to the Push Jerk.
Trainer: You’re hinging your hips. That’ll make your arms swing out. You don’t want to do that. (Stands 4 inches away from me.) Try again.
Me: I might hit you.
Trainer: No you won’t. You’ll do the jerk properly, right through the space between us. Try again.
Me: I might hit me. (steps back)
Trainer: (steps towards me) Try again, you got this.
Me: (steps back again) You don’t understand. I just visualized popping myself in the chin.
Other Newbie: You visualize, you materialize. (also steps back)
To his credit, he was creative: he got a PVC pipe and held it in front of me instead. To my credit, I didn’t hit it or me.
Overall, it was a good experience. The positives were attentive trainers who listened and adjusted to help me, and the space was really cool. The negatives were a lack of showers and class times that didn’t quite fit my schedule. I wasn’t totally sold on CrossFit yet.
A couple of Gen-X friends raved about OrangeTheory Fitness, and they looked fantastic too! I signed up for a January 2 class near my new office. It was called Run n’ Row (I think) and we spent 30 minutes frantically running on treadmills then rowing on rowers. I wasted a lot of time trying to not kill myself starting and stopping the treadmill. The next 30 minutes were strength training, but using small weights and doing variations of planks. The music was fun and the coach was enthusiastic, which was contagious.
There have been many articles about CrossFit vs. OrangeTheory. Basically, if you want cardio, go with Orange. If you want mostly strength training, go with CrossFit. Orange classes are the same across all locations. CrossFit gyms tend to have their own personalities. Both gyms gave me pause because of my clumsiness.
I’m not clumsy in a cute rom-com-protagonist way. I’m bloody-nose, break-a-toe, shatter-a-jar-of-mayonnaise-on-the-kitchen-floor clumsy. I wasn’t comfortable with the Push Jerk, and I felt spastic bouncing between the treadmill and the rower. Both gyms had great trainers willing to help. CrossFit had a bro feel, and OrangeTheory had a cheerleader vibe. I could see myself making it work at either gym… but I didn’t want to “make it work.”
I wanted to join a place that I actually wanted to go to! Where I felt like I was with my people. Where it would be okay if I was a spaz while giving it my all.
I looked for a unicorn.
Five weeks later…
My unicorn, Mark Fisher Fitness! (photos courtesy of Mark Fisher Fitness)
They’re in the style of CrossFit. (Thanks, Chandler!) Their staff and clientele are mostly working actors, which are TOTALLY my people. As soon as I walked in, I felt at home. And not just for the cool Hey Janet welcome sign! Their silliness is the right vibe for me. Their dedication to fitness is what I’m looking for. And I haven’t laughed that much with a stranger-turned-friend in a long time. This was the cult for me!
I not only signed up for a year’s membership, I joined their bootcamp Snatched In Six Weeks, starting this March. Stay tuned.
Fitness goal: in motion!