The #DefineTogether 30-day challenge was something I embarked on for the month of February, and I was definitely apprehensive at first, committing to five workouts a week: consisting of 2 spin (Define Rev), 2 barre (Define Body) and 1 aerial yoga (Define Mind) or mat yoga (Define Yoga). Before I began the challenge, I wasn’t the biggest fan of the barre class to be honest, and that’s simply because I just found it so damn hard, and wasn’t very good at it. But the more I did it, the stronger I got, and by week two I was in full swing and really enjoying it! I caught up with Define instructor, Ivy Davidson to talk more specifically about the challenge and its intended outcomes, and here is a breakdown of what I learned and what I achieved over that month.
I learned a few things about myself and about my body over the course of this fitness challenge, and motivation played a really important role. I am pretty self-motivated as a person, but put a challenge in front of me and I am there. Accepting the 30-day challenge and knowing that I had to go to every class made such a difference for me; it meant that I was held accountable and that I couldn’t back out – no room for excuses. The great thing about this studio is the support system and encouragement that the Define team provides – and that for me, defines the studio and what it stands for, because that’s what motivates you to get your ass out of bed at 6am and in the zone for an hour of exercise. And the thing is, once you do it, you really do feel so much better for it, and that hour totally sets you up for the day ahead.
There were definitely days when I felt stronger than others, which was also influenced by the time of day that I chose to work out. It’s helpful to identify when you are at your strongest and most energised for a workout – whether you are full of beans first thing in the morning, or maybe you come alive in the evening. Two weeks into the challenge I noticed just how strong I felt. I had improved massively in the barre (Body) classes, which were definitely my weak point to begin with – particularly with a focus on legwork, all those squats just kicked my ass! (pun intended).
I asked Ivy about her workout preferences and she said, “I am definitely a morning person! I believe the benefits are equal; it’s all about personal preference and how you wish to incorporate the workout into your day. A morning workout provides the perfect kickstart, you can set the tone and mentally prepare yourself for whatever tasks lie ahead. If you can make it through the thigh sprint, you are ready to take on anything! An evening session is the perfect way to switch off from the outside world and focus on sweating out any toxins or tension that may have built up throughout the day. This will definitely help you sleep better and end your day feeling strong and confident.”
This was key to the challenge – finding a balance and having variety in my workout routine made a huge difference, and made sure that I moved the focus of each workout to different muscle groups with every style of exercise. Ivy and I talked about the importance of mixing up workouts and she said, “It’s extremely important to keep your body guessing and to shock your muscles from time to time. The beauty of our method is that however many times you come your body will never reach a plateau, whether that be because you’re switching up your workout day to day, or taking on the challenges that are provided to you by the instructor as you get stronger. Our method is designed to boost your metabolism with a cardio blast (Rev), build strength and flexibility (Body) and to restore your body and mind using breathing and stretching exercises (Mind/ Yoga). These three styles will help your achieve a well rounded lifestyle.”
My energy levels and mood lifted significantly during the month, and my body quickly adapted to my five-a-week workout routine, including early starts before work and late finishes right after. It can be so hard to fit workouts into a busy schedule, and the challenge did mean choosing fitness ahead of other activities on many occasions, but that was okay because I was working towards something and I was seeing results in dedicating my time to my fitness. I also found that I strayed away from colds and general lethargy for the duration of the challenge – I often get headaches too, and I didn’t experience any symptoms while I was busy working out, which was definitely an interesting finding for me. As I said, I learned a lot about my body throughout the month. Incorporating rest days was just as important as the workouts themselves, and I also found the yoga class a great way to come down after a hectic week in the office, and an intense week of workouts – allowing my body (and mind) to relax and unwind, and to give me that all-important time to simply switch off and not really think about anything at all! Ivy said, “Resting is just as important as working out. It’s an equal part of the total process required to build strength, endurance, and muscle. Rest days allow your muscles, bones, and connective tissue time to rebuild. Don’t think that taking a day or two off from training will set you back!”
I would say after 30 days doing 5 workouts a week the most obvious result I saw was that I was a lot stronger – both mentally and physically. This also helped with confidence and proving that I could achieve something I was pretty apprehensive about to begin with. I also felt more toned and more in control of my body overall. You know that feeling you get when you activate your muscles through very precise exercises, and you feel like your body’s movements are that much more defined, that you move with more intention, more power. It’s hard to describe, but this was the feeling I got after every class.
Book yourself into a session at Define Dubai and challenge yourself with a new workout that takes you out of your comfort zone and puts a new spin on your usual fitness routine.