The pursuit of healthiness: 300 workouts in one year

Lisa before her workout challenge

Lisa, 43, is a wife and mom of four. The Oak Park resident works five days a week and spends her afternoons picking kids up from 2 different schools and from various sports and clubs.  In addition to Jazzercise, she also likes yoga and to go hiking in the woods.  Her hobbies include reading, gardening, arts and crafts and cake decorating.  She also volunteers at church and participates in mission trips.  

As you can tell from that brief description, she is a busy mom.  So I was surprised when I heard about her goal to complete 300 workouts in 2012 and I had to find out more.  Here is some of her story.

A Healthier Michigan: Tell me about your workout challenge to do 300 workouts in 2012. How did you come up with the idea?

Lisa: Well, I joined Jazzercise in November 2011.  They were having an attendance challenge where people would receive an evening bag for attending a certain number of classes between the beginning of November and the end of December.  I didn’t join early enough to win one, but I wanted to!  Also, every 25 classes at Jazzercise, they announce your total and the whole class claps for you.  It was the end of the year and quite a few ladies had over 300 classes!  They are so inspiring.  I thought “I am going to do that!”  So I set the goal for myself to go 25 times per month in 2012.

AHM: Why Jazzercise?

Lisa: In the past, I have walked as my main exercise.  However, I don’t like to be outside when it’s cold!  I also don’t like to walk in the dark, so that gives me lots of excuses to NOT exercise.  In November 2011 I was doing a program called DIET Free by Zonya Foco.  One of the assignments one week was to try a new kind of exercise that you had never done before.  I decided to try Jazzercise because I love to dance!  I took dances lessons my entire childhood and always enjoyed them.  There is a Jazzercise center in Royal Oak that I used to drive past every day on the way to my kids’ school.  I decided to try it and I was hooked!  I joined the same day.

The main thing I like about Jazzercise is that it’s fun!  You get to listen to current, upbeat music while you work out.  The instructors and other members are so enthusiastic and inspiring.  They have so many classes each day that there is almost always one that fit into my schedule.  I work out for one hour and I get in my cardio, stretching and strength training all in one workout.

AHM: What kept you motivated to continue throughout the year? What was your goal?

Lisa: I kept going back day after day because I enjoy it.  It’s the one hour of the day that I have completely to myself.   I think the key is to find an exercise that you love.  Another thing that motivated me was having the instructor announce my total every 25 classes.  It’s a little thing, but it was sometimes the highlight of my month.  Over the year I lost 40 pounds and gained lots of muscle.  That’s motivating too!

AHM: Did the number 300 seem daunting and how did you get over that?

Lisa: Three hundred didn’t seem daunting because I didn’t focus on that number.  I broke it down to 25 classes per month, or about 6 per week.  I just focused on fitting Jazzercise into my schedule every day but Sunday and that seemed doable.

Lisa after her workout challenge

AHM: How do you feel now compared to before you started working out? What changes did you see in yourself?

Lisa: I feel great!  I feel so much stronger and healthier. I have muscles now!  I  lost 40 pounds and went down 4 clothing sizes.  My doctor was impressed at my annual physical this summer.  My triglycerides went from 179 down to 95.  My HDL cholesterol went up from 39 to 49.

AHM: How would you advise others about doing something like this?

Lisa: I would advise others to find a type of exercise that you really like so that exercise won’t seem like something you “have” to do.   Also, busy moms shouldn’t feel guilty about taking an hour a day for themselves and their health.  Make yourself just as much of a priority as you make your kids.

Photo Credit: Lisa’s children

About Grace Derocha

Grace Derocha is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and certified health coach. She loves helping others learn how to live a healthier and happier lifestyle. Grace was born and raised in Michigan. She is a wife, mommy, Spartan, and avid Detroit sports fan. She loves food, music, dancing, shopping, reading, and smiling.
 
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