expat / fitness / health / self care / yoga

Day 14/28: My 3 Favorite Non-Gym Workouts

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Living in Houston, I didn’t realize how spoiled I was when it came to fitness class options. Since I’m an introverted EXTROVERT, I do enjoy going to group fitness classes on occasion as a way to get inspired from other teachers and learn something new. I especially like spin classes, TRX suspension classes, and hip hop/ West African dance classes. On occasion, I’d even go to Zumba and Les Mills’ Body Pump.

Living abroad, I had a hard time getting my group fitness class fix in Guatemala City and in Antigua. The group classes I had access to in the States were no longer available to me. I did find a great vibe at Antigua Gym’s Zumba and TRX class, but I needed more. I especially wanted a dance class that was not just Zumba or Salsa, and I craved more advanced level yoga classes in order to keep my skills fresh as a yoga teacher and practitioner.

As a digital entrepreneur who worked from home or out of a cafe in Latin America, I figured that there had to be a creative solution. And, I came up with the following 3 Non-gym Workouts that I consistently enjoyed.

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1) YouTube // Cardio Dance with Caleb Marshall aka The Fitness Marshall
After multiple attempts in trying find a hip hop dance class (I even resorted to begging a professional Guatemalan urban dance troupe to let me attend their rehearsals),  I finally decided to go searching on YouTube for some cardio hip-hop inspiration. And my search did not disappoint. Caleb Marshall has an extensive YouTube channel filled with amazing 3-4 minute dance routines. Sometimes I catch myself just staring at the routines and not even working out. His energy is absolutely fun and mesmerizing. His dance routines are so easy to follow and you can control the amount of time and intensity (beginner vs advanced).

His dance classes also cured a bit of homesickness for me. Back home in Houston, I really loved to go out dancing and take class. I took any class (West African, belly dance, salsa, and heck even those sassy stripper pole classes). The clubs and gyms in Guatemala were vey focused on a lot of EDM and Latin music (reggaton, salsa, etc.). I just wanted some other music to dance to, and The Fitness Marshall was a great solution.

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2) Codyapp.com // Yoga with Patrick Beach
I initially started using codyapp because I wanted a comprehensive program to learn how to do handstands safely and effectively. I really enjoy the programs my yoga hero Patrick Beach has laid out in his classes for advanced poses (handstands, arm balances, head balances, and inversions). The online format lets me take my time, and I am not holding back a class if I want to tinker around with a particular workout.

If I want an advanced yoga practice, I have especially enjoyed the “Reconnect: Online Workshop Classes.” I think the flows are very creative and utilizes intelligent sequencing to get to interesting variations and peak poses (heart openers, headstands, etc.). I get the challenge I need and I am learning from an experienced and knowledgeable teacher.

I have a horrible habit of not pushing myself hard enough when I practice on my own. So, using Patrick’s online classes helps push me to tinker around more in working towards more difficult poses. And as my practice grows, his tips have also helped me teach my students more advanced flows and poses.

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3) Going Outdoors
Being a digital entrepreneur who works on a lot of creative projects, I can get sucked in to working in my bathrobe on my bed for hours and realize I have not interacted with the outside world. My final workout option was to just close the laptop and enjoy where I was. The easiest way to get in cardio for me was to go for a run, walk or hike.

So instead of popping $30 for a SoulCycle class like in NYC, my non-gym solution was paying for a $20 hike up Volcano Pacaya. This was definitely the best natural group fitness alternative. The fee included a van pick-up from my apartment and an experienced guide. It took about half the day once you included the hike and the round-trip. I enjoyed practicing my Spanish with the guide and enjoyed getting to know the random travelers from all over the world while we roasted marshmallows on hot lava pockets once we got to the peak.

Guatemala is a naturally beautiful country with lots of mountains and hills. So it was easy to find places to go for walks. After asking locals about safe areas to run and walk, I enjoyed adding steps to my FitBit and exploring different parts of the country.

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