For the first time in years and years I signed up for a group exercise class. The last time I exercised in a group setting was in CEGEP (2-3 years of schooling between high school and university in the province of Quebec) for my mandatory gym classes and I intentionally took classes that were not too cardio centered. Why, you may be asking yourselves? Because, dear friends, I sweat when I exercise. Like a lot, like more than most of the men I know. This started about midway through my teens and was a source of intense embarrassment for me, especially during my days as a gymnast when I was forced to wear a long-sleeved leotard made of spandex, which was mostly green. Hello, sweat stain induced self-consciousness. The looks I got from my coaches didn’t help either, which, now that I look back on it, was just plain horrible of them.
So, what made me want to sign up for a group exercise class all of a sudden? A good friend of mine took up barre Pilates at the beginning of the summer. This is a fairly new take on Pilates that incorporates the core muscle exercises of Pilates workouts and ballet barre exercises. You may think this sounds like a lightweight workout and so did I at first, but when I saw the results my friend was getting, I decided to give it try as my extra get fit program for my wedding next Spring. How much fitter can a girl who runs 10kms want to get, you may be wondering? Well, running is great for my legs and butt, but my abs could still use a bit of work in my opinion as could my arms. I started looking around for a Pilates studio in my area that gave barre classes and found one within easy walking distance of our home and gave their barre class a try for the first time last week. Let me tell you, barre classes are not for light weights!!! I was shocked by how hard the teacher worked us, I had to take a few breathers during the class and holy moly, did I ever sweat!!! I was pretty self-conscious about it at first, but the teacher and the other girls were very sympathetic and said ‘No worries, we all sweat! It’s a good thing!’ That put me right at ease and during my second class today I felt way more comfortable than I did during the first one.
So, ladies, never stop yourself from working out because you sweat! Sweating is normal and healthy and is actually really good for you!
Among these benefits, let me also add that sweat is a great way to detox your body! Have a hangover? Been eating a bit too many cookies, salty foods or cheese and feeling bloated? Go for a run or any other form of exercise that will get your sweat glands going, they do a great job of clearing your system of sodium and other toxins and guess what? The more you exercise, the more effective your sweat glands are, so if you find that you are sweating more after beginning a regular exercise regimen, that is normal and good news! For more on the health benefits of sweating (and working out!), you can read this article.
The bottom line is, I am so glad I signed up for my barre Pilates class, it has added a nice bit of spice to my active life and I can already feel some results after just two classes. Just because you are already in shape, doesn’t mean that you can’t be more fit and work some different muscles! The class has also helped me kick the last of my self-consciousness regarding how much I sweat when I exercise. Sure, sweating is not comfortable and is often portrayed as not being feminine or sexy but do you know what is? Being fit, healthy and feeling proud and confident about our bodies and guess what? You can’t get there without sweating! So go ahead, be active, sweat like Hell and if anyone ever comments on it, just keep on going, your body will thank you for it 🙂