I had to be active though. So I traded my time in the gym for time in the studio. Dancing became my workouts. I plied, booty popped, and shimmied through my "workout" (I never feel like I am working out when I dance). Dancing gave me two things that working out didn't - creativity and perfectionism. I was obsessed with getting each move right and being perfectly in sync with the music. Dance also freed me - and most nights, i would dance until i couldn't feel my legs. I couldn't think of anything I would rather do than dance. I would skip meals, sleep, and work just to dance. It gave me the challenge that working out didn't, so for awhile it stayed as my main form of exercise.
After graduating from Graduate school, I stayed with my mom until I could get a job. I continued to dance, but due to having a lot more time on my hands, I started researching different forms of fitness. Compound circuit training - combining weights with cardio - seemed the most interesting to me. So, I bought Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred to see if it could challenge me...and I've never felt so sore. Having never truly lifted weights before, her workouts gave me a different type of challenge and a different type of goal. After a week of doing her workouts, I started see little striations of muscle in my arms. And, for the first time ever, I wanted to be toned. I wanted to look like I worked for my body. I wanted every hour, every minute, and every second to my workouts to show in my body. And at that moment, I truly became a fitness fanatic. But, I still ran into the same problem as before, my workouts never left me feeling defeated. But I continued with compound workouts for the next two years...until I discovered HIT.
Being a fitness fanatic, Amazon is my best friend. I can have almost any workout video with the click of a button and most reviews are honest and fair. Through Amazon, I grew my collection of DVDs from 5 movies to 50 workout DVDs and 5 movies. If there was something I wanted to try, I bought it, and I consider none of my DVDs to be a waste. I buy a new workout DVD probably every 6 weeks. So on this particular day, it wasn't much different. I was perusing through the new fitness DVDs and one in particular caught my eye - ZCUT Power Cardio Series by Zuzka. I had seen her YouTube workouts but never watched more than a minute. I read through the reviews and not one negative comment in sight. Then I looked at the price, for only $15 I got a 90 day workout plan. I couldn't say no. I placed my order and within 5 days had a new workout to try. I went into my apartment, quickly opened the package, put the DVD in the player, got my workout clothes on, and pressed play. 10 minutes later, I never felt so exhausted. I was laying on the floor in my own pool of sweat, unable to catch my breath, and yet I had the biggest smile. I finally found my workout.
I became obsessed with HIT workouts. I would do 2, 3, 4 of them a day. Some people called me crazy because HIT workouts aren't supposed to done like that. Technically they are a derivative of HIIT - high intensity interval training - workouts, but minus the interval. So you're going full throttle with not even the smallest break. They are generally a supplement to a workout schedule, not the primary workout. But that logic never made sense to me. I thought if athletes can train for 8 hours a day, only to do it again the next day, then so could I. Truly the only difference between me and them was that they got paid to physically exert themselves. So I HIT everyday. I did burpees until my arms gave out. Did lunge jumps until my legs burned. And pushed myself until my breaking point...only to keep going and push harder. I felt amazing and my body looked even better. I dropped 10lbs over the course of two months. I started to become toned. I watched a v-cut make its way to my lower abs. Saw definition created in my triceps, and for the first time ever, I actually saw muscle develop in my thighs. My body was the prize to all of my hard work and fat burned.
It's been 9 months since I started doing HIT workouts. And I love that the workouts haven't gotten easier; I still feel completely exhausted after each one. I still do other forms of physical activity. Dance is still one of my staples, yoga is a nightly routine that keeps me zen, and I will always have a soft spot for compound workouts. But every morning, I wake up and do at least a 10 minutes HIT workout, and almost every night, I do another 10 minutes, but that is only if I don’t have time. Most nights, it is more like 20 to 30 minutes. While my body is definitely being put through an intense workout, it's the battle of the mind that makes me love them. I've contemplated stopping for every workout. It hurts. I'm winded. I can't do it anymore. But stopping wouldn't be a weakness of my body, but instead, a weakness of my mind. I know that my body can take a beating. But the mind will quit way before my body will even falter. The way I think of it, HIT workouts are so intense that if I quit, I am ordinary. But if I push through, I am extraordinary. And if I can push through four workouts in a row, there is nothing on this planet that I can't do.