By Jade English
If there’s one thing we can agree on about self care, it’s that exercise is probably one of the most important things you can do to take care of your own wellbeing, both physically and mentally. Period.
If you don’t find a form of exercise that you enjoy and something that fits with your schedule, chances are you won’t keep it up for very long and eventually may quit.
Exercise is something that’s come in and out of my life over the last few years. However, since moving from the UK to Melbourne at the end of last year I’ve found some incredible classes that have not only helped with my fitness but have also improved my sense of confidence, helped manage my stress levels and also allowed me to meet some new, amazing people.
Working in the media industry means a whole lot of stress, tight deadlines and weekly parties with a heap of booze. Trust me, if there’s anyone that understands how hard it is to choose a workout class over a vino, it’s me.
I’ve undertaken some of the most popular fitness classes in Melbourne – some also available in other metropolitan areas in Australia – to find out what they’re all about and to see what works best for different lifestyles.
For the ‘outdoorsy’ – Step Into Life
Step Into Life is an outdoor group training program that teaches a mixture of cardio, strength, boxing and stretching classes, every weekday at 6.00 am and 6.30 pm. There’s also a few classes around 9am throughout the week and on a Saturday.
There’s a real mix of abilities and ages in this class: from 70-year-old marathon runners to twenty something year olds with zero fitness experience, plus everything else in between. Whatever your fitness level, the super-friendly personal trainers encourage you to find your own pace, making it the ultimate playground for adults with a safe and effortlessly comfortable vibe.
I take the morning classes and can honestly say that waking up and training outdoors in nature with a group of lovely people always sets me up for a positive day. If you’re lucky enough, you’ll also get to watch the beautiful sunrise and hot air balloons floating above. Training outdoors in the evening is also a great way to unwind and finish off the day, without cracking open a bottle of Sav Blanc!
$25 - 1 session per week
$38 - 2 sessions per week
$48 - Unlimited sessions per week
For the ‘get in, get it done, and get out’ - F45
If you have showers at work or don’t mind a quick baby wipe shower (yes, we’ve all been there), then this is simply the best lunch-hour workout around. The basic concept of F45 is a full-on 45-minute ‘team training’ circuit class with different exercises at each of the multiple stations. The focus of the exercise class switches each day, so no two classes are ever the same.
My absolute favourite thing about F45 is that there are station numbers and TV screens at every point which visually demonstrates the exercise for you so that you never forget – nor have to bother using any brain power. You also get buddied up with a partner which can be great motivation. You don’t want to let Susan down!
After 45 minutes you’re finished and totally and utterly worked out. I love it.
The people that attend these classes are a complete mixed bag. Perhaps a slightly younger and energetic bunch but with varying fitness levels.
Price of memberships vary but approximately $65 per week
For the ‘go at your own pace’ - 12 Rounds
I must admit, the first time I went to 12 Rounds I wasn’t that into it. When I went back a second time I actually really enjoyed it and appreciated it for what it was.
There are 12 rounds of exercises, the majority inspired by boxing. You go in at any time during the day and start the 12 rounds for three minutes each, then you move on until you’ve finished all of the rounds – it’s as simple as that.
I’m not the best at pushing myself to go hard, so this probably isn’t the best for me. Howvever, if you do have the motivation to cheer yourself on and simply want a bit of guidance and structure around your workout, along with the flexibility to go whenever you want during the day, then this is totally the one for you.
For the ‘Yogi’ – Yoke Yoga
I have a love/hate relationship with yoga. I love how I feel at the end of it but I tend to loathe the journey getting there. So, on a day I was feeling particularly stressed out at work, I took myself along to Yoke Yoga in South Melbourne on my lunch break to get some chill.
Firstly, it was warm. Very warm. But, the studio itself had a nice feel to it.
I think I may have overestimated my knowledge of yoga and probably went to a class that was a bit too advanced for me, as there was a lot of headstands, ‘ashtangas’, ‘meeting in downward dog’ and words I’ve never heard of before – which was a little intimidating.
But, as usual, at the end of the class I felt more relaxed and was able to return to work with a much clearer mind and feeling much more productive.
So, if yoga is your thing and you’re looking for some zen, I would recommend checking it out.
For unlimited classes –
$35 per week
$200 per month
$760 per 6 months
For the ‘nature lover’ - Walk at the Dandenong Ranges
Not a class like the others but still very much a form of self-care and getting back to mother nature (as well as free).
I went for a walk at the Dandenong Ranges the other weekend and I can honestly say ‘wow’. We so often forget to explore our own back garden. So, if you’re ever stuck in knowing what to do, I would highly recommend taking the trip out of the city.
Being amongst the trees and hearing the sound of birds, waterfalls and the wind is an incredible way to ground yourself, gain perspective and get back to the core of self care.
Free (except transport...)