Like most people my partner Jack and I have have job commitments Monday to Friday. While we could easily spend everyday exploring the outdoors our jobs do provide us with incomes to enjoy our exciting adventures around New Zealand. This includes what we have planned for November when we will start the Te Araroa trail, a 3,000 kilometre hiking trail which runs the length of New Zealand.
I have memories of refusing to do any of the Grit classes because i thought i would die
To keep up our strength and exercise when we aren’t out hiking around Wellington we head to the gym Monday to Friday. Jack and I have been members of Les Mills Extreme in Wellington for a couple of years and have built the gym into our daily lives. I joined Les Mills for one reason only and that was for their amazing classes which are incredibly challenging, fun and motivating. It wasn’t always easy though and I have memories of refusing to do any of the Grit classes because i thought i would die and for the first 10 times I did Body attack I couldn’t get past track 4 and would take myself off to hyperventilate in the dark and loud cardio studio. But over time my fitness improved and these two classes are now my favourites. There is something special about getting out of bed at 6am to go and clap, burpee and jump around a classroom with 20-30 other crazies in the Les Mills crew. Classes aside there are other benefits as well including gym instructors who will make you a personal fitness plan suited to your goals.
Earlier this year i met with Nigel and shared our dream of completing the Te Araroa. He made a plan which factored in leg and core strengthening exercises including box raises and leg presses which has really helped power up my large muscle groups. By proxy it’s helped to strengthen muscles around a pre existing knee injury inevitably keeping me on form while out on the trail. Nigel had also recommended step classes. Step classes were a new adventure for me as I prefer higher intensity classes. Step seemed a little…. naff to be honest. I tried it anyway and it was funny. Funny like that one time I tried Bodyjam. I just could not stop laughing. I was trying so badly to nail the ‘salsa step’ but just kept missing it. I had a good time having a laugh but wasn’t eager to return.
I realised if I couldn’t get through an hour of ‘burn’ how the hell was i going to walk the length of the country?
Later that week I noticed there was a step athletic class on Thursdays and I was interested to know what the difference was. Lets just say I wasn’t laughing so much during and after that class. I had gotten comfortable with high intensity classes were I knew I could go hard for 30 minutes and have a break. Step athletic class was just consistent, long, ‘burn’ that really challenged my mental resolve. But in the final two songs of the class it clicked. I realised if I couldn’t get through an hour of ‘burn’ how the hell was i going to walk the length of the country? Step athletic instructor Lucy is a vivacious lady who manages to get the most ‘woop woops’ I’ve ever heard in any Les Mills class. I’ve now built her class into my regular routine along with my favourite classes and personal workouts.
Rigorous cardio aside I have been taking advantage of the wonderful yoga classes that started at Extreme this year. They have been incredibly helpful with lengthening and strengthen muscle areas in a completely different way to other Les Mills classes. Yoga instructor Cendrine offers an extremely challenging and powerful yoga class combined with deep stretches that are brilliant recovery from our weekend hikes and other gym training sessions. The combination and variety I now have at the gym has made me feel extremely confident in my body and while I know it will change during the course of our journey down the country the lessons learnt and the prior preparation at Les Mills are invaluable.
While we are on our Te Araroa journey we will miss our Les Mills crew so if you want to take your exercise outdoors this is an open invite for Les Mills members to join us on any sections that you might be able to. To find out where we will be and when stay tuned to our Instagram and Facebook page which will be updated regularly
When we hit the Wellington region, hopefully by January, we will arrange a few specific day hikes on the trail including Kapiti coast and Wellington City. Dates and times to be confirmed. If you have never hiked outdoors before this is a throw down challenge to get on the trail! Please feel free to message us on Facebook or introduce yourself at the gym. We’d love to meet you.