Doing a workout that you deem as fun is something that seems self-explanatory; of course you are more likely to stick to something if you actually enjoy doing it. So, why does it seem that the term “working out” usually translates to spending mindless hours in a stuffy gym, doing repetitive exercises surrounded by people who seem just as unhappy as you? There isn’t a right answer to this question, but I think it’s about time that the stigma around working out is broken. People need to form their own definition; only then will they finally stick to it in order to start living a healthier lifestyle! So today, I am going to share one of my favorite non-gym activities that is not only tons of fun, but will also help you work up a sweat in a new and exciting way.
At my local rock climbing gym in New Hampshire
Rock Climbing: So I know this is *technically* inside a gym, but hear me out! I think indoor rock climbing really intimidates people because it seems like a difficult and advanced activity. The truth is, you can make it as easy or hard as you want to. I am a fan of bouldering (shout out to Connor for introducing me to this!), which basically means you don’t have a harness or rope, and are only climbing on a wall that is 15-20 ft. high. There is a grading system for bouldering problems (routes) ranging from V0-V17, though most gyms will only go up to around a V11. They go from easiest to hardest, and all gyms will have a different idea of what one specific grading level is. So, don’t get discouraged if you fly through V3’s at one but can barely get up a V1 at another. I love bouldering because it’s challenging, fun, and you end up working up a sweat without even realizing it. There is a lot of room for improvement, and I have also found that there is a really positive community within these gyms.
From this article on Daily Burn, rock climbing can burn anywhere from 500-900 calories per hour depending on how intense you make it. It not only utilizes your entire body and its’ respective muscles, it’s also a great cardio workout that can sometimes leave you breathless. Take it from one who knows, you WILL be sweating on the wall, and you WILL be sore for days after you climb. Sometimes, I can barely even make a fist after an afternoon of bouldering, that’s how intense it can be (in the best way possible!). So, for those of you who were skeptical on how much of an actual workout rock climbing can be, I hope this information has made you a believer.
Most gyms will have memberships that you can purchase, and if you are planning on going regularly then this is the way to go. My local gym charges $14 per bouldering visit, which can really add up. A semester pass for a college student (aka me) is $155, so if I planned to go more than 12 times in one semester then it would be worth it. This may seem like a lot, but if you think about the fact that some ski lift tickets are over $100 for just one day, it’s not so bad! Gyms also have all of the equipment you will need for rental, but I would recommend investing in your own if you are really invested in climbing.
Speaking of equipment, bouldering is great because you really only need two things: shoes and chalk.
My shoe of choice is the EVOLV Women’s Elektra Climbing Shoe. I purchased mine from EMS, where they are currently on sale! I wear a size 5.5, and am usually a 6 in regular shoes. While they are pretty snug, having tight climbing shoes is essential so your feet don’t end up slipping in your shoes while you are on the wall.
I use the Black Diamond White Gold Loose Chalk, but most chalks are pretty comparable, so don’t sweat the brand too much. This is optional, but having a chalk bag helps to keep it all in one place, plus there are some insanely cute options out there to choose from. I have this panda bag in grey, I just fell in love with how stinking cute his little butt is!
To get you even more excited about climbing, there are tons of YouTube videos on climbers from all over the world. One of my favorites is Ashima Shiraishi, who at only 14 years old, was the first woman to complete a V15 problem.
Another interesting angle of bouldering on YouTube are videos of problem setting, which show the process of placing climbing holds in the pattern of each problem. This video from the Seattle Bouldering Project totally sucked me in, I thought it was such a cool insight into the world of climbing.
So, with all of that information, I give you my non-workout, workout! I hope this has inspired you to look up a local gym and try out bouldering for yourself. I promise you won’t regret it, although you will probably be cursing me when you can’t even turn a doorknob the day after you go 🙂