For those who have been my loyal followers since Cooking Beautiful Lee was a newbie blog, you may remember an older post in which I shared my experience hiring a personal trainer to come to the gym at my apartment building. (If not, you can read it here: WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A PRIVATE COOKING LESSON AND A PUBLIC CLASS?) But, guess what happened after that class? I did work out again at the glossy, beautiful gym in the club house in my apartment for two weeks! And then, I couldn't do it anymore. I have to say, I am not a quitter, but working out by myself is just not for me. I found it extremely boring, and I had no motivation to keep going. So, I stopped working out for a quite a long time.
Then, one day, I was having brunch with my girlfriend Vivian. She had recently posted a photo of herself online and proudly showed us her "before and after" results from a change in her workout routine. At that moment, I didn't totally give up on myself. Instead, I become more motivated and thought maybe I just has to find an exercise plan that suited me better. I think that one's exercise preferences actually have so much to do with the individual's personality. One thing I know about myself is I am a people person. That's probably why I enjoy working as a chef-instructor much more than running production by myself in the kitchen. I have many talented chef friends who enjoy staying in the kitchen and perfecting their craft. They do not like to interact with guests. I was the opposite. When I was working in restaurants, I used to sneak to the dining room just to see how the guests were doing, and I enjoyed answering any questions regarding how we prepared the food. So, know if I go to a group exercise class and have an instructor working out with me, it will keep me motivated longer and much more often.
However, I wasn't ready at that point to make a commitment to any one gym or studio because in the past I've never been able to make working out part of my routine. Never, ever. So, I asked Vivian for her suggestion, and she said that I should sign up for something called, ClassPass. With ClassPass, you can sign up different classes offered by different studios in order to try out different gyms and studios around your area. The first month is only $5. After that, you can pick monthly payment range from $45~$95, depends on how much time you can commit each month and how often you want to take classes. Just as a side note here, ClassPass is in no way paying me for this promotion. I purely wanted to share my awesome experience with you all and help spread the word about what worked for me!
If you can't find any classes you like, you can cancel the membership anytime you want. I have to say the commitment free policy of class pass really works for me. I also loved the fact that I can try different classes at different studios. At first, I tried B-toned at Wellesley. My core muscle was so sour that it hurt when I laughed. I also found the tower intimidating. The instructor wasn't very helpful and there were no options of movements for beginners. The class was only 45 minutes. I didn't like the fact that there was no time to work on breathing and slowly getting back to our body before the session ends. I know many girls there really enjoy such intense workout, including my BBF Vivian. It's not for me.
Through ClassPass, I found Barre 3 at Sudbury. Barre3 is a full-body mindful workout that delivers remarkable results from the inside out. The students are guided through sustained holds, muscle-burning micro-movements, and heart-pumping cardio bursts. The barre3 signature approach always leaves me feeling balanced in body and empowered from within. (Click here to learn more about Barre 3) I love their classes because they are challenging, but at the same time, you can always modify the posture to meet your needs. The class is 60 mins long, and there is a session to work on breathing before the class ends. I also love the fact it's a small studio rather than a big gym such as Lifetime Fitness. I always enjoy more personal service. For example, I usually avoid big chain restaurants. I love small neighborhood restaurants where I know the chef, the bartender and the servers. Similarly, at Barre 3, I got to know some local friends who also enjoy working out. The instructors are very friendly, and some of them have other full-time jobs, such as working as a scientist or even a nurse. It's very interesting to talk to them after classes and listen to their stories. Many of them started out as students with bodies that look totally different than how they look now. I also like the lovely children's play area at Barre 3. Their babysitters are so friendly and my girl, Amber, really enjoys playing with other children there when I take the classes. It has been so wonderful to have local mommy friends who enjoy healthy life style and can host play-dates together!
Finding the exercise routine that I enjoy so much was a total game changer for me. I started working out so much more often. My body has gotten toned. My posture is much better. My clothes fit me better now. I am so much more confident. My body continues to get stronger that I don't feel tired anymore after standing for long hours teaching classes. Every morning after I finish my Barre 3 class, I feel energized and can focus so much better at work. But, that's just my personal story and journey. There are so many different fitness classes and studios available today. My advice is to take this as an inspiration for yourself, and go find one that you enjoy ...and stick to it. Celebrate the beauty of your body and take good care of yourself. Make the decision to choose healthy life style, you will benefit from it for the rest of your life!
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Melissa is 100% MIT (Made in Taiwan), where she worked as a food writer. She’s also worked alongside renowned chefs like Ming Tsai and Joanne Chang, honing her craft and gathering stories along the way. Part story-teller, part educator, and part food lover, Melissa brings a special blend of experience, skill, and enthusiasm to her work. She blends her Asian background, her new home of New England, and love of food and culture to bring joy, optimism, and inspiration to food lovers and fun-seekers everywhere.
What sparked your passion for the industry?
The desire to make things by hand. The joy of sharing delicious, hearty food with students. The opportunity for people to get connected via cooking and baking. When a child smiled broadly and told me it’s the best scone he has ever made and eaten, it really made my day!
In your opinion, what’s the most important course?
Well, I usually take a peek at the wine list first. I like tapas style, so the course doesn’t really matter. Cheese and charcuterie are always a good place to start. And since I’m a pastry chef, there is always room for dessert!
Bill Gates is picking up your tab, where would you go?