Are you one of the women who used to follow aerobics tutorials played on VCRs and DVDs?
If yes, then you are a part of my tribe of Gen Xers who have always been fitness enthusiasts. Since I joined the workforce in the early ‘90s, exercise has always been a part of my routine. Today, I am a proud member of the middle class Titas who have kept the fitness industry alive over the years.
Let me take you back to the evolution of the fitness movement among middle class Titas.
Aerobics and Tae-Bo
Celebrity fitness gurus became popular in the late 80s with their straight-to-home video workouts. Among the most popular aerobics trainers I followed were Jane Fonda, Heather Locklear and Richard Simmons.
The movements were easy to follow. Aerobics was fun with a lot of hops, turns and pivots. The session was basic like jogging around in a circle and jumping jacks incorporated with some arm movements.
At the time that I got bored with aerobics, Billy Blanks introduced Tae-bo in 1998. A combination of tae kwon do and boxing, the workout session pushed my stamina at a new level.
Fitness gurus knew that for Gen Xers, workplace fun is a priority. By incorporating movement with fun in a daily regimented plan, Gen Xers like me were hooked.
Zumba and Insanity
Around the same time that Tae-Bo was introduced as a fitness regimen, Zumba also emerged. Using Latin dance music, Zumba choreography replaced aerobics tutorials. Salsa, reggaeton, merengue and cumbia are four basic rhythms of Zumba. The dance craze has become a worldwide fitness regimen until now.
After giving birth in 2000, Zumba was not enough to get me back in shape. I knew that I had to work double time so I studied my fitness options. This is when I stumbled upon Hip-Hop Abs and Insanity, a high-intensity and energetic home workout video with celebrity guru Shaun T. Each session took 20 to 60 minutes and had to be done 6 days a week for 60 days. The bodyweight exercises and high-intensity interval training really made me crazy, but I really lost the weight I gained during pregnancy.
When I reached mid-30s, I paid for gym membership to attend a variety of GX or group classes. These classes encouraged me to move at a speed appropriate for me. When I am too tired from work, I joined Zumba classes but during weekends, I enjoyed boxing sessions. When I am pressed for time, I endured the 30-minute HIIT (high intensity interval training) program.
Some of my Tita friends in the gym prefer real-life event trainings like 5k runs, triathlons, mud runs. We call them SparTitas. The workout is called Spartan based on the original workout used by the cast of the movie 300. It is an intense full body training system and is not meant to be performed every day.
The 300 Spartan workout should be combined with a diet plan based on goals and current bodyfat levels of the participant. It is said that some of the cast members of the movie 300 lost up to 40 pounds of fat while following the Spartan routine, which transformed their body from flabby to ripped.
I can attest to this because some of my mommy friends in the gym who strictly followed the Spartan workout can now wear two-piece bikinis. But more than their looks, these mommies can pull themselves up in a rope, outrun male counterparts in a mud race, do 100 burpees, and even carry a 25-kilo sack of rice in a 100-meter dash. They are my idols in the gym because of their persistence and resilience. On another note, the Spartitas have become close friends over the last two years.
The future of fitness for Gen Xers
The mindset of Gen Xers that fun sports activities is the ultimate fitness plan has not changed over the past decades. I think fitness experts recognize this given the varied creative group fitness formats and dozens of specialized personal training which is also expanding now with community memberships in gyms and other fitness facilities.
In the past two years, I see many Gen Xers enroll their kids in the gym. Mother-daughter tandems in Zumba, Yoga, and Pilates classes are common. Some mommies even hire a personal trainer for their kids who have weight problems. With more active kids conscious of wellness, Gen Xers will leave a legacy of a new breed of fitness champions.
As for me, I am just happy that I am not on any maintenance medicines. I do not have the guts to join the Spartitas. For now, I am happy with my 3x a week Zumba and once a week Metafit. But I know that I have to eventually push myself for muscle strengthening.
For Gen Xers like me, gym science is the way to go. An educated approach to fitness, evidence-based at that, is essential for us having devoted decades working-out.