Hi Hayley!

I need help! I am very out of shape at the moment and need a plan to get back on track. I've always been active with "beer league" sports a couple times a week (ball hockey, volleyball, tennis, etc.). However, recently I broke a finger and also had wrist surgery for a herniated muscle (apparently very rare!), so I am only now slowly getting back into these activities.

I want to get into a regular exercise routine, but am not a fan of the gym. I have considered trying running, but have no idea where to start, and if I can even do it! I have a partial tear in one ACL and have breathing issues (reduced lung capacity which results in asthma-type symptoms during exercise), which requires a lot of stopping to catch my breath and then continuing with an exercise, game, etc.

Any advice on where to start? Is running a good idea? Other "fun" ideas other than the gym?

I just want to get moving and have some fun while getting some exercise!



I totally get your dislike of the gym. I work in one, have been a personal trainer for 12 years, and yet I still dread my gym workouts. However, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but gym workouts have to be done, not necessarily in a gym. Keep a set of weights in your closet, and maybe a medicine ball, and download some fitness apps onto your phone, which are free and full of intense, short workouts that you can do when you have a spare 20 or 30 minutes at home. Make a promise to yourself that at least once or twice a week you will pull out your equipment and put yourself through a good sweat session.

Now for the fun stuff. You know what I think is the coolest way to workout and have fun? Dance classes! And I am so signing myself up for one in the fall. In Vancouver we have a lot of dance studios popping up that cater to people who have never danced before (and those who have). I have so many girlfriends who go to dance classes, especially the classes I refer to as the sexy dancing, where you wear heels, body suits and black nylons, and release your inner Beyoncé. I have seen videos of my friends’ performances and what I love about these classes is they are full of men and women of all shapes, sizes and abilities. 

Another suggestion is a pole dance class. These classes are ridiculously hard and amazing for all-over body strength.  There are quite a few studios that offer a variety of pole style workout classes as well as cross training workouts to go along with the pole classes. Some even offer aerial yoga (which is yoga done in silks) which would be another, non-gym, workout option.

You could also look into hiking groups and cycling groups in your city. Road cycling is turning into a sport that is accessible to everyone and you don’t have to have a fancy bike or coordinated spandex outfits anymore to ride with a group. In Vancouver there are lots of social riding clubs who put in a few miles, burn some calories and then finish at a brewery. Kind of like beer league hockey! 

You are coming into the best time of the year to get active too. Summer offers so many unique ways to move. If you live near the water, kayaking is great and so is paddle boarding. Most water-side cities have some sort of paddle board yoga or boot camp to check out. If you are inland, then check out outdoor boot camps or yoga. Being outside and exercising is so much better than slogging away in a gym.  

Just try and think outside the box. Exercise doesn’t have to mean running shoes and water bottles. There are so many ways to move our bodies and stay strong and healthy. And yes, exercise can be fun! (Although you should have those one-off workouts that you hate every minute of to kick your ass and make you sweat) 
Keep sending me your smuttyfitness question here at [email protected].

Attached: Nicole Richie leaving a yoga session in Van Nuys on June 12, 2018.