Before 2015 I wasn’t one who succeeded in finding work-life balance. In fact, I’d describe my previous routine as simply: work life. Though I still did well for myself at work/school and I made time for fun in the past, my lifestyle often led my mental and physical health down the drain. In 2015, I finally started making an effort to stay active everyday but I most definitely struggled to do so with the anxieties that arose from exam prep. Last year it finally hit me, I needed to make a huge change.

I needed a stronger routine. One that found balance with my mind, body, and soul. I did just that. And, let me tell you, I will do everything in my power to make sure I will never turn back because this has been the happiest I’ve ever been in a long time. Yes, I being a workaholic can have its benefits but I want to share my wellness routine as part of my PhD journey because I wholeheartedly believe that a healthy body is a healthy brain.

Today, I will introduce to you a few studios I have attended this past month. I hope you will find this feedback useful in your own work-life balance. Please feel free to share and hashtag #LivingThePhDream !

Note: If you are interested in any of these businesses, just click the logo and it will take you straight to their website. 🙂

classpassA good friend of mine (Jenelle) told me about Classpass–a membership that allows you to attend multiple fitness studios with a monthly fee. I think it’s such a great idea to have this type of membership if you like to change up the type of workouts you plan on doing! I used it for the $19 for 5 classes in one month, which was a deal for new members. It had a list of locations in my area with classes from yoga to boxing, etc. It’s so diverse that it makes working out fun! I attended Pilates, Barre, and cycle classes, which I will talk more about below. Even if you don’t wish to commit to a membership package, if you got $19 dollars to spare and are looking for a studio that fits your needs, this is definitely a great way to find out what’s out there!

pilates-360-plusThe first studio I attended through Classpass was Pilates 360 Plus in Fairfield for the 9:30AM Reformer session. I thought this studio was okay but please keep in mind that this is all from my personal experience. I’ve done Pilates before at another location and I’ll talk about that studio in another post, but maybe that’s why I was a little bias to this one. They have good reformers and is well kept. Don’t get me wrong, the instructor was awesome! I really appreciated that she took into account my scoliosis surgery and my left hip bone that pops. It’s so important to me that an instructor looks out for me in this way. But, I can say that it wasn’t as challenging as I hoped for it to be. It could be that the student who was in class with me was a bit limited or maybe not? If this is your first time trying Pilates I definitely recommend this studio, but I’m not sure how much more challenging it gets after more visits.

open-barre The second studio I attended was the Open Barre Fitness Studio in Walnut Creek for the 9:30AM Open Barre session. I absolutely LOVED this studio. In fact, if I can find the means to pay for a membership (I don’t work right now), I definitely would. The Instructor (and I believe owner?) was amazing! I lucked out in that I signed up for a group class but it turned out to be just me. Woot! Private lesson! Again, it’s important to me that the studio pays attention to my scoliosis and she did just that! She gave me alternate moves when the original move was limited by my back. It was exactly as challenging as I like my workouts to be. Not only did it make me work my butt off, but she was super motivating the whole way and supportive of my efforts. I especially loved that this workout is a mixture of pilates, ballet, & yoga. I meditate regularly so the fact that we did that while we stretched at the end was such a bonus for me. I recommend this spot for sure!! ❤

cycle-scapeNext I tried out Cycle Scape Fitness in Walnut Creek. I attended the 9:30AM Beats Ride class. This was my first time cycling in general and I enjoyed my time there. There wasn’t much of that personal touch to it (addressing spinal issue) and probably not necessary here, but it was a great experience. I loved the environment. I was in a group class and we went into this room with the lights dim with some color (picture a night club) and a big screen in front of you that shows videos while the music plays. I thought it was thrilling cycling to the beat of some of my favorite EDM/electronic songs while watching the DJ hype up the crowd in the video! The instructor, who sat in the front of the class, gave clear instructions and motivated you to keep pushing yourself the whole way. If you like cycling, this is a fun way to do it! 🙂

pure-barreI really enjoyed Barre so I decided to check out Pure Barre in Walnut Creek for the 12PM Pure Barre session. The studio was clean and well kept. I didn’t like that when I wrote down my back constraints from my scoliosis surgery, it wasn’t even looked at. They took the paper and completely disregarded that I needed some care for my spine. In fact, after that, they didn’t even tell me where to go next or what equipment I needed to grab. I don’t expect to be babied and can do it myself but I think it’s the warm welcoming culture that I didn’t find here, at least not at first glance. Other studios would tour me since I was brand new, but hey, maybe I’m biased. Other than that, the workout itself was tough! I couldn’t even manage to pull through a lot of the routines, mostly because it was challenging, but also because I didn’t know any alternatives for my spinal constraint.

just-be-yogaLast, I went to Just Be Yoga in Walnut Creek for the 11AM Gentle Flow session. The space is kind of small and may not be to everyone’s liking. It was hard to find space on the floor because the class was so full but it was still such a great stretch for me. Yoga is tough for me to do because I can’t curve my body too much. My back rod doesn’t allow to much flexibility but I think this Gentle Flow was so very doable, which I appreciated a lot. I enjoyed the peacefulness in this studio environment because it opened directly to outside. Again I like to meditate and it was great being able to do that here with the encouraging words of the instructor while stretching out my sore muscles. I felt like this was the perfect reset button for me to start a new week with a positive mind and healthy body. If you’re into yoga and meditating, this is a nice spot.

I hope these thoughts were helpful!


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