Cardio: A Love Story

I used to hate cardio. Actually, that’s kind of a lie. I didn’t hate it. I just never did it.

Growing up, like most writers, I absolutely hated gym class. I lived for the day I could wave goodbye to pretending to play hockey or soccer (thankfully, in grade 10 it wasn’t a required class anymore). I never thought I could run because I always felt like I couldn’t breathe properly.

For years, I didn’t really work out. When I was living at home for my final two years of university, I used the treadmill we had in our basement sometimes – but only for walking. Usually while watching the new 90210 or Melrose Place. So it was basically yet another excuse to watch TV (like I ever need one). Then before I started grad school, I fell in love with yoga – then, after three years of obsession, we had a big break-up. I wrote about that for my journalism school thesis story, which you can find here.

It wasn’t until I started taking barre classes just over two years ago (at an amazing studio, Barreworks) that I realized I could actually handle cardio. It all began with the studio’s class Drip Barre, named because, well, you drip. A lot. I laugh at my first class because whenever we did cardio, like jumping jacks or running on the spot or trying to get our knees up to touch the barre, I had to stop every few minutes to take a few deep breaths. I honestly couldn’t get through an entire class without taking a lot of breaks. But it was so much fun because the classes are dance-inspired and set to upbeat pop music and the teachers are so inspiring and motivating. So I kept going. And now, I do several cardio barre classes a week (along with their other classes) and have come a super long way.

So if you’re struggling to do anything – whether it’s changing your diet because you just learned you have food allergies (#beenthere) or you’re trying to switch up your workout routine or trying anything new, don’t worry. Everything seems difficult at first and if you keep at it, it gets so much smoother.

Working out is never easy. It’s definitely nothing like lounging on the couch with your BFF Netflix. But it’s always worth it.

Like everything in life, right?


Aya Tsintziras is a food blogger at She posts gluten-free, dairy-free and mostly sugar-free recipes, lifestyle and pop culture stories on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

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  1. Ha, just read your yoga piece. I tried yoga for awhile but it stressed me out too much! I’m definitely not Zen and prefer bootcamps and strength-training. Still, I realize that yoga has many benefits, and as I just celebrated another b’day, I feel my body needs to stretch out more often and become more flexible. So I’m going to give hot yoga a try. Who knows, I might even try meditation again (another practise that made me crazy — kept looking at my watch to see when I could stop:).

    Enjoying your blog, Aya.

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words! 🙂 I totally agree that yoga is a great way to become more flexible and of course stretching is super important. We all have to find what works for us right? 🙂

  2. I also used to HATE cardio because I just couldn’t run to save my life, and I would get horrible embarrassed when I’d always finish last in gym class. I finally learned to love it when I had to improve my mile time to pass my gym class in high school–but I’d always wanted to try spin and/or barre. You are right; working out definitely is worth it in the end. I always feel so much happier after a workout! 😀

    1. That’s so awesome that you were able to get over your cardio hate too! Yes, post-workout happiness is definitely the best feeling in the world.

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