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Are You Too Dependent on Your Workout Studio?

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Obsessing over an awesome fitness instructor or class is a fantastic motivator to exercise. When a particular yoga teacher or spin studio rocks your world, it's easier to say 'no' to after-work drinks or reschedule a date for your fave sweat sessions. But what happens when your dream trainer and/or class skip out on you?

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Panic ensues, says a recent tongue-and-cheek New York Times piece covering the temporary closing (for renovations) of the uber-popular indoor cycling chain, SoulCycle's, flagship studio in Tribeca. Local SoulCycle devotees' responses to the suddenly closed doors may seem a little over-the-top (“My heart sank,” says one client; “Whatever will I do!” says another). But we get it, and have also been guilty of blowing off the gym when, say, our go-to CrossFit coach is on vacay.

Being creatures of habit is part of the appeal: “When you're in a rhythm of exercising regularly, you feel good,” explains Gene Schafer, an athletic trainer and owner of Arc Athletics Rehabilitation, also located in the Tribeca area of New York City. The other is enjoying feeling like you belong somewhere. “Places like SoulCycle, where they know your shoe size, offers this sense of camaraderie that's really addictive. When you're part of a team or group, you're all held accountable and that gets you to show up. You have an emotional tie,” says Schafer, who has seen an uptick in his own business since SoulCycle's closing.

But as much fun as it is to obsess over the instructors and classes that make you feel—and look—good, it's important to not grow too attached to getting your fitness fix from just one source. This is a perfect example of how crucial cross-training is. Diversifying your fitness portfolio is a great way to avoid getting derailed when your routine changes for whatever reason, like a schedule change or injury. It's also smart to switch things up to keep seeing results without plateauing. “If you've got a cardio exercise, like spinning or running, you'll want to supplement it with strengthening exercises, like Pilates,” Schafer recommends.

Bottom line: You've got to always have a back-up plan that's currently active and not just for rainy days. “If you're looking for community, talk to your friends and see what they are doing to stay in shape,” advises Schafer, who picked up new clients when a SoulCycle rider told her devastated classmates to come to this other local fitness facility in the meantime.

Tell us what makes you feel like clinging to a particular class or instructor in the comments below or tweet us at @Shape_Magazine.

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