Am I the only one who thinks that what’s going on in the world right now is INSANE? I mean, when have we ever been forced to stay at home with most businesses and leisure centers closed? Aside from hurricane season, this never happens. And even in hurricane season, it only lasts a couple of days so skipping the gym then isn’t such a big deal.
So how the heck does one stay motivated to work out during the pandemic? I, for one, am suffering from crippling anxiety not knowing when this will end or how it will effect our economy. And as of now, fitness has taken a back seat to dealing with my emotions and headspace. However, it’s important to remember why we care about fitness so much in the first place and why it can truly help us during this weird ass time right now! With that, I wanted to put together some helpful tips and tricks on how to get your ass off the couch!
1. Set an alarm!
I found this trick to be the most helpful when it comes to getting up and working out first thing in the morning. It’s almost like setting an appointment with yourself to make it to the gym class in your garage. Think about it, if you normally would go to a gym class at 8am, you’d set an alarm to wake up and get there on time, wouldn’t you? So why not do the same thing at home?
2. Reframe how you view working out.
Working out can seem daunting at times. Especially when you’re preoccupied with other thoughts. What I realized when I starting getting really vested in fitness is that working out is a form of meditation. Have you ever noticed what your thoughts are like while exercising? Are you focused on getting through the work out or are you worried about stock market prices and economic recessions? I’m willing to bet it’s the former. If you think of your work out as one hour a day in which you are not stressed or anxious, would you be more likely to do it?
3. Remember the benefits of exercising.
Exercise releases endorphins and as Elle Woods once told us, ‘happy people just don’t shoot their husbands’. And she wasn’t wrong. You may feel like shit before a workout and you may still feel like shit after as well. But over the course of time and with consistency, you sure as fuck won’t want to murder your husband or anyone else for that matter. You’ll be a happier person and less anxious about the impending doom facing the world right now.
4. Make a fun challenge for yourself.
Working out could also be a way of earning something you’ve always wanted. We’ve all become mild versions of actual slugs during our quarantine and feeling like we’re working towards anything is a bit of a stretch. Has there been a new pair of shoes or piece of tech you’ve been wanting? Why not earn it for yourself? Set a goal. For example, work out 5 times a week for 4 weeks straight. Once achieved, buy that iPad or pair of Jimmy Choos. You’ve earned it after all, right?
5. Don’t forget this may be the only opportunity to leave the house for a while!
With lockdowns spreading throughout the world, our ability to enjoy ourselves outside the home is very limited. We also, as of now, have no end date on the restrictions. Aside from going to the grocery store (which is somewhat limited as well), what else can one do to get out of the house for some fresh air? Make it a point to go for a run during your lunch time if you work from home or take the dog for a long walk. You’ll get some vitamin D from the sun as well as a refresh for your afternoon!
Seeing as though this is my first blog post on the site, I thought it best to tell you my story and how I ended up here. I was never one for athletics as a child. I was lazy. I grew up in South Florida so I would say it was too hot to be outside. I dabbled in soccer and basketball but they didn’t stick. I was lazy. Watching TV was simply much more enjoyable than going outside to play a sport.
As I got older, exercise was for losing weight. Period. There was no other reason to possibly set foot into a gym. So whenever January would roll around, I’d start exercising to get skinny for Spring Break then would not exercise again until the following January.
It wasn’t until I had gotten to my fattest point, oddly after a backpacking trip, that I started to eat well and exercise on a consistent basis. I signed up for a (then) new fitness studio which came with a hefty price tag. Atkins was the diet of choice then but I always allowed myself one ‘cheat’ day a week where I would binge on carbs til I couldn’t breathe. The diet worked though and I was able to drop 2 dress sizes pretty quickly. People at work started to call me ‘skinny’ and I loved every second of it.
The novelty of the diet wore off and I was onto the next ‘diet’ – being vegan. This required carbs but I figured because I was still working out hard, it wouldn’t be an issue. More time passed and my chicken nugget nightmares had outweighed the strength to say no and I was eating whatever I wanted. The exercise managed to stick though, and I wasn’t sure why.
I had had a few bouts of depression throughout my life. A few distinct ones that were slightly worse but always stemmed from the idea that I wasn’t good enough.
Therapy and medication were normal for me. They worked and I deemed them necessary for my ability to function daily. But still, there was another ‘habit’ that I hadn’t realized I had picked up.
I was reading something on Instagram that had a list.
I thought, holy sh*t, that’s me. And not only that, but I had been exhibiting this behavior for years. I tried to think of the first time this happened. I was able to pin point an episode dating nearly 10 years prior when I had gone into a bakery and bought 6 or 7 pastries then ate them all in one sitting, alone in my apartment. I told myself that I would start the diet or exercise harder tomorrow. I never thought this was abnormal behavior. I thought I just had a big appetite and the shame and guilt were felt because I didn’t want to be fat. It was only after seeing this Instagram post that I realized that something was wrong and that I had BED. I messaged my sister to share with her my revelation and she shared that she was going through the same thing. She suggested some books, which I got immediately. I also brought the issue up with my therapist. I went to a some OA meetings for support. One thing that stayed consistent while dealing with this was the exercise.
One day, while I was suffering through a depressive episode and struggling with my new diagnosis, I forced myself to go to the gym. I told myself that that was the only thing I had to do that day. Then I could get back into bed and carry out my depression. Slowly this became a daily goal. Then, one day after my workout class, the strangest thing happened. It felt like I was floating and I was smiling. I thought to myself that I want to do this all day every day. I walked straight up to the coach and said, ‘how do I work here?’. That was when my passion for fitness and drive to help others really took hold. I got my certification in group fitness as well as personal training shortly thereafter.
Since making fitness a priority in my life, I am no longer in therapy or on medication. I don’t even know the last time I had a binge. I won’t sit here and say that it was all because of exercise, but it was a large factor in how I was able to turn things around for myself. I even stopped drinking as a side effect of fitness. The possibilities are truly endless when you make fitness a large part of your life!