I think there is a misconception that I always feel well so it’s easy to get to the gym.
I’m here to set the record straight. I am not at 100% at least twice out of the 4 to 6 classes I do on a weekly basis. Most times it’s feeling physically tired. Or feeling slightly unwell – in a Chronic Kidney Failure kind of way. (Difficult to describe.)
Not seeking any sympathy about it either . . . Just sharing my reality so you can understand what really goes on. In case you’re curious. *smile*
Recently I witnessed my newly pregnant BFF struggle through a yoga class despite on-going morning sickness. At one point I saw her rubbing her belly and thought, “Aaaaaaw, Mommy and baby are yoga bonding”. Later I found it she was appeasing the baby, so she wouldn’t projectile vomit in the class. (Poor thing.)
Here again we see an example of someone still getting to the gym. Despite constant nausea and the chance of throwing up she pushed through it. Kudos.
Here are 10 points that get me through the tough days to still get to (and stay) at the gym. The days where I don’t want to do it:
1. Know yourself and your limits.In my case I have to be in touch with how I’m feeling physically. I have to listen closely to what my body is telling me. On rough days I show a little compassion for myself and heed what I hear.
2. Tell your instructor that you’re feeling off. A quick, discrete mention of my status, to my instructor, is good. For one, the instructor will understand when they see I’m not my usual self . . . and not try to unnecessarily “encourage me”. And secondly, he or she can keep in eye out for any adverse effects. (A recent short fainting spell in yoga reminded me that I needed to be more mindful of the up and down motions during episodes of low-blood pressure. I’m pretty unpredictable in yoga anyway, so as usual my instructor and I had a laugh about it. My balance is not great but I have a lot of heart!)
3. Hydrate. On the days you’re not 100% make sure you’re water bottle is close. I can’t give a scientific reason why but some water seems to help.
4. Do you. On my off-days I am doing my own thing. I may still do burpees but my pace is slower than the class. If the instructor manages to get 20 repetitions of a exercise done in a 60 second sequence and I get in 10 repetitions. I’m fine with that.
5. Do an ALTERNATIVE MOVE. (This is an extension of the “Do You” point.) I’ll do side-jacks instead of jumping jacks. I’ll hold a simple plank instead of “mountain climber” or a more advanced exercise. My motto on those days is “Do Something.” And I’m in good company because these classes are full of people with old injuries, range of motion issues, etc. Everyone is doing “a variation” – being mindful of their challenges – including the instructors.
6. Take breaks. Full on stops, aren’t a good idea when working out, (because they can cause heart issues) but quick breaks, to grab a sip of water or to catch a second wind, are okay.
7. Mind Your Own Business. In every class there is someone who appears to be “invincible”. They don’t seem to be taking any breaks. They never complain. They’re doing more than what’s asked of them. On days I’m feeling off I just keep my blinders on and ignore them. I ignore everyone, actually. I just stay in my lane and work hard at doing what I am capable of that day. As an “A Type” personality, I am very proud of myself for being capable of this. To me it’s a sign of being more self-aware and self-compassionate than my inclination to give in to my drive to be competitive.
8. Chose to use lower weights. The days I’m at the gym despite feeling off, I consider just getting there a triumph. In which case, I make it easier for myself. I set myself up for success. So, if I would normally use a 8 pound free-weight for a particular sequence, in body sculpt, I will humble myself and grab a 3 pound weight. Sometimes I’ll even complete a sequence without a weight in my hands – keeping up with the class and using my body’s weight instead. Again, I am making the best of a bad situation.
9. Stop. It’s not easy to admit defeat at the gym but sometimes it has to be done. Recently I excused myself from a “Hard-Core” class 15 minutes in because my body was just too physically exhausted to complete it. I tried. I didn’t succeed. So be it.
10. Pat yourself on the back for making the commitment to the gym . . . and trying your best to stick to it. Getting to the gym consistently is hard work. If you’re even halfway consistent with it you should be proud of yourself.
* Bonus Point
The Back-up Plan: On days where I absolutely cannot make the gym, during my usual group class sessions, I figure out something to do at home. I do have free-weights at home. YouTube is a blessing. I’ve got yoga and Zumba favourites bookmarked. I live in a high-rise so stairs are always an option. And, or course, there is always the possibility of a good brisk walk outside.