When I woke up on January 1st, I didn’t feel particularly motivated towards anything, other than to get home safe. Flying back into Canada meant a mandatory two-week quarantine—the consequences I knew awaited me after I had headed back to Bermuda for the holidays.
My workouts in 2020 weren’t anything spectacular in comparison to the way I used to work out. I used to be so proud that my daily routine consisted of a 10k, or more, or a 22-mile bike ride—in the gym, of course. When gyms closed in Toronto, I was left feeling a little lost. So much of who I thought I was, was based around fitness. And I was then confined to what was at the time, a little box of a room, in a shared AirBnB apartment.
But one of the things 2020 taught me, was that fitness is something I do—it’s not who I am. And so, over the course of this year, I relaxed my fitness schedule, and towards the end of the year was predominately doing long walks. And you know what? I felt great.
Change is a tricky thing, but sometimes, you can get some good out of it. Here I am, in 2021. I literally cannot leave my front door. So I took to the internet to find free workout videos, and let me tell you, my fitness level is not pretty. Attempting the videos I used to do at the beginning of this year left me out of breath, wanting to press stop, and gave me a stitch in my side.
When we experience hurdles like that, it can be hard to keep pressing play, but I’m determined to add movement to my two weeks confined to an apartment—thankfully a bit bigger than the last.
All in all, I’m proud of my attitude, which I believe is number one when approaching any fitness routine. Below are my 5 Top Tips for Pushing Through a Workout that I’ve complied over 12 years of my fitness journey.
1. It’s all in the Attitude
Using defeatist language gets no one, nowhere. I’m sure you know the power of changing “can’t” to “can,” so I won’t go into much detail here. #1 just serves as a friendly reminder to get your head in the right space. It can take time, but it’s the little changes that add up over time.
2. Set yourself up for Success
The other day I ate dinner before I worked out. It left me full and uncomfortable, burping throughout the workout. Things like that just make me want to stop.
Figure out the best time of day, in the best environment. My favorite environment to workout in is the kitchen. Weird, I know. But it’s tucked out of the way and is quite open. My next addition to my kitchen aka home gym is a gold framed “Keep Going” typography. If you’re interested in reading more about mantras, check out this article.
3. Do an Activity you actually Like
Why choose kickboxing if you hate it? When you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re more likely to see it through. Realize working out is sometimes just about movement. You don’t have to be doing HIIT every time you choose a workout just because it’s the hot topic of the moment.
4. Recover the Right Way
The day following my indigestion-filled workout, I did an at-home sprinting workout. Who knew those existed? Shuffling back and forth across the floor, jumping up and down and doing what seemed like endless sets of high knees and butt kickers gave me a stitch in my side that made me want to stop.
A few ways to get rid of a side stitch, according to Runner’s World: Slow down and “take some deep breaths. Then, press your first two fingers in and slightly upward directly where it hurts and hold for about 10 seconds. While pressing in and up, take more deep breaths. You can continue this process of pressing in and up, all around the edge of your ribs up to your sternum.” You can also relieve a side stitch, which the article says is apparently a muscle spasm, by stretching. Holding your arms over your head and away from the affected area can help.
In my own personal experience, taking deep breaths, holding for a second than breathing out fully has helped mid-workout.
If you’ve ever done a home workout video then you’ve probably had a sweaty, tiny blonde lady preach about the importance of stretching. She may even suggest you follow the workout with a longer stretching cool-down. Of course, I never did. I had more important things to do. Mistake numero uno.
The day following a hard workout is never pretty. And I always wish I would have stretched. A few days like this in a row and suddenly I’m cramping mid-workout. Of course, that makes me stop a workout and much less likely to resume.
Back in college I ran between 8-10 miles a day. Safe to say I sweat profusely. I was always okay at drinking water, but did not consumer anywhere near what I needed to. Almost every night I would wake up with severe cramping in my legs that wouldn’t stop. I didn’t make the connection until years later. Drink up!
It’s fine to press pause. And definitely watch out for signs of feeling faint, or extreme pain. There’s pushing yourself, and then there’s going too far. But never give up – because the other thing that showing up for a workout (almost every day for the past 12 years) has made me, is really proud of myself.
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Photo: Hiles, Nascimento, Onojeghuo, Sikkema, Shaw, Shea.