The Final Rep, Issue 12: When It’s Easy to Talk Yourself Out of a Workout
Don’t overthink; just do.
Almost every time I’m signing up for a race—a 5K, a marathon, whatever distance, and no matter how long I’ve thought about doing it—I pause right before hitting the submit button on the registration. That pause brings up questions like, ‘Do I really want to do this?’ ‘Will I really train for it?’ ‘Am I setting myself up for failure?’ My typical solution: Either text someone to give me an extra vote of confidence or just stop overthinking so much and click confirm, dammit. (Anyone else?)
I know I can easily talk myself out of doing races, runs, yoga, basically any workout, as long as I have enough time to overthink it. I could overwhelm myself with thoughts of how to gear up, how to fit in training, how cold it is outside, what workout or exercises to do, the list goes on. And it can leave me exhausted and very un-excited about the actual workout, all before the physical part even happens. To combat this scenario of overthinking the work of a workout, I’ve adopted a pretty straightforward method: Don’t think. Just go. Just start. Just press play or lace up your sneakers or walk out the door. Because once you get that first step out of the way, the rest comes a little easier and you often go longer or harder than planned.
This same go-for-it mentality works well when you’re looking to have a little more adventure in your workouts, too. Saying yes to any form of physical activity someone throws my way, works in my favor in terms of how much fun I have with exercise—like when my sister invited me to an aerial yoga class this past weekend. With zero details, I’m in, because that’s my go-to response and I don’t think I’ve ever regretted saying it (at least when it involves a workout).
The beauty of this type of yoga practice: it quite literally teaches you to let go. Take the moves you do, for example, like hanging upside down on the silk fabric by just one thigh or standing on one foot on top of the fabric, or swinging airplane-style with the material only holding up your hips. You have to let go of the silk or step off the floor to get into these positions and trust yourself in doing so. Overthinking the poses before you do them will only keep you from moving your body in new, pretty fun and freeing ways and hold you back from the full benefits of the class. By the time you work your way through all the poses, you get a great stretch, a little strength, and some serious relaxation. (BTW, the cocoon meditation at the end of an aerial yoga class should be enough to convince everyone to try it!)
One of the best things about exercise is that afterward, you very rarely regret doing it. So, while there are plenty of things to second guess in life, plenty of topics to over-analyze and talk ourselves out of, moving more doesn’t have to be one of them. Saying yes to exciting physical challenges your friends invite you to do (HI!) or going for that walk when you still have a shit ton of work to get through, is always worth it. Once you conquer that first step, it’s easier to plow right through to The Final Rep. You just have to let go and go for it.
A few other people’s words about wellness I’ve read (and loved) recently:
1. A pretty awesome trend that’s happening in activewear and other apparel: using recycled water bottles to create clothes. Women’s Health ran a cool story on how exactly Girlfriend Collective transforms water bottles into their popular high-rise leggings. The brand puts sustainability at the top of their priority list, and the article mentions a few other companies that also offer leggings made of recycled materials. (#Shamelessplug for my own writing, but if you’re interested in the headway shoe brands have made toward sustainability and upcycling, check out my story for Men’s Journal from last year, “The Future of Sustainable Footwear.”)
2. Maybe it’s time we finally ditch the idea of “good” v. “bad” foods and exercising simply to burn off a meal or snack. Christine Byrne lays out all the reasons to break these rigid diet rubrics in Outside’s “There Are Not Rules for Healthy Eating.” Flexibility in food choices, along with fitness options, gives you permission to go easier on yourself, while still boosting health.
3. At the beginning of the pandemic, people seemed to talk more about the mental health of healthcare professionals, but that conversation has faded a bit. Thankfully, according to The New York Times’, “Doctors, Facing Burnout, Turn to Self-Care,” healthcare professionals have more access to resources to help with all the stress they’ve had to deal with for nearly a year now. What surprises me most about the article—as someone who lives in a mental health therapy-friendly world where I talk about convos with my therapist and my friends’ therapists on the regular—is that there’s still such a stigma surrounding mental health and getting the care needed to help handle our emotions, stressors, anxieties, etc. I hope stories like this, and all those about mental health in these times, help to squash that stigma. (Also, giving major props to all the hard-working healthcare workers out there, including my friend, Liz, who’s been crushing it in the ER this whole time!)
The latest updates on the fitness industry:
· Apple launched a new feature for the Apple Fitness+ platform, called Time to Walk, which features celebrities sharing stories, memories, and more—all meant to encourage you to stroll more.
· A new (small) study, written up in the NYT, found that moderate-intensity exercise may better boost metabolism, improve blood pressure, and regulate blood sugar, compared to high-intensity interval training or HIIT.
Here’s one form cue that always resonates with clients…
These words tend to work for individuals I train as an ah-ha moment for feeling stronger in a move or activating the right muscles. Think of your lateral lunge as a hinge movement, which means you push your butt back while maintaining a flat back, as you would in a deadlift. Keep weight in the heel of the foot of your bent leg and drive through that heel to stand up. That way you’ll feel it in the glute as you power to the top.
One move to add to your exercise routine…
Push-up with banded knee drive. Because I’m constantly looking for ways to switch up my push-up and also strengthen my legs for runs, I love this move. It offers upper body, core, and hip flexor strengthening. To do it, place a mini band around your feet, at the arch. Get into a plank position, shoulders over wrists, squeezing your glutes, and engaging your abs. With shoulders down away from ears, create an A-shape from shoulders to elbows. Then, bend elbows and lower body to the floor, maintaining one straight line. Push back up to the top. Then, with feet flexed, drive one knee in toward the chest. Step back to plank. Drive the other knee in toward the chest. Repeat the push-up and one knee drive each side.
For a full workout, try…
Looking for some intense HIIT workouts? Don’t know what to do on leg day? Want an upper body-only workout? In search of a killer combo of strength training and cardio conditioning? Well then, say hello to Trooper Fitness! Not only do you get all of these options with their handy app and jampacked schedule, but you also get amazing programming and super supportive coaches—like two of my favorites, Prince Brathwaite and Jennifer Romanelli. I took their new format (Cardio & Core) recently and Prince was cheering us on while talking about the benefits of being more vulnerable. I am ALWAYS here for a good physical challenge, with a side of some mental training! How fitting, too, that Trooper’s tagline is “All We Know is Go.”
The gear I’m loving to get me out the door…
If you haven’t tried Adidas’ boost shoes yet, it’s time. I’ve had the pleasure of trying the latest version, the Ultraboost 21 (they officially release tomorrow), and they offer amazing bounce-back (the best feature on the boosts!), a super-soft, cushioned feel underfoot, and a nice squeeze of support through the upper. They’re great for short or medium mileage and they can totally serve as a style sneaker, too!
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