Workout Slump Solutions

Click here to read the original question: “Dear Laur, Help! I’m in a workout slump!”

Dear Meg,

With the amount of money I’ve spent on unused gym memberships, I could probably solve our national debt crisis. So believe me, I understand the ins and outs of the workout slump. Fortunately, that also means I’ve spent a LOT of time getting around the slump – and so I’ve got some ideas that might help you too.

First off – yes, hitting the gym after work is not as fun as the fitness elite make it sound. No, it’s not really a “great way to relieve stress after a busy day.” Really, it’s just a barrier between me and the demand-free nirvana of just being “done.” A really great way to relieve stress after a busy day is sitting on the couch not moving a muscle until Netflix asks me if I’m still watching.

The way I solved this was by getting the bulk of my workouts in over my lunch break, but this is not feasible for most people – especially if you don’t work near a gym, can’t eat at your desk, and have to look somewhat presentable and not smell bad for the rest of the day.

When I do try to fit my fitness in after work, it’s usually through a more routine activity – in my case, dance. I have a 90 minute tap/jazz/ballet class on Monday night and a two hour tap/jazz class on Thursday night. Working towards getting better at our routines is a goal that keeps me motivated. Plus, I look forward to seeing the girls each week. It’s like book club, but a lot sweatier. Having a smaller tight-knit group helps you avoid the meh feeling of just being an anonymous body in a gym crowd, where no one would really miss you if you weren’t there.

So in your case, rather than bouncing from gym to gym through Class Pass, you might want to find one place to call home. More importantly, you might want to make that place on the way home, so you don’t end up wasting time in transit. You’ll be home sooner, which means more time to unwind from the day.

Another consideration is the kind of fitness activity you do. Variety is important, but if motivation is your issue, consistency is key. I like to feel like I’m working towards something specific, rather than just passing the time or getting through my daily gym duty. When I’m at dance, the goal is obvious. So for the rest of the week, I keep dance in mind. Cardio is going to improve my stamina so I can keep my energy up through the whole routine. Strengthening is going to give me more sculpted lines and postures, higher grand battements, deeper plies. I have no delusions of joining the Royal Ballet, but it still feels really good to see myself making progress as I do the same activity over time.

 

You’re an athlete. You know the feeling. Think of how crowded your life was back in college, with a full day of classes and then another several hours of practice. Back then you got through it because you weren’t just running in circles (unless track was your thing). You were trying to impress a coach, land a better position, become a better athlete. All you have to do now is tap back into your competitive edge and find an activity that allows you to challenge your inner beast. Even if there’s no team to join, use your imagination if you have to. The most important thing is that you feel empowered rather than enslaved by your workout.

Now – I will say that despite your best efforts, there will be days when your gym commitment is underwhelming or nonexistent. I have those days too. They are often the fallout of work and life colliding like an interminable jackhammer. On those days, once dinner is done, the dishes are put away, the counter is clean and the cat has been fed, I allow my guilt to push me towards one last day-ending strive for body justice. The at-home workout.

I used to do the workout DVDs… you know, Billy Blanks, P90x. That was only when I was on the ground floor apartment. Doing jumping jacks and burpees are bad enough without thinking about how your downstairs neighbors are hearing every elephantine footfall.

Now, I seek the privacy of my stairwell. I put on my Pandora “Dance 2016” Station (club music… gotta love it) and then get in about 20 minutes of jogging up and down the stairs. In between sets, I have a little fun on the landings by crunking and twerking and nae nae’ing and just generally making a fool of myself. (I just pray my building doesn’t have cameras in the stairwell.) The workout isn’t long enough to get me too revved up before bed, nor too intense that I end up losing the dinner I just consumed. However, it’s enough to feel that sweat-soaked sense of accomplishment that keeps me on the bandwagon. If you’re really lucky, you might get your bf to join you. Challenge him to races, or make up some wild routines.

Stairs not your thing? Pick up some cheap boxing gloves and challenge your bf to a sparring match in the living room. You can work out any interpersonal tension and challenge your stamina by keeping the motion going – bobbing, weaving, dodging and throwing blows.

Bf not home (or nonexistent, as in my case)? Well, I’ll have you know, sometimes I chase my cat around the apartment. You’d be surprised how much of a workout you can get in trying to corner and catch a cat that thinks you’re trying to give it a bath.

I’ll also keep a set of weights under my couch to use when I’m watching TV. I can run through some reps of bicep and tricep curls, shoulder lifts and chest presses without even taking my eyes off of the screen. Sometimes I’ll balance the weight on my toes and do leg or knee lifts to target my quads. During commercials, if I’m feeling particularly motivated, I’ll haul myself off of the couch do some planks, pushups or squats. I know this hardly counts as a workout, but it does help to keep your mentality in training mode. Plus, science would tell you that getting more small bursts of activity throughout the day is healthier than one stressful burst of activity for an isolated interval.

I hope some of these ideas help you get the motivation back to get over your slump! Just remember, the hardest part of your workout is over once you actually set foot in the gym. If you can get that far, you’re unstoppable.

Yours Truly,

Laurie

Dear Laur: Help, I’m in a Workout Slump!

Dear Laur,

It’s that time of year, when the workout resolutions I set in January are starting to feel pretty unattainable. Work has been busier than ever and I’ve been travelling a lot. I barely have time to see my boyfriend, and we live together! How am I supposed to find time to squeeze in a workout?

And even if I do have the time, I’ve gotten into the habit of cancelling classes simply because I’m exhausted. The weather certainly doesn’t help. After a long day at work, who feels like heading out into the dark, cold night to workout?

And the worst part is, the more I don’t go, the less motivated I feel. I’m ashamed to show my face in some of my favorite classes for fear that the instructors will ask what good reason I had for falling off the face of the earth for the past two months. I’m worried that if I take a challenging class, I will embarrass myself. Even when I do manage to drag myself to a class, I station myself in the back corner and feel like I’m just going through the motions and watching the clock for the hour to end.

I know these are all just excuses, and I also know that everyone goes through these slumps at some point or another. But what can I do to get myself to feel motivated again and get my butt back to the gym? Help!

xx Meg

Dear Laur: Don’t Sweat It! Fitness Fashion For All Figures

Dear Laur,

Workout clothes are a fun way to stay motivated! Especially as you start to see results, it’s empowering to show off your hot new bod in hot new gear.

But until you get there, I can understand the frustration. Nobody wants to spend their entire workout class comparing her body to the 90 pound stick in a crop top who is kicking everyone’s butts with a heavier set of weights.

But baggy tees and sweatpants are not the solution. Instead, choose workout clothes that are cute but also flattering for your body unique body shape. Whether that be Lululemon or less pricey, there are plenty of options out there. Check out some of my favorites below!

For shorties:

Although your first instinct may be to try a cropped legging (no hemming or rolling required!), longer styles are actually best to lengthen legs. Just like with hair, an ombre effect gives the illusion of mile high legs. On top, stay away from looser fabrics and opt for a structured, fitted look instead. One with a built in bra-top will fill out a small bust.

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Fabletics Lilac Tank // Athleta High Rise Fadeout Chaturanga Tight

For athletes: 

If you’re athletically built, have some fun – embrace bright colors and bold prints! They will draw attention to your toned top or bottom and help break up a more straight up and down shape. For me, my legs are my favorite asset, so I like to show them off with a loud printed cropped legging. Worked hard to get that lean, muscular back? Show it off in an open back style.

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Fabletics Femina Tank // Calvin Klein Performance Printed Cropped Leggings

For full-figured: 

No need to hide in the back corner! If you’re more curvy, keep your cool in bottoms with wide waist bands to tuck your tummy. Choose monochrome, darker colors with subtly slimming vertical lines. Or if you’re finding it hard to let go of your old pair of sweats, try a pant style with a comfy waist band in a slimming style. On top, go with a looser fitting tank or a structured tee over a sports bra with wide straps and an underwire for extra support. Constantly pulling your shirt down? Try a style with a cinched bottom to keep everything in place. Now get up front and center and show those skinny b*@#*e$ who’s boss!

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LVR Shark Bite Tank // Panache Ultimate Maximum Control Sports Bra

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Fila Sport Colorblock Performance Tee // Zella Inspire Capris

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Old Navy Compression Tank // Athleta Relay Tight

For long and lean: 

First of all, as a short girl, I will never understand how having supermodel proportions would ever be a bad thing. But if you’re frustrated with finding the perfect fit, try a pant with extra length or foldover option and flare to give your line more shape. Go bold with a vibrant, color block top and your bod will be anything but boring.

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Athleta Chi Tank Bold Stripe // Under Armour Perfect Studio Pant

Now sis, how about a trip out to NYC for some shopping?

Yours truly,

Meg

 

To see Laur’s Dear Sis post, click here.

Dear Meg: Help, I Need Workout Clothes

Dear Meg,

The time was come for me to apologize for all the times I rolled my eyes and pouted while you dragged me through Lululemon. Right now – I need your help.

Before, I was totally fine hiding my frumpy folds in T-shirts and sweatpants while at the gym and dance class. Now that I’m stepping it up a notch, I see what I’ve been missing.

Today in BC, I was the only girl in the class whose boobs were hitting her in the face during her jumping jacks. I have yet to find a sports bra that can hold in these triple D’s without smushing them together into one giant beachball.

As for the tops and bottoms, I’ve generally aimed for things that hide my bulges. Now, I’m actually trying to sculpt nice bulges, so I kind of need the visual feedback. At the same time, I still want something that doesn’t make me look like 170 pounds of sausage stuffed into a cocktail wiener.

The biggest thing is, when I’m working out, I don’t want to look like a 10 year old boy fighting off an attack of bees. I want to look like a strong, sexy, curvaceous woman who is on track to becoming toned and tight. I feel like stepping up my look will help build the confidence and enthusiasm I need to keep pushing myself further.

Sis, in all your fitness fashion wisdom, can you set me on the right track?

Yours truly,

Laur