Friday Open Thread: Workout Motivation

Hey, welcome to the Friday Open Thread! This is your space to let it all out and tell us about your life and share pictures and stories. I haven’t done one of these in a while and I’m so excited to be here with y’all!

This week my partner and I have started jogging again. I haven’t worked out consistently in a long long time and same for my partner. I’ve been so unmotivated lately even though I know exercising does so many good things for my body. I carry so much anxiety and stress and any time I work out, even if it’s for 10 minutes, I feel so much better! I have a membership to my local YMCA and enjoy going to the group classes but sometimes getting back into a routine is the hardest part. After dealing with some health issues last year, my partner is now in a place where she’s motivated to work out and feel better about her body and asked me if I wanted to join her and my dog out for a run. And I did!

We started slow and jogged a mile around our neighborhood. I did pretty well, considering I hadn’t run in ages, and I felt so great afterwards. We’ve done it for a few days in a row now and I am sore. But also I’ve slept better and don’t feel like the world is going to collapse on my shoulders or like I’m suffocating because anxiety. Also my dog is delighted by this new development. I hope we can keep it up! At least, this makes me want to keep going to spin, yoga and Zumba classes at the Y! My brain is like yay, endorphins!

Do you have an exercise routine? What do you do? Do you watch Youtube videos or follow an app or go to a gym? Do you have a workout buddy? What motivates you to keep going?

Besides working out, how’s life going? What are you doing this month? Isn’t August the last full month of summer? (I’m low-key OVER this summer, I want Fall to come like now.) What’s your favorite ice cream? What are your weekend plans? Tell me all the things in the comments!


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Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and former Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her queer Latina heart. Yvonne was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter. Read more of her work at yvonnesmarquez.com.

Yvonne has written 205 articles for us.

120 Comments

  1. I’ve been wanting to get into yoga recently, but I’m a little wary about the cultural appropriation side of it. Does anyone know of any online yoga tutorials or videos that are respectful of its origin? Is there an ethical way for a white person to participate in yoga if I’m not a particularly spiritual person? Please let me know.

      • I love that web site! I’m very fortunate to go to a studio where the studio owner mentions during her opening talks that yoga is Hindu and deeply tied to schools of Indian religious/philosophical thought.

    • I started doing yoga again at the beginning of this year, because it’s pretty much the only exercise thing that I actually enjoy/make progress with/stick with. The cultural appropriation side of it is a thing that troubles me, too – really, more the thin cis white woman appropriation of the spirituality than the actual physical practice itself. So I try to avoid that.

      I was lucky to find a studio that is, for my area, pretty diverse (and not just a ton of 20 something blonde women talking about losing weight for their weddings). I’ve been seeking out people on social media who also are tuned in to these problems, critiquing the capitalism of the yoga industry, celebrating body diversity, etc – my favorite is Jessamyn Stanley, who runs Every Body Yoga (her instagram is @mynameisjessamyn, and she was literally ranting about capitalist exploitation of yoga this week).

      The practice of yoga outside of India is a complicated history, too – there were deliberate efforts to export it to the (so-called) west starting in the 19th century. That’s not to say it’s not been appropriated as well – just that when any type of cultural practice becomes a commodity, it’s a complicated process with lots and lots and lots of layers to it. I think it’s possible to practice and still be aware of the problems with yoga as an industry, try to avoid contributing to them, and stay conscious of the conflicts and tensions and exploitations that produced it as well. But it’s still hard.

  2. I’m not into exercise at all. I know I should be, but I can’t motivate myself to either do something before work or after work. I tried yoga for a bit, but it was difficult and my local place doesn’t have an easy beginners class on Saturdays. Also, it’s expensive and I didn’t like giving up what felt like my whole Saturday morning.

    I’m not ready for summer to be over, but I am ready for it to cool down. 100+ degrees is not fun, even for someone like me who needs sunshine and warmth to be happy. My only plan for the weekend is to see Atomic Blond and buy frames for some prints I bought on Etsy. I am slowly, but surely, filling the walls of the house I have lived in for a year and a half.

    Last Sunday I saw Melissa Etheridge close out the State Fair and it was AMAZING! She’s such a fantastic singer and performer. She’s as good now as when I saw her 13 years ago. So, in lieu of a cat photo, here is my favorite photo from the concert on Sunday.

  3. I am definitely motivated to work out and get fit bc of job goals and after seeing the gross amount of fat under the skin on some people (via surgery observation). But staying on the wagon is def not easy, and I even have a fitness corner set up in my room ?

  4. I usually try to do something active 3-5 days per week, and change it up as much as possible so it stays interesting. Unfortunately right now we’re blanketed in smoke from wildfires that are happening all over B.C. which makes it unpleasant to get out and do all the outdoorsy stuff I’d like to be doing. I’m tired of feeling trapped in my house. 🙁 I’m supposed to go camping next week so hoping it will clear up soon.

  5. This couldn’t be more perfect because I just went to the gym! I work at a JCC (Jewish Community Center), and we have a really nice gym that staff can use for free. I did 10 minutes on the elliptical, and then I went to the fitness desk to sign up for personal training (staff gets a nice discount). One of the trainers happened to have had a cancellation, and he must have overheard me talking to the person at the desk, and he offered to train me for free…right then and there. I was overwhelmed, but it felt like divine intervention. Now I’m eating seasonally inappropriate crock pot turkey chili that I made last night. I can’t wait for fall, when I don’t feel silly using my crock pot and eating chili.

    Maybe I can even get myself to go to work tomorrow or Sunday (when I’m off) and work out.

    Tonight, I’m going to Shabbat services and dinner at NYC’s LGBTQ synagogue. I went last week, and I met some cool people. Spiritual healing, y’all.

    • No such thing as seasonal inappropriate and crock pot chili. Chili is great all the time, and pretty sure part of summer foods(hot dog and chili). My mother uses her crock pot at least once a week to make stew, and awhile ago I went to target to buy a personal sized Crockpot, but didn’t like the lack of a warm or auto-off option.

  6. Yvonne, staying active helps keep my anxiety in check & my sleep better too. It’s a big part of my self-care. I love weightlifting and boxing, and I’ve also recently started a part-time job dog walking, so I’m getting my steady-state cardio in for sure. This month I’m trying a kettlebell class with my girlfriend, and it’s been fun learning something new.

    The thing that best helps me to stay motivated with fitness is making a workout calendar. Then I can check off the days I meet my goal, and see my progress by the month. I fell behind in July with summertime events taking a lot of my free time, but I’m aiming to do better in August!

    But this month is going to be hectic because I have a big deadline looming for work and I’m helping out with some mentorship stuff. Eeeeeek!

      • Yes, it’s built around kettlebells with squats, deadlifts and swings. I learned how to do a Turkish Get-Up with a kettlebell (HARD), and I like the class. But of course it is sooo expensive! We got in with a groupon and can’t afford the membership when the groupon expires. :'(

    • What kind of calendar do you use to track your workouts? I love the idea, but I find having that information on the same calendar I use for work and travel makes it too messy!

      Best of luck with your deadline and mentoring! 🙂

      • I have the same problem with one calendar getting too congested, so I usually print out a blank calendar just for workouts. One month at a time, with workouts planned in advance so it’s easier to stay on track. I tape it to my main events/work calendar (a dry-erase whiteboard wall calendar that I use each month), so all my stuff is in one place.

        I hope that’s helpful! And thanks for the good luck wishes. 🙂

  7. For the past several months I’ve been lifting three times a week, with a workout buddy I met through an AMAZING program through my university called Women on Weights. It feels amazing. I’ve been using a program from the amazing Nia Shanks (http://www.niashanks.com/) who has a super legit approach to health and fitness and who I just found out is gay <3

    I'm hoping to deadlift 200lbs for the first time today!

  8. Right now my workout motivation is that I’m going on my annual backpacking trip at the end of the month, and if I don’t work out now, I’m gonna feel it on the trip! I’m aiming to do 5k a day this month (ideally running and hiking, but if the heat index spikes again, I’m going to have to walk a few of them) plus body weight squats and lunges to help my hips and knees. It’s been hot and humid this week, so I’ve had really sad times, but my mantra for this has been “It doesn’t have to be fast or pretty; it just has to be done.”

    I’m packing up today to head to the Adirondacks for a week with my family, so (a) better weather to run in, (b) SO MANY MOUNTAINS to hike!, and (c) water to swim and sail and paddle in!

    I’m also going to be deciding whether to go back to my job or not when I get back. Backstory: I’ve been a “temp” for the last six years and they finally made a permanent position, but because it was a “new” position, they had to do the whole hiring process. I found out that they didn’t choose me because the apartment rental agency the new person is using called *me* and emailed *me* to verify their employment. I forwarded the email to my boss and to HR, and my boss called and fell all over herself apologizing and thanking me for my “years of service” and apparently negotiated a severance package for me and was waiting to tell me until she had that paperwork in hand. My current plan is to keep on there until I find out what the severance package entails and what kind of strings are attached to it. I’ve already applied to two new jobs and I feel weirdly okay.

    • that’s such a good quote for life! gonna remember that.

      wow, fuck, that sucks about the job. what a slap to the face after all those years. i hope you find a job that is good for you and appreciates you!

    • So sorry about your job situation. I hope that when you’re writing out your CV (resume?) it makes you realise all these skills you have and experience and you end up in a better job where they appreciate your awesomeness.

      • Thank you! I’ve kept my CV updated, thankfully, and I’m applying to jobs where the position title matches my experience and skill set (my soon-to-be-former job title is “Administrative Assistant” and that is not at all what I do; I’m actually a terrible administrative assistant and a really phenomenal production editor).

  9. YES to fall coming soon. I’m so ready for cooler weather. Though summer semester just ended and it’s time to do the old “cram everything into August that I was going to do in fourth months” thing so there’s that first.

    I’ve been doing the Blogilates playlists on youtube on and off, after I found them in one of working on it series posts. I notice that when I get into a habit of a few a day, suddenly I have a lot more energy and focus. The problem is she’s REALLY chipper, so when I’ve missed a few days and I’m grouchy, it’s really hard to start up again.

    • I find she actually works better when I’m grouchy – I get a kind of perverse pleasure out of swearing and snarling at her perfect face and perky voice, lol. It motivates me to keep going out of sheer spite.

  10. Hello 🙂 I’ve been lifting weights this week too. Back at it. I have full leg hair and I wore 3/4 length leggings and it felt good to not give af about the hair on my legs. It also feels good blowing in the wind. I also grew out my Pitt hair this summer and I love it, I think I care less than ever and it’s attractive. It’s amazing how quickly I feel notice results with weight training it’s immediate. In other recommendations, CBC’s The Baroness Von Sketch show. There’s a lot of queer content with lesbian relationships in their sketches. There’s office politics and poking fun at trends and it’s hillarious.

  11. I’ve been struggling this summer because I fell off the staying-active bus, and it’s taken a huge toll on my mental health, sleep, general energy levels, you name it. Ironically, this only started when I finally finished my degree and actually have time for better self-care. Yvonne, your talk of how good you feel after even small workouts is making me want to motivate to get back into the yoga/biking habit. Wish me luck!

    Like the Bostoner I am, I’m moving in September! I found a beautiful unit in JP, a neighborhood I’ve been eyeing for years, and, like the queer I am, I’m bringing my cat to live with me from my parent’s house! So this month is dedicated to clearing clutter and packing up the rest.

    In the meantime, I’m visiting my bff in NJ this weekend! ?

  12. My girlfriend and I were slacking off about running and exercising so we just started a new exercise motivation plan. Every time we exercise (min. 30 minutes), we put $5 towards a goal in a savings account dedicated to totally unnecessary items that we both want. She’s working for a fancy bathrobe and I’m working towards a Nintendo Switch. A+++ WOULD RECOMMEND

      • Nice! On our fridge, we also have poorly photoshopped images of our faces superimposed on pictures of people enjoying our respective items, with a grid that we pencil in every time we exercise. The dual satisfaction of filling in a box and seeing our savings accounts increase has helped out a lot!

    • Hmm, that’s a really good idea. I’m finally into a daily yoga routine, but maybe I’ll start doing that on days when I choose a more challenging workout. And a Switch seems like excellent motivation, since by the time I save up enough it’s likely to have more good games.

  13. UGH I just started back to the gym after having surgery, and back to full high level contact with my roller derby team. Derby twice a week, and adding in gym 3x a week is the goal (and what I was doing before surgery). I’ve also started running invervals on my lunch break again- literally the first time doing so today and then sat down at my desk to see this article! I don’t really follow a “program”, but when lifting I tend to stick with higher weight/lower reps, and alternate muscle groups for the days I lift. Fitspiration right now is a former derby jammer, Evada Peron, she’s on instagram @evadaperon_fitness and damn I’m not sure if she is life goals or wife goals. Both. Definitely both. Generally I go to the gym with my partner, and she’s the one who made me start running to begin with so it’s nice to have a running buddy. At work I go by myself, which is perfectly fine with me.
    Icecream is the devil and I love it even though I have a milk allergy. I’ll sell my soul for that cherry cheesecake. And now I want icecream which is NOT helpful when wanting to get fit enough and good enough at derby to be considered for Team Canada 2018 😛 But really, that’s a dream I feel is really intangible and icecream is real and something I can get on the way home from work so…

  14. I try to run 2-3 times per week, lift weights 1-2 times per week and play tennis once per week, if the weather allows. I also do 20-40 minutes of yoga with an app after my exercise. My motivation is that it helps me not want to die (no joke) three days out of the month. You’d think that would make me awesome at hitting my goals, but it doesn’t.

    This week exercise has been a bit easier because I just started using these vegan meal replacement shakes for breakfast, which means I can get out the door much quicker in the morning and feel less bad about how exercise infringes on prime work time.

  15. I have a routine for the most part that I adopted nearly a decade ago. I had gained the freshman 15, & confused inside(gender wise) and my buddy was like you should join my gym. I did and his fathers introduced us to his friend a trainer who happened to trained pro wrestlers(The Rock). He trained us for 2 weeks on how to use the equipment correctly. He told us it’s bad for the spine to do back exercises the same day as legs exercises, though running & back exercises is fine. I usually just listen to podcasts at the gym and then run on the treadmill to youtube videos of product reviews or tips and tricks as an distraction.

    How’s everyone’s week? It’s been unnaturally too muggy here and it’s has me missing the awful dry heat(thankfully only in DTLA, and not the Valley or Palm Springs). All I want to do is get in a cold fridge and nap. On the plus side I switched to arm and hammer deodorant and it’s working alright, it was only $1+tax at Walgreen.

    I had a very good Sunday night that lead to me overthinking it the rest of the week. It was the typical queer experience of being over at someones house making out while the person’s dog was watching. I think I’ve made it. But, now overthinking it as I texted them the other day and never got a reply back. Had me thinking maybe I was bad at what occurred? Also, any tips on telling some when making out that it’s like kissing a mint ashtray and that’s kind of a turn off. :=\ On a related note I might be open to the idea of being polyamorous? Or maybe it’s that recently I’ve been in like with queer polyamorous people and I’m not getting younger.

    I was looking at some of images of Malibu I have taken over the years, for a project, and found this image that has become one of my favorites.

    Thank you for reading and viewing my post. Have a positive weekend!

  16. I haven’t posted in forever because I’m always working on Fridays now but this week I had a short day and tomorrow at daybreak my partner and I are leaving on a road trip! Everything about my job has been driving me nuts lately, body is sore, hours are long, random men in the building keep coming up to me asking me to do things for them, and yesterday my colleague tried to gossip to me about which lawyer was the hottest and I stared at her blankly and then she used the name of the guy she thought was the hottest and then I continued to stare blankly and reader, it was the gayest thing I have done at my job.

    I used to just bike everywhere for exercise but now I’m terrified of traffic where I live and have to get to work by public transit but my transit commute is basically like running an obstacle course twice a day every day

  17. I used to work out regularly and then I took an accelerated class this summer and turned around and realized that I haven’t worked out since June. It’s really rough for me because it helps my anxiety and depression SO much.

    Oh, but I do dance. Swing dance is my life. Swing people are my people. I feel like they’ve literally saved my life a few times, when going through depressive periods. Going out and playing on the dance floor with my friends is the highlight of my week. They’re also all a buncha nerds, so in between dances I get to talk about my love for Joss Whedon and D&D and what the heck is even going on with Marvel these days, anyway?

    I have a gym membership, but I just don’t know what the heck I’m doing at the gym outside of the pool… I really want to start lifting weights but I don’t know where to start and there’s like a billion different plans online.
    Anyone have a recommendation for a beginner-ish strength training plan? I really want to get strong and feel like a badass, but I’m so intimidated by the lifting bros.

    Today I’m baking 2 dozen brownies for a bake sale fundraiser for an artist collective that offers after-school art and writting clubs for LGBTQ+ kids and teens. Baking is something I really excel at, and it feels good to be doing something for a community.

    • Does you gym have weight machines? Sometimes I find they’re less intimidating than free weights (and the dude-bro types tend to congregate around the free weights anyway), plus you have the benefit of the exercises already being pre-assigned and aren’t walking around with a dumbbell wondering what to do with it.

      If you’re looking at building strength, the basics are to find a resistance that you can handle with good form for 8-12 reps but then need to stop and rest. You can start with just a single set of 8-12 reps and see how you feel the next day or 2 to judge how your body responds, full muscle soreness can take a few days to develop. Build up to 3 sets, once that becomes too easy, then up your weight (general rule: increase your reps before increasing your resistance). Alternate days for legs and arms, your core is generally strong enough to handle more than one day in a row of strength training, but let your body be your guide. Hydrate before you dominate.

  18. I’ve been exercising my debit card *eyes emoji*. Everything I’ve bought has been on (sale 50% or more) so not toooo much of a work out 😉

    I too am HIGH KEY over summer, and the knitwear I’ve bought has put me in the mood for colourful leaves and cold mornings. Luckily, it looks like London, England is also over the summer this august, or as I’ve been calling it ‘Autumn: The Prequel’. I may even take that hot chocolate tour of London I’ve been thinking about, or go to a park or to check out the autumn leaves.

    Autumn also means getting my hair done to protect it for the winter. So I have a question for black women/femmes/people who use weave or hair extensions for braiding:do you know where I can get pastel coloured hair, specifically pink and lilac? I’ve been searching online all day to no avail.

    • haha i’m glad you’re over the summer too, i feel silly saying i’m over it because i live in texas and it’s summer here until basically the end of october. a hot chocolate tour sounds so lovely!

    • My Mom is a natural hairstylist, but shamefully I know nothing about natural hair. My mom and dad both have afro texture hair, but for some reason I have hair I like to describe as afro-lite. It is almost like Sarah Gilbert’s in Roseanne, but WILDER and bigger. I found a picture of myself in highschool before I started to shave parts of my head and I totally forgot how damn big my hair was.
      Anyways, you live in London? I miss England! The only thing I couldn’t deal with was the cold, even in the summer I had to wear sweatshirts, especially in Ireland!
      A hot chocolate tour sounds boss. Please enjoy Europe for me because I cannot atm.

  19. I’ve been trying to wake up early an walk with my partner but we both keep hitting snooze. Luckily I have later going in times for my new job so I won’t have an excuse once things settle into a routine. I’ve been trying to be more active again and the other day did some body weight stuff in my living room.
    This Ciara greatest hits playlist kept me going. She is crazy fitness/boss/life goals. Also crop top hoodies need to make a hard come back.

  20. Finally on the path to looking up scholarships for a masters program, writing, and knitting. This time scholarship searches are not going horribly. I am compiling a list of scholarships then I will choose the ones to sign up for first. I guess having to quit my job wasn’t as horrible as I thought because now I can plan for my future which is not a luxury everyone has, but I have no choice because finding a job is not easy where I live. There are only restaurant jobs, food stores, churches, and the occasional retail store. I can’t work in restaurants anymore because of my skin allergies (it doesn’t sound horrible, but it is painful as hell and I am still recovering from the beginning of JULY).
    Anyone have any tips on writing about a different ethnicity than yourself? I am Puerta Rican and Black, but I am writing about a lesbian Asian college student (and a group of other people, but I am worried about her and her brother). The story is fantasy. I know she doesn’t follow many stereotypes an Asian woman would normally have to deal with(she is smart but doesn’t give a damn about math or knowing kung fu, she speaks perfect English, she is a lesbian, et cetera), but she does work in a Chinese food restaurant which is central to the story as it is a demon hub. Maybe her parents could own a bakery??? I have always loved writing about food so she has to work in some kind of resturant, not a diner though because I’ve written about diners enough. Tvtropes.com helped me a lot, I’m just wondering if I am seeing the Asian community in a stereotypical lens. I grew up Buddhist which was a predominantly Asian community where I live, so I was always around and somewhat apart of the community and customs, but I will never live the experience as an Asian woman.
    Anyways, probably going to start a blog and set up an account on Fiverr for side cash
    Writing that all out made me realize I was seeing the asian community through a stereotypical lense and I will try and change the restaurant to a bakery or deli. The place has to be food related because I like writing about food and food related metaphors. Food brings people together and is a comfort and you can store a lot in the back of a resturant and provide jobs for your demon friends which can push the plot forward when I need a helping hand.
    Having a heppy sexy weekend everybody.

    • Do you know about the blog Writing With Color? http://writingwithcolor.tumblr.com/

      They break down a lot of this. I’m writing far-post-earth scifi and found their human pantone and facial feature descriptions helpful for figuring out what each of the ethnic groups on my main planet looks like and vocabularies to describe them.

      Writing With Color’s admins primarily answer questions from people asking about the best way to come at writing characters who aren’t like themselves due to religious, racial, sexual orientation, &c. backgrounds.

      You can also search Google using the following syntax for something specific. I do this with Tumblr blogs all the time. 🙂

      site:writingwithcolor.tumblr.com stereotypes

      • Thank you so much. Writing all that out made me realize I could still have her work in a restaurant without the Asian owning a chinese food resturant trope. 100% going to change that while I am redrafting the first draft.
        I’m going to check out those resources.
        If you ever want to talk about your novel feel free to dm me!

  21. I have an off again/on again relationship with exercise. It always makes me feel 1000% better in every way, but I hate giving up the money/time when I could be doing other things.
    I like yoga but cost/time is a drag. I don’t like running but I like the way it makes me feel….eventually but it takes SO LONG to get to the point where I can run for more than 2 min at a time without wanting to die. If I had my way I’d take contemporary/jazz/modern dance classes like every day, but alas back to time and money. I’m hoping that soon if potential things become real things I’ll be able to take a class or two a week… fingers crossed!

    In other news, I stumbled (read: stalked) on a photo of my ex gf and she has my EXACT. SAME. HAIRCUT. AND. COLOR. I swear she took my photo in and went “I’d like this exact neutral pixie cut and please dye the EXACT SAME SHADE OF RED.” WTF. I’m all for people doing what they want with their bodies and appearance but she also started dressing exactly like I did when we were together and I am pissed about her Single White Female-ing me. So now I want to do something different with my hair but I don’t know what. Suggestions please!

  22. My wife and I have basically set up a reward system for getting ourselves to work out. Every week we work out for at least half an hour at least 4 different days we get $10 to spend on something fun/frivolous. After a month of this we “earn” a new item of clothing, 3 months gets us a massage, etc. We made a little tracker sheet and everything, and it’s been an awesome way to hold ourselves accountable. Plus we’re sometimes really bad at justifying treating ourselves, but it’s harder to talk yourself out of buying that adorable new dress or taking the time for a pedicure when can say you deserve it for a concrete reason.
    Lately I like going for long walks with my daughter in her stroller or jogging around the neighborhood after she goes to bed. There’s also yoga and zumba at my local community center I like to go to when the timing works out, and they’re even starting a stroller fitness class soon that I’m pretty excited about.

    • If you’re both nerd-inclined, you might want to check out Habitica. It’s sort of like a task/habit manager mixed with an RPG; every time you perform a task you need to do or build a positive habit, you gain XP and coins, which can then be used for rewards you set for yourself (like that massage). Negative habits and undone tasks damage your character’s health. It’s a fun way to help you visualize your progress even more.

  23. Like @chandra I’m stuck in wildfire smog hell, so haven’t been able to bike this week :(.
    I’ve been so excited about biking too because it’s saving money instead of spending, and it takes the same amount of time as taking the bus to work so I don’t have to make time for exercise.
    Hopefully the air will clear next week!

    Meanwhile here’s two pics from the garden:

    And two pics of the latest images for my wife’s yearlong garden art project Christmas present ( she’s not on AS, or if she is HELLO sweetie you’re getting an awesome gift this winter):

  24. I’ve been taking kickboxing classes this summer and it is so much fun. But I do miss my yoga classes a lot; I couldn’t afford to do both and I wanted something with cardio. But I practiced yoga for 5 years & its the only thing that’s ever helped my chronic back pain and it was also the best de-stressor. I highly recommend it for anyone who is thinking about trying it out.

  25. I’m terrible about working out on anything approaching a regular basis. I hate running. And, even if I shouldn’t be, I’m self conscious about other people seeing me work out because I feel like a fat cow. So, yeah. I need to just suck it up and start riding/using the elyptical because, for health, I really do need to drop about 30 pounds.

    I’m pretty sure I lost a couple pounds last week when I was helping run a STEM camp for blind teens. So I just need more of that in my life (18 hour days, limited sleep, smaller meals, walking between multiple university buildings…up hills) and my belly will be gone in no time. 🙂

  26. I also have a love/hate relationship with exercise (and I openly admit that even though my job as a PT revolves around it, haha). I’m back in school now, so having access to a decent gym with free classes has been great, especially since I have friends who will now guilt me into going with them. I’ve found that the classes are more motivating for me to go to because it’s nice to have someone else have to do all the heavy lifting of having to lead the class while I just get to follow along. Plus, most days my motivation to exercise is so low that if I find someone else occupying a weight machine I want it’s like “well, guess I’ll just go home now,” but I feel way less inclined to leave a class early.

    When I don’t have time to go the gym I try to fit activity into my day as much as I can. I’ll park farther away or walk instead of taking the shuttle on campus. Always opt for the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk around campus/hospital on my lunch break. My anxiety strikes the hardest when I’m sitting around perseverating over something I can’t do anything about in the moment so I’ll to get up and exercise for a few minutes (jumping jacks, push ups, crunches, marching in place, hey even pacing nervously burns some calories).

  27. I usually swim 4 times a week which is my exercise routine…..BUUUUT…having a bit of a break now because

    TOMORROW WE’RE GOING ON HOLIDAY TO CANADA!!

    (This is exciting to me because I’m European haha)

    3 weeks with my parents is going to be a little challenging because I have to tone down the gay/feminist/kinky/poly/liberal a bit, but I’m super excited.

    I need to look at the itinerary but at some point we’re gonna be in Vancouver if any Straddlers wanna meet up and give me a tour and some gay vibes ?

  28. I’m HIGHKEY over summer, this heat is fucking up my asthma and I’m not about this sweating just cause I’m breathing life AND THE BUGS THESE SHITS LOOK LIKE THEYRE FROM JURASSIC PARK

    I’m not a huge workout person cause I like crumble in the face of routine but I had to do a ridiculous run down some escalator steps to the metro and like that one I’ve got to run down because it’s so high up that I have to run down so I don’t immediately have a panic attack from the height and so I run down I’m like shit that was not fun but I get where I’m going, go out the next day too, and now I’m like………..why are my legs so noodly, when will my thighs stop aching, and like it’s not a great feeling but it’s not a bad one and it’s a strange one to have while reading Roxane Gay’s Hunger for the first time. But I got work tomorrow and I would like the ache to cease just a little for that, or at least, for no one to ask me to pick something up from the ground cause it’s gonna take me an hour to get down there and an hour to get back up.

    This week has been okay I think, I saw my aunt for the first time since she’s been in the hospital (she’s been in for almost three weeks, she went for a simple surgery and they messed something up and she’s just….not been in a good place) and she looked okay! And she seems to always have someone with her, and I’m really glad about that.

    I’m like chilling in my depression episode that I want to be like, it just came out of nowhere! but the summer is always kinda shit for me and with this being the first year my grandma died and her birthday was on the 21st and then the anniversary of my granddad dying being 8/13, it was bound not to be a good time over here. So I’ve dropped out of like two summer workshops that I was so excited for, have backed out of like several plans, I don’t write as much anymore (which is why I’m like writing a novel here, I’m hoping it’ll help), I don’t really read even though I was so excited about all the books on my desk, and my work keeps piling up and I’m just like, please at least pretend you can be a person. But. Self-destructive habits have made a huge comeback but at the moment, aren’t as bad, and I hung out with my best friend yesterday and felt very alive and very thankful to feel that, and I asked for a slower pace for the coding bootcamp I’m taking and that moreso feel like care than defeat, which is new for me, and I’m trying to write again. Like. I just really really never wanted to write again and that’s always the biggest indicator that something is really really wrong but I was kinda hoping it just meant I was done with like, all the trauma and shit. But! Turns out not writing feels worse than writing so we’re just gonna try not to do that anymore.

    Not so good: a white boy I met earlier this week literally put his hand on my new haircut. Like, it’s not enough that this is super racist but my head is a really intimate place for me? And so the rest of the day was spent trying to figure out how to get home so I could wash him out. Not a good day.

    But! People listen when I need to talk sometimes, and I’ve got music, and saw Girls’ Trip which let me laugh and just be really fucking happy and full for two hours, and I’ve got a little time to get myself back together so.

    Also! I’m featured today in The Shade Journal’s spotlight issue: Seed!

    http://www.theshadejournal.com/single-post/alexissmithers

    I love Luther and everything he does (this whole journal is black and brown queer writers) and people have been very kind and it’s been really lovely.

    Hope you all have a great weekend!

    • Alexis, thank you for sharing! i can relate to the not writing feeling and how it’s an indicator of how not ok i am but still pushing forward to get to a place of creating. i hope writing this down helped, sometimes just starting is the hardest. one word at a time is good enough!

      oh the shade journal sounds really cool, congrats!

      wow, fuck that guy, I’m sorry that happened to you.

  29. Hello!! I don’t have much time to type because I’m currently finishing up an unscheduled flower delivery, but hello! I am tired and also very hot because it’s a billion degrees outside and I have minimal-no AC. This week has been super stressful BUT thin are looking up and I know that everything will be okay! I would probably feel more optimistic about it if I wasn’t covered in hives. Also I found out that in addition to the heat hives, I’ve also been getting cold hives, which is new and exciting! Whenever I walk into the flower fridge or pick up an iced drink, my fingers swell up and my palms get all itchy. So yeah, that’s how I am. Cool cool. Anyway here’s something that happened at work this week!


    A beautiful collage thanks to @queergirl


    Love you all hope you’re having a great week byyyyye!

    • How did you know how much we needed more @jajs flowers in our lives??

      Also I notice so far no-one has commented on the mermaid collage story and quite frankly this is the best storytelling I have experienced all week. I tried to frantically like this post multiple times to make up for the fact that everyone else has had their brains eaten by pookas (true story), but since it just toggles one extra like on or off really it’s anyone’s guess as to whether I even added one like. But you get to eat all the good stuff in the fridge because pookas aren’t all that into cool treats unless it’s someone who fell headfirst into a glacier-fed stream. So there’s that. As long as you watch your step when hiking in the Himalayas.

      Also I still owe you a postcard.
      °~°

  30. Two days of boot camp, three days swimming laps, one day Bodyflow, and one day of interval group class. I do this at the Y. I hike, bike, and kayak. When I was younger I was active. Living in Asheville helped because of all the outdoor activities. Then I was stricken with depression. Deep depression that I spent 15 years just trying to get it under control. Years of hospitals, ECT, medication switches, therapy, and considering a day I could get out of bed and not want to die a success. Now that my daily decision isn’t about whether or not to live but about how I want to attack the day I’m just grateful. I didn’t think I would ever see the day where I would enjoy life again. The ability to enjoy life with people I love and care about isn’t something I take for granted. So I eat Blue Bell ice cream and move my body.

  31. I also use exercise as the main thing to keep my anxiety in check, so often what motivates me is remembering how bad it gets if I don’t exercise. I’ve also found that I’ve only ever stuck with exercise that I like, so I don’t really do anything that isn’t fun for me, or that at least I can do something fun at the same time…which means I listen to a lot of audiobooks and podcasts. I tell myself I’m only allowed to listen to them when I’m exercising (or cleaning, or on transit) and when I want to find out what happens in a story, or what happened on the latest Buffering the Vampire Slayer, that gets me to the Y pretty quick!

  32. I don’t ~work out~, I dance! Tap once a week (though my new teacher while our usual’s on leave has said she’s using teaching our class for weight loss?), and I’m thinking about going back to ballet once my schedule clears – I ran into my ballet teacher at a Latin dance event and he said I should come back!

    I am very ready for this winter to be over, but I’m enjoying the #LGBTbabes hashtag on Twitter rn.

    Also, some months ago I asked on an open thread for experiences living alone – I’ve been living in my tiny studio for three weeks now and it’s going pretty okay. Thanks again!

  33. I’ve actually been doing yoga every day since May 1, which is kind of a big deal because I’ve only ever worked out 3x/week or every other day until now. Those spurts never lasted long, either, because I’d always end up getting injured, needing to take a break and never stopping again…

    My go-to has been Yoga With Adriene. She has a ton of videos that range from super-easy (Yoga for PMS and Intro to Yin, which both involve pillows – I use them on bad health/pain days) to really challenging (Power Yoga), so I can find something no matter how I’m feeling. And while yoga isn’t as strenuous as, say, swimming, I’m noticing definite improvements in my strength and balance.

    I do wish that I could take advantage of the summer weather to bike a bit, because that’s been my go-to in years past. Unfortunately, I can’t keep my bike in my apartment and don’t have a safe place to lock it up outside. Also Quebec has a lot of Very Big Hills, which make my prairie legs extremely sad. So alas, my bike remains in my storage locker for now.

    • Congrats on keeping up the yoga! I really like the Yoga with Adriene videos, she’s super rad and has a lot of specialized videos (like for hang overs and birthdays)! I loved her “find what feels good” message about yoga because it really changed how I saw it.

  34. Tell me I’m not the only one learning to skateboard? It’d be great to see some more girls at the skatepark (even in spirit)! I went a few times with guy friends, and then did a bunch of hours of practice early in the morning in empty parks. I get up early to practice (sometimes – my bed is so comfy it should be illegal). This whole deal is kind of a thing because a) I’ve never done any sport before ever; b) I’m the most un-coordinated, blundering around like a baby duckling sort of person you’ll ever meet and c) it’s awesome. It’s frustrating, but clears my head (stoopid anxiety) and feels like flying.

    I’m currently relaxing with some Futurama, a Cornish pasty and a beer before getting up the motivation to do adulting. Chores and such. I’ve been living alone for the last few weeks, too, and it’s been pretty peaceful so far.

    • That is awesome about practicing. I feel like that skating is fairly popular among lesbians in SoCal and places known for their skate culture, but I think most of them only long board. I tried skateboarding but realized i don’t have the skill for it, and switched stunk bike riding, but then broke my wheel doing a hop and kind of stopped after that.

      • Man I would love to visit California. Unfortunately, I’m in England where we’re having the rainiest summer in living memory. I booked a couple of days in Cornwall next week (Poldark land!) to just have one day laying on the beach, and one day checking out the skate parks. So excited!

        Longboarding looks so fun. Wait, you can do tricks on a bike? Awesome. I’ve always thought bike-riding looked graceful, and probably harder than people make it seem.

        • I have a pen pal who’s from Cornwall and loves the place for the most part, but the lack of lbtq people is kind of a problem for her.

          Only trick I can do is stand on my seat, and use to be able to jump over thin objects, but that’s about it. I tried but it didn’t pan out.

          • Well, if your buddy would like someone to skate with over the weekend I’m going to be in Penzance 🙂

            That’s still more than I can do (jump, that is)! Sounds awesome.

  35. I usually work out every other day and alternate cardio with strength training. The past year and a half has been super frustrating because just about every type of exercise imaginable aggravates my arm condition. Bicycling and doing core/lower body strength training doesn’t usually hurt that much. I’m hoping to be able to go back to my old work out schedule after surgery.
    Also, I just wanted to say that I read the article on the tenth anniversary of Tegan and Sara’s album “The Con” and I’ve been listening to it on repeat ever since. Thanks for sharing that amazing music with me! Tonight, I’m going to check out “The Woods” by Sleater-Kinney and finish a map I’ve been working on.

  36. I’m afraid that I have nothing to say regarding exercise or workout motivation. I went for a hike with my parents on Tuesday — a hike I used to do with them as a kid, a trail that at age 8 I used to run up and down like a bat out of hell. Let’s just say that my legs and lungs are not what they were. (Also, this was at 9000 ft, while I’ve been dwelling at 450 ft.)

    My Kid and I have spent the week with my parents in the house I grew up in, in Salt Lake City. It’s been really relaxed and really pleasant — surprisingly so. If you’d tried to tell me 40 years ago that I would some day feel this comfortable in my own skin, in this city, in this house, I would never for a minute have believed you.

    It’s also been fun meeting up as my real self (i.e., three years into transition) with a few friends I haven’t seen since high school.

    We fly back to Kentucky on Sunday. I have to admit, I’m a little reluctant to go. My employment situation there is still uncertain (Will the company be acquired? If it is, will they keep my team/project going?). TBH, if I found out today that my job was gone, I’d start looking for work here instead of back there. (FWIW, Kid says he wouldn’t object to moving out here.)

    That said, there’s another part of me that can’t wait to get back there, to sleep in my own bed, and to reunite with friends there I love.

  37. When it comes to working out, I like to do bodyweight exercises (squats, planks, crunches, etc). It’s easier for me to do than go to the gym. Not to mention that gym memberships are expensive and people. I’m terrible with cardio though. I can’t breathe well and tend to overheat. But my biggest problem is just sticking to my schedule.

    I’ll miss a day sometimes and then that turns to twenty. Even with reminders and stuff, some days end up being too busy to find the moment to exercise. I’d love to know how other folks deal with this. Lately, I’ve been thinking I should sign up for a CrossFit-style program and make it part of a routine. I’m pretty sure I’d like that anyway.

    It feels really good to exercise. It helps me feel good about my body, which is something I often stuggle with. I rely on it to help reduce my overall anxiety too.

    • I started doing just a few pushups in the morning, because trying to fit in a whole workout kept just making me crabby. 15 pushups isn’t enough to make me grouchy and it’s not enough I need a shower or workout clothes, but it’s just enough for me that I remember how good it feels, which is sometimes enough to get me to fit it in later and sometimes not, but either way I still am a little bit stronger.

  38. I’ve actually managed to make the gym and the treadmill the place where I work off my complicated feelings while listening to the kind of music I used to go to clubs for.
    Also, what they say in NerdFitness really helps: Making it a priority and making a schedule.
    I’m going to the gym for me, to unclutter my thoughts, to work off anger and anxiety to be healthy and strong like an amazon not to look better or be more liked, but it took me over a year to get there.

  39. I graduated in july and after taking a month of giving my GRE(i got 326!) and just travelling around my country and looking for unis to apply for my masters in fall, i gained a lot of weight from all the home food x __ x . So while working for my local animal shelter through august i am trying to lose all of the weight i gained before my internship starts in september, the fact that i’ll be in good shape physically should help me considering that i’ll have to go report on site for the duration of my internship 🙁

  40. i really, really need to start working out. my job/life is a lot of sitting in office chairs or at desks and it’s starting to take a toll. like, i get winded running up one flight of stairs and i can’t do even one push-up. that’s how ridiculously weak and out of shape i am. my motivation is that i want to be strong enough to throw a lady friend over my shoulder and carry her upstairs with one arm.
    the immediate solution to this is that my summer teaching gig is finally over, so i can spend the rest of my summer doing something other than sitting on my ass in a classroom all day. i’m going to do some grunt work helping a friend overhaul her backyard, so hauling lumber and sacks of gravel around should get me moving a bit.
    i really need to find something i’ll actually keep up with during the school year, which is proving difficult. i want to take a yoga or dance class but i don’t want to commit to another regularly-scheduled thing or else my entire life will be structured down to the minute and i’ll have no free time. anyone have advice on how to work out when you’re busy as shit and getting to the gym regularly is your last priority behind school and work?

  41. I run five miles four times a week and swim a mile once a week. I also do a bunch of body weight strength exercises, aiming for 100 proper press ups, 100 squats and 50 non kipping chin ups/pull ups a day. I also have a 20kg plate I use for overhead presses and other variations. None of this costs me any money, the running is relaxing and, spread out through the day, the body weight stuff doesn’t take much time. I don’t exercise in gyms or classes or participate in events beyond a yearly 100 km hike for charity. It’s me time, rather than an excuse to socialise. Fitness is like anything else, you get out exactly what you put into it.

  42. I’ve had a pretty good week! I’m really enjoying my classes this semester and I’m settling in well at my new hall. Ooh and I unintentionally started eating vegetarian this week so I’m going to try to keep it up for 10 days to see how I feel. I had dinner with a friend tonight too which was really nice.
    I’ve also been playing soccer for my hall which has been fun! We won our game on Friday which was exciting!
    I think I’m going to finally get to start working soon. Which is such a relief because my mum’s really been badgering me about it for a while…

  43. Running keeps me sane, sleeping and eating well. 5-6 times a week. I’ve finally adjusted to the heat and humidity and can run pretty well out here. I miss the altitude, woods, and cool temperatures back in Europe though! Unfortunately, there’s nowhere to buy the running shoes I need here- I’ve worn holes in my shoes. Hopefully I’ll have a trip back to the UK or US this autumn. I guess if I get robbed some evening (running at twilight in East Africa) I won’t regret losing my shoes! I also alternate arm and ab exercises each day- it doesn’t take much to get better muscles at home with no equipment except a chair and towel.

    Exercise keeps all my (old) bad habits at bay- I quit smoking, watch how much I drink and what I eat, because I don’t want to wreck my run, It took about 5 months of regular running to start feeling this way. I wish it had happened ten years ago. If you’re not there yet, stick with it.

  44. I just moved and this has been on my mind a lot. I used to do Crossfit and really miss it, but it’s SO expensive here. Before I was in a small town and really not paying that much. Also kinda throwing around the idea of giving roller derby a try. Idk. I like working out at a gym but I want to try something different. That’s why I liked Crossfit – it motivated me to do things I normally wouldn’t!

    In the meantime I’m slowly working on running more and more.

  45. Free weights 3 times a week, doing a variation of planks, leg lifts, push ups and things that look like yoga position to people (might actually be real yoga positions for all my ex-ballet never been to a yoga class ass knows) the rest of the days.

    New thing I been doing for a while is a dance night, I pick a song or two and just dance. Sometimes I am trying to choreograph and other times I’m just losing myself to the music with no thought to my movements. Last night I chose Led Zeppelin’s Whole Lotta Love and classic Santana Black Magic Woman, ended dancing with a scarf. 😛
    Previously have danced to Son Lux and even FKA twigs.

    Joy of movement is what motivates me, the connection and feeling of centering I feel when I do simple things like stand on one leg and count. I’m in a place and space where I’m not mourning what I can and can’t do or what I lost. I am being, I am breathing.

  46. One of my friends told me a few days ago “if you find an excersize that you like, you win at life.”

    I’ve always struggled with finding excersize that I can stick with. In highschool I briefly played field hocky before our team was cut. I ran for awhile and was pretty good, and then stopped when I went to college. I briefly swam. I went to the gym infrequently but it was never enough.

    I’ve found the more you try different things the more likely you’ll find something you like. My friend introduced me to contra dancing, which is quite a workout and beyond fun, though it’s not traditional “go-to-the-gym” type stuff. And a few weeks ago my friend and I went out with a free mountain biking group. Since then I’ve been doing it three times a week.

    It also helps to be around people who work out. Two of my coworkers are very athletic and a third goes to the gym 5 days a week. Getting motivating people in your life makes a huge difference for me. Just some food for thought.

  47. Took a nap, dreamt I was Disney Pocahontas and that I smothered Littlefinger (a slimy villain from GoT) to death with my cartoon hands.
    The weird part was Janos Slynt was there urinating in terror. He’s been dead for like 3 seasons.
    Also they were both seated at my kitchen table.

    Maybe I should get a tumblr or something…

  48. I know I’m several days late to this post so I don’t know if anyone else will even see it, but it’ll probably feel good to write a comment anyway, so I’m gonna. Thanks for talking about workout and physical stuff, because this has been on my mind a lot lately. I quit college a couple years ago and had to move back home with my parents and got really depressed and sedentary because I was just sad and at such a loss, but I’m doing loads better now (not back in school yet, but I’m getting there) except that while I was sad my binge eating got out of control and I quit exercising altogether and so I gained a total of like 50 pounds and in addition to weighing on my body it is severely weighing on my soul. But like once a month I’m like, “okay, that’s it, this is the first day of the rest of my life, I’m gonna make some changes” and then I don’t follow through because it’s become so hard for me after going on three years of living this really unhealthy lifestyle, and I’ll do all right for like two or three days then have one bad day and be all “okay, I failed, fuck it, guess I’ll eat myself to death” or something like that. It’s a real struggle and I feel like I’m going backwards (I have more stretch marks now than I had after my immediate weight gain), and I just really wish I had some kind of binge eating buddy or work out pal or accountability friend who I could talk to about this instead of just going “I’m too fat to wear that” every time my mom tells me to put on a different outfit when I go out in public since I only have like five “fat” shirts to pick from. And the depression I mentioned earlier wasn’t a new thing–it’s clinical, and I know that treating my body better and getting it in better shape would also help me on that level–on literally every level–but I’m still struggling so hard to get the fuck out of bed some days, you know? I don’t know of you do know, but thanks for reading if you did!

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