My Half-Ass Habit (and How I Got Over It — Fast)

A career in the fitness industry can be incredibly rewarding, but there’s a lot that goes into it that most people might not realize…

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I can’t tell you how many people tell me that I “have such a fun job.”

I do, yes! But that sentiment is usually followed by some variation of, “I mean, you get paid to work out!”

Sure, I guess, in some regards… But not really.

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When you’re on the clock as a fitness teacher or trainer, getting in a good workout for yourself is pretty much the last thing on your mind. (Wouldn’t you be pissed if you knew your teacher was just there to get in a solid sweat sesh?)

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Here’s what it’s like when I’m heading to teach, in a very brief nutshell:

A half hour before class starts, I’m at the studio just to be there. The second I walk into the studio, I’ve got to check whatever is happening in my life at the door. Doesn’t matter what it is, it’s gotta be put on hold.

As the Instructor, it’s essential to tune out your own ego, insecurities, thoughts and attitude in order to appropriately tap into the overall vibe, attitudes and energy of everyone walking into the classroom that day.

What are they going through? How are they feeling? What music will resonate with them?

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The focus then shifts to creating and executing a safe, sweaty, effective experience for everyone who came to class — not for my own personal workout. The next 45 minutes, leading and being aware of each and every individual is what matters.

When you exercise — regardless of what you’re doing — walking, running, yoga, spinning;  it’s an incredible physical and mental release. It’s also pretty therapeutic, isn’t it?

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So, yes, I sweat (a lot) when I work — but I don’t really get those same amazing exercise benefits in their entirety when I’m teaching. As a result, I take my workouts elsewhere to stay in shape; which, admittedly, hasn’t been easy as of late.

Bloggers, I’ll bet you can relate to this: If you work full-time, the very last thing you want to do when you get home is hop back on your computer. F*** that, right?

It’s the same thing for me after teaching two, three or occasionally four classes a day. It’s challenging to find the time and motivation to fit a workout into my schedule.

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But if I don’t, I’ve noticed, it’ll show. I’ll start to feel sore, tired, inarticulate and utterly burnt out… Which is something I’ve learned about myself the hard way in the (almost) two years that I’ve been teaching at SoulCycle.

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Truthfully, with my job as an Instructor, I’ve cut out almost all other forms of cardio from my workouts over the last… mehhhh, six months.

I know. I was actually embarrased to tell you that.

I cross-train, of course, through yoga, high-intensity training and pilates, but ever since a recent injury struck I haven’t been able to do those very frequently either.

And sure enough… Herein creeps the burn out.

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For a few weeks, I can (and did) make excuses for my lack of cross-training. My social life was en fuego (summa, summa, summa time!), and I often remember just feeling “to tired.” I’d blame tendonitis and cite an overly busy schedule. My classes were incredible (and there’s nothing I love more than seeing people smile when they leave the studio) and I was movin’ and sweatin’ multiple times every day, but I ultimately realized that I wasn’t putting in enough effort for just me. To better myself.

And as they say, you can’t pour from an empty cup.

So, what do you do to fill yourself back up… So-to-speak?

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For me, it’s movement… Among other things, of course, but exercise — in a voluntary sense — is a big one for me.

Sure, life happens. But it was time to get back on track.

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About two months ago, I began to notice this half-ass habit that I’d gotten into. So slowly — and habitually — I made it a point to start going for a run (or a walk/jog hybrid on days that were a particular struggle) at least once a week. Just once — even just to clear my head. (When it comes to setting your own fitness goals, sometimes it’s best to underpromise and overdeliver on the expectation front.)

Soon enough, I’d upped it to two a week.

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I used to be a really big runner. I loved everything about it. I ran track, played soccer in college and even have a handful of half-marathons on my belt.

It felt really good to reacquaint with something I’d forgotten I was so passionate about.

Sometimes, life happens and you fall our of your routine (regardless of what it is); but as a silver lining, this usually helps you very clearly see why it was such a big part of your life to begin with. You know?

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I’ve been taking my runs and cross-training outside since I spend most of my week indoors. Naturally, of course, this habit has really kicked up a notch right as winter weather is rolling in. Lovely!

Along with a little bit of discipline, shopping for a few fresh pieces of outdoor workout gear has helped me stay motivated, though. (Doesn’t it always?)

It’s made all the difference.

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Today I’m wearing a few of my favorite pieces from Lululemon’s fall collection — namely, the ‘First Mile Tech Tights’ (which I have two pairs of in all their high-waisted glory), a hooded long sleeve shirt and — my favorite — their First Mile Jacket, which I’ve barely taken off since I bought it.

Truly. It’s really freakin’ warm — and I’m trying to convince myself that I need it in black, too. (Maybe if I take my runs up to three times a week? Mental note…)

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Ultimately, my runs might be short (for now), but it’s an hour of the day that I’ve come to look forward more than most others… We really don’t give ourself much “me” time and especially as of late, it’s important to be self-aware enough to know when you’ve gotta take some time for y-o-u.

Happiness begins with self-care and self-love — and often times, learning to enjoy your own company is the very best place to start. 

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What’s your favorite fitness routine? Is it theraputic for you, too?

*In this post:

Clothing

First Mile Jacket: c/o Lululemon (wearing a size 6; more colors here)
Black spandex: Lululemon ‘First Mile Tech Tight’ (size 6; more colors here)
Grey shirt: c/o Lululemon ‘Swiftly Tech Long Sleeve’ (size 6; in more colors here)
Grey beanie: Lululemon Mantra Toque (it has a hole for your ponytail!)
Black tote: Lululemon ‘All day Tote’
Black sneakers: ECCO Sport (wearing a size 7-7.5 and I’m a true 7.5)

Click to shop:

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Iron & Honey Photography

Created in partnership with Lululemon

15 comments

  1. So true! As a yoga teacher – much of my time goes into sequencing, music, readings, and any other prep I need to do to create the best experience for the students, not for myself. Makes me appreciate being a student so much more. =)

  2. This post is so timely! The exact. same. thing. happened to be over the summer.. and I’m now scrambling to get my sh*t together because I’ve always been an active person! I started a new program this week and I’m SO glad to be back!

  3. Loved this! I’ve finally had a lull this past week where my scheduled cleared up, and I went on a two hour walk down the water! It was seriously so refreshing to finally take some time to do something for me, and I had been wanting to ever since I moved to Chicago! Definitely cleared my head a bit.

    Lauren
    http://oliverstwistblog.com

  4. I needed this post! I recently made the move to teaching full time and I often feel totally burned out, and getting my workouts in is SUCH a struggle. I recently decided to cut back some of my teaching because I realized that when I did it too much, my love and passion for leading classes diminished, and that’s not fair to my students or myself. I appreciate this post and it’s inspiring me to make a few more mini “me-times” throughout the week. XO

  5. Since starting to work at a yoga studio back in May I have been taking classes and let me tell you the difference in my mind, attitude and even the way I speak. Overall I am finding yoga better then talking with a therapist, IMO and works for me, I’m sure not for everyone.

    It’s “me-time” it;s “quiet time”

    That jacket is gorgeous and I want it in black ASAP.

  6. Ugh I have been in such a bad not-working-out funk. I’ll go months getting into the Pilates studio 3x/week but then I’ll get out of that routine and it is taking me MONTHS to try to get back into it. I’m going to try forcing myself to do once a week like you did so I can hopefully get back into it!

    Always love your posts, Hallie. I feel like you “get” me!

    Alyssa
    Feathers and Stripes

  7. Everything you wrote about being a fitness instructor- I can totally relate as a high school teacher. Any type of teaching you need to check your own issues at the door & it’s the most emotionally draining (though rewarding) experience. I spend over 8 hours a day trying to put my students first & some days I’m better at it then others, but it’s exhausting.

    And then I go home to a toddler & baby. Who also don’t care about your issues because they need food & sometimes want the same Paw Patrol toy, ha.

    I haven’t worked out consistently at all since having my 10 month old- I honestly struggle to find the time where I have enough energy to do anything. Taking yoga classes definitely was something I looked forward to as a break when I had my first child, so I’m hoping to get back into that habit soon.

What do you think?