I put on my workout clothes, moved things aside in the living room and made room for my yoga mat and some weights. I positioned my laptop so I could watch the Zoom workout class I was tuning in for.
I watched as my colleagues signed in and waved to one another. Then we started the warmup. Not feeling it, I stepped out of frame to get a glass of water. And then to grab a tissue. Finally, I saw my phone light up. Saved by the bell! I turned off the workout class and talked to my niece and nephew instead.
The first 9 weeks of quarantine, I was finishing grad school and secretly relieved that I didn’t have to squeeze in gym sessions in with everything else. I went for walks, took an occasional yoga class or pushed my chair back and did some stretches by my desk.
Quarantine has introduced me to the idea of intuitive fitness. It’s similar to intuitive eating, which encourages you to listen to your body and what give it what it needs. The idea is to eat mindfully, so not in front of the TV or while playing Words With Friends with your right hand while awkwardly spooning soup into your mouth with your left. We all have internal cues about when we need to eat and what. Intuitive eating gets us back in touch with those cues.
Pre-quarantine I pushed myself in 2-3 high intensity interval training (HIIT) classes at my gym each week. I usually enjoyed the classes. I really liked the comraderie of meeting with the same instructor and participants. The tricky part was the classes were Tuesday at 5 and Thursday at 6. There was no showing up when it felt right for my body. I had to make sure to leave the office around 4:15 on Tuesdays to get to the gym and changed in time. It brought a level of stress.
In quarantine, though, the gym isn’t happening, so I learned to do what feels good to me. A few times that was running the hills in my neighborhood. Often, it’s going for a walk. I’ve been enjoying Wednesday and Sunday morning Zoom yoga classes. Sometimes I pick up the weights in the living room or set a goal to do 100 kettlebell swings. Other days I like to just stand up from my desk and do a dozen air squats. Sometimes I get out on the water for a sunset paddleboarding adventure with my friend Pam. Somedays I just really crave that good, sweaty HIIT session.
Humans are great at homeostasis, which is the body’s desire to keep things—like weight—constant. Without outside influences and liquid calories, we’re likely to eat 95-105% of our needed calories for the day just instinctively. Same thing with movement. Despite a sizable shift in my activity since March, my weight has stayed the same. Intuition for the win!