Running Actually Won’t Kill Me

A piece I did for Trinidad Lookbook on my gym Studio W. They’re actually hiring at the moment, so if you or someone you know is a certified personal trainer, pilates instructor or fitness instructor, please forward your resume to studiowtt@gmail.com 

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My battle with physical activity probably began as soon as I quit playing football to focus on my studies for CXC way back when. Between then and now, I’ve had a few torrid trysts with exercise – notably a brief encounter with the gym at my University, where I paid for a term’s membership JUST so I could go in once and take a shower while the bath tub at our flat was being repainted. True story.

Readers of my blog might recall my semi-commitment to Zumba last year, and to be honest, it’s probably the most functional relationship I ever had with actual vigorous movement. Until Studio W.

I decided to give Studio W a try because, while I loved and still love Zumba, it just wasn’t giving me the results I really wanted. A co-worker at the time had begun going there and highly recommended the all-women’s fitness centre, conveniently located a short walk from my office. With trepidation and sneakers I’ve had for about 5 or 6 years…I decided to give it a go.

First off, this is not your massive, machine-riddled gym. Nope. Studio W does sport some cardio-enabling equipment like treadmills, ellipticals and exercise bikes, but other than that, most of the exercises you’re going to be doing will involve free weights, plyometrics and smaller apparatuses like ab rollers, exercise balls, yoga mats and resistance bands, to name a few (every now and then my trainer, Norma, pulls out some new contraption and I’m like ‘wut?’). The ‘main’ gym area is located upstairs and there is a mirrored studio space downstairs where larger yoga and pilates classes take place.

The changing rooms are small but clean. The stone floors don’t have the same icky feel of the tiles you often find in other gyms, so I actually feel comfortable without wearing slippers in the shower (that’s a big deal).

The trainers are fantastic: both Norma and Kerron have trained me, since I go in the early morning. The best thing about Studio W being the size it is, is that you really get individual attention, and get to develop a relationship with your trainers – something that is so essential for anyone who struggles with committing to a health and fitness routine. It’s crucial for me to have someone there telling me what to do and how to do it properly, since I’m not one of those folks that’s pre-disposed to that inherent fitness knowledge that says ‘No Ceola, you can’t do a bow-legged squat and get away with it’.

Allana is the resident doctor and she is the one who performs the assessment (body fat percentage, weight, measurements, etc) and personalizes your meal plans so you’re not eating crap ALL the time. A few weeks after I began at Studio W, I was given a ‘food diary’ to fill out; I had to record my meals and the times I was eating them and of course be as honest as possible. From that diary, Allana was able to construct a new meal plan for me, one that catered to my job, my schedule, the fact that I don’t get home til pretty late during the week and am at my boyfriend’s on the weekend. That meal plan has been my bible for the last few weeks, particularly because I have to get into a habit quickly or it’s never going to stick. Now I eat 5 – 6 small meals a day, having something to eat every 2 hours or so and cutting off my heavy meals at 5pm – NOT something you would have seen me doing prior to Studio W.

Some important lessons I’ve learned since being a member of Studio W:

  • Numbers on a scale can be discouraging. Don’t use your weight as a gauge of your progress. Personally I like to use progress pics and my body fat percentage as my measuring stick for my progress in the gym. And if all else fails, use how you FEEL. I felt a difference in my body before I ever saw one.
  • Getting stronger feels just as good as getting smaller.
  • Taking the extra time to prepare your meals for the following day or even for the week (if you’re the kind of person that can eat the same thing a few days in a row) helps TREMENDOUSLY. Fail to prepare and you prepare to fail. We don’t have many affordable, healthy options out here in these streets so taking matters into your own hands and prepping your meals means you eat healthier, for much less money than buying out.
  • Plain greek yoghurt tastes awful but you get used to it.
  • Oatmeal sans sugar tastes a lot better with some dried cranberries or raisins in it.
  • Water trumps all drinks all day, every day.
  • Running actually won’t kill me.
  • Patience is essential. You may not see what you want to see in the time you want to see it, but change will come. And the best part is, you have a team around you in Studio W that is invested in helping you achieve those goals.
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