All Articles Tagged "working out"
It may sound superficial, but if we’re being honest hair is a big consideration when it comes to Black women’s physical health. Even if we don’t let our strands stop us from busting a sweat, there’s no denying it takes some planning, pre- and post-workout, to put our best hair forward after a cross-fit class, Zumba, running the treadmill, or any other physical activity.
A few of MadameNoire’s editors have been going hard with their fitness routines lately so we decided to break down what we do to maintain hair that not only looks great but is healthy from the inside out. Read on to see how we care for our locs, permed, natural, and transitioning hair while working out.
Every time I prepare to go running, my routine is the same: Throw on some workout gear, grab my headphones, find a random place to stick my keys, and pull my hair back in a struggle ponytail to stuff it under a cap. Nothing about this 10-minute prep is inconvenient, but each time I cringe at the thought of how much maintenance it’s going to take to return my hair to a presentable form after a decent sweat session.
I’ve been natural for two years now. Long enough that my hair schedule and styles are pretty set, and even if wash day does skip around, my hair doesn’t fret. It gets me. Well, it gets me most of the time.
But because my fitness routine hasn’t been this consistent since those high school track and field days, my new natch pattern has no loyalty to this change of pace. Not to mention, every switch in seasons requires me to rework my hair product concoctions in order to keep my hair moisturized, frizz-free, and my blowouts protected from impending summer humidity. That means double the not-so-fun task of trial and error with hair products and styles all over again. Yay.
When I first started working out regularly, I was letting my post-cardio hair air dry. But the tangled ‘fro that followed, especially under my resident Bad Hair Day hat, was a frightening hot mess. In the hopes of improving the look and feel of my strands, I started co-washing every other workout day to ensure my hair was clean, which helps promote hair growth and retention, right? Well, that was overdrying my hair a bit, making it a tad too brittle. Despite my best efforts, my hair isn’t really cooperating with me and my new lifestyle.
So I’m starting to wonder, is this my punishment for wanting to be my healthiest self? Are my hair goals at a standstill because my body goals are flourishing? Hardly. Though I do believe it’s a dilemma every natural girl faces at some point during her fitness journey. So how do I keep my hair cute and clean, my edges laid, maintain my style from the gym to a possible post-gym outing, and not go crazy wrestling with my hair every day?
If you thought I had the answer, I don’t (I would not have written this if I did). I have yet to find that sweet spot of looking somewhat decent after exercising. And while I struggle to salvage my hair post-workout, I don’t think it’s impossible to do so.
As the saying goes (and remains true), everyone’s hair is different. So while throwing in quick Celie braids before hitting the gym works for some, I’m stuck with a head full of crusty tendrils after the sweat dries. (Sorry, I can’t get jiggy with chasing my summer body goals through St. Nicholas Park in a head scarf either.) It’s a process to nurture your hair to the point that everything you do with it just, well, works. And that’s just the nature of being natural. Add in the fact that you’re pounding the pavement and introducing a whole new set of elements to your ‘do every day, and it’s safe to say that managing natural hair can be extremely frustrating. This is especially true when you’re trying to get your body right. It’s a whole new hair obstacle that’s not for the faint of heart.
For now, the answer for me is a protective style (thankfully a hair appointment is set for the end of the month). I can’t focus on the extra TLC my hair needs right now. And although you can’t totally abandon your tresses, even with a weave or wig, my hair and my hands needs a break because mama is tired. I do love my hair and I’m dedicated to figuring out what it needs. But until I can figure out how to successfully marry my hair goals with my new workout schedule, it will be a painful process and a long summer…for the both of us.
For anyone who used to work out consistently, but then took a long hiatus, getting back into the swing of things can be a little… interesting. Some things are harder than you anticipated, and you realize that your mind has to catch up with your current body (not the one you used to have or, the one you’re delusional to think that you still have. No shade, I have to remind myself I’m not as small as I used to be every time I go jean shopping, but that’s a different post).
Here are 14 things that tend to occur when you get back to your gym rat ways. Let me know if you can relate, or what you noticed when you start back working out.
Working It Out is a new health/fitness column chronicling MadameNoire Deputy Editor Brande Victorian’s journey to drop the pounds and get healthy.
When you begin a new workout regimen to lose weight — or even think about beginning one — there are lots of things you can become anxious about. Can I really do this? Do I have time to do this? Do I have the money for this? Are there going to be creepy men at the gym staring at me? Are the skinny chicks who do this on a regular going to judge me? The latter actually wasn’t even a concern of mine when I got back into a Zumba routine several months ago at a studio not far from my office. I live for Zumba because the moves are ones I can actually do for a whole hour, I love Latin music, and I work up a crazy sweat. Plus the classes tend to be full of women — 90% of which are rhythmically challenged yet still doing their thing and having fun — so it’s always felt like a no judgement zone. Until the one day I met #ThisBish.
I always like to get to classes early so I can save up my energy for the actual workout, rather than running to grab a spot before the instructor begins, and because I’m one of those people who likes to workout toward the middle, if not the back, of the class. At this point in my journey, I’m just not interested in seeing belly fat flap all around in those gigantic jazzercise mirrors. The particular day I met #ThisBish though, I’d been running late and once I got to the class there were only a couple of spots left — one of which was second row left, right in front of those dag on mirrors. Though not my preferred spot, I wasn’t going to not workout because of that so I popped a squat for two minutes and began stretching when a voice not far from me said “This is kinda hard. You might wanna go to the back of the class.”
In my naivety, which I still can’t account for because once I come into contact with people on the streets of New York City I tend to be overcome with the worst of attitudes, I simply smiled and replied “Oh, I’m okay here,” low-key thinking the woman was being sympathetic to the packed class struggle and trying to point out free space. When she returned my comment with an annoyed expression on her face I was confused, and almost as soon as the instructor turned on “Suavemente,” the light bulb went off in my head and I realized she was suggesting I go to the back of the class because there’s no way I’d be able to keep up or keep from embarrassing myself in the front of the class. “This Bish!”
When I tell you I have never pushed myself in a class so hard before I am not lying. For one thing, I’ve taken a Zumba class at least 75-plus times in my life. This wasn’t my first Latin rodeo so I wasn’t worried about keeping up. But just to prove little Halle the Hater wrong over there, I made sure I went from zero to a hundred real quick (in my Drake voice) and cut my eyes at her every time there was a break in the song to make sure she knew I caught on to her hateration. I also decided when the class was over, and my heart rate returned to a normal level, I was going to give her a piece of my mind for trying to play me. But low and behold, little miss I-do-this left the class early and I never got a chance to redeem myself.
As someone who writes about other people’s business all the time, I can’t exactly say with a straight face: why are people so concerned with what other people do? But, being overweight is always one of those conditions that, for some reason, always tends to lend itself to public scrutiny and suggestiveness as the expense of said plus-size person’s mental state. If my weight is that much of a personal affront to you, why not encourage me to push harder from wherever I am (like my Crunch instructor last week who ironically asked me why I keep going to the back of the class) or congratulate me for trying to get my life together (OK maybe not because that would be awkward to me).
Anyway, I know when some folks see me all they see is a walking burden on the health care system, but until I show up at your door with a doctor’s bill and a laundry list of comorbidities — or unless I stand right in front of you in a kickboxing class and block your view from the mirror, please let me live! I have enough stuff going on on my journey to Snatchedville. Trust me, I’m working it out. Has this ever happened to you?
Have you ever had a moment where you felt like you needed to wait until things in your life were “perfect” before pursuing something you really wanted?
If you’re part of the IG Fitness Fam then you’ve undoubtedly came across the meme: “Progress, not Perfection.” I’m personally enthralled whenever I see the message, because there have been opportunities and times in the past that I passed something up that I really wanted because I thought that things in my life were too out of order to pursue.
Now, I’m not necessarily talking about those vain desires that we might want. There are some things that we do have to wait on to be completed before we pursue another action, like learning how to swim before participating in a triathlon. Or confessing your undying love to your crush and s/he doesn’t even know that you exist, you have to at least introduce yourself first.
I’m talking about things that don’t necessarily coincide with one another, but we create a correlation between them. Things like: “I can’t apply for this job unless I lose some weight,” or “I can’t go to my high school reunion until I get into a relationship,” or “I can’t participate in this open mic night until I get some comfortable shoes (because performing doesn’t just come from the soul, it comes from the soles.)”
Every now and then my mind wonders why there is a need for such memes. Why do we need to be reminded to appreciate the small steps on our way to our larger goals? Why do we have to talk ourselves out of talking ourselves out of dreams/desires/aspirations?
I don’t know if this is true for all, but I could imagine that for some, living in this current world of airbrushed and photoshopped reality can be intimidating. You wake up in the morning, feel good about yourself, and then log in on any one of your social media accounts and see the glamorized life that others are living, and then suddenly your day is enveloped in a cloud of doubt, self-belittling, and questions. You begin to try to figure out why some people are reaching milestones that you haven’t; so you look for the differences between you and then begin to internalize it, thinking that going after things you want would only happen if you had certain factors in your life.
Don’t disparage though, I’ve been in that situation before in life as well (it’s one of the reasons why I don’t have a Facebook). I remember a period of time, after working a job in another state and moving back home and having to admit that I’d put on some weight. One of my best friends invited me to a gym in my neighborhood, and I remember telling her: “I can’t go to the gym until I lose some weight.”
There was so much of a need to be seemingly perfect, in an environment created to help you with your flaws, that I felt (at that time) that I could only go until I was flawless.
If you don’t take anything else from this article, take these nuggets:
If you’re putting your dreams off until you’re perfect, then you’re going to be waiting for eternity, because there will never be a time that will be completely perfect. There will always be a downside, something small that’s going to compel you to stay in your sea of complacency, because even though you might hate being there, it’s familiar.
Also, that sea of complacency that you’re floating in isn’t just familiarity, it’s fear. It’s fear of wanting to better yourself, exploring outside of your current surroundings into something more vast, complex, and with the possibility of great success. However, you stay in the condition that you’re in, because if you go out on that ledge, make yourself vulnerable, and then fail, then you feel as though you might have no one to blame but yourself.
Though it hurts, failure is a part of life, and many of the people that you might look up to/idolize have not only failed, but were in your shoes as well. The only thing that separates them is that they decided to follow their passion, talent, and desires into an avenue that worked well for them. You have that same ability.
So instead of waiting for things to be perfect, strive for progress. That way, you’ll never be disappointed when you can’t grasp the intangible.
Now, I’m a realist, and if you are a person like me who felt a little hesitant to go to the gym because you feel as though you’re not thin enough, here’s a great at home workout that’ll help you get more comfortable before going to the gym and gaining your progress. Learning to stop expecting perfection takes some time, so until you get into the mind-frame of “Progress, not Perfection,” this is my gift to you:
ABOUT THIS EPISODE
In this episode of Mommy in Chief, Laila Ali demonstrates exercise tips to staying in shape when you're a busy mom on the go. Still trying to get rid of that baby bump? Don't worry because she has something for you too!
Want More Mommy In Chief? Watch these episodes:
- New Host, New Topics, Mommy in Chief is Back!
- Episode 1: Learn How to Make Laila Ali's Oven Fried Chicken!
- Episode 1: Mommy-To-Be: Pregnancy In 3 Stages
- Episode 2: The Truth About Breastfeeding
- Episode 3: Delivery Debate: Natural Birth Vs. C-Section
- Episode 4: The Perfect Mother's Day Gift
- Episode 5: Actress Kym Whitley Talks New Baby & Food Allergies for Kids
- Episode 6: Keeping Your Child Entertained This Summer Without TV
- Episode 7: Ask a Black Father | Mommy in Chief Father's Day Special
- Episode 8: Building Your Child's Self Esteem
- Episode 9: Highlights & Bloopers | The Best Moments of Mommy in Chief Season 3
- Episode 1: Are You A Good Enough Mother?
- Episode 2: New Motherhood and Balancing A Busy Work Life
- Episode 3: How to Decorate an Eco-Friendly Baby Nursery
- Episode 4: Foodie, Nicole Friday on Kids and Career
- Episode 5: Melissa Beck, From Hollywood to Stay At Home Mom
- Episode 6: Single Mom in The City
- Episode 7: Mommy Mogul and Marketing Wiz Monique Jackson at Home With Her Boys
- Episode 8: Beauty Maven Jodie Patterson Talks Four-Day Work Week for Moms
- Episode 9: Tonya Lewis Lee on Motherhood and the Importance of Women's Health
- Episode 1: Back 2 School
- Episode 2: Happy Halloween
- Episode 3: Socially Responsible Kids
- Episode 4: Money Talks
- Episode 5: Keeping Families Healthy
- Episode 6: Thanksgiving Madness
- Episode 7: Highlights and Best Moments
- Episode 8: Stylish Moms
- Episode 9: Best Apps for Moms
- Episode 10: Socialite Kids
- Episode 11: Hair Talk with AfroBella
- Episode 12: Happy New Year!
If you are like most people starting a fitness journey, you are likely experiencing some ups and downs. You may have even hit a plateau and can’t lose those last 10 lbs. Sometimes, your body just hits a wall and you have to take your workouts to a new level, and other times it’s your own hang-ups that are holding you back. There are a few bad habits that may be holding you back from your fitness goals.
If you and your partner want to get in shape and have become work out buddies, that’s great; but the rest of us go to the gym to take our minds off of things, including our love lives (or lack thereof). When working out with your partner in public, please refrain from the following — or else you will become that annoying couple.
Going to the gym can be fun, beneficial, and sometimes like a weird social experiment. You have people who are extremely dedicated on improving themselves, in an enclosed space, with limited mirror room, and testosterone is a-flowing. Sometimes when you mix sweat and hard work with human error, you will come across certain mishaps that will either have you laughing, feeling embarrassed for the person, or embarrassed for yourself. Trust me, after being flung off a treadmill myself, I definitely know of the mishaps that can happen at the gym. Here is a list of 9 more, and share your own weird experiences/memories in the comment section.