WRITING DETOURS | 3 things to keep in check if you work out regularly

Whenever I travel I always make sure that I pack a set of gym clothes so that I can squeeze a workout anytime. 

Sometimes, I get so obsessed with the idea of working out while traveling that it becomes one of the highlights of my trip—this is especially true when I attend boutique classes that aren’t available in Davao yet. I know, it’s ridiculous—and I never stop.

It is during these “traveling” workouts that I get to take a break from my regular exercise routines and have a check at my body and how it reacts to the things that I do with it.

While catching my breath in the middle of a Barre3 (ballet/yoga/Pilates) class in The Fort in Manila, I reflected on a few things that I constantly need to keep in check.


I was doing a 7:30 a.m. class and had a noon flight to catch and had a full day ahead. That meant waking up extra early to do morning preps and to checkout of my hotel (in QC!). It also meant waking up extra extra early to beat the EDSA traffic.

Here’s the problem: I ignored the fact that I went to sleep at 11:59 the night before.

The result? I was exhausted halfway through the workout. I swear I almost fell asleep after doing core workouts on the floor. Lesson learned: don’t force it. The next time I plan a workout, I will make sure that I am well rested and well nourished. Sleep, undeniably, is part of the workout and I have obviously been missing on that.

Sleep, according to experts, is a pillar of wellness that is vital to our physical, mental, and social well-being. Sleep, according to me, doesn’t take a science degree to understand: it’s an important time to recharge and recover to keep me from being groggy and whiny the entire day.


I was long taught by Yoga and Pilates classes that I shouldn’t force a pose or a movement if my body isn’t ready for it yet.

I was reminded by this when I heard Barre3 instructor Colleen say something like “Strength looks different on anyone.” While we were doing bird-dog exercises on the floor, she invited students to “take this to the barre” for modifications.

What she meant is simple: people have the option to make exercises their own.

“No pain, no gain” should have long been dead—and if this motto is still elsewhere, I brush it off. Modifications, I learned, allow me to progress to better forms and alignments. It also guides me to intended movement benefits and keeps injury at bay.

There is no need to suffer through an exercise that doesn’t feel right. If my knees feel funny, I don’t force a squat that’s too low. If I’m feeling a tad energetic, I add knee taps to my elbow planks. If there’s discomfort in my lower back during lunges, I hinge forward. I own these workouts. They don’t own me.


My capacity to tolerate any kind of discomfort over a period of time also needs to be in check every so often and a simple squat did that for me.

As I felt my leg muscles heat up like they used to while in the middle of a yoga chair pose, I reflected on how unusually long (it seemed) I was already holding it. The instructor wasn’t counting and all I could hear was the music and my deep breaths.

The challenge wasn’t entirely physical. What I noticed was how I reacted to where I was at the moment: my quads were starting to fatigue and I will never know how long we’ll be holding that chair. The workout became a mental challenge where I am helplessly waiting for the instructor to cue “last 10 counts.”

I held on and embraced the idea that I won’t be holding it forever. It’s not so bad. Patience—when working out or when adulting in general—keeps my head up high no matter the circumstance.

(What else should I keep in check? Share your thoughts with me on social media @jesiramoun)

Tagged with: ,
Posted in Opinion