Dear friends,

So lately, I’ve been “slacking” at going to the gym. For me, that means last week I worked out 3 times, the week before not at all, and the week before that was 3 times again… and a little before that I didn’t workout at all for almost 3 weeks.

So what does all this mean?

At the beginning of January, I left Jamaica (my home) early for school to travel to Colombia for a weekend to visit family. I wasn’t feeling too well – I figured it was some type of cold. However, after landing in Miami before heading to Boston, I came down with a fever and felt extremely sick. I continued on to Boston regardless and once I got there, found out I had gastroenteritis, AKA “nirovirus”.

I was sick for about 8 days, lost close to that many pounds, and was weak for another week even after I had gotten better- racking up the “almost 3 weeks” of no exercise I was telling you about.

Once I was feeling up to it again though, I was feeling really motivated, and I had just gotten through the first 4 weeks of Jessie Girls Bikini Body training series when the flu started to chase me. After a week of the flu, I returned home to Jamaica for spring break. Here, my asthma started to act up, I had to take steroids, and then… drumroll please… I had utricaria (AKA hives everywhere for like 6-7 days… LOL).

My own personal mini series of unfortunate events? Not quite, but it’s safe to say I was a little sick of being sick (though not even marginally comparable to what I know those with chronic illnesses suffer daily).

I’ve said all of this not so you feel sorry for me, or think to yourself “Oh, what a crappy situation”. I’m telling you this because it’s important to know how to manage bumps in the road when it comes to fitness.

We all know it’s not easy to stay fit, and our bodies are rather unforgiving when we pause on training them. I openly admit that I’m more moody, anxious, and generally less confident when I’m not exercising regularly. I think that’s likely because of a lack of the endorphin rush we fitness junkies are so addicted to, and the feeling of becoming stronger that soreness encourages. But that’s not as healthy as it may be in motivating you to get back to the gym.

So, what did I do? I did what others taught me to do when they had the same challenges.

I affirmed that I am strong, that I am still fit, and that the temptation to not go to the gym will not outweigh the desire to feel great.

Then, I did what I could when I could. Those 3 days of exercise? I walked a lot and did exercises I could manage. It was great. It certainly wasn’t what I’m used to, but it was still great! And I actually mean that, I didn’t just convince myself of it.

Then, I did what I wanted and did my best not to worry about how my body would react. I ate foods that made me feel great and decided to compensate for any moodiness with fun activities with friends.

Last but probably the best… I thought about all the reasons I had to feel grateful.

When you first do this, you can sometimes think of all the reasons to be frustrated instead. You have to practice shutting that down to some extent. My friends took care of me while I was sick, in the most amazing ways! I talked to my parents and brother all the time. I watched movies I’ve wanted to, learned to sleep in, and so many other random cool things. It has made me learn to prioritize those other great things even more. Which was a lesson I needed thrown at me. 🙂

So, what now?

I’m going to wake up at dawn and move my booty to the gym! Then, I’m going to crush the workout. Then, the ensuing day.

And after that? I’m going to keep doing what I want, what’s fun for me, and all the things I have learned to let more of into my life!

Sure, all of this hasn’t come from being physically sick often or isn’t all about exercise.

2016 came when I was still processing 2015, I wasn’t ready yet to move on, I wasn’t ready to set goals or make plans. I needed time. And if anything, 2016 has taught me so far that you have to always be ready. Time doesn’t pass slower or go faster when we want it to; time is everything that we cannot control but we must push ourselves to control our desire to not take advantage of it. We can’t let ourselves not make the most of every minute, even though that desire is human and it definitely happens. When it does, we have to choose otherwise. And the alternative is SO EXCITING.

Please feel free to reach out to me through the Fit U email! I’ll contact you from my personal account from here.

Sending love and light your way.

– Ali

About The Author


Ali Matalon is a fourth year honors student at Northeastern University. She’s studying Political Science and Business with a concentration in Entrepreneurship and Innovation and minors in International Affairs and Global Social Enterprise. Ali is from Kingston, Jamaica and is especially keen on understanding ways in which all members of society can encourage conditions under which we can all thrive economically, socially and health wise. She’s a spoken word poet, spinning® instructor and fitness enthusiast!

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