A workout for every mood

This article first appeared on Mamamia on 13 February 2022 as “I’m a PT. Here’s exactly what workout you should try according to your mood today”.

Self-medicating via the gym isn’t what it sounds like. Well it is kinda, but I’m talking less about prescriptions and more about push-ups. I’m talking about when you’re having one of those days and you just need an outlet for your pent-up rage/frustration/irritation/adulation.

The following advice is based solely on my own experience self-medicating via the gym and (perhaps by pure coincidence) remaining a relatively sane functioning adult. I’m not diminishing the importance of actual professional assistance.

Prescription for: overthinking, take 1 x dance class

Or any kind of exercise that requires concentration (Pilates is another option). For the briefest period your mind will be otherwise occupied giving you at the very least some distance from your thoughts and a shot of endorphins. Plus you’ve exercised for the day. And doesn’t the world just seem like a rosier place after a tap-ball-change-ra-cha-cha?

Prescription for: rage, take 1 x weightlifting session

Forget pre-trainer to put a pep in your step before your weightlifting session…a scoop of rage will do the trick. If you’re absolutely seething, a legal outlet to simmer down is to lift some heavy weights on the gym floor. Seriously, rage is far more effective than any performance enhancing drug.

Prescription for: feeling low, take 1 x group fitness class

Feeling BLERGH? Then it’s time for an uplifting group fitness class. Get lost in the music, the energy of the people around you and lean into the silly fun of the woo-hoo’s and high-fives. Put it this way – you won’t feel any worst at the end!

Prescription for: brain fog, take 1 x cycle class

Brain fog, stuck for ideas, need to mull over a problem? A mindless activity like a cycle class or jumping on the treadmill could help clarify your thoughts. I’ve taken my fair share of this medication and it almost always works. I don’t know if it’s something to do with more oxygen pumping around your brain or the change of scenery that helps you think differently.

Prescription for: annoyed as fuck, take 1 x yoga class

The mental effects that the focused breathing yoga is famous for is a sure antidote to your irritation. There is a reason you are told to “take a deep breath” when you’re losing your shit. That injection of oxygen helps calm your nerves and for a brief moment focus your attention on breath rather than annoying mother fuckers.

Prescription for: Groundhog Day, take 1 x try something new!

Routine is good especially when it comes to adherence to your fitness routine, but it can be less than inspiring if you have been doing the same thing in what for what feels like forever. Time to shake shit up: try a new group fitness class, hire the services of a personal trainer or even something as simple as exercising at a different time of the day could be enough to re-inspire.

A word to those WFH: WFH has meant that exercise routines were thrown out the window and the usual gym visit on-the-way-home-from-work has turned into a maybe-sort-of home workout in the backyard (on a good day). Talk about Ground Hog day when your home is your work is your gym. And unless you are happy to be at home for all 3 (and if you are you are either a) a psychopath b) living in a way different tax bracket to myself – I can barely do a burpee in my rental without my head being in the loungeroom and my feet in the kitchen) it’s time to make a return to the actual gym. It’s no doubt extra effort to extricate yourself from your WFH situation and get the gym, but it’s time to make the effort to shake off them Groundhog Day feels.

Prescription for: energised, take 7 x anything!

Obviously not recommended in the actual realm of pharmaceuticals, but when it comes to your workout and you feel AH-MAZING, you gotta milk that energy for all it’s worth – we know these days don’t come around often. So if you do happen to be having one of these unicorn days, supercharge your workout with the goals you have been trying to achieve. Is your goal to do a push-up on your toes? Try it today. Is your goal running on the treadmill an extra 5-minutes? Try it today. Is your goal to squat an extra 5kg? Then you know what to do damn it!

As you can see there really is a workout for every mood. So take 1 (or 7) and call me in the morning…

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