Fact: It is hot on St. John. The heat can be extremely demotivating- whether you’re trying to walk your dog, exercise your body, get yourself to work, or do just about anything productive.
Here’s the catch: The year-round sunshine and 80 to 90-something temperatures means that Swimsuit Season (singular) doesn’t exist here. Swimsuit Year is more accurate, and thus, there are no buffer months to hibernate in sweats and eat cornbread dipped in chili and pack on a few friendly pounds to keep you warm. So you’d think we would all be motivated to get and stay in amazing shape…. But did I mention the heat?
Before I started my fitness business, I found the heat to be so demotivating when it came to getting a workout that I pretty much stopped working out. It was so much easier to sleep in and pretend that I would do something active later in the day. But as the day progressed, I noticed that not only did I not get up the motivation to be active, the opposite happened… I became more tired and lethargic and unmotivated right up until time to go to bed. And then, like Groundhog Day, that cycle continued.
I began to get down on myself, because I know better… I know that exercise is good for your mental and physical health. It has always been been such a huge part of my life.
Have you noticed that when you don’t have a good fitness routine going, all of a sudden you’re eating poorly because you crave more unhealthy things, and it’s a big, snowball effect? My theory is 1) sleep, then 2) diet, then 3) exercise all work hand-in-hand, in that order, to impact every single facet of your life. I’m obsessed with sleep, by the way.
Fact: Happy hour on St. John is tempting! Several months after moving to the island, about ten pounds and countless happy hours later, I knew I needed to check myself.
I had to find a way to not only lose the fluff but also to feel better mentally. I also knew I needed a consistent workout buddy, because a loner I am not!
Finding someone with the same schedule presents another major challenge on the island. Since Monday is like Saturday is like Thursday for tourists vacationing on our island, most peoples’ hospitality jobs don’t really acknowledge the weekend.
And if you are lucky enough to find someone who A) has a similar schedule and B) will reliably and consistently workout with you, what if they suggest jogging? After two scary falls, I now just say “no” to risky running on St John hills on the sides of roads with no shoulders. Ugh. I actually used to enjoy jogging three or four miles once or twice a week, but no more.
Since March, I’m grateful to say that I’ve found myself a lot of reliable workout buddies.
I’m humbled and honored as people roll into the studio at 7 AM for our early sculpt class and in the evening to dance and sculpt as the sun sets.
I am a new woman! The 10 pounds lost is icing on the cake, but the real blessing is the people I’ve met and the joy we are sharing in our healthy journey.
There are days where, quite honestly, if I wasn’t the instructor, I would hit snooze and sleep in. There are times when the studio is really hot! Sometimes I’m really sore. But the coolest thing about this hot island is that nobody judges… you do the best you can- pull on some fun leggings, get a good sweat on, and go have some fun!!! You do you! No keeping up with the Jones’ in Twerk and Tone or on St John.
What is guaranteed, though, is that if you get yourself up, climb up those stairs to the studio, and do it, the results WILL come. And the cherry on top- you will have a whole new set of friends who double as reliable workout buddies. You just have to try not to let the heat stop you from what may end up being a new kind of happy hour on St. John!
I know I am a big nerd, but my workouts with my clients are what I now call my “happiest happy hour.”
You can be certain, like everything else you do on St. John, you will be sweaty but also smiling and enjoying yourself. You will definitely earn your next “traditional” happy hour! Cheers to health, happiness, workout buddies, and life on St. John!
Ashley Cates, St John USVI Blogger