On the calendar, spring may be officially just around the corner but, in many parts of the country, people will think otherwise. Snow is still on the ground, cold temperatures are keeping us indoors and with that, maintaining a health and wellness routine can be tricky. Fear not, we chatted with personal trainer and movement and mobility coach Irina Andreea about how to customize your fitness and body philosophy while finding motivation methods that work for you. —Mia Germanski
What is your number one tip to boost your motivation, especially when the weather outside is cold and grey?
It’s so important to find joy in your movement practice. Try activities that you enjoy in the beginning so it’s easier to show up and build consistency. Sit down with yourself and get honest about your why. Of course, looking good is important, but go deeper than that – how do you want to feel? What’s your “long term why” once you start peeling the layers? For me, it’s being functional and pain free as I go through life. I don’t want to miss out on special life moments due to any movement limitations. I want to be able to show up fully for the people that I love and care about, for years to come.
Excuses are always easy to come up with – what is your advice on changing that mindset?
Changing up your perspective and mindset when it comes to moving your body is key to building sustainable fitness habits. Shifting from the mentality of “ugh I have to work out and I’m miserable about it” to “I’m so grateful for my body that I’m able to connect with it through movement and excited to see what obstacles we can overcome together”.
Many people jump into exercises that are too intense for their bodies to handle right away. Can you elaborate more on the power of stretching, slow movement, and prioritizing mobility practices?
Working out is one of the best ways to connect or re-connect with our bodies. It gives us the opportunity to check in, see what’s working well or what areas need extra attention. Our bodies are constantly sending us signals and communicating their state, we just have to pay attention and listen. Being more conscious about our movements, through slowing down and being more intentional will improve our overall body awareness over time. Instead of doing the exercises for the sake of doing them, slowing down gives us the opportunity to really feel how our bodies are responding. Sometimes going to an intense boot camp class after a long day of sitting and not moving may not be what our bodies need. Instead, they need space to be created through stretching and mobility work. Everybody is different, and the more connected we are to our bodies, the better we can honour them.
Could you recommend a few at-home exercises that are great for beginners or those who are trying to get back into a steady routine?
If you scroll through social media, it looks like you need to constantly be changing up your routine or adding new and fancy exercises in order to get results. The truth is, keeping it simple and focusing on mastering the basics will give you sustainable results. Focus on your foundational movements; squat, hinge, lunge, push, pull and carry. Start with bodyweight with extra focus on proper form and mind muscle connection. Then you can start incorporating weight, playing with tempo, and so on. Once you master the basics, you can then start adding your progressions.