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How I Got Into and Out of Shape During Quarantine, and Why Both Are Okay

It seems like so long ago that we were back at school and everything was normal. It's felt like we have been in a pandemic forever. I know we all try and repress the terrible memories we have from those first weeks of quarantine in the cold and dreary months of March and April. I look back on those days and realize I had accidentally gotten myself into really good shape. Following an awesome exercise streak, I then lost a lot of the motivation I originally had. But I have since come to terms with how I did both, and why both are okay. 

When I first got sent home from school, I went back to work, but my parents soon made me stop. With no work and no ability to hang out with anyone, I was left with very few options to cure my boredom.

In between classes and scrolling through TikTok for hours, I found myself filling my days with long workouts to make them go by faster. I have always been a runner and exercising has always been a part of my routine, but my runs had never succeeded more than four or five miles. However, once I realized that the longer my run was, the longer I would be out of my house and away from the scary reality of a pandemic, I started to indulge in long runs around my hometown that usually amounted between eight and ten miles. I would come back and watch YouTube videos of ab circuits, and work up a big sweat in my basement. And even after eating, showering, and doing some homework, I would end my day by walking my dog while listening to music or a podcast.

This became a routine I started to stick to for the next couple of months. What started as some simple strategies to make my days go by became a groove that I continued each and every day. I started to speed up my paces on my runs and lengthen my core workouts. I was very much getting “quaren-toned”, and it was quite exciting. My long runs and walks became my favorite parts of my day. 

[bf_image id="q59hex-g94k2o-gguura"] These days of excessive exercise continued for a while, but around the end of May towards the beginning of June, I had started to burn myself out a little. I was getting bored of doing the same things everyday, and I also came to the realization that I had not taken a full week off of exercise since some time in January. My body and mind needed a break, so I decided to put my intense routine on pause.

Around the same time, I started working again, and I also enrolled in a summer math class that required a lot of my attention. This new busy schedule left limited time to start up my exercising again, and even when I ended my break, I didn't return to the level I had ended it on. When I had time in between everything, I found myself too tired to do anything but lay around. I fell into a bit of a rut with running and struggled a lot during most runs. For the rest of the summer, my runs were more spread out instead of every day, and they were shorter and slower paced. So I guess you could say during this time I became out of shape, and lost what I had built during the beginning months of quarantine regarding my exercise abilities. And for a while, I had trouble dealing with this fact. I felt really guilty about not working out considering I had previously been so good about it. I was so proud of myself for utilizing the beginning of quarantine for good and getting into such good shape, and then I was so upset with myself for being lazy and losing it. 

[bf_image id="q6bulj-4ncuag-8z1rjd"] As I look back, I can simply put it as I got really in shape, and then I got really out of shape. I was sad about losing what I had worked for, but I have now come to the realization that it's totally OKAY that happened. I was not lazy. I felt unmotivated and anxious with juggling a class, a job, and an exercise routine during a global pandemic. During such stressful and uncertain times, however you deal with your life and activities is completely valid, and I think it is important that we all understand that. What you did for exercise is just one example. If you got into insane shape, that's amazing! And if you felt unmotivated and may have gotten out of shape and backtracked, that is ALSO amazing and okay. These times should not be about getting down on yourself. Everyone is doing their best, and however you are dealing with everything, you need to know you are doing incredibly well! Keep staying positive.


Jane Krumsiek

U Mass Amherst '23

Jane Krumsiek is a freshman at UMass Amherst studying communication disorders. She loves to spend time with friends and family, run, write and travel!
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