A New Lifestyle: Managing a Six Day Gym Week and Maintaining my Curly Hair

Finding the motivation to commit to the gym is harder than performing the workouts themselves. For almost a year, I kept telling myself, “Okay, next month is the month” until I was too many nachos and mojitos too far. Since I’ve always been an avid eater and never gained excessive weight, I thought this year would be different. Although I didn’t necessarily “blow up”, I was upset to find out most of my jeans fit me tight including a few shirts. I was also not happy about my lower belly fat- goodbye, crop tops.

It wasn’t until that last greasy chicharrón de puerco, white rice, pinto beans, pink potato salad and a Presidente when I decided, “¡No más”! I was no longer going to contribute to the downfall of my overall health. A week later, my friend Yaritza and I signed up for a membership in our local gym and have been going consistently ever since.

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I remember feeling so out of place on my first day- I wasn’t familiar with some of the machines and I didn’t even know where to start. I wanted to see instant results but I knew I was in for a long journey. I didn’t sign up for a trainer but by conducting online research, receiving tips from my fellow gym mates and intermittent training sessions with my friend’s trainer, I began to form a routine. I am still learning as I go and always look forward to learning more from others to improve my routine. The only thing, however, that I have been able to set a routine for, is my curls.

When I first started going to the gym I would sport my fro freely even if that meant it would get frizzy and the volume would weigh down. It would also help me sweat more, making it my favorite part of my workout. When you’re a working woman and prefer to save money on products, wearing your curls out to the gym isn’t always a good idea. When I would get ready for work the next day, my hair was too frizzy beyond my liking. It would also smell like sweat which is not ideal for an office environment.

I stopped wearing it out and would only wear it out on its last day before a wash. If your curly hair is long and usually up in your face, I wouldn’t recommend it as an everyday style for the gym. However, I do think those with looser curl types have more of a benefit because their hair is easier to manage. Since my curls fall under the 3B and 3C textures, my next day curls aren’t always as fabulous.

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Although a little embarrassed to do so, I began wrapping my hair with a silk wrap to protect my curls from the gym’s humidity. I initially hesitated this option because I wear it to sleep and I preferred no one else saw me in such form but I got over it. After all, it’s the gym- everyone has similar goals and it’s not the place to look your best. I try to match my gym wear with my wraps to make myself feel a little better, but I can only go so far with matching loud colors. So far, this has been the best method to protect my hair while sweating immensely. My hair is never in my face, stays secure and still looks put together for the next day. Luckily, most beauty supplies and Amazon have many silk wraps for purchase. Buy yourself about 2-3 wraps and you’ll be set to go.

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I invested in two Curl Caps prior to starting the gym and even though I didn’t intend on wearing them for that purpose, they came in handy afterwards. Curl Caps are similar to visors except they cover the majority of the front of your hair, leaving enough space for your curls to come out in the back. They’re pretty stylish and convenient for those who don’t feel like styling the front of their hair all the time. I wear them to the gym once it’s been about four days since my wash-and-go. Since my hair is already frizzy by this time, I don’t mind letting my hair out. These caps also keep the hair out of your face while still allowing you to look somewhat stylish. I also wear these on days where I just want to be in and out of the gym and not engage in much human interaction.

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Since my hair dents easily, buns are not ideal if I want to have my curls out the next day. By investing in invisibobble hair ties, this option might work for you. Invisibobble hair ties are traceless, spiral hair ties that follow your curl texture, allowing little to no room for dents. Using these also help while sleeping as they are stretchy and have a soft hold on your hair. If your hair doesn’t dent easily, these will work well on your hair and you’ll be able to safely sport your curls the next day. Just refresh your roots in the morning and you’ll be set to go.

Depending on your curl texture, there’s more you can do with your hair to preserve the wash-and-go. You can opt for a headband and even braids if your texture allows. My hair is difficult to manage so it took me a few trials to finally figure out what works for me. Experiment with your hair until you find the most effective method- it’s the only way you’ll really know what works.

By going to the gym six days a week and working, I can say it’s difficult to want to wear a lot of makeup and wear fancy clothes to work because I know the gym is coming right after. I prefer to either wear no makeup or wear light makeup and bring my face wash in my gym bag and wash my face before working out. I used to be one to wear heels and booties to work but once I engaged in this new lifestyle, the last thing I want to do is have my feet hurt before a workout.

Invest in a gym bag (you can find good, inexpensive ones at your local Marshalls and TJ Maxx) and prepare your gear the night before- it’s guaranteed to make your morning routine easier. I prepare everything from my leggings, sports bra, top, resistance band, training gloves, silk wrap, waist trainer, jumprope, sneakers and lock as soon as I get home from the gym. It’s definitely not a fun thing to do in the morning when you’re in a rush or want to take your time getting ready. If you’re trying to start going to the gym but still feel lazy, I definitely recommend to take your gym bag to work and go straight after work. If you go home first, I can guarantee you might not want to come back out. There is no feeling more rewarding than finishing your workout before dinner time and being able to rest until the next day. If you’re like me, you still have a lot of energy after the gym and have trouble falling asleep. If you’re exhausted after the gym, lucky you.

 

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