LA Asks: How Do You Stay Motivated to Work Out? - LA Lives

Marco Yulo, Charmaine Palermo, Natalia Ortega, and Rosanna Ocampo share how fitness improved their lives and offer advice on how you can maintain a routine despite not feeling up to it.

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It’s always a good time to reflect on how we take care of ourselves—but it is an especially opportune to do so over quarantine. It pays to review how well we’ve been paying attention to our health and fitness. When you work out regularly, it can boost your immune system, release feel-good hormones such as endorphins, and help you achieve mental clarity—three benefits that are valuable while going through a pandemic. 

We ask four fitness buffs how they began honing a consistent routine, their go-to workouts, and how to deal with exercise slumps. You can gain inspiration from their experiences, and remember that it gives you the foundation to do better in all areas of your life when you put yourself first.

Marco Yulo

Growing up, Yulo has always been involved in sports. “My main sport was basketball, and I played varsity in grade school and high school. After high school, I suffered an ACL injury that forced me to explore other sports after I recovered,” Yulo shares.

Due to his injury, Yulo tried dabbling in different sports until he discovered his love for CrossFit. Since then, he incorporated fitness into his lifestyle, and he eventually started coaching. 

With strength training being his favorite form of exercise, he notes that compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and bench presses are staples in his routine. “I don’t really CrossFit as often anymore, but I still like to add on snatches and clean and jerks as part of my program,” Yulo adds.

Amid the rainy season, Yulo admits that it’s tough to get motivated to move your body when the weather feels cozy. However, Yulo sticks to his routine of having coffee than getting work or coaching an online class as a morning person.

“Usually, gloomy day laziness will happen around the afternoon, which is when I get to workout. If I really want to fight the urge to skip a workout, I start off with some light movement like foam rolling and mobility work,” he shares. 

At times, his workout might end there, but in other circumstances, his mobility work will serve as a warm-up to kickstart the momentum of his workout session.

“I would say that would be the best rule of thumb: if you want to work out but feel lazy, try to stretch and do some mobility to get yourself started,” the fitness coach advises. “Sometimes it’ll serve as a great pre-workout warm-up, but other times it’s all your body can do for you on that day. Listen to your body and what it needs.”

Yulo cautions not to “be too hard on yourself” when you feel like your body needs a break. He says that the consequence might be getting injured when you push yourself to lift heavy on an “off day.” 

Charmaine Palermo 

At the beginning of her fitness journey, gaining muscle for aesthetic reasons was Palermo’s goal. 

“I started doing core kinesis with my coach Gelo. I was really challenged during my first few sessions,” she shares. “I was weak—my endurance, mobility, and strength were bad, and that made me want to train more so I can improve and get better.”

With a new motivation to train consistently to get stronger, Palermo noticed that she reaped the benefits of endorphins, mental clarity, and physical strength after every workout. Since then, her lifestyle shifted, and she found herself making better choices with food, sleep, recovery, training, and her mindset. 

As someone who loves all forms of exercise, she says choosing a favorite one is difficult, “but if I really need to pick one, I’ll choose HIIT and Flow.” Palermo notes that moving your body to improve its endurance, mobility, flexibility, and strength are equally important.

Even though fitness is a priority in her life, Palermo reveals that there are days she’s unmotivated to get a workout in. However, discipline and sticking to her routine pushes her to train six times a week, no matter where she is.

 “It’s all about mindset. Establish your ‘why’ clearly, why do you workout,” Palermo states. For her, working out is a way to celebrate her body and honor it. She adds that to reach your full potential, you can exercise, eat well, and meditate. Palermo believes that caring for herself is the foundation of being able to work well and serve others. 

Palermo says that a 30-minute workout will suffice for practical advice on getting a fitness routine going. 

For practical advice to those who need a little push, Palermo suggests you to plan your week ahead and stick to your routine.

“That’s not even one episode of a series, so make time for it. It’s also a big factor to surround yourself with inspiring people; my Instagram feed is mostly people that motivate me. I also listen to podcasts on health and fitness and read books,” she shares. 

Palermo continues explaining that once you understand how focusing on your health can elevate the quality of your life, the commitment to training your body and concentrate on your wellbeing will follow. 

Natalia Ortega

Ortega loves sugary treats, and to balance out indulging, she exercises daily since she also enjoys the jolt of endorphins she gets. 

When the pandemic began, Natalia Ortega’s health and wellness became her top-priority. Now, she sticks to a solid cardio routine and values incorporating rest within her routine. (Photo courtesy of Natalia Ortega)

As an avid runner, Ortega enjoys all forms of cardio exercises. “From running to using the jump rope to swimming and cycling—these are the things that get me pumped up,” she says. 

Although it’s the rainy season that tempts her to turn to a bowl of ramen for comfort, she stays motivated by reminding herself how good she feels after a good sweat. She explains that it’s easier to get herself moving since her workouts are a vital part of her days. You don’t have to work out every day. I rest twice a week. Balance is key,” Ortega says. 

Rosanna Ocampo-Rodriguez

Since she was young, the fashion designer has been living an active lifestyle as a varsity swimmer and cheerleader in high school. She shares that it evolved to running when she was a student in Milan, and now she’s added high-intensity interval training into her routine. “I love mixing things up and really can’t imagine my days without exercise. I am a firm believer that it is food for the body, mind, and soul,” Rodriguez says. 

As someone who likes trying new workouts, Rodriguez is currently doing the Alo mobile application’s “Alo in the Wild” series. She combines the app workout with online classes by Mitch Felipe for cardio, core, and strength training. 

Rodriguez shares that the rainy season hasn’t negatively affected her workout regimen. “Because we are all just home with everything at our fingertips, there’s really no excuse. I do make sure, though, that I choose something I enjoy, so it’s not a chore,” she adds. “There’s something out there for everyone.”

Banner photo from @charmainepalermo on Instagram.

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