A Quarantine Q & A with Sweat and Repeat's Rachael Kester
Rachael Kester is a Los Angeles resident who enjoys sharing her fitness experience and tips with fellow Angelenos who are trying to mix up their routines, maintain healthy lifestyles, make new friends, and become stronger and more confident along the way–without burning a hole in their wallets. We asked her a few questions about her fitness routine and how it has changed during quarantine.
When did fitness become a big part of your life?
It’s such a cliche thing to admit, but fitness became a part of my life as a New Year’s resolution in 2014. Before that, I rarely went to the gym and didn’t think twice about it. I was sitting at brunch with a girlfriend on New Year's Day when she mentioned that after brunch she was going to work out at the gym. I couldn’t believe it as all I wanted to do was take a nap! I asked her how she motivated herself to get moving, and she basically told me that there isn’t any magical trick, you simply have to just do it, knowing that you’ll be better for it.
On that day, I committed to myself that I would work out and eat more mindfully for 21 one days. Well, now it’s been over six years since that brunch. While I don’t always exercise every single day, I do find ways to move my body that are fun and enjoyable. There’s no reason to do a program or exercise that you hate!
What’s your daily fitness routine?
I am pretty committed to walking 10k steps per day. That usually looks like two one-hour walks with my puppy--one in the morning and one in the evening so we’re out of the sun. Before quarantine, I visited a boutique fitness studio 5-6x per week. I love reformer Pilates, barre, hot yoga, and spin. When shelter-in-place was implemented, my husband and I invested in a Peloton bike. It’s been a game changer for my at-home workouts. I’ll try to hop on 6x per week, even if it’s just a 20 minute ride.
How has your approach to fitness evolved over the years?
When I first moved to LA six years ago, I was all about trying everything and anything. While I still do like to try every new fitness craze, I’ve certainly gotten myself into more of a routine. It’s interesting to see how your fitness routines evolve over time. I used to think yoga was too slow, and now I crave an awesome, sweaty flow. I was once into HIIT classes, but now I find that I only do those occasionally. I’d recommend giving things a shot before ruling them out. Who knows, trampoline fitness might make you SO happy and you never would’ve known.
What has changed about your fitness routine during quarantine?
For the first month of quarantine I had a lot of trouble getting motivated to work out. Since I’m a fitness class junkie, I’m used to signing up for a time, committing payment, and being accountable to be there at that moment. I feed off of the energy from classmates, too. Working out at home was something I NEVER did before quarantine, so it took me time to get into the swing of things. Once our Peloton bike arrived, though, and I had the energy from the instructor and the competition from the leaderboard, my routine has gotten a lot more...routine!
How are you staying motivated to exercise and move your body during quarantine? And have you discovered any new favorite exercises during this time?
I’m continually impressed by all of the amazing virtual content that I’ve seen. Most studios and instructors jumped on the virtual game quickly, and you can find both free and paid content on Instagram live, Mindbody, ClassPass, and directly through the studios. It can be hard to find motivation, but I’ve noticed that when I start my day in activewear, I’m much more likely to just join a class or hop on the bike the moment some motivation comes to me.
After so many in-studio classes, I think it’s awesome how sweaty you can get just through bodyweight movements. I’ll always be a fan of planks because I can feel my entire body getting stronger!
How do you get out of a rut or exercise slump?
I’ve always used Instagram as a way to keep myself accountable. When I watch stories and see someone sweating and smiling post-workout I remember how great that feels and want that for myself. I always post my workouts on Instagram stories in hopes that it motivates someone else. New activewear definitely helps me, too. I recently got a pair of cute leopard shorts and wanted to show them off immediately! I always say that the hardest part of working out is just putting on your workout clothes.
What is your mental approach to exercise?
You never regret a workout. I try to remember that every time I’m feeling lazy or in a slump. After a sweat session, I feel so strong, confident, and happy. I’d say that I exercise more for the mental effects than the physical.
You have an adorable dog Cali, what is her fitness routine : ) and do you join her?
Cali is a nine-month-old, medium Goldendoodle and her breed is known for being really playful and having a ton of energy. On days when I just want to lounge on the couch, I know that she needs long walks to get all of her energy out. Finding a great walking routine helps us both stay sane. If you need an extra push to get moving, a dog will help!
Since we can’t exercise with our besties at the moment, what do you do to keep one another motivated and have you had any virtual workout dates?
Going to classes with my best friends was my favorite way to connect with people during the week. It’s been really sad to not have that IRL time, but you can still use your friends for accountability. From zoom workout dates, to Instagram lives, it’s possible to have virtual fitness dates. I love that my Peloton bike has the capability to video chat with friends while riding. Technology is crazy these days and it’s the perfect time to take advantage.
As someone who exercises multiple times in a week, how do you care for your hair? Do you wash it each time you work out or sweat? Do you wear it a certain way when working out?
I’ve been known to go as long as possible without washing my hair. I try to save my sweatiest workouts for “hair washing days”, but since I’ve been spinning so much, I’ve learned how to maintain it despite the sweat. I typically wash my hair once a week. I love using the AQUIS Detoxifying Hair and Scalp Wash on my wash days to make sure my hair is squeaky clean for the week ahead. Once I style it, I try to touch it as infrequently as possible. I use either fabric or spiral hair ties to keep it away from my face and shoulders when I exercise. This also helps prevent creases. On day three/four, I’ll break out some dry shampoo and restyle the front pieces.
Tell us a little bit about yourself outside of exercise and what we see on Instagram.
I really focus on being 100% authentic on my Instagram page and stories, and I love using stories to show behind the scenes into my life. I appreciate little things like a delicious cup of coffee, yummy takeout, and devouring a psychological thriller book. I try to share it all--beyond just the fitness--on my page!
What new things have you discovered about yourself during quarantine?
My days used to be packed with events, workouts, and meetings, and it’s been kind of nice to slow down. I used to be really antsy when it came to spending time alone, but during quarantine I’ve come to enjoy it. I finally have time to practice a calming morning routine, instead of waking up and rushing out of the door. I’ve read more than ten books during this time and had a chance to connect with friends and family via video chat that I didn’t often keep up with. I’d say the biggest thing I miss is Friday happy hour with friends. I’m dying to do that again soon!
Can you share a pro tip, a favorite, simple exercise that anyone can do from home without any equipment?
Yes! As I mentioned, I love a good plank. You can feel it throughout your entire body, and you can stop, drop, and plank any time, even during commercials! It’s also a fun challenge to time yourself and try to hold it for x minutes, and increase it over time.
When we are able to go back to group classes and/or the gym, what do you plan on doing differently that you don’t already do in order to be as hygienic and safe as possible?
This time is extremely challenging for all of the small business fitness studios that have not had a steady income. It’s really important to me to support them in any way possible, by taking their online classes, watching their IGTV workouts, or telling my friends about why I love them. I want these studios to still be around when we can go back! I will, however, take precautions when in the studio again. I’ll be visiting studios that are operating at a smaller capacity, practicing social distancing, and refraining from sharing equipment. Until I feel it’s safe, I’ll probably continue to exercise in my home and outdoors.
To learn more about Rachael visit her Instagram @sweatandrepeatla and her web site at Sweatandrepeat.com.