‘Be good to yourself’

Judi Schreyer leads an outdoor exercise class at the Scripps Ranch Swim & Racquet Club. (courtesy of Judi Schreyer)

‘Be good to yourself’

This is the second of a two-part series about Scripps Ranch exercise instructor Judi Schreyer and her advice for those who struggle with their workout routines. 

Judi Schreyer is a fitness instructor who approaches exercise with a special understanding of her students and the trials some face as they meet their individual challenges trying to get in shape or stay fit. Everyone must face their exercise demons. Schreyer not only knows how to train physically, she seems to have answers to dealing these very human mental and emotional challenges to exercise.

It’s as if she is preaching the Zen of exercise.

  • Be realistic.
  • Start slow.
  • Do everything in moderation.
  • Set weekly goals.
  • Reward yourself.
  • Be good to yourself.

Here is more of her advice:

Judi Schreyer

What do you tell people who had a good routine going, stopped and now are trying to get started again?
“You need to be realistic about what you’re going to be able to do. If you think you’re going to be able to — after not having worked out for a while — go out and run for 10 or 15 minutes, it’s probably not realistic. What might be more realistic is that you say, ‘I’m going to go out for 15 minutes and I’m going to run when I can, and walk when I can’t. Then, when I feel like I can breathe again — (when I can) say my first and last name, carry on somewhat of a conversation — then I’m going to start to run again.’”

What do you tell those who want to exercise, but can’t find the time?
“If you really want it, you have to find the time for it. You have to make the time somewhere. There is time everywhere. It’s just a matter of, ‘do you really want it?’ It might mean getting up half an hour earlier in the morning.”

What about those who can’t stay with an exercise program?
“Get a buddy to work out with you. People who have a workout partner to commit to, to help coax them out of bed in the morning, to take that walk or to go at lunch or after dinner, are more likely to keep working out. Maybe it’s a group class. Try out a bunch of different classes. If something you are trying isn’t working, then go try something else.”

What if someone has tried an exercise program for a few weeks, but is not seeing any results?
“Do not expect changes overnight. You probably didn’t get into your current condition overnight and you’re not going to change it overnight either. It definitely takes 21 days, they say, to create a habit, so you need to give a new exercise routine at least 21 days.

“Are you really eating well? Not that you have to eat perfectly. I mean my favorite foods are pizza and dark chocolates, which I eat on a weekly or daily basis. But everything has to be done in moderation. So, if your diet is fairly decent, you’re getting a mix of the things you need, then maybe you need to change off you’re routine. I would change up an exercise routine every three months anyway, especially if you’re not seeing any kind of results.”

How does someone stay motivated when they don’t really like to exercise?
“Be good to yourself, set a weekly goal for what you want to do. It might be, ‘I want to just workout three days this week.’ Start slow, make your goals achievable and reward yourself — not with a food item. Food is not a good reward. Buy yourself a new scarf or something. Treat yourself to something that you’ve been wanting.”

What happens if working out brings on a bigger appetite?
“You need to make sure you’re eating the right thing. Have you eaten the fruits and vegetables you’re supposed to be eating every day?”

Judi Schreyer enjoys a healthy walk in the mountains. (courtesy of Judi Schreyer)

Should women stop exercising when they become pregnant?
“If you were exercising when you became pregnant, it is totally safe to continue exercising, but you might need to realize that the type of exercise you were doing might not be what you’re able to do now. I just found within a couple of weeks of being pregnant I just didn’t feel like running. I just could not get oxygen and I don’t know why, and I just started walking and I continued to do some weights. … My doctor said it was fine. That’s the first thing — clear anything with your doctor. You’re not going to start a new exercise regimen if you weren’t working out before you were pregnant. If it still feels good, you can still do it, other than those things that your doctor advises you not to do. If anything doesn’t feel right, for any exercise, then don’t do it. You’ve got to find something else. Or if you start to do something and you don’t like it, try another activity. Maybe that activity wasn’t for you.”

Schreyer has been leading fitness classes for about 24 years, and has taught yoga for 10 years. She once worked as the exercise director of the Berkeley “Y.” Schreyer has a Master’s in P.E. and taught physical education classes at a middle school in Massachusetts before moving to San Diego. Now she has two sons attending Jerabek Elementary School and volunteers to teach P.E. there. She also teaches indoor cycling, muscle conditioning and yoga at the Scripps Ranch Swim & Racquet Club. She recently gained her certificate in Metafit, a high intensity interval training workout (HIIT).

Schreyer will be expanding her repertoire of fitness classes soon. She will begin offering kids yoga at Jerabek in the fall. She also hopes to offer some yoga classes and Metafit classes in the park once school starts. Those interested may contact Judi Schreyer at