By Jaspreet Kaur
Jaspreet Kaur was raised without Kaur role models in sports and fitness. Teachers often told her that she was bad at gym and that she was not naturally athletic. She internalized that message and never pursued fitness until she was an adult in university. In a series of four articles, she shares her 15 year fitness journey and the amazing Sikh women who have helped her along the way.
For my fourth source of inspiration in my fitness journey, I turned to my bhabi, Gurjit Kaur. When I started this fitness series, it was to get back on track after hitting a slump, post half-marathon. There was no better person to turn to then my bhabi because not only had I worked out with her before, but she had been the reason I ran the half marathon in the first place!
She put me up to the challenge and we ran the race together. The difference was she did it with three boys under the age of 7, an injured leg, a soccer team to coach, a law degree, and a packed teaching schedule. Oh, and she kept up her training after the race was over.
She dragged me out to one of her favorite workout spots, Orange Theory, where we trained for an hour, heart monitors strapped to our wrists, with a TV screen showing our progress compared to everyone else in the room. The workout was so intense that we did not have a spare breath to do an interview. We sat down later and I asked her how she prioritized her fitness with a full time job, a young family, and home with an open door policy for her extended family.
How do you create boundaries with other parts of life and make time for your workouts?
You have to do the best with what you have. Sometimes you end up working out at 5 am. If that is what I want, that is how I get it. Training for a marathon is different for me than it is for other people. I may not have as much time to train, but I show up. You have to be creative with your time. You have to be kind to yourself when things don’t work out. You have to balance your fitness with your mental health and physical well being. You have to know when NOT to work out.
You also have to find the exercise that works for you. I see people that can work out twice a day and isolate body parts. That works for them. That doesn’t work for me. I get flustered with all the machines at a gym. I will look around and come back. It took a while for me to find a place where I could go and feel like I belonged.
What is your favorite workout?
HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts at Orange Theory.
What’s your go-to work out track?
Usually I work out to whatever is playing at the gym. When I am running I listen to kirtan non-stop. I am a huge fan of Qawwalis. I don’t like that western songs are short; I like a good, long, 40 minute Qawwali. The depth brings me to a different place. Western music is so fleeting.
What are you most proud of?
Recovering after pregnancies. I ran a half marathon after having three babies. I am proud of being able to set goals with a body that seemed like it had given all it had got.
Who do you take fitness inspiration from?
Nobody. I am my own motivation. I set myself against myself. I am also my own biggest critic. I know that if I want to do something, I can do it. I am also at an age where I actually know that.
What gets you going when you don’t want to?
I always say, I just have to show up. Everything else will be fine. If you don’t go, you won’t get the workout. If I get there, if I show up, something will get done.
One of my trainers always says, “Every day that you don’t work out, someone else does!”
If you had a daughter which sport would you put her in first?
For logistics, swimming. I can’t decide before meeting her. I would follow her interests and strengths.
How does your Sikh inform your fitness?
Having a healthy way of life is an element of a Sikh lifestyle. Maintaining a healthy body. Sikhi is so wholesome that it takes you in at every point of your life.
Has being a Kaur helped or hindered your fitness?
Being a Kaur has many overlapping elements. For example, being a mother and a daughter has made it harder for me to be fit. Also, it is still harder for women to achieve fitness goals than for men. I have to be very creative when and where I work out. I have to be aware of all the different people that will compete for my energy at that exact time. Being a good Sikh and a good Kaur and mother, daughter, teacher, pulls you in different directions.
What is next for you fitness wise?
A full marathon. I did a half marathon already and I am about to run my second half-marathon; I want to beat the time from my first. After that I would like to work towards a full.
Other Inspiring Kaurs of Fitness
If you need more inspiration, check out these other Sikh women who have made fitness a part of their lives!
AKA Kaur Strength
AKA Fitness Kaur
AKA Female Who Lifts
This is part 4. Be sure to read the entire series!
Part 1- Athletic Sikh Women Who Inspire Me
Part 2 – I Hate Running & I Ran a Half Marathon
Part 3 – Gatka for Fitness
Part 4 – Secrets a Fit Working Mom