I’m not gonna lie to y’all. This is not an easy post for me to write! It feels very vulnerable and raw but I want to share my journey with you guys in case it helps even one person, with their relationship to exercise or body image!
If you follow me on instagram, you’re probably well aware of how much I am enjoying corepower yoga right now, pilates, walks, and in general more low-impact type of workouts than what I have done in the past. In years past I have run marathons, half marathons, and tbh I think had a slight addiction to cardio workouts. I was honestly scared to NOT do cardio because I was afraid of how that would affect my body / my size. In 2020, I started to do more strength training workouts but still with a good amount of cardio mixed in there (still felt a little scared to let it go! Slash I think cardio is actually a lot of fun).
Fast forward to 2021. I’ve shared with you guys that Michael and I have been walking through infertility for about a year and a half now. We both started meeting with specialists to work on our own fertility health. After doing lots of tests, one of the specialists I’m meeting with said it looks like my body is under a lot of stress. So we’ve been working on reducing stress in my life – both physical and mental [see this blog post on how I’ve reduced stress in my life]. One way she said I could reduce stress is through changing my exercise routine. Exercise is obviously amazing for you, both physically and mentally, but the amount of cardio or HIIT workouts I was doing was a lot of stress on my body! So, this year I’ve shifted my workout routine to be primarily yoga, pilates, strength training…with maybe 1 day a week of cardio in there (because I still love a good run outside on a pretty day SO much!)
To be honest, if you told me a year ago I would only be doing cardio 1 day a week, and my workout routine would primarily be low impact (workouts that don’t necessarily burn a ton of calories)…I would have been very scared about that. How will that affect my weight? How will my body change? Does that mean I need to start eating less if I’m not burning as much?!
I honestly could write a NOVEL about my journey in shifting my exercise routine but I will try and keep this concise haha. This shift in my workout routine has honestly been SO life-changing and life-giving in ways I never would have imagined! It has truly helped me view exercise as movement and something helpful and beautiful for my body vs something to help me ‘compensate’ for the cheesecake and ice cream I ate the night before or something to help me ‘achieve’ a certain body type. This change enables me to see exercise as a tool that can help me manage stress, feel good, be happy, and get stronger, vs being motivated by external factors.
It’s also been incredibly freeing to not feel ‘tied’ to my workouts – if I don’t have time to do an hour sweaty workout in the gym one day…I’ll try and go for a 30minute walk in the morning (which btw these nike sneakers are insanely comfortable for walks!) just to move my body. AND THAT COUNTS! That is still movement and so beneficial for my body.
When I’m doing yoga, pilates, or strength training…I have been loving these bike shorts from nike! They’re under $50, sweat-wicking and not see through! I love the matching bra as well for low to medium impact workouts! I wore this sweatshirt on my stories last week and got SO many DM’s about it. It’s insanely soft, lightweight, and perfect to throw on before / after a workout!
I rounded up a few other favorites from Nike below! What I am loving for yoga, pilates, strength training, and more!
I am honestly so thankful for this journey I’ve been on with exercise and my body! I feel so much more free and at peace and stronger (both mentally and physically) since I’ve began focusing more on strength training and yoga…giving my body the opportunity to recover when needed, and move in a way that gives me energy and joy instead of having to push my body to the limit 100% of the time! If you also feel tied or addicted to cardio or feel like you have to push yourself to the max every single workout…I hope this post encourages you to maybe pause and really evaluate your ‘why’ and how your body is really feeling! There is so much power in learning to listen to what your body truly needs. Exercise is a beautiful thing and so healthy for our bodies! Let’s move in a way that allows our bodies to feel balanced, and healthy and strong!
follow along @laurenkaysims
This post was created in collaboration with Nike. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own!