As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for your constant support!
I’d be lying if I told you that fitness wasn’t always a part of my life. I was a dancer from age 3-17, and competitively for 8 of those years. I loved it, and it was a wonderful way for me to stay in shape. I went into college knowing that I didn’t want to gain the forbidden ‘freshman 15’, so I worked out. A lot. I went to the gym almost every day, and occasionally twice a day freshman year, which sounds kind of psychotic now. I’d never been a runner—I’m still not—but I found other types of exercise I loved, including HIIT workouts, lifting and the elliptical for my cardio. During college, going to the gym frequently would have been my definition of #RealChampions, but since then, my definition has evolved.
After I graduated college, I no longer lived next door to a gym and therefore had to make a greater effort to fit in my workouts. I also had a 40 hour, 9-5 job, causing me to have to choose between early morning workouts or late night workouts, both being difficult for me to truly fall in love with. Then, in the fall of 2013, my back started acting up. I’d had back pain for a few years, but it could typically be fixed with a quick trip to the chiropractor or a deep tissue massage. I’m still not sure what happened that fall, but my back needed rest. I needed rest. So I rested! I took a few months off from lifting and strongly focused on yoga and walking. That, combined with exercises from a physical therapist to strengthen my back and I was slowly able to start incorporating my normal workouts back into my weekly workout schedule.
Though taking time off from my normal exercises regimen was difficult—I missed HIIT workouts SO much—I think it was the greatest thing that could have happened. It taught me that I don’t have to be “go go go” all the time, that it’s ok to rest, and most importantly, that listening to your body is so much better than constantly pushing it. There are many moments when you need to push yourself in order to succeed, but also moments—moments that tend to be ignored— when you need to rest. Moments when rest is what actually makes you a champion.
These days, I don’t stick to a strict workout schedule. My back is never going to be at 100%, and for that reason, I am constantly listening to my body. There are weeks when I workout six says, and other weeks when I workout once. What I’ve learned is that exercise can be anything. Maybe I didn’t make it to the gym one day, but if I took Layla for an hour walk, that counts! Not stressing out about working out has been the best thing for me mentally and my body hasn’t changed at all physically. The most important thing is mixing it up. Lately, I’ve been enjoying barre workouts, yoga, stair workouts, and walks with Lay, but I also try to fit in at least one or two HIIT workouts every week. I don’t stress, I just do what my body wants and needs.
Most importantly, I think finding whatever works for YOU makes you a #RealChampion. Being able to listen to your body and know what it needs—now that’s what I call success.
Q: What does your fitness journey look like? What does #RealChampions mean to you?