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Whoaaaa baby. This post has been along time a-comin’. For as much as fitness/working out as been a part of my life, it’s pretty rare to see fitness-related anything around these rosy parts (unless it’s us relating on the whole pizza versus gym struggle, which we all know ends in #PIZZA 😉 ). But I’ve actually gotten quite a few requests lately for fitness/workout content, so I figured I’d share a bit about my backstory when it comes to working out, all the way to where we’re at now with my current routine and how I make it happen within my everyday life + unpredictable schedule.
I used to be an “athlete.” At age 5 I joined the swim team (fish then, mermaid now). I eventually added more sports to the roster – volleyball in the fall, softball in the spring (swimming was winter). Some pro’s + con’s…
- Swimming: Pro – I loveloveloved the breaststroke. Con – I hadn’t necessarily found my crew of friends (at all), meets were long, water was cold.
- Volleyball: Pro – Being a setter was fun. Con – Constantly having bruised arms was not.
- Softball: Pro – I distinctly remember being pulled to varsity as a freshman in high school; my first experience sliding was sliding home to score, and I had NO clue what I was doing. Somehow I just literally went for it, and the coach told me it was the best slide he’d ever seen. Figured I’d quit that one on a high note. HA. 😉 Con – I wasn’t allowed to wear cute sunglasses and I was always kinda sorta afraid of getting hit somewhere. No bueno.
After swimming for a few years, it was time to try adding on another sport (in the same season, cos apparently I was just nuts) – basketball. At this point, I think I had already switched to cross country running in the fall, too, and track in the spring. Basketball was more up my alley than swimming, and I played for years, on everything from local + school teams to travel leagues. It reached a head only when I got a taste of the stage.
My sophomore year of high school, on a whim I tried out for the spring school musical (Oklahoma). Had NO clue what I was doing, but gave it my all, and somehow got a lead role (Ado Annie, for anyone familiar with oldschool Rodgers & Hammerstein 😉 ). At this point, it got tricky. The “spring” musical started rehearsing in winter, so I was literally going from after school basketball workouts straight to rehearsal – and coordinating schedules became impossible. My basketball coach wasn’t thrilled that I was doing a show, but Lord knows I was HOOKED. Musical theatre quickly became my errrr’thaaaang. I was drinking the theatre Koolaid + not turning back.
So, I stopped playing basketball. I devoted all of my hours to musical, and ended up auditioning for the fall play then, too. Naturally, fell in lovelovelove AGAIN with theater, and was doing cross country + the fall play at the same time, too. By the time graduation rolled around, I was all theater. But that’s another story. 😉
When it came to sports, I was just running all the time at that point. For XC, we were running anywhere from 3 to 7-8 miles a day and competing once a week. For track, it was also daily practice (altho shorter events, bless up) and weekly meets. My knees are anatomically crooked (fun fact), so running so much started really putting a strain on ’em. Because they tilt inwards and slightly on the diagonal, constant pounding the pavement was putting stress right on the top corner (where it shouldn’t), and the cartilage there started wearing down. I started seeing the sports trainer weekly to get it wrapped, but of course that doesn’t change the actual faulty structure. Basically…my knees just got messed. up. Now I can’t run without ending up in excruciating pain (and I have a *high* pain tolerance). Even in college, walking around campus all day long would sometimes flair ’em up to the point where I was scared that my knee was going to pop (gross), or give out altogether.
Fast forward to today. I still want to be healthy + fit + strong, but running is a no go. I lovelovelove workout classes by nature; I think honestly they keep me on track + disciplined since I’m waaaay more likely to quit solo if I have the choice (after years of being forced to run when I didn’t want to – ha!). I’m a fan of quite a few workout classes I’ve taken – everything from Zumba to SoulCycle. My current kick, tho, is CorePower Yoga.
Black mesh sports bra (sold out, similar here) // Yoga pants (the brand of this set is probably my all-time favorite for workout clothes! It’s the BEST material. I’ve posted these yoga pants before, too, that I own, and I’m OBSESSED. It really wicks moisture, too, which is important to me since I *sweat*) // More from the brand here, here, here, and here (shop around, cos sales are the best!) // Yoga mats here // Fun water bottles here (I have the pink sparkly one and the “After this we’re getting pizza” one!)
Let’s get the cat outta the bag right off the bat. Yes, CorePower is a Westernized yoga studio. Yes, there are many conflicting opinions of the westernization of yoga. But this post isn’t about that at all – it’s just about what I’m doing now fitness-wise and what is working for me. MK? MK. 😉
In general, I prefer workouts nowadays that focus on a few things:
1.) They work my whole body.
2.) They’re “group” by nature, but still focus on the individual + let me get in my own zone.
3.) There’s no stress (or as little stress as possible) on my knees. You don’t realize how hard it can be to find exercises or workouts that genuinely work your legs without stressing your knees until you can’t stress your knees. Oy. I lovelovelove squats (actually tho), but they just don’t work anymore for my body. Finding workouts that build leg strength without flaring up my problem spots is key.
4.) A focus on breathing is really friggin’ important for me. I didn’t realize how wound up I was most of the time until being force to step back + focus on something as seemingly simple as my breath. Intentionally breathing in + out at regulated intervals works WONDERS for me. From clearing your brain of the chaos to just getting a better workout (fun fact: “side stitches” can happen from not breathing correctly!), breathing is where. it’s. at .
5.) I finish feeling tired + good, but not completely dead. I want to be able to do it a few times a week, and I know myself – I have a #GoHardOrGoHome mentality. I used to end up crippling pain in college going waaaay too hard at different class demo days, to the point where it would hurt to get out bed the next day, let alone do it all over again (I don’t recommend – ha).
On off days/any day I’m not in some sorta class, I like everything from lifting free weights to jumping on my lil’ trampoline. I think based on my track record with sports it’s safe to say I try pretty much anything – ha! I don’t consider myself a big fitness person by any means, but I just try to make good choices to live an overall healthy lifestyle. I mean, last night I had fried mozzarella + fettucine alfredo at date night, today I’m having a salad for lunch. BALANCE, PEOPLE. 😉 At CorePower Yoga, I typically go to “CorePower 2” classes, which are house-long vinyasa classes in about 93-96 degree rooms. (When we shot this, the studio was set to 100 degrees, so that’s actual sweat on me. HA.) CP2 classes are slightly “more advanced” vinyasa classes with an ab-focused interlude in the middle, so it feels like a combo of yoga + pilates (and this girl lovelovelooooooooves pilates).
They go through pretty standard sequences, transition to core work, work on balances, and wind down into savasana (everyone’s favorite thing ever). I’ve had different instructors do different things to end classes – everything from holding essential oils for you to breathe in, to gentle temple massages with lavender oil.
Here’s why I lovelovelove it:
- It works my entire body. I lovelovelove being able to go in at ground zero and come out feeling tired from head to toe. I did a Yoga Sculpt class one Saturday morning and almost died (true story). Sculpt reaaaaally works your whole body – it combines flexibility with weight training and cardio all in one hour-long class. Let’s just say that post-my running years, cardio ain’t exactly my favorite regimen. WOMP.
- There’s a big focus on ab-work. COREpower, amiright? I lovelovelove pilates, and CorePower classes (or at least CP2) have a pretty strong pilates feel.
- I lovelovelove challenges. #RealTalk: One of my biggest insecurities with my body has always been my upper body strength (or lack thereof). One of my favorite things is being able to track my progress week after week in how much of my own body’s weight I can support with my upper body. Getting into arm balances (#goals), doing more chaturangas, the whole nine yards – it’s indicative of my own journey with myself to become stronger + healthier.
- It’s an hour dedicated to me. As simple as that sounds, the fact that I have to drive a bit to get there, practice, and then come home is like the perfect way to force myself to have “me time” for my body. I’m reaaaaaally bad sometimes at me-time. I try it, and then soon enough I’m calling it quits and thinking I should be “productive” in some way or another. This is totally flawed, I know, but it’s how my mind works and I’m workin’ on it!
- They play amazing music. I’ve heard everything from my favorite songs to worship music (literally had a worship jam on in class once and I just about died of happiness). Being able to sync with great music is key to pretty much ANY workout!
- My entire day’s tone is set. I know myself. I know that I work best on a schedule, with dedicated time for specific things. Putting time aside for me, feeling strong, feeling healthy – that totally transforms my day. I approach everything around it with more intention + clarity, then, and end up getting more done in work and feeling more confident in play. Having to drive a bit to get there actually helps me so much, too, cos I have time to unwind coming back home. It all just works for my schedule, which is oh so important when figuring out what sorta workout routine is best for YOU.
Of course, there are other studios or other workout routines that could very well bring all the same “results” – but I just like what I like! (Don’t we all?). Some girls have a cult-like obsession with SoulCycle while others are terrified of it. Other girls want nothing less than to run 26.2 miles in one go…others don’t want to run 26.2 miles total, ever. We all have our preferences and what works for us, so I think the key is knowing your own body, knowing what keeps you motivated + inspired to get active, + going with that.
I’ve tried what feels like everything under the sun so far, and right now, this is just my jam.
(Find a studio near you here! – and no, this is not sponsored by CorePower Yoga…it’s just legit my go-to workout right now! Keepin’ it real always, yo).
Have you ever been to a CorePower Yoga? What’s your favorite way to work out?
I’d lovelovelove to hear about YOUR fitness routine, too. We all have totally different bodies, styles + preferences, so what works for you? Let me know in a comment below!
Also, if you’ve got any sorta backstory to your current fitness routine like I do, too, tell me about it! Would lovelovelove to hear about your own personal journeys. 🙂