Hello, Happy New Year! At the start of the new year, I want to share with you my fitness journey and how I stay fit. My routine has changed a lot over time, especially in the last decade. I have gone from hating to work out, to loving it, to being ambivalent and back to loving it again. It’s been quite a journey indeed!
Today: Kelly's Fitness Journey, and how she stays fit
Plus, a sample workout schedule
Check out boards with her favorite equipment, props and products
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Ten years ago, I was a runner. An old friend in San Francisco asked me to run a 5k with her. So I trained for a couple months and ran the race with her. I did really well. I competed in track and field in junior high school and I forgot how much I enjoyed running short distance races. And so I was hooked.
My friend and I signed up for 5k races all over the Bay Area, we even did one in Los Angeles! To stay fit and improve my performance, I ran every morning before work. I did yoga and strength training every week. I always came in the top 10 in my age group, and I came in first in several races. Winning was such a great feeling; running in races and training was such a fun way to be engaged in my health and fitness.
And then, chronic low back pain meant I had to stop running. It turned out that I have a condition called Spondylolisthesis. “Spondy'' for short, is when one of your vertebrae slips forward. It’s usually in the low back area and it’s often the result of a fracture, or in my case two fractures, one on either side of my spine, typically the result of a sports injury. Since I have never experienced a sports-related or other injury, I was likely born with Spondy.
This changed everything.
I have done yoga since my early 20’s. So after I had to stop running, I took more yoga classes. I added Pilates to my routine. I switched from running to walking.
But, I was so very sad to give up running. It was tough at first to get motivated to change my fitness routine to low-impact. During my running days I had participated in the Whole Life Challenge, which taught me how to eat more thoughtfully; the program also helped me to make daily movement a habit. While I exacerbated my Spondy symptoms with running, this is a condition I will have forever and I had to start paying attention to it. This meant taking seriously mobility, stability, and core strength. I joined another round of The Whole Life Challenge, and it was a great motivating force for me to move forward in a new way.
When Alex and I moved to Georgia we invested in a Peloton Bike, which I love for the low impact cardio workouts. I also love all of the other classes they offer. I have always disliked going to a gym and the Peloton subscription covers all my fitness bases and solves my gym-issues.
Here is a sample of what my weekly fitness routine looks like:
Of course there are days I miss a workout, yoga, or stretching session. And I don’t beat myself over it, but my body notices it. Even just 10-15 minutes of stretching daily makes a difference.
Typically the day after I miss even a 15 minute bike ride, or a 20 minute stretching class, my back is stiff and sore. So even on days when exercising is the last thing I want to do, I do at least 10 minutes of stretching. The 10 minutes of stretching often leads to 10 more minutes of stretching, and before I know it I have spent 20-30 minutes moving my body, getting my blood flowing and increasing mobility.
My Spondy condition has made me realize how debilitating living with chronic pain is; how important it is to establish and maintain stability, mobility, core strength and flexibility. You’re never too old or young to establish a habit of regular exercise and mobility.
You all probably know I am a food blogger. This means I cook just about everyday. So how do I avoid overdoing it? I have a few strategies. I practice intermittent fasting, so I have structured my cooking/eating/working schedule accordingly. Here is a very general sample of what a typical day looks like:
A few more of my strategies for maintaining health and fitness:
I structure my blog writing and other computer-related activity in short blocks throughout the day. I try not to sit at my computer for more than 45 minutes at a time. Frequently, I get up to tackle a chore or two which keeps me from sitting too long.
I avoid drinking alcohol when I am at home. I limit my intake to when I am out for dinner, which is about once per week. This one single change in my lifestyle has been the biggest game changer in my day-to-day, and in my ability to keep off the chub (because, well…being a food blogger involves a lot of of food).
While I limit my sugar intake, I eat some of everything I make for the blog, this includes cakes, cookies, pizza, pasta, all the things! Moderation is key. I don’t count calories or macros. I don’t deprive myself, but I am thoughtful about how much I eat, and when I eat during the day.
Most importantly, none of this is carved in stone. These are guidelines I have set for myself but if a day leads me down a different path, I leave room for spontaneity. I don’t beat myself up when things don’t go 100%. If you beat yourself up for living your life, you will never find a fitness or nutrition plan that you will be happy and excited to do. This is key. If you can’t get excited or feel motivated to eat well and be active, it’s going to be an uphill battle to make those healthy habits your lifestyle.
is our 40s+ fashion & food contributor. She posts a Daily Look on Tuesdays, writes about Fashion on Thursdays, joins Beth for Fridays with Oscar and shares a new recipe Sunday evenings.
She’s 47, 5’0, and a petite 0/XS.
Kelly also has a food blog called Djalali Cooks, which you can find by clicking the world icon below.