against the [exercise] grain

First of all, I just have to say thank you so much to everyone for all of your support on my last few posts. They have been some of the hardest for me to write, but seeing how many of you can relate is absolutely unbelievable. My hope is that, no matter where you are in your journey, my posts can serve as a reminder that you are not alone and you are so, so strong.

Ever since I published my [real] story, I’ve been thinking, praying and writing about what is next for me. How can I continue to implement kindness and self-love into my life on a daily basis? I have come such a long way over the past few years; however, I’m the first to admit that I still struggle. I still have comfort zones that I want to escape and negative thoughts that I want to silence. I still have work to do but who doesn’t? This journey of self-love and peace takes time…for everyone.

This week, exercise has been on my heart and mind a lot.

I’ve been working out consistently for 6, maybe 7, years now. I’ve gone from running long distances, to high intensity circuit-style training, to heavy weight lifting and back again. Over the years, I’ve pretty much tried it all and prided myself on how “hard” I work in the gym. Now that’s great, don’t get me wrong, but my body just isn’t responding anymore…It feels like I’m just working myself to death with no results other than fatigue, extreme soreness and a grumpy attitude. What gives?!

While reflecting over the past few days, I’ve realized that my exercise routine always revolved around “intensity“. How hard could I push myself? How much could I sweat? How sore could I be? Always. Whether I was running, lifting, dancing, whatever, I always pushed myself to my limits. Now that’s great in moderation but consistently for 6+ years? That’s excessive.

Our bodies are fragile. They can be pushed but they also need to be nurtured and loved.

So, it’s time for a change for me.

IMG_7687For the next few weeks, I’m going to focus on low-intensity workouts. I’m going to revisit yoga, pilates, stretching and walking…the types of exercise that I once loved but “haven’t had time for” in years. I’m going to steer clear of pushing my muscles with heavy weights and get moving with body-weight exercises instead. Does that feel totally against the grain for me and contradictory to the “lift heavy” mantra that everyone seems to be preaching right now? Yes. But right now, it’s right for me.

The thought of not having to kill myself in the gym for a few weeks makes me feel anxious…and relieved, which is exactly how I know it’s what I need. I’m breaking down another mental wall that I’ve built up over the years and I’m ecstatic at the thought of what life will be like on the other side.

I’ll be sharing my thoughts and feelings throughout the journey and I encourage you to join me, especially if you have been pushing yourself through intense workouts for a while. Your body does so much for you…it deserves a few weeks of being nurtured, nourished and truly loved.IMG_7591When was the last time you took a break from intense exercise? Favorite low-intensity workouts?

Here’s to healthy changes…

-Emily

Follow me on Instagram & Twitter @missemmmysue

11 comments
  1. Kelsey said:

    This kind of hit home for me. While I love the community I am a part of at my CrossFit gym, I sometimes wonder if I need to take a step back. Like, a HUGE step back. I’ve done weeks off here and there, but nothing compared to a full month. I wonder what my body would do with a little more sleep, rest and relaxation. Your words definitely inspired me to keep it in consideration and talk with my coaches about it.

    • Emily said:

      I’m right there with you! I’ve taken small periods of time off (very small) but never really given my body time to truly rest, recover and rejuvenate itself. I’m excited to see how I feel in a few weeks! I’ll be anxious to hear what your coaches think about it!

  2. A period of low intensity training can definitely benefit all areas of your other fitness. I say go for it! I might have my own little low intensity fitness maybe in the spring.

    • Emily said:

      I’m thinking it definitely will! Thanks girl. I’m excited to follow your low-intensity journey come Spring! xo

  3. I can relate to this. I was just telling Marty that I’ve come to the end of my rope with working out. I’ve worked out, no lie, almost every single day for the past four years. Granted, this isn’t always me going to the gym but I’ve never really allowed myself the weight. I’ve had such terrible anxiety whenever I skip a day but I’m learning that the majority of my ‘success’ is due to what I’m eating and not so much my workouts. PS – I realize the mindset of ‘success’ is all relative and one that I need to shift.

    That said, I am coming to the conclusion that I either 1) need to workout intensely for no long than 20-25 minutes a couple times each week (I very rarely push myself past my pain tolerance threshold) or 2) need to embrace other workouts such as yoga, pilates, walking as enough.

    It’s wonderful that you know your body and mind well enough to know which route to pursue in your life ❤

    • Emily said:

      Yessss. I’m right there with you! Diet makes a much bigger difference in my overall health as well. And I’m excited to see how my appetite and whatnot react to lower-intensity exercise. I have a feeling I’m going to find myself feeling much less hungry overall…but we’ll see! I love the idea of just doing 20-25 minutes of intense exercise a few times a week! I think that would be a great challenge…especially for people like us who are so accustomed to working out every. single. day. The fact that I (and you) have anxiety about missing a day just proves that a little break might be exactly what we need!
      Keep me posted on how you’re feeling as you experiment with changing things around a bit! xo

  4. Shawna said:

    good for you for paying attention to what feels like the right change for you right now. this is a great reminder that we need to listen to our bodies and sometimes give ourselves the freedom to explore new areas of exercise or not feel that we have to do a certain thing in a certain way all the time. hope these next few weeks are refreshing for you.

    • Emily said:

      Yes! I completely agree. Thank you so much for your sweet comment. ❤

  5. … and yet more proof of how deeply in touch you are with your needs these days. It takes a great ability to listen to them and then more to actually do what is good for you. I can’t really add in any experiences myself as I don’t remember the last time I truly exercised intensely – and I miss it :(. While definitely not for every day, it feels good to go to the limits once or twice a week. I had one class while in university that was super intense but left me feeling positively exhausted and tired at the end of those 90 minutes.

    • Emily said:

      Thank you so much, love. It’s definitely hard. Holy moly…a 90 minute class?! That’s such a long time! I’m sure it was great though. So far I’m feeling great with the lower intensity– we’ll see how I’m feeling in 30 days though!

      PS: I’m sorry I haven’t replied to your email yet. Crazy week. It’s coming. 🙂

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