The Balanced Blonde: How I Found The Right Fitness Routine For Me

The Balanced Blonde: How I Found The Right Fitness Routine For Me

By The Balanced Blonde. Originally posted on Self.com.

Jordan Younger, aka The Balanced Blonde, shares how she developed an exercise plan that works for her—at least right now.

When it comes to working out, I have gone to the max and back. I have had every type of routine in the book, from running seven days a week with no rest days to totally falling off the wagon because I burned myself out on the high-intensity lifestyle. I have run half marathons on juice cleanses (bad idea—very bad), and I have stuffed my face during marathon trainings for fear that I wasn’t refueling properly.

I have put tons of pressure on myself to look a certain way and be as physically fit as possible, and over the years I have realized that in my efforts to achieve I was actually doing myself more harm than good. By overworking my body (and my mind), I learned that I didn’t need to fit into an ideal of what a “fit” person is; what I needed was an exercise plan that fit me. So I scaled back to focus on something that works far, far better for me: feeling good in my body, moving because it feels amazing, and letting my internal compass guide the way.

Image Credit: The Balanced Blonde

When you do exercise that you love and you listen to your body in the process, maintaining the routine is shockingly easy. When we workout for other reasons—cough, cough, to look a certain way—then routines can be tricky. They can keep us on track, but sometimes they create added pressure and make exercise feel more like a chore than something that is fun and good for us. Also, as we evolve, our routines should evolve alongside of us.

Right now, I personally am a fan of a loose fitness routine, a mix of yoga, running, and HIIT (high intensity interval training). I typically do yoga every day in some form or another, run once a week, and do HIIT once a week. This is vastly different from my routine a year ago, or even just a few months ago! Lately I have been gravitating toward more low-intensity workouts (cue the yoga life!) because my body has been responding extremely well to less of the rigorous exercise and more of a restorative, self-care type of fitness.

This time last year I was running a lot. I ran the LA Marathon last February, and while it was a bucket list goal and something I most definitely want to do again in my lifetime, my body was like, “What is going on with all of these miles and this pavement pounding?!” I actually put on weight during my training and the months after the race, because I needed so much more food and nourishment to sustain all of the calories I was burning. My cortisol levels were also off the charts—that’s a hormone that our body produces in reaction to stress—which was adding to the swollen, off-balance feeling my body was experiencing.

I was also doing HIIT about five to six days a week, for a variety of reasons, both good and…less good. I absolutely love my gym (OrangeTheory Fitness!) and loved beginning my day with all of the people who have become my close friends there. At the same time, the routine in and of itself became sort of an addiction. Wake up, go to the gym, sprint on the treadmill and lift heavy weights, come back home and get to work. It was nonstop and in addition to being a physical strain, it only added to my stress—not exactly helping me toward my self-care goals.

Image Credit: The Balanced Blonde

After I embarked on an Ayurvedic Panchakarma in August, a restorative detoxification treatment involving massage, herbal therapy, meditation, deep reflection, and a technology cleanse, I realized I needed to tone it down with the high intensity workouts. I didn’t work out at all for about 10 days during that treatment, and once it was finished, my body just didn’t feel like hopping back into my previous running and HIIT routine.

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