Coming from a background of yoga all day every day and loving it, it’s really surprising to think that I traded in my low impact workouts for weight lifting. But I did. What’s even more surprising is that after building a large online platform based on weight lifting, I’m going back to low impact workouts. Here’s why.
From weight lifting to low impact workouts.
My journey into weight lifting started like most women these days. Social media. Even though I loved the way yoga made me feel, I couldn’t help but notice recommendations on my Instagram of women who were weight lifting and showing off their new “gains.”
To say I was curious about it is an understatement. I dove in head first.
Seeing those women fed my insecurities to the point where I would scroll deep down their Instagram pages trying to figure out how they were able to change their bodies the way that they did. A smaller waist, bigger butt, and toned arms and legs. All with no surgery? Of course I had to try it for myself. And so I rolled up my yoga mat for the last time and hit the gym.
The truth about weight lifting.
For the next 4 years weight lifting was seemingly perfect for me. It gave me a strong body, boosted my confidence, and allowed me to build an amazing platform to inspire other women to do the same. But of course all of that success came at a price.
My mental health took a huge hit. If you don’t know what it’s like to feel really confident and really insecure at the same time, let me tell you, it’s a wild ride. I was so proud of my accomplishments but at the same time it was never enough. My body was never enough. I was never enough. In those years I might as well have been the poster child for body dysmorphia.
The problem with weightlifting is that there’s always a goal. Always something to work towards. Always something that could be better. Most people don’t weight lift without wanting to make some type of measurable progress.
And for me, it became too much. I just want to enjoy moving my body and being present.
I’d be lying if I said the decision to go back to low impact workouts was quick or easy. It was neither. There was no one event that made me want to stop doing what I was doing. Instead it was a cumulation of things. Wanting to workout without body checking and feeling insecure, to no longer constantly feel hungry or sore, and to actually enjoy what I was doing just to name a few. And even though I was worried about losing all of the “progress” that I made, after 4 years I wasn’t willing to lie to myself anymore. Lifting weights just isn’t my thing.
Making the switch to low impact workouts.
So how exactly did I make the switch from weight lifting to low impact workouts? Workout classes.
I’ll be honest, I’m just a baby when it comes to low impact workouts. Taking workout classes was the best way for me to both learn a new style of fitness and live in the moment. So I started with a subscription to the Alomoves app and began doing barre, Pilates, and yoga at home. That app had every class that I could have wanted and more, with great teachers, and was super affordable. I swear by it. And after my first couple of classes, all of my preconceived notions about low impact workouts went out the window.
I expected them to be easy. They’re not. I barely made it through my first barre class without being drenched in sweat and taking a 10 minute break. I also thought that I wouldn’t sweat nearly as much. It’s safe to say I sweat just the same or even more.
But even in just those first few classes I knew that I had made the right decision. Because the first thing I noticed was that there’s much less stress on my joints. Doing heavy weight squats and lunges on a daily basis may have strengthened my legs but they also gave me knee issues. Low impact workouts taught me how to build strength using little to no weights or pressure on my joints.
Did I mention how lovely it feels to be able to workout every day without needing a whole 24 – 48 hours to recover from being sore? On top of that, my appetite has drastically reduced. And yes I may be losing and will continue to lose muscle mass, but in the process my mental health is healing and I feel so much better.
And to me that’s worth so much more than any physical gains.