Prioritizing your health

I get asked all the time how I fit so much into my day: Corporate Job, Fun Job, 2 young kids, working out, cooking, regular chores, maintaining a social life, etc. There is nothing special about me (I’m not a vampire who doesn’t need sleep or food, I don’t have a time turner to fit more into 24 hours) but I do have some tips to help you prioritize that which is important to you. Don’t worry if your priorities are different than mine, the same general rules apply.

  1. Figure out what is important to you. What are your “life conditions”? For me its Time with my family (including healthy meals), exercise, and earning a living. Everything else is secondary.
  2. Prioritize what is important to you. This is where most people struggle – they think “I want to workout” but then don’t. My husband is a prime example of this (when it comes to working out). Some things I do is I make a personal contract with myself. If I tell myself I’m going to workout at 5 am tomorrow (gah the early exercise regime) – I put it in my phone, I write it in my planner, and I set an alarm. When my alarm goes off, and I undoubtedly don’t want to get up, I remember my contract. If I had promised a friend I would workout with them would I flake? No. So why would a promise to myself mean any less? If you decide you’re going to do something, enter a contract with yourself that you won’t break. Once you do your mentality will totally change (at least mine did). 327C67B1-5BD9-4375-AFE3-CC11DE8E91A5
  3. Make a planner. I don’t care if it is digital (I use Awesome Note), on paper (see my post on Bullet Journaling), or a combination of both (which is what I do), but “write” it down. I have a task that pops up on my phone daily at 6 am called daily routine which includes: Wake up by 6, Brush & floss teeth, Cardio workout, Yoga/stretch, Make Bed, Wash face, Make coffee, Make protein shake for family breakfast. Every day I shoot to check all of the boxes (don’t get me wrong some days I don’t do cardio and I do it later in the day or I skip yoga). It really helps set intention for my day. image
  4. Meditate. Anyone who knows me will tell you my mind runs at 1000 miles per hour. It never stops. I always thought meditation was impossible for me, but once I really committed (i use the headspace app) I found that it made me much more in tune with my mental and physical states and helped me to relax more generally.
  5. Set your goals. I always set goals in 4 categories: Career, Family, Health, and Personal. I try to do it annually and check it quarterly. Make sure they are attainable and will give you a sense of accomplishment. Examples: Career = Get a positive mid year rating and complete “X” project on time. Family = Get child in Swim lessons and do dinner at the table with not TV 4 times per week. Health = Fit into size 4 jeans and be able to do 20 pushups. Personal = Meditate 4 times per week and stretch to touch your toes. NOTE* when it comes go health goals I strongly encourage you to make them about something other than weight. Make them size or strength or food related. Weight is arbitrary – I could care less what i weigh if I fit into my clothes well and feel sexy.
  6. Lastly, put yourself first. Yes your spouse is important, yes your kids are important, yes your friends are important, but if you don’t take care of yourself you can’t take care of them. When Mama is happy everyone is happy.

XOXO

Kendall

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Body Image

I think everyone struggles with body image issues (if you’ve never had a stray thought about self improvement – you’re probably a terrible person). One of my favorite sayings is “Would you talk to your best friend the way you talk to yourself?”. I’ve always thought that was such a good way of looking at it. Sometimes I look in the mirror and think “I’m huge, I need to lose 20 lbs, my stomach is flabby” etc. and when I think about going up to a friend and telling them their “stomach looks flabby” I visibly cringe. Why do we think it’s okay to talk down to ourselves?

Part of it I think is generational. We hear our parents talk down about themselves (because we’re all human and we’d all like to improve) and then we do the same thing. And let me say – there is nothing wrong with wanting to get in better shape or focus more at work or relax and stop being so OCD. But there is a point where it is no longer about self improvement and instead becomes about self depreciation. That’s what I’m talking about.

Now I am as guilty (if not more so) than most people. It makes me think of that scene in Mean Girls “Apparently there is more than skinny or fat.” (when they’re all talking about their pores and their noses and their hips). We all fall into that trap, and I find myself doing it more and more post children when I want to magically be super thin and ready to rock a swimsuit. So how to overcome this deeply ingrained body dysmorphia? I’m not sure that we (I) can completely shake it off but I do thing there is something to be said for positivity.

Instead of looking at that picture from last night and saying “Ugh I look terrible” say “Oh you look cute!” to the other person or ” well my outfit is on point”. If you have to say something negative make it “not the best lighting” or “wish the camera angle was higher” instead of about you/your body. When we compare ourselves to those in the media – their entire job is to look good. Private chefs, personal trainers, makeup & hair teams, photographers who follow them only getting the best angles/lighting. You can’t look at them and think less of yourself. Only think well of them.

It’s dang near impossible in today’s society not to compare yourself to models/actresses/bloggers/friends/etc. but you can choose to love yourself. To think about yourself positively. Never stop trying to better yourself but do it for the right reasons and do it without tearing yourself down. Love yourself so others can love you too.

XOXO

Kendall

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P.S. Currently I’m reading this Mantra to myself 3X per day while I move along my meditation bead necklace:

My body is worthy of my love

my body is fierce and fabulous

My body is strong and stable

My body is full of wisdom

My body is powerful beyond belief

My body is balanced and beautiful

My heart is full of grace

My heart can forgive and let go

My heart is open to goodness

My heart sees balance in the universe

My heart takes the good with the bad

I trust my body. I trust my heart, I trust my mind.

 

Outdoor Voices & Barre

The studio I teach at (Barre Code Plano for any of my Dallas Natives) kicked off their SPF 2018 Challenge this weekend – the goal is to take 15 classes in 21 days encouraging clients to try new class formats and really commit to their health – with an outdoor Barre class on the boardwalk. It was sponsored by Outdoor Voices (including my super cute outfit) and a super fun time. Going to review the outfit I was gifted to wear, Union Bear where we had brunch after, and Barre in general.

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CROP . LEGGINGS . SHOES . FITBIT .

First Off, Outdoor Voices. So I have been seeing their outfits EVERYWHERE and was super excited to try them out. The outfit I wore is linked above and was super nice! even outside in 100 degree heat and the sun it wasn’t too hot, provided ample compression, and was super cute. I will say for me personally the thighs were a little tight but the waist fit TTS (a friend of mine got high waisted and in hind sight I wish I had too – if you’re a high waist fan opt for the higher band) and the material was constrictive (in a  good way) without being too hot. And for a girl who just had a baby and did NOT want to wear a crop top – pretty flattering 🙂

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Second, Union Bear Restaurant & Brewery. Super cool atmosphere, on the new boardwalk in Plano/Frisco, and an excellent drink menu (the mimosa was wonderful after a scorching barre class). The negative for me – basically ZERO plant based options. Everything had meat, cheese, or eggs in it as a main ingredient so I found it pretty hard to eat, but my husband and friends all loved their meals and it spoke well to their eclectic menu. Definitely a cool place to hang out and enjoy a patio.

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Last, but certainly not least, Barre in general. Barre challenges me in a way no other workout has. Small controlled movements with mind muscle connection that leaves you shaking in the wind. The studio I work at is awesome because it also offers Total Body Conditioning (like barre meets bootcamp), Brawl & interval Brawl (cardio Kickboxing with some barre thrown in), Barre-Did (dancing), and BarRestore (barre meets yoga) so you can get basically every type of workout you want under one roof. Not to mention the community is so incredible. I have made more friends through the studio than any other group in my life.

XOXO

Kendall

Post-Partum Recovery

Real Life: After I had a baby I had stretch marks on my stomach & chest, loose skin & extra fat on my low tummy, and Diastasis Recti ( the separation of your abdominals). It’s not like my body immediately snaps back to my pre-pregnancy bod. In fact, it takes 6-12 weeks for your uterus to shrink back down (faster if you breastfeed) and a year for your body to get its organs back in the right spots (they move out of the way so baby and grow). That means recovery is a long path, and I’m an impatient person lol. Not a great combination. 

Today’s post is twofold. First, I want to be honest with my readers and by doing so hopefully help some other mamas out there who are dealing with the frustration of a slow recovery. Even with being in good shape before & during pregnancy, eating well, breastfeeding, and doing small workouts I am still nowhere near where I would like to be fitness/strength/tone-wise. I can still grab and twist my “bubblegum tummy” as a fellow blogger would call it. 

I have friends who six weeks after they had a baby they look even better than they did before kids. They say breastfeeding and eating clean is the secret to their success and they look amazing. Not the case for me. Breastfeeding makes me retain water (and my boobs huge which of course makes me look 3 sizes bigger in about half of my tops). So despite being a great calorie burner and way to shrink my Uterus down, I don’t really get to enjoy the benefits until I stop. If you’re out there in the universe thinking “LIES! Breastfeeding is the worst and I don’t look/feel skinnier.” you’re not alone. It happens. If you expected to come home form the hospital in our smallest pair of pre-pregnancy jeans and its not happening the way you expected, don’t worry. Take your time and be patient (as patient as you can be) and make sure your getting back in shape in a healthy way. 

Which brings me to part two of my post. I want to talk about getting back in shape in a healthy way post-baby and how to heal Diastasis Recti. If you’re not sure if you have Diastasis Recti, lay flat on the ground and curl your head and shoulders up as if you were doing a crunch. If your stomach cones or presses up higher in the middle and when you press on it with your fingers it is soft to the touch with no resistance – you have it. We’ll start with how to heal it. 

DO NOT jump back in to a serious core routine. That will undoubtedly make it worse. This separation can get bad enough to require surgery if you’re not careful. Instead work primarily on core stabilization exercises (standing Marching high knees, bird dogs, side planks, glute bridges). There are a few good YouTube videos on some HERE, HERE, and HERE. Definitely avoid crunches, sit-ups, and any “twisting” where you are wringing your core out side to side (such as russian twists). 

Additional ways to start getting back in shape include:

  • Wearing a Post-Partum girdle 1-3 hours per day during the first 6 weeks. This helps press your uterus back in place faster.
  • Eating healthy: While you can’t exercise in the first 6 weeks you can eat clean. Don’t use this time as an excuse for cookie dough and pizza (Like I did after my first pregnancy). Instead eat lots of veggies, whole grains, and protein.
  • Mini-workouts: While you should listen to your doctor and not workout without approval, my doc was fine with me doing upper body routines with 3 lb weights, going on long walks, doing my core stabilization workouts, and even doing some light jogging. It helped me get back to feeling like me faster.

Hopefully this helps some Mamas out there recovering from their wonderful childbirth.

XOXO

Kendall

Post Partum Recovery & Exercise

I’ve written before about how exercise and working out are my “Stress relievers”, which makes post part 4-6 weeks of recovery TORTURE. I understand the importance of taking it easy and giving yourself time to heal (If you had a C-Section this is EVEN MORE important. I’ve been lucky to have natural births with no complications both times so my recovery was much less intense.) but it’s so hard for me when I need that stress relief. I figured today would be a good time to talk about what exercise I DO during the 4-6 week recovery period, what I don’t, and my mental struggles during this time. I’m sure you other mamas can relate.

Exercises I DO:

  • Upper Body – lucky my arms didn’t have a baby SO I get to do some upper body work. I have been doing Peloton & Barre 10 min upper body workouts with 3 pounds weighs. Nothing super heavy (since that can strain your back/core which ARE recovering) but a lot of holds, small intense movements like pulses, and some core stabilization work.
  • Lower Body – Traditional Barre moves like Pencil, Open Pencil, and Narrow V are SUPER intense in your quads, but actually protect your back from intense support (as long as you tuck) and engage your core minimally for stabilization. I’ve been doing 12 min of legs (4 min of each position with 8 moves in the series) to work my Quads/Calves/Glutes without stressing my back or increasing my heart rate too much. I am avoiding intense stabilization moves like lunges or squats for now.
  • Core – This round I had Diastasis Recti so I’ve been doing stabilization and minimal engagement core moves to help repair the damage. Some of my favorites are: Heel Taps, Bird Dogs, Incline Plank, Side Plank Holds/Pulses, and Glute Bridges (gets you a little more glue action too).
  •  Cardio – Long walks. This is Texas. It’s hot & sweaty outside. Walking is a good way to get some sun, shed some water weight, and getting a bit of cardio/leg work. Try pushing a double stroller the whole time and find a path with elevation changes. It’s a great low intensity workout.

Exercises I avoid:

  • Upper – Anything with Heavy weight that can put you off balance (since your center of gravity is readjusting) or stress your back (like standing Heavy curls, overhead press, or Back Flys).
  • Lower – Cardio or Back intensive moves like Squats, Lunges/Jump Lunges, Anything with added weight, or Deadlifts.
  • Core – crunches/Sit Ups – DO NOT DO CRUNCHES DURING YOUR RECOVERY PERIOD! Same with any Oblique twists/russian twists. This can exacerbate Diastasis Recti or even cause it during post part recovery. Wait until you’re fully cleared for activity before you start these moves.
  •  Cardio – Intense Cycling or Running. I’m waiting until my bleeding stops for these.

Right now I am SO TEMPTED to go take a barre class but Im worried about pushing myself too soon. I would also love to cycle or go for a jog but I don’t want to push myself too hard too fast and extend my recovery period. I’ve also been wearing a recovery girdle 1-2 hours a day to help my uterus shrink back down a bit faster, and breastfeeding to help lose weight/burn calories and shrink my Uterus. Breastfeeding and exercising is tough but it’s been so much easier this time with my Mama Sports Bra. It unclips for easy access, provides a ton of support, and is WAY more comfortable than my other nursing bras. I ended up buying a second one lOL.

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Does anyone else struggle with taking 4 week off working out? It’s especially hard because I can see the loose skin/fat on my low belly/inner thighs and I want it gone asap. After you have a baby you expect your body to go back to how it was even though logically you know it takes time, I don’t want to wait 12 months for all my organs to get back in the right spot and lose the weight even though logically I know I have to. Patience is HARD during post part recovery. You’re not alone. It takes time.

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For me, I also want to feel sexy for my husband. I’ve been pregnant and huge and feeling gross for 9 months. Now I can get back to confidence, and strength, and…yes…sexiness and I want to as quickly as possible. My husband is wonderful at reinforcing my self-esteem with compliments (even when I feel like a busted can of biscuits), but internally I want to get back to where I feel my best. But it’s all a journey, it takes time, and you can’t rush it. So if any other Mamas out there are feeling frustrated – It’s not just you. Take your time, be healthy, and it will come.

XOXO

Kendall

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Milksnob stroller cover HERE

Friday 5

Friday again so soon? Crazy how fast the weeks are flying by with Dave and I both being home with the kids. Already 3 of Dave’s 8 weeks of paternity are gone and I’m not ready to lose him to work yet! I love having us all home to go on walks, work on projects, and eat all our meals together. Plus when he goes back Kensington goes back to part time daycare and I’m going to miss her so much! Anywho – here are my 5 facts for this week:

  1. I love to cook. I’m not as huge of a fan of the dishes part (I’m more of a stack them until you run out of room in the sink type of person) but I really enjoy cooking. I had a slight obsession with baking in high school & college but I always find that by the time I’m done cooking whatever I’m making I no longer want it (probably because I eat half the batter during the process LOL) so I became a fan of cooking meals in general as we started a family. It’s my way of giving to the table and enjoying the process. Plus I love it when David likes what I cook.
  2. I think I’ve had my hair every color. It’s been platinum, medium, and dirty blonde, brown, auburn, red, black, and blue. I think only the “rainbow” colors have been excluded this far (but I’d love to have my hair pink. I told David if any of my books ever got published I was dying my hair pink as a reward).
  3. Which brings me to: I really enjoy reading/writing and have written 3 full length books no-one will ever see lol. I’ve tried to get 2 of them published with no success so they live on my laptop taunting me. I’ve thought about self publishing but theres so much pressure – if people did read it then I’d HAVE to finish the series even if it made no money and only 5 people read it. Not sure I want that commitment yet. Maybe when I have some more free time…
  4. Working out is my equivalent of valium. It keeps me super calm and without it I have a really short fuse. I think that’s why even though Everett is only 2 weeks old I’m walking or working out every day. Cause otherwise I’d lose my mind.
  5. I hate breastfeeding. I do it because its good for the baby and good for me (plus I don’t like the idea of my kids drinking formula with the first ingredient being high fructose corn syrup and the second being milk) but I hate every minute of it. With Kenzie I only made it 2.5 weeks. It was terrible – my goal for Everett is 6 weeks and already I’m counting the days. It takes so much time, I retain water something fierce, I ache, and it makes me really sleepy. I wish I was one of those moms that “loves the natural process” but I’m not.

So these are my acts for the week. Nothing earth shattering but a bit of a “peek behind the curtain” so to speak. Share your 5 facts with #Friday5.

XOXO

Kendall

Fitbit Versa Review

I’ve used MANY fitness trackers over the year, and I always try to put reviews up here for you guys. To be perfectly honest I might have a slight obsession with finding the perfect fitness tracker. So here are my Pops & Cons:

Pros:

  • The touchscreen is great: really responsive, allows for apps, intuitive to use, and feels like a high tech device.
  • Applications & storing music: Can use their fitbit workouts and store music temporarily to use even if phone is out of range
  • Battery Life: OMG! This is ALWAYS my biggest complaint with the apple watch. This device does most of what the apple watch boasts but it only has to be charged every 4 days. LOVE IT. This is honestly probably my favorite feature.

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Cons:

  • Like most fitness trackers it doesn’t have a stroller mode so it struggles to get accurate steps unless you take it off and put it in your pocket or on your ankle
  • When using GPS for my run it had a hard time staying connected to my phone. Not sure if this was because I connect to multiple bluetooth devices but it was a little frustrating.
  • I wish it was fancier looking – It looks super similar to an apple watch which is fine but I like the nicer bands and round smaller watch face personally.

All of that being said, it’s my favorite fitness tracker so far. I definitely prefer it to the other fitbit models, nokia, and fossil. *this is not sponsored by fitbit – just an honest review.

XOXO

Kendall

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Whats in my cart Wednesday

It’s Wednesday again! Which means I’m sharing what is in my cart this week. Old Navy is having 30% Off today ONLY which means (of course) an Old Navy haul.

Tee

I love this blue tee with the flutter sleeves! Such a great casual option!

swim

This swimsuit is SO CUTE! Not to mention perfect for those weeks after I have Baby E.

Sunnies

I love the color of these Sunnies! A great inexpensive option for the boat/pool when you don’t want to risk losing your nice shades. And they’re so fun!

Leggings

I don’t think there is a person alive who likes leggings more than me. Or the color Lavender. So naturally…these.

FLops

I’m always in need of some cute flat flops. I love the bow on these and the price! A great slip on for summer.

XOXO

Kendall

My Fitness Journey

I’ve written about some of my past fitness…decisions before, but thought I would touch on it again. Growing up my mom was a dietician so I knew about healthy eating and exercise, but like all adolescents didn’t REALLY grasp the importance (and even had a phase in high school where I pretty much ate 2 chocolate chip cookies a day…and that was all). For me “health” and “weight” was synonymous.

Fast forward past college, I was getting married to my now husband, and I met some people through instagram and got caught up in the Herbalife movement. Now – it wasn’t bad. I ate really clean, I exercised, I learned more about nutrition than I ever had in my life, and even did my first fitness competition. It was a period of incredible growth for me. That being said, an MLM is not for me and the more I learned about nutrition the less I wanted to drink really processed soy based shakes. Not hating on the company (I still have friends who do it who are in great shape) just that it ended up not being a good fit for me.

Then I was doing competitions with REALLY strict diets and A LOT of workouts. It wasn’t good for my mental health (or my marital health – its hard when you’re at the gym all the time, can’t eat/drink together, and your spouse doesn’t share your interest. Props to couples who rock it, but it wasn’t for us). It ended up making me a bit obsessive with my weight and then eventually totally burned out on exercise. It sucked all the fun out of it for me.

Introducing what I will call “current life stage”. I found Barre Code – which for me personally was more than a gym – it was a mentality shift. They really focus on strength and power, and not on body image or weight. I also met a bunch of ladies who eat well 90% of the time, workout regularly, and then go get pizza and margs. My kind of people. It really helped me changed my mindset from “eat less to lose weight and do tons of cardio” to “eat with balance and workout to become stronger”.

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Want the proof? I weigh 22 pounds LESS my second pregnancy (my kids will be exactly 1 year apart so I only had 3 months of not being pregnant in between). Now, I also try to avoid meat and dairy now (I’m not vegan just wary) and I exercised very consistently this pregnancy, but a lot of that is my current mentality. I want my WHOLE FAMILY to be healthy and active, not on a diet and running all the time.

I’m not sharing this as an attempt to say “do what I do – I’m the best and all the other things are wrong”. No. What I’m trying to share is that it is a JOURNEY. It took time for me to start to really like myself and my body. It took time for me to find what healthy and balance looked like for me. It took doing things that didn’t work for me, to really appreciate what did. And I will probably change again in the future because…it is a JOURNEY. So don’t be so hard on yourself. Don’t get frustrated. Try something new, strive for balance, and find a girl gang that makes you FEEL GOOD. I’m here if you need me.

XOXO

Kendall

Pre & Post Natal Fitness

Mentally prepare for me to get a bit preachy (sorry in advanced). Through both of my pregnancies I have been a certified fitness instructor and specialized in Pre/Post natal fitness. Shout out to MomMe Strong who taught me SO much during both pregnancies. I truly think that education is incredibly important when you’re pregnant regarding health and fitness. Doctors can give varying advice (and of course everyone who has ever had a baby wants to share their opinion as well) but let me address some of the most common things.

  1. You shouldn’t workout while pregnant – FALSE. The most common belief here is that you shouldn’t start any NEW kinds of activities while pregnant. The reason doctors say this (in my opinion) is that if you don’t workout before you’re pregnant there are a lot of increased risks if you start new activities. For starters – if you aren’t super aware of your body, muscles, and correct form it is MUCH easier to hurt yourself while pregnant than when you aren’t. Not to mention, your energy levels tend to be lower when pregnant so you could over exert yourself, become dehydrated, or get sick as a result of new movements/cardio activity. To be totally honest, a lot of instructors/PT also don’t know what they’re doing with pregnant clients so they could give you bad advice. I highly suggest spending time with someone who is certified in Pre/Post natal fitness to develop routines/regimens that will work for you.
  2. You shouldn’t work out your core while pregnant – Yes & no. the big risk to your core is Diastasis Recti. Basically this is when your two sides of the abdomen separate. This can be due to baby’s pressure from the inside out and from over taxing the center of your core while pregnant. The best way to avoid this is to avoid pressure on your center column and ALL twisting core moves. Once again, I recommend getting a routine from a certified professional, but some of my favorite pregnancy moves are Bird Dogs, Beast hold, Reverse Plank, Side plank, Piston breaths, Marching High knees (standing), and glute bridges (which strengthen all the way around your core). I would avoid russian twists, crunches/situps, forearm planks, push-ups, and of course anything laying on your belly.
  3. Eat whatever you want “it’s for the baby” – FALSE. Keep in mind a healthy weight gain while pregnant is 15-25 pounds. You lose about 20 pounds in delivery (placenta, baby, liquid) and everything else is excess. Now, I would NEVER recommend dieting while pregnant or restricting, however you are not a “bad mom” if you eat lots of veggies and stay away from cake. I gained 37 pounds with my first pregnancy (despite working out) mostly due to the influx of sweets and fried foods in my diet given to me by OTHER people. My second pregnancy I gained 10. My second pregnancy the baby actually weighed MORE and was healthier at birth. You don’t need to gain a lot of weight for your baby to be healthy. The best thing you can do for your baby is be healthy yourself.
  4. You’ll never workout again after having a baby – FALSE. I actually got in BETTER shaped after Kensington than I was before. It’s all about priorities. If it is a priority for you, you can make time. For me – I started taking daily walks the day AFTER I had Kensington and kept that up (with some light arm work) until 6 weeks postpartum when I could get back to Barre. You can do it – just keep the same core advice as above until your Diastasis is healed (if you had it).

I’m super passionate about maintaining activity while pregnant. I take the stairs, I park away from the building, and I workout 5-6 times per week. I feel like the better health I am in, the better my health for delivery, and the better health my baby is in. Not to mention exercising your core & pelvic floor can help with recovery after the baby is out and help prepare them for delivery (since they will grow accustomed to your core being engaged and contracting on a regular basis similar to pushing).

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Now all of this being said, if you have terrible morning sickness (or all day sickness), sciatic pain, dehydration, your doctor advises against physical activity, pre-eclampsia, migraines, etc. DO NOT BE HARD ON YOURSELF. If you skip a workout (or 6 months of them) to be healthier for you and your baby – that is the right move! You shouldn’t push yourself to exhaustion trying to workout. There are very valid reasons for skipping your workouts and maintaining a lower level of physical activity. I would still recommend walks when possible, but you know your body better than I do (or your doctor for that matter) do what YOU think is best.

And of course feel free to reach out below or on insta DM and I’m happy to share my story or provide additional advice.

XOXO

Kendall

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