May 29, 2024

Steph shares how she handles triggering exercise patterns

At Kic, Laura and I talk a lot about rebuilding our relationship to food but we don’t talk as much about our relationship to exercise.

Like our relationship to food – even when you’re in a good spot with exercise – past behaviours can sneak up on you when you least expect it.

CW: This article discusses disordered eating and exercise 


It’s taken me a long time to unlearn certain behaviours and beliefs about exercise, and to exercise as a way to feel good, rather than as a way of punishment.

I remember way back when I was modelling in New York, I was afraid to even do any strength training because I put on muscle quite easily. I was literally told by agents overseas that I had to stop doing squats or any exercise that built more muscle in my lower half, because that was my “problem area”. How cooked.

And so then, I demonised strength training. Which was something that always felt empowering for me to do, but I just avoided it because I was so scared to get any “bigger”. I love strength training so, so much. And it makes me really sad that I avoided it for so long just because of like fear of what it would do to my appearance. Exercise wasn’t about enjoying the movement. The goal was change, no matter the cost.

What was horrible was I would finish those workouts feeling sh*t, which completely counteracts my favourite part of exercise. If you’re doing it right and you’re doing it for the right reasons, the endorphins will come and you’ll feel amazing for it.

So if you’re ending exercise feeling like shit, I really encourage you to check in with why you chose to do that movement and where your head is at. Because it is so, so important to unpack those thoughts and evaluate your ‘why’ for what you’re doing.

It doesn’t help with building sustainable habits or a healthy mindset. You’ll end up dreading every workout just like I did.

So what do we do if those thoughts creep back?

I’m now in a place where I know that if I’m doing the odd HIIT workout or a run, it can be a challenge but I can mentally check in and pull it back a bit if I need to. But if I decide to push myself, it comes from a place of wanting to challenge myself, but not for punishment. I can finish those workouts feeling so good and not feeling like I had just done it to punish myself, which is amazing. But it is a journey to get there. I wanted to mention that because whilst I’m in this incredible spot right now with my relationship with exercise, things can still trigger me.

I want to say that you’re not alone if you’ve felt this way before or going through it right now. I’ve worked on my relationship with exercise, but it’s not to say that there isn’t times where I’ve had to remind myself of what matters most when those old thoughts creep back.

If you’re going through this right now, I hear you and Kic has your back. Take a moment to reset and keep focused on the amazing things exercise can do for you, outside of punishment. Exercise is great for longterm health, your mental health, cardiovascular health, and living a long and amazing life. These are all things we know, but sometimes we just have to bring it back to the centre of our attention. Lean into what you enjoy most, and make that the movement you love.


Steph xo