Vegan Quick Tips: 5 Tips to Get Past Fear and Embrace Exercise

by JL Fields on February 28, 2014

Jaime Karpovich is personal friend and a fellow vegan lifestyle coach and educator. She’s a culinary whiz and the brains behind, and the personality in front of, the television show Save the Kales. I am thrilled to share her vegan quick tips to embrace exercise. She and I have a very similar philosophy when it comes to body image, body loving, and veganism. I don’t personally think any vegan is responsible for looking a certain way on behalf of veganism but I do believe we’ll all live a longer, healthier life – more years to do good for animals! – if we take care of ourselves. I think you’ll appreciate Jaime’s honest and solid tips on how to get moving.

save the kales

Two years ago I had an experience that made me feel like a bad vegan, or perhaps a phony vegan. I had spent a week in the company of other vegans as part of a workshop, and over the course of the week as folks were waking up extra early to attend yoga classes or skip out on group dinners to go for a run, I realized I was the only person in the group without a regular exercise routine. No one made me feel shameful, and yet I did, along with a hefty dose of embarrassment and a burst of hypocrisy. For me, being vegan is first and foremost about animals, but I know it can be exuberantly healthy, and one of the greatest ways to get people on board with veganism is to show how happy, vibrant, and healthful it can be.

I lived a sedentary lifestyle for years after a fateful event in which I fell and pulled tendons in my knee. Since then fear, lack of motivation, and a bad financial situation prevented me from joining a gym or taking a fitness class. But on my way home from that week of being with healthy, active vegans, I realized the only way to become one of them was…to become one of them. 

Like most things, my resistance to working out was based in fear. Once I pushed past the fear and a lot of crazy ideas I created in my head, I found workouts to be a deeply personal way for me to spend time alone, focused, enjoying nature like on a run; or supported by others also pushing themselves, laughing in between push-ups, like in a group bootcamp class.

It’s been a year and a half since exercise became a part of my life several times week, and the best outcomes have been: more energy, better sleep after years of insomnia, making friends in classes and pushing past personal goals which builds confidence overall, and better mental health – the most welcome benefit for someone powering through anxiety and depression.

I want to share my 5 Tips to Get Past Fear and Embrace Exercise, particularly if fitness hasn’t been part of your life.

jaimek headshotJaime Karpovich is the host of Save the Kales!, a vegan cooking and lifestyle TV show based in the Lehigh Valley. She is a freelance writer with a recurring column in Lehigh Valley Style magazine, a public speaker and certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach, has won five Morning Call blog awards and was nominated for an Emmy in 2013. She is co-founder and board member of the Bethlehem Food Co-op and helped organize Bethlehem Vegfest. She lives in Bethlehem, PA with her boyfriend, rescued dog and cat (Chubby and Pierogi), and her book collection. 
  • Bianca-Vegan Crunk

    LOVE this! I joined a gym in ’07 after years of partying too hard and ignoring my health (I was vegan, but not a healthy vegan). I wasn’t overweight, but I was out of shape. Adding daily exercise to my life helped me to start taking my health seriously so I didn’t become a total burnout, and it helped me to find my true passion — running (which I’ve not been able to do for six month because of my foot injury, but I’ll be starting back soon!). Going to the gym also taught me that it’s okay to leave home without makeup. (Loved that “You are not your eyeliner” quote).

    • Jaime K

      Bianca, thanks for your thoughtful reply! It’s interesting how fitness and getting healthier in your body makes you want to pick up other healthy habits and has this ripple effect. I looooove hearing about vegan runners. Thanks for sharing your story and it’s nice to “meet” you! Love your work. xo

  • Rachel from The Vegan Mishmash

    This post is great and just what I’ve been needing lately. Thank you for the motivation 🙂

    • Jaime K

      Aw, thanks Rachel. 🙂

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