Image Source: Getty / Jason Mendez
In recent years, Khloé Kardashian has become a bit of a fitness icon. And though social media trolls and the media have often (and wrongly) commented on her body, that’s not what led her to love exercise.
“The reason why I turned to the gym was actually through my divorce,” she said in a new interview with InStyle. “I didn’t really know what to do. Of course, in the beginning you [have to] get over that hump of it being really hard and something so new for you. But I felt so accomplished.”
“I used to be like, ‘OK, tomorrow, I’m cutting out all sugars, carbs, and I’m working out five days a week,’ and it was such an unrealistic goal that I was setting myself up for failure.”
Kardashian’s tumultuous divorce from Lamar Odom in 2016 stirred up plenty of publicity and emotions — but it’s also when we saw her hitting the gym and getting stronger than ever. It was shortly after that she come out with her show “Revenge Body.”
Now, several years later, Kardashian still turns to exercise for the “mental release” she gets from it. “If I’m having a really bad day, I go to the gym,” she said. “I might not want to go to the gym, but I go and right when I’m done, I feel so much lighter. I’ve never regretted going to a workout. I’ve always regretted missing them or pushing the snooze button.”
The entrepreneur and reality-television star said she finds solace in her fitness routine because it feels like something she actually has power over. “I’m sort of a control freak, but in life we can’t control everything,” she continued. “But the gym, what I put in it, I know I’m going to get out of it. And being a control freak — I’m proud of it — I love that I have that control.”
Kardashian’s personal mindset around fitness has shifted greatly in the last few years, along with the wellness industry’s collective move away from toxic diet-culture habits and toward exercise and wellness practices as feel-good tools. “I used to be like, ‘OK, tomorrow, I’m cutting out all sugars, carbs, and I’m working out five days a week,’ and it was such an unrealistic goal that I was setting myself up for failure,” she told InStyle. That, and she used to be “obsessive” and care “so much” about the number on the scale. “Maybe [it’s] just being younger . . .” she said. “The scale Fs with you. I don’t even look at a scale anymore. I think it’s really unhealthy. I haven’t in years. They’re just numbers.”
She’s right: Many health experts share the sentiment since scales don’t accurately represent health status or body composition. Getting stronger and gaining muscle can make the number on a scale go up, for example, and that certainly isn’t a bad thing. Even more importantly, hyperfocusing on numbers (whether pounds, calories, or body-fat percentage) can be incredibly triggering for people who have a history of disordered eating or an unhealthy relationship with food or exercise.
Now, Kardashian is more focused on the invisible benefits of exercise, rather than the physical results. “I go off of how confident I feel in myself,” she said. “I’m all about [doing] what’s best for me, mind, body, soul. There is no one size fits all.”
What’s working best for her right now is the Hydrow Rower, a rowing machine for which she’s an ambassador. She uses it in her circuit training, often rowing while another family member is “doing a weightlifting set,” she told InStyle. The fact that you can row through real-world locations (shown on the Hydrow’s screen) makes it a form of “escapism,” she said, rather than a chore. “Sometimes I just need an outlet to get away,” she said. “I’m not a big runner, so for rowing, the sound of the water, it makes me feel like I can do it much longer because it’s relaxing.”
Beyond finding workouts that she likes, Kardashian’s secret to truly embracing a fitness routine was in setting “really small goals” for herself. She began with a commitment to working out just two days a week, without making any changes to her diet. “But because [I’m] working out, it made me want to make smarter choices, drink more water, and eat a little better, so it becomes a natural progression,” she said. “Then I would say, ‘Now it’s three days a week,’ and I would slowly do those add-ons, and it became not so aggressive. And I would reward myself.”
Overall, finding the balance between pursuing your goals and doing it for the right reasons comes down to listening to your body, she said. But keep in mind that “no one’s going to push you,” she said. “So you do have to listen to yourself and know when you’re really tired versus making excuses. The beginning is the hardest — I think the first three weeks are the biggest challenge. And then, once you get over that, I do feel like everyone finds a rhythm.”