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Movement with Lauren Thomas Johnson

lauren-thomas-johnson
Find out how the ex-professional basketballer turned online fitness coach has made movement the constant heartbeat of her life – even through career changes and motherhood.
"It's safe to say fitness and sport have always played a huge role in my life," says Lauren Thomas Johnson, an ex professional basketballer turned online fitness coach, who's been playing since the age of eight.

Lauren’s basketball career took her around the world, from the US to Helsinki. Her passion for basketball is still present in her life now, as she plays for her local women's team, Manchester Giants.

At the of age 28 Lauren fell pregnant with her first child, Hendrix, which as she recalls was “traumatic to say the least”. Lauren needed to have an emergency C section, which resulted in weeks in hospital after Hendrix was born. On top of this, she was diagnosed with postnatal depression. Lauren told us, “Anyone who has gone through this and who can relate, it’s a really lonely and hard time.”

So, she turned to online blogging as a creative outlet to share her experience and journey with other mums. Through this Lauren has built an amazing online community of the “most loyal, amazing, inspiring, motivating women”. Here's how movement has remained a constant throughout her experiences, including motherhood and beyond.

“Exercise is important to me because after every workout I always feel accomplished, and mentally I feel a lot clearer than I did before heading into the workout.”

Movement and motherhood

We’ve asked Lauren a series of questions around staying active and the importance of movement, as well as questions focused specifically on working out and motherhood.

At H&B we champion ‘move well to live well’. We feel that exercise is just as important, if not more, for your mental health as it is for staying fit.

Lauren shares our beliefs, explaining “exercise is important to me because after every workout I always feel accomplished, and mentally I feel a lot clearer than I did before heading into the workout.”

Being active and moving her body has always come quite naturally from a young age. Lauren has played for multiple basketball teams, playing most days since she was eight years old.

Though, she shared with us that movement became more important to her after she had her first son. Suffering with postnatal depression, Lauren found that when she could, getting up and moving her body helped her a lot mentally. She shared with us “I tried to do that as often as my body would allow me”, which is what movement is all about!

Finding a hobby or something you enjoy could kickstart your fitness journey. This could also make exercise seem less like a chore.

Lauren’s favourite way to move her body is by playing basketball, though she shared with us that she’s recently got into her ‘running era’, saying “I have really been loving grabbing my headphones, putting on a podcast, and just running.”

Movement after birth

We asked Lauren if her movement differed from when she was pregnant to postpartum. Having played professional basketball for years, when Lauren became pregnant with her first son, she confessed that she didn’t work out at all, and in hindsight, this was something she regretted.

Lauren went on to explain that when she got pregnant with her second son, “I promised myself that I would work out my entire pregnancy”. Lauren kept to her word, and shortly after the birth of her son, once cleared by the doctors, she began to continue exercising.

Being a mum can often mean that exercise and working out take a backseat. Setting clear boundaries with yourself and your family can allow you to take some time to breathe and find some balance.

Lauren has established that 40 minutes to an hour each day is all she needs. She explained that once she’d done that workout “my mental is a lot clearer, and I can be a better version of me.”

Fuelling your body with the food it needs to get the most out of your work out is very important.

Lauren and her partner enjoy cooking and try to make sure they have all the best ingredients and nutrients stocked up for them to use. “Protein shakes are also great!”

At the start of 2020, Lauren had started to realise that after years of playing on multiple basketball courts, her joints (especially her knees) weren’t in a great place. “During this period of time I took up yoga and I absolutely loved it.” 

 Yoga provided Lauren with a low impact exercise that wasn’t causing any more pressure on her joints. She stated it also helped her to “stretch and mobilise my body enough to help heal my joints.”

“Movement and exercise have changed my life because it’s now my job.” Lauren reflected on how she’s paid to teach and coach others and helps them to get their bodies moving ‒ and due to that, she has met some “incredible humans.”

“Movement and exercise have changed my life because it’s now my job.”

Lauren’s top tip:

We asked Lauren if she had any tips for people, especially mums, who feel like they can’t fit exercise into their daily routine. She told us: “I think when you become a mum you automatically put yourself to be very end of the list!”

Lauren went onto to explain that taking 20-30 minutes a day for yourself to get your body moving will allow you to be that “selfless momma in a much clearer headspace.”

“It’s not selfish to want some time to yourself when you are a mother. Even if this is something as small as a walk outside." She emphasises that it’s important for mums to be a little selfish with their time to avoid becoming overwhelmed.

The final say

Lauren's commitment to keeping moving, even through major milestones and changes, shows just how important it is.

Feeling inspired by her movement journey? Find out more about the benefits of staying active – and the impact of not moving – in the effects of an inactive lifestyle.

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