For more than two decades, Kaitlyn Bristowe’s life revolved around dance. Her mom was a professional ballerina and Kaitlyn followed in her graceful footsteps, spending six days a week in the studio until age 27, when her ambitions reached far beyond dance. She became a spin instructor, appeared on season 19 of ABC’s The Bachelor and season 11 of The Bachelorette (where she met fiancé Shawn Booth), created her Off the Vine podcast and launched a line of scrunchies called DEW Edit. Now, she’s an ambassador for Reebok’s Be More Human campaign, which celebrates strong women with inspiring, yet relatable approaches to fitness. Here are five things Kaitlyn has learned in the course of her own unique health and fitness journey.
Start with small goals
After leaving the world of dance, a type of workout that was easy for her because it was a passion, Kaitlyn found herself struggling to stay active. “I was intimidated by the gym,” she says. “I just didn’t know how to go about it.” Then she met fiancé Shawn, a trainer and gym owner with his own fitness app, and he encouraged her to return to an active lifestyle. Her routine now involves a lot of variety, whether that means walking or running with her dog, following along with yoga videos in her office or working out in a group class like spinning or boxing. “I try to set small goals for myself each week and I’m not too hard on myself,” she says.
It’s not a competition
Kaitlyn’s learned a lot from Shawn, but sometimes she finds herself thinking that she should be able to keep up with him. “I’ll get in my head about where I’m at in my fitness journey, just because I’m with Shawn every day and we talk about fitness all the time,” she says. But she has to catch herself when she has those thoughts because she knows comparison isn’t worthwhile. “It’s not only his passion, but it’s also his career,” she says, and she can’t compete with that—nor should she have to.
Meditation is key
Being healthy isn’t just about the body, it’s also about the mind. “My mom always said, ‘Your health is your real wealth,” Kaitlyn says. “Whether that’s mental or physical health, you can never spend too much time on it.” To protect her own mental health and stay calm and grounded, Kaitlyn uses meditation apps every single day. “Even if it’s only two minutes to start my day off right, I always, always meditate,” she says. “I have seen such a difference in myself since I started about a year ago. It’s a gamechanger.”
Don’t be afraid to be unapologetically yourself
Kaitlyn credits her dance teacher, Miss Jenny, for being a big influence on her growing up. “She was so unapologetically herself—quirky, fun, kind and always laughing. I remember thinking, ‘She isn’t afraid to be herself, and that’s who I want to be: myself.’” Though Kaitlyn spent some time in her 20s trying to please everyone, she soon realized that pretending to be someone else made her miserable. “I found that I actually attract the right experiences in my life by being exactly who I am,” she says. “That’s how I found Shawn. That’s how I’ve built relationships with friends and family. You attract the right people and the right things if you’re authentically yourself.”
It’s time for women to support women
Though Kaitlyn now feels confident enough to go to the gym on her own, she prefers to take group classes and bond with other women over fitness. “I like feeling strong together,” she says. That sentiment also plays into another topic she’s passionate about: women supporting women. “Reebok’s Be More Human campaign is all about women coming together, and that’s inspiring because we are such a force,” she says. “It blows my mind that there are people out there that tear other women down, because we can all relate to each other if we allow ourselves the opportunity. I want other girls to be successful and happy and see what we can do to support each other. When you get women together, they make things happen.”