I hope your week is off to a good start! The weather is FINALLY starting to warm up here in Chicago and I am so freaking happy to see the sun, feel above-freezing temperatures, and watch the mountains of dirty ice melt away. (Although Daylight Savings is still messing with my internal clock and I’m not thrilled about the 4 months of residual dog poo that are being revealed with the melting of the glaciers….)
Anyway, I’ve been extra-inspired lately with some of the amazing inner AND outer transformations of the women in my health and fitness accountability Bootcamp and coaching team, so I want to start celebrating their success and sharing their stories with a weekly “Motivation Monday” series on the blog!
My mission is to help women feel confident and beautiful from the inside out by focusing first of all on how we want to FEEL, and then figuring out what we can add to our lives to help us get there. More yummy healthy food, more self-love, more patience, more accountability and friendships, more structure and routine, more balance, more mindful and intentional enjoyment of treats, more celebrating the small victories.
My friend Nicole is the perfect example of what can happen when we start focusing on actions that bring us happiness and the "good feels." She’s been working with me for the past few months to try and create a healthy balance and fitness routine that works for her lifestyle and goals. She recently discovered PiYo (one of my favorite programs) and It’s been an absolute joy to watch her gain confidence and strength! She’s also started to share her journey on Facebook and is getting an incredible amount of love and support from her friends and family, proving that you don’t have to be at your “goal weight” or have a dramatic physical transformation before you have the ability to inspire others. The journey is the most inspiring part.
Tell us about your story!
I used to be very active. In high school I was a competitive rhythmic gymnast training and coaching 4-5 days a week while I was also playing volleyball and basketball at school. In my first year of university the back pain I had been suffering through fro years already hit a tipping point and my doctors/coaches/family all told me I needed to quit gymnastics. I was furious with my own physical limitations and after I stopped competing I basically stopped all other physical activity. I would scuba dive, kayak, and swim periodically but only for fun. Ten years later I realized I felt about ten years older than I actually was and I wasn't happy with the lifestyle I was living - not when it came to my health. I had started trying to get to the gym whenever I could but a decade of bad habits is really hard to break on your own. That's when I found Anna and I'm so grateful that I did.
Why did you decide to join the Inspire Joy Bootcamp?
I'll be honest. I got interested in Beachbody for purely superficial reasons. The friend who introduced me to Anna had just finished her first round of the 21 day fix and she posted her results. I'd never seen anything like that and it totally sounded like the "quick fix" I was looking for. Boy was I wrong! Not about the results, I certainly saw those, but I soon realized that these programs were so much more than what I had first thought. This community is an inspiration and are committed to a true lifestyle that encompasses both mental and physical health. It's something I didn't even know I was searching for but once I had found it I knew it's what I wanted.
What have you gained from the experience?
It's hard to list what I've gained because so much of it is intangible. I have gained muscle tone, strength, and flexibility but more importantly I've gained a healthier relationship with food and with my body, a desire to put my health first (most of the time), and a number of new friends.
What struggles or challenges have you overcome?
The barriers I've overcome have almost entirely been of my own making. There were so many times I would tell myself "I can't" or "I won't" but for the most part I've been able to break through all of those walls and now I can't believe I actually crave waking up at 5am for my morning workouts and I sometimes WANT to choose a salad off a restaurant menu!
My favourite workout program is PiYo! The physical and mental transformations I've been going through in this program continue to amaze me and I'll always be grateful for the relief it's given my back! Still have five weeks to go and can't wait to see what happens. That said, my favourite individual workout is the 21dayfix Dirty 30 - That workout is my JAM!
Favorite go-to healthy foods?
I've always loved raw mushrooms. I eat them like candy! I also really enjoy making ground turkey tacos. mmmmm
How do you keep yourself motivated?
At first what kept me motivated was the accountability of Anna's bootcamp groups. Now, while that continues to be a big help, my biggest motivation comes from myself. I love the way I FEEL when I'm working out and eating right. I love that I can still eat what I want but that what I want has changed because of how I want to feel. I appreciate how in tune I am with my body and how much better I am at listening to it and I just want to keep feeling better and better :)
How do you feel about yourself now?
Great! Of course there are still changes I'd like to see as I continue living a healthier life but I also know that those changes will happen so long as I continue to put myself first.
What advice would you give someone who’s just starting out on her health and fitness journey?
Find people who you can connect with and who will support you wholeheartedly. You don't have to do this alone. The ladies in this group are all going through the same challenges you're going through, you have gone through, or you are going to go through and when you really connect in to this community it not only helps you, it also helps all of the other inspiring women you'll meet along your way.