Becoming a Personal Trainer, New Routine, New Life.

I’m back!image

   I have been on the move, Literally. Temporarily moving back to the U.S. from Germany for a few months, then back to Germany once again. Needless to say, it has been a busy and transitional period in my life. I’ve had many amazing experiences in the past few months and learned a lot about myself as an ever evolving person. It has been full of many ups and downs, times of both uncertainty and the sureness of my path. But I’ve kept going, kept pushing and believing in myself enough to accomplish some amazing goals and dreams of mine.

image   While in the USA I finished up my ACE Personal Trainer course, and am proud to say I am now a Certified Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise. Over the past 2.5 years I have learned so much through my own personal experiences, extensive research and Personal Trainer Studies. Fitness and Nutrition has become a huge passion of mine, and a major aspect of my life. I absolutely LOVE helping others, through sharing my story and experiences, and offering support and advice whenever I can.  I want to help people realize their true potential to make a change in their own lives for the better, that it is possible.

   While in the U.S. I was also working on a Fitness project, a Women’s Lifting Guide “Ready To Lift: Leg & Booty Guide“,  which launched successfully early April 2016. Timagehis was truly a passion project, as both Brittany and I want to help encourage women to get into the weight room and pick up those weights. We have both had a very positive experience in our transition to more weightlifting (which I will share more about in another post).  We want to help women find confidence in the gym, in their lives and in themselves.  The making of this Guide involved extensive research, testing of the program and flying across the USA to meet my dear friend and business partner in crime, Brittany. I am very blessed to have connected with her through Instagram and our passion of fitness and health living. We had a nearly a week together, filming and shooting photos for our guide, editing, eating and having great conversations.

image   I am still in a bit of a transitional period while I continue to get everything organized over here in Germany, but thanks to our Ready To Lift Guide and the amazing community that is growing behind it, I have been keeping up with a fairly normal routine. I think it’s so important to keep pushing yourself in new ways, be it with new exercises, heavier weights, adding int a new challenge, it all leads to growth. I am currently mixing up my routine with the Ready To Lift: Leg & Booty Guide as my base (3 lower body sessions), and adding in roughly 2 Upper body workouts and a small HIIT that include a mixture of body weight exercises, many more Weights -both free weights and some machines. I am loving the challenge of scheduling and creating my own personalized workouts, and I plan to soon have Personalized Training Programs available. I will share more on that topic soon as well.

   I want this space to be one that is helpful, inspiring and educational. So, from this point on, I plan to consistently share a variety of helpful Information, new Recipes, Fitness Challenges, and Fitness and Nutritional tips to help you on your own healthy journey. My domain name may have changed – so that it reflects who I actually am – but it is still dedicated to sharing my Healthy Living Dreams. Excited to be back, and moving forward with you all.

  Much love, Alena Elizabeth

 

One year of BBG ~ Review of Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide

My Year with the Bikini Body Guides

I’ve been trying to find the words to write about my experience over the past year, but when I think back on it there is so much that happened, and so many ways in which I grew, and it has been hard to put it all into words. So this might come across as a ramble, but I want to share my history and experience with the guides.

I first discovered Australian personal trainer, Kayla Itsines’s Instagram account last year, around February/March of 2014, about 6 months after I made my big lifestyle change. I loved what she was promoting, that women should love and take care of their bodies through proper nutrition and fitness. She had recently began featuring her clients transformations and I was so inspired by all these women who had changed their lives around and become stronger healthier versions of themselves. This is one of the reasons I decided to start my own Fitness and Healthy Lifestyle Instagram account (@healthylivingdreams) Summer of 2014, to also share my journey to a healthier life. I began incorporating many of her workout tips, trying Pylometric (jump) training for the first time, and loved her style of training. Her workout videos inspired me to try new exercises and push myself out of my comfort zone. Over the next few months I continued to follow her tips, while also doing my own research and trying different training styles, but I never followed a plan of any kind.

End of August 2014, nearly 6 months after discovering her account, I decided I was finally ready to try out her training program, I was ready to follow a real guide and have more structure to my workouts. So I decided to purchase her guide. But the week I made the final decision, she came out with her 2.0 version, and from what I saw it featured more weights, which I had come to love and so purchased this guide instead. What I didn’t realize at the time, was the 2nd guide really was a continuation of the 1st guide, and was meant to be done after completing the 1st. The first few weeks were great, but towards the end of 2.0 I realized I had not properly built up my strength for some of the exercise combos (especially the arm exercises), and it was a serious challenge to finish the 2.0 guide. But I pushed through and I did my best, and finished end of December 2014. I also repeated a few weeks, as during this period I had a huge life change and had moved to Germany. You can read more about my journey with 2.0 here. ~Note: I Strongly recommend starting with the Bikini Body Guide 1.0, unless you have a very strong strength and endurance Fitness background.~

On January 5th, 2015, I decided to start the BBG 1.0 alongside Thousands of women from around the world, in a joint movement called #thekaylamovement. Literally thousands of women from all around the world came together to start fresh and start strong and work towards healthier versions of themselves. I felt Inspired and so Motivated knowing I was part of such a determined and supportive group of women. We were working towards our own individual goals but also working as a TEAM.

Those next 12 weeks were truly an unforgettable experience. Not just because it was my first time completing the BBG1.0, but also because I connected with some of the most amazing women who were on their own journey towards becoming a healthier version of themselves, and strengthened friendships with others I had known from the beginning of my Instagram journey. During those 12 weeks I pushed myself to new limits, and discovered a physical and mental strength I never knew I possessed. And even though I had to take a week off towards the end due to terrible case of food poisoning (or the flu) I still finished strong and saw and felt amazing results both mentally and physically.

Then began #thek2movement, with a new start date for any women (or man) in the world who wanted to start together, or continue on to the BBG2.0. I continued on, starting my 2nd round of this guide, but much better prepared physically. Overall, I started this with enthusiasm and determination to keep seeing and feeling progress. But as many people experience, I went through some down phases both in my personal and fitness life, and started to become very frustrated with my progress and lost some of my motivation. I stopped doing the extra challenges found in the 2.0 guide and barely finished those last few weeks. I felt unmotivated, frustrated and in a way stuck. I write this with honesty because I want you all to know that it hasn’t always been all uphill, I haven’t always had full on motivation or even loved the guides at all times and there was a point where I considered giving them up all together.

I was so thankful that I had planned a vacation right around the time I would finish up with BBG2.0 for the 2nd time. My body and my mind needed a break from the routine, and those 10 days were an extremely important time of rest and reflection of my journey up to that point. While I was traveling internationally in Spain and then England, the 3rd round of #thekaylamovement began, and I was still unsure of what to do next. But during my time in the U.K. I was so fortunate to attend a BBG Meet-Up in London, a workout session which I lead. Being around these other ladies, in person, pushing ourselves and each other during the workouts reignited my passion and love for these guides. One 35 minute sweat session and an hour or two chatting with other like-minded women was all it took to inspire me to keep going with my BBG journey.

So I came back to Germany and recommitted to giving it another go. Continuing on, jumping into Week 2 to be along side the group, and this time adding in the Nutrition guide for the 1st time, known as the H.E.L.P guide (Healthy Eating Lifestyle Plan). A nutrition and meal plan guide that does not revolve around counting calories, but teaches about minimal intake of each of the Macro and Micro nutrient food groups (grains, dairy, vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, liquids, vitamins, etc.). Although I had been eating fairly well and healthy, I hadn’t realized how low my vegetable, protein and calcium intake had been. I followed the servings sizes fairly strictly for the first 7-8 weeks or so (with the occasional treat meal and extra servings on the weekends). It worked well for a time, and taught me a lot, but as I’ve been on my fitness journey for about 1.5 years, my body was craving and needed more food. So, I recently have increased my servings from most of the food groups. I still aim to get in the Minimal servings as suggested in the H.E.L.P guide, but I eat more now. As our metabolisms get better, and our endurance grows, our bodies require more food to function properly and to fuel us in our daily activities.

As of August 25th, I have hit the ONE YEAR mark of my journey with the Bikini Body Guides (48 weeks of actual workouts, as I missed  a few here and there due to moving or being sick). When I started these guides I had no idea how long I would stick to it, or where my journey would lead me. I only knew I was ready to see and feel a change and work towards a Healthier and Stronger version of myself.  And Now One Year later, I am So proud of myself to sticking with it and for developing healthier habits and new found appreciation of my body. It was a completely new experience for me and I learned and grew in so many ways. Not only physically but mentally as well. Sticking to something and truly committing, picking yourself up and continuing to move forward even you feel unmotivated and that progress is slow is a huge mental accomplishment as well.  And knowing I was able to do this, gives me Strength and Confidence as I continue on my journey.

Edit* In just 1 week I will finish my 4th round of doing the guides! Over the past few weeks I have begun to incorporate extra weights, in place of one of the BBG resistance sessions and have been loving it. As I am studying to become a Personal Trainer myself, I have been enjoying coming up with my own weight routines and so will be focusing on developing these during the next part of my journey. The BBG will always hold a special place in my journey,  and perhaps I will continue to use it in some ways, as my HIIT workouts, or mix and match with my own. But just as I did prior to starting these guides, I will use my own knowledge to and research to create something that works for me and my individual needs and preferences. I’m ready to set some new goals and challenge myself in new ways, and very excited to see where this next part of my journey takes me.

If you are on the fence about starting the Bikini Body Guides, or your Fitness/Healthy journey in general, please don’t hesitate to email me with any questions you might have ❤  healthylivingdreams25@gmail.com

     Thank you to all who have been apart of my Journey this past year. You have all truly had such a positive impact on my life and my progress and I am forever grateful. ❤ Alena

Getting back to it: A personal post.

Hello Everyone!

     This will be a more personal post, as I want to share a bit about my recent experiences and getting back to a good and healthy place. For those that are struggling to get back on track and find motivation, whether you are post vacation or have taken a break from the routine for another reason, check out my post about “Tips for getting back on track” they are my personal tips I use myself and I truly hope they can help you.

     I know I haven’t posted much in the last month or so. I’ve been going through some ups and downs in my life, with both energy and motivation levels. Some days I’ve felt awesome and on top of the world, and others I’ve felt tired, unmotivated and uninspired. I think both my mind and body were burnt out on so many things. Although I do find some joy from my job, it is ultimately not something I am passionate about and that has been taking a toll on me mentally. I was also getting to place where I was starting to put too much pressure on myself both mentally and physically, and getting frustrated with my progress.

     I am sharing this to let you know, we are all human and life is not always a straight and steady road. Life is filled with ups and downs, good and bad days, weeks or months. But learning to get past that – whether it’s from switching up your routine, taking a needed break, or letting go of something that was bringing you down –  it is important. I was extremely lucky to receive a birthday trip from my grandparents, to meet up in Spain and travel with them to England (I am currently living in Germany). Those almost 2 weeks away were much needed and helped me clear my head and reevaluate so much. Since arriving home last week, I have set new goals, and have a new sense of determination and motivation. I have stopped putting so much pressure on myself, with my work, my workouts and social media and feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I am eating better, sleeping better, have more energy both mentally and physically and am so excited about all my new projects coming up.

     As of this week I will start regularly blogging again about a variety of healthy living topics, including fitness, nutrition, workout tips, mental balance, motivation and my experience following Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guides. My hope is that by continuing to share my personal journey and everything that I have learned and will continue to learn along the way, I can help others on their own healthy journey. If you ever have a specific topic you would like me to write about, don’t hesitate to email me or leave the topic in the comments. I want this to also be a place where I can interact with my subscribers and other bloggers. I will also be starting an online Personal Trainer course in the very near future and am so excited to take this next step in my fitness journey and start training and helping others to become stronger, healthier versions of themselves. I have set up a GoFundMe page if you care to check it out and read more.

     I thank you all for being a part of my journey in any and every way. Blogging and writing about these topics and experiences has been so meaningful to me, and I look forward to doing it much more regularly.

Much Love, Alena ❤

Healthy Living: Change Your Mindset, Change your Life.

image“To Change your Life, you have to Change Yourself.  To Change Yourself, you have to Change your Mindset.”

Above all, I am aiming to live my life in a healthy and balanced way. For me that has meant creating healthy eating, exercise and everyday habits, and saying goodbye to the things that brought me down. It has also meant surrounding myself with like minded and supportive people. And learning to think about things in a different way. But it is all a constant learning experience and each day I learn something new about what it means for me to Live a Balanced Lifestyle.

Starting around the age of 14, I began drinking alcohol and formed some very unhealthy relationships with my body and food. I was young and impressionable, and wanted so badly to fit in. I had no idea that amount of damage I was doing to my body, or that this beginning would lead to almost 10 years of continued unhealthy habits, and in some ways get much worse. Until the age of 24 I suffered on and off from a variety of eating disorders or at least disordered thinking, that caused me to sometimes skip meals, or binge and purge. I also went though a long stage of partying and drinking excessively. All of which were so harmful to my body and I am so happy and grateful to have moved on and away from these habits.

It took me a long time to realize that I not only had to change my Habits, but I had to change my Mindset as well. I had to stop thinking about myself in a negative way, and start loving  and taking care of my body. I had to stop viewing food as a comforter and start viewing it as Fuel. I had to stop viewing Alcohol as a means to escape life’s problems, and a confidence booster blanket when socializing and learn to deal with my problems in a different way, I had to learn to be confident in myself, by myself, without the aid of a substance. And once I finally changed my mindset and the way I thought about things, it changed everything. I was able to move forward with my life, and start working towards a healthier and happier version of myself.

I understand it can be hard to change. For years, I always had an excuse in my mind why it was okay to keep living this way,  ‘I’m young, I deserve to live wild and free, my body will recover later.” But there came a point where Enough was Enough. The damage I was doing to my Body was catching up with me, and I could not only feel it physically but mentally as well. I was putting my Body and Mental Well Being in Danger and putting my Family and Loved ones through more than they deserved.image

Until I decided I HAD TO make a Change. It wasn’t a complete 180* in the beginning, but with time I have given up the extreme unhealthy and bad habits. Over the past one and a half years I have worked so hard to get to where I am and I have changed so much, not only physically, but mentally as well. With time, I have given up old unhealthy eating and drinking habits, and learned to find a balance with food and alcohol and taking care of my body and mind. I am in a much better place and more optimistic about the future. But I still have hard days sometimes, days where I am unmotivated, scared about the future and filled with unexplainable sadness. But I now know I can get past those days, and I do not need to turn to food and alcohol for comfort. And nowadays, the good and happy days far outweigh the bad and that is also a huge form of progress for me towards a healthy and balanced life.

While Fitness and proper nutrition have helped me in many ways, changing my outlook on life has truly played a huge part in my healthy journey. I try to start the day with a positive thought, and reflect on the previous day. I try to forgive myself for my mistakes, and set intentions to do better. And when I am feeling down I try to remind myself how truly lucky I am to be alive, with a roof over my head, food to eat and people that love and support me. It puts my “problems” into perspective.

Here is a list of things I try to do each morning before getting out of bed:

  • Express Gratitude.
  • Set my Intentions for the day.
  • Take 5 long deep breaths in and out.
  • Smile for no reason just to flex the muscles.
  • Forgive myself for yesterdays mistakes.

Living this healthy lifestyle and changing my outlook of life and my mindset has helped me in so many ways. I am excited to keep learning and expanding my health and fitness knowledge, helping as many as I can along the way. I am more optimistic about the future, and my place in this world. I am motivated to keep moving forward, progressing towards a better version of myself one day at a time.

To SEE and FEEL Progress, You must be willing to Change something. Your Lifestyle, Your Mindset, Whatever it is that is holding you back, because progress is Impossible without Change. But never give up, because Change is Possible! ❤ Alena

 

Support and Mentoring Program

My Support and Mentoring program is now available!

Thank you to all my subscribers for your patience with this project.

This first month I will be offering two different types of support and mentoring packages, a shorter 2 week package, for those looking for some initial support and guidance to set some health and fitness goals and get started, and a longer 4 week program, for those looking for more longer term support and guidance.

My main goal is to help and inspire people by promoting a healthy lifestyle, and while I offer free advice and workout tips on my Social media pages, and will continue to do so, this program is designed for those that need some more individualized support. I want to give you the one on one mentoring you need to help you set goals and keep working towards them. So, if you are unsure about where to start on your own Healthy Journey or simply looking for some extra support and guidance I am here to help you!

I am here to Mentor you and Help you start your journey and reach your goals through:

  • Online support through emails
  • Goal setting and planning
  • Check-ins to make sure you are on the right track
  • Motivational messages to keep you moving forward
  • Optional: One on one Skype sessions, instant messaging or phone conversations.

Please visit my main SUPPORT and MENTORING Page for more Information or send me an email directly at healthylivingdreams25@gmail.com

Much Love, Alena

Healthy Living: Let Today be the Start of Something New.

imageNew Day, New Month, New Goals. Each day truly is an Opportunity to Change your Life for the Better. So, Let Today be the Start of Something New. 

Each day we have a choice to start something new. You can Start small and decide that Today is the day you will start walking or biking to work instead of taking the car, or the day you start using the stairs instead of the elevator. Today is the day you start adding one spoonful of sugar instead of two, or switching it out all together for a more natural sweetener such as Stevia or Honey. Today is the day you start trading your candy bar for a piece of fruit, your soda or beer for a tea or fruit infused water. Today is the day you will stop skipping breakfast, and start your day right with a fueling and filling meal, firing up your Metabolism. Today is the day you start better organizing your schedule to make sure you have time for your workouts, meal planning/prepping and downtime. Today is the day you Drink More WATER, the Liquid of Life. Today is the day you spend Less time on your cellphone and More time with Loved ones! Check out my Blog Post “Finding a Balance” for more tips on making small changes towards a Healthier Life.

Each day is an Opportunity to Push ourselves and keep working towards our goals. Try a Join a new Fitness class you’ve been thinking about and workout alongside all those other people working towards similar goals, support and push each other. Do some research about healthy meals, and try cooking a new one for yourself, or get more serious about meal planning and prepping (personal goal). Start adding in more Yoga to your normal routine (another personal goal). Venture into the “Guy area” of your Gym and hit the Squat rack! And don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice! Never forget that everyone starts somewhere. Or start the training program you’ve been debating doing! My personal recommendation is Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide, which I have been following for the past 8 months and love, as it has truly pushed me to new Limits and helped me grow and improve in so many ways! (if you are interested in trying the Guide click here for a Free week of Workouts and Here for the Full Guides).

Sometimes it can seem intimidating and overwhelming to make a Change, but that is why you can start small and gradually add in more and more. It is the little things we do that truly add up to Big, Staggering results! So don’t be afraid to start, to change, to try something new. Because today is another day to start/keep working towards your goals, and a healthier and happier version of yourself.

Today is the day to Find, Try and Do something that your Future Self will Thank You for!

If you are feeling lost or unsure of where to start or simply looking for some extra support and guidance on your healthy journey check out my Mentoring/Support Page and send me an email at healthylivingdreams25@gmail.com

❤ Much Love, Alena

Tips for Traveling: Food & Fitness

IMG_1572 I absolutely LOVE traveling and try to take little trips whenever I can, but it can sometimes be difficult to stay on track with my normal eating and exercise habits while traveling. I understand how traveling can mess with the normal rhythm and routine. Being away from home without access to your usual food and unable to prepare your own meals can make it hard to stick to an eating plan. And being without access to a gym can make it hard to stay on top of your workouts.

I believe it is Important to truly enjoy yourself when you are on a trip, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make healthy choices while away from home! Such as, choosing water at a meal out instead of soda or beer, choosing whole grains instead of white, packing your own healthy snacks and taking lots of walks while exploring the city or place you are visiting!

It will always depend what kind of trip you are taking, where you are going and for how long, but no matter what you should always do you best to stay active and eat nutritious foods whenever possible. And drink lots of water!! When we are on the go and away from the routine we tend to forget to drink enough water, but keeping your body hydrated is so Important!

As someone who Loves traveling and does so semi frequently, I have had to learn through trial and error some different tricks and tips for staying on track.

Here are a few of my Tips for Traveling (will do another post about this topic again):
~Thinking & Planning Ahead~.
FOOD: Are you able to bring food with you during your travels? And will you have access to healthy snacks and food once you arrive?

If you are traveling by car then you will have many options to pack whatever you want. Even if you think you will have access to a grocery store with healthy options I recommend packing a few essential items just in case. I have made the mistake more than once, thinking I would have immediate access to a grocery store, only to discover it was already closed or was too far a distance to get to the first day during a trip.

If you are traveling by plane it’s a different story of course but I still recommend packing a few essential food items for the actual flight and when you arrive, such as fresh and dried fruit, unsalted nuts, fruit and nut bars, and protein bars. The food on airplanes is also heavily salted and can be very fatty, so be aware of what you are eating. I usually do eat some of the airplane food, as most of the flights I take are usually 12+ hours, but during my layovers I try to only eat fruit and veggies and drink lots of water.

Living here in Germany, the majority of the time I travel by train or bus, as it is the cheaper option and I don’t have a car, and so I make sure to pack a small bag of snacks for the trip.

IMG_6122-2My personal snack and food list for a road trip/train ride include: Homemade sandwiches and smoothies, fresh fruit and veggies such as bananas, oranges, apples and carrots, fruit and nut bars of some kind (beware of extra added sugars!). My favorites in the U.S. are Lara Bars, which are literally made of just fruit and nuts. Here is Germany I have yet to find a good quality, affordable bar. I also love to have a crunchy snack so I pack either whole grain crackers, rice cakes or bean and rice chips (full of fiber and protein). In addition I pack my own Peanut Butter to have with my rice cakes or bread that I buy. And I always bring my liquid Stevia drops with me everywhere to flavor my coffee, as I really try to avoid white sugar.

 

EXERCISE: Will you have access to some kind of gym or other area to do your workouts? Are you able to fit your workout gear in your bag?

If yes to both, great! Pack your workout gear and plan to set aside a bit of time for your workouts in the best way that work so for you. Even a half hour to one hour workout will really benefit you! If you are tracking with someone, make a plan for staying active together and then hold each other accountable.

If you will not have access to a gym, no worries! There are so many mini workouts that can be done outside or in a hotel room that require no equipment. My suggestion, search on YouTube for some routines, or check out my Facebook page for some Workout Videos to get ideas of some No Equipment routines! Some other ideas: find a local park and take a jog, or go to a local football stadium and do sprints on the track or up and down the bleachers!image

Sometimes there are places you go where there is no place or option to really workout, and that is where walking comes in. Walking is a great form of exercise!! Even 35-45 minutes of walking is better than nothing, and if you’re like me and love exploring the places you go, chances are you will be walking much more than that! Just remember to stay hydrated and drink water when out and about! And even if you can’t pack your full workout attire, try to pack comfortable walking shoes.

Sometimes our bodies need a break from the routine and a few days or week off can actually be beneficial. But I understand it can be hard to jump to jump back into the routine when you get home, check out my blog post Tips for Getting Back on Track to see my Personal List of what I do to jump back into the routine.

I hope these tips help! Please comment below if you have any questions. I will do another post about this topic again in the future.

Much Love, Alena ❤