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

Food is fuel; eat right, not less.

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Bowl full of Nature’s Candy.

First of all, I absolutely Love Food!  I love to try new things and experiment in the kitchen, and when I find something I really enjoy, I can eat it for days in a row or even weeks! Over the past few months I have really been getting more serious about fueling my body with the proper nutrients it needs. I have changed my focus from weight loss to fat loss and gaining more lean muscle mass, and have changed my eating habits accordingly. For the majority of my fitness journey, I have eaten intuitively and for the most part this worked out very well for me and my goals. But sometimes our bodies need a change in order to see and feel new progress, and so, as of this month I have been following Kayla Itsines’s H.E.L.P Nutrition Guide. It has already taught me so much more about proper portions and the importance of eating a balanced mixture of all the major Macronutrients (carbohydrates, fats and proteins), as well as the less talked about, but equally as important Micronutrients (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) that are essential for our health.

While there is a minimum amount of food we should be eating, e.g. enough food to keep our metabolism functioning properly and to keep us alive, it’s important to remember that each of us requires a different amount of food to keep our bodies healthy, strong and give us enough energy to get through our respective schedule and day. If you are doing a large amount of strenuous exercise and work, you will need to eat more food than others to keep your body properly energized and functioning, and as your strength and endurance grow, your metabolism will also speed up, meaning you WILL Need More food. As I said, everybody and their lifestyles are different, and ultimately, how much you should eat depends on your body type and your way of living. But whether your goal is to loose or gain weight, tone up or put on muscle, something that is so important to keep in mind is that Food is Fuel and eating less is Not the answer. It’s important to learn to Eat Right for you and your goals, Not less.

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Sandwich of Carbs, Protein & Healthy Fats.

Everyone has different goals and a different way of living. My goals and my daily routine require something different than the next person. I have tried a variety of different eating styles, Vegan, Paleo, No Carbs, etc. but I have found that what works best for me and my body, is a balanced diet of healthy carbohydrates, proteins, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats, including dairy and some meat. I do not cut out a certain type of food, I only am aware of my daily servings from each group. I have some pretty unfortunate food allergies and so have to be very careful to read the ingredients of products before purchasing them, and in restaurants I am the annoying guest that has to ask if the food has ‘this or that’ in it and having the waiters ask the kitchen staff. It makes it challenging to eat out, but it also forces me to cook more at home, which I have really been loving lately! I have found so many amazing recipes through Instagram and different blogs (and my mama I might add!) and have been experimenting a lot in the kitchen. (Recipe posts coming soon!)

I fuel my body with what it needs, what I need, to get me through the day, my workouts and keep me feeling balanced. Overall I have a very good relationship with food and eating, I put good, nutritious things into my body and my body responds well, giving me good energy, helping with my mood and sleeping patterns. But it hasn’t always been this way. It has taken me a long time to find a balance with food, many months of trial and error, ups and downs, but over the past 6 months or so, I have been very happy with my eating habits. I do still struggle from time to time with guilty thoughts after eating something less than healthy, but it is no where near compared to how I was even just two years ago. I am sharing this with honesty, to help others realize that while we can appear to be very strong on the outside, we are all fighting our own battles and should do our best to be supportive of each other.

Keeping it Real with a Treat Meal.

Keeping it Real with a Treat Meal.

During those moments when I do have guilty thoughts after eating something a little unhealthy, I take a mental note of how I feel in that moment, and remind myself of how I felt the next time I’m about to eat something unhealthy. And each time gets easier. Thankfully, I no longer have these thoughts very often, because I eat a balanced diet that makes me feel good. And if I do eat a treat, I try to view it as just that, a special treat, and I do my best to fully enjoy it in that moment and then move on. However, if I do have these guilty thoughts, I get past it, and do not revert to my old ED habits that brought me down physically and mentally for years. I am thankful to say, I have grown up and away from those bad habits, after having done a lot of research of the consequences and will NEVER put my body though that again! I remind myself everyday that overall I eat very healthy, nourishing foods and that I workout regularly, so the occasional less than healthy meal here or there is not going to kill me or hurt my progress. I remind myself that Food is Fuel, and as with so many things in life, it’s about finding a healthy balance that works for you and your body.

Much Love, Alena

Glamour Health Challenge with Kayla Itsines

Glamour Health Challenge in Amsterdam with Kayla Itsines

Wow, what an AMAZING Weekend!

This past weekend I traveled from Oldenburg, Germany to Amsterdam, Netherlands to attend the 1st stop in Kayla Itsines’s Boot camp World Tour! After discovering her Instagram account more than a year ago, it was truly an honor to meet the women who Inspired me to step outside of the box and push myself with my workouts, the woman who helped me realize there are so many other forms of progress and goals to work towards besides those numbers we see on a scale. Healthy, Fit & Strong. This is what she embodies and promotes, and I will be forever grateful for all her advice, encouragement and for the bonds I established with women from around the world thanks to her Bikini Body Guides. I only wish we could have One Massive Boot camp! Maybe someday 😉

I’ll admit I had my doubts about traveling to Amsterdam and attending the event alone, in a country where I do not speak the language, but I had promised myself if I ever had a chance to meet Kayla and attend one of her boot camps I would. So, Friday AM I finished packing my bag and jumped on the bus to head to Amsterdam. Thanks to Kayla’s BBG I have connected with some amazing women around the world, including my Dutch friend & BBG sister Oksanna, who was kind enough to host me this past weekend. She unfortunately could not attend the event, but Saturday morning, with her help we figured out the route I would need to get to the Boot camp, I off I went. 1 Bus Ride, and 2 Trains later I arrived! While riding the train and standing in line waiting I met some other BBG girls who had also traveled alone, and just like that we joined forces for the day. It’s amazing having a love of fitness and these guides in common, it creates an immediate connection/bond.

We lined up outside the gates, and waited for the gates to open, excited and eager to enter the event, as more and more girls and women continued to show up and get in line. Once the gates opened, in poured upwards of 2,000 women of all ages, shapes and sizes. Teenagers, women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s, mother and daughter duos and groups of fitgirls. All these women coming together to celebrate Health and Fitness and experience this unique experience together. It was truly an amazing sight to see and experience to have.

The event was hosted by Glamour Magazine Netherlands, who planned a whole day of Health & Fitness. The day kicked off at 11:30 with a Yoga Wear Fashion Show, followed by a 45 minute Yoga class taught by Wilma Werkheim. The yoga class was all in Dutch, but thanks to my German knowledge I was able to understand quite a bit and keep up without too many difficulties. The yoga class was followed by another Fashion show showcasing Running wear. Then came an hour break in which everyone could explore the Fitness wear stands, and grab something to eat or drink at one the many Healthy Food and Drink stands where you could eat almost anything your heart desires! There was such a large variety of healthy and nutritious options including, Bliss Balls, Fresh Smoothies, Breads with Avocado & Fresh Green Apple, humus & roasted Eggplant, Banana Pancakes, Tabloué Salads, Banana Bread, Vegan/Soy, Gluten & Sugar free Vegetal Ice Cream made from Fruits and Spices. Guilt free snacks and beverages designed to fuel your body!

After the break, everyone made their way back to the main field to get ready for the Boot camp. It was kicked off by a final Fashion show of Fitness Wear by some gorgeous Dutch women, including fitness bloggers, and members and founder of the Dutch companies Fitgirlcode and Jogha. Kayla’s Boot camp started straight after!

30 minutes of almost non stop training. She kicked it off with a very sincere Thank You to everyone, and then jumped right into the warm-up! 3 rounds of 30 second of each: Jumping Jacks, Squats and Jump Squats, Mountain Climbers, High Knees, and Push Ups. She then went into rounds focusing on two different exercises, one Jump/Fast exercise followed by an AB/Core exercise. 3 rounds alternating between the 2 exercises for a total of about 3:30 minutes. 1st combo was everyone’s favorite exercise Burpees, followed by a Plank. Then came Jump Squats and Ab Bikes, followed by Split Jumps and Bent Legged Jack Knives. Then came the TEAM Workout, with the walk way used a divider, we were split into two groups and told to face each other. Kayla gave us two exercises, starting with X Jumps and Ab Bikes to be done alternating every 30 seconds for 2 minutes. 2 more rounds of this for a total of 6 minutes facing our Team. The final big Combo of the Boot camp was 5 straight minutes of 10 different exercises, 30 seconds each; Push-Ups, Jumping Jacks, In and Out Jumps, Ab Bikes, Plank, Commandos, Jump Lunges, Lay-Down Push Ups, Mountain Climbers and Burpees! 5 Minutes of Pushing Ourselves to the Limit and it felt Amazing!!! We cooled down, stretched and then took some massive group photos!

FULL Boot camp Workout Video is up on Glamour NL’s website! Photo Gallery is up on the Glamour NL Facebook page.

Directly after the Boot camp, Kayla had a Meet & Greet, and hundreds of women lined up and waited patiently for their chance to meet, talk with, hug and have a photo taken with Kayla. So many smiles, happy laughs and even some tears of gratefulness. She has changed so many lives with her Guides, and the community that formed because of them, including mine, and it was an amazing, beautiful and overwhelming experience to meet and chat with her in person.

After 6 hours in the Sun, full of fun times, good food, new friends, and a Killer Workout, it was time to leave. But the feeling from this Day, the Energy and Excitement, the Team bond, the Motivation to personally Do my Best in All that I do, has stayed with me. It was an amazing experience, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to go.

My Tips for those attending a Bootcamp: Remember to pack a large Water Bottle, a Yoga Mat (large towel will also work), a fully charged Phone or Camera, get there early to secure a good spot and don’t forget to wear Sunscreen!!! (I was/am so Sunburnt!)

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Thank you Glamour NL for hosting such an Amazing Event and Thank you Kayla for creating your Amazing Bikini Body Guides and for bringing such a beautiful community together and your Bootcamps Worldwide! ❤ Alena

Did YOU attend the Event in Amsterdam? Or are you planning on attending another one of Kayla’s upcoming events? I would love to know!

To join the Worldwide BBG Community, check out Kayla Itsines’s Bikini Body Guides. Or sign up via Email to receive a Free week of BBG Workouts from the Bikini Body Guide. NOTE: I will only ever promote and endorse something that I truly believe in, have personally tried myself and find to be of good quality. Kayla’s Guides fall into this category! ❤

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

HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training.

~Please keep in mind this article was written based on my personal experience, and my own research and findings. I hope this article will shed some light on what HIIT is and why it is beneficial. NOTE: Before beginning any type of intense training, it is highly recommended to consult your doctor or physician to get cleared for this type of exercise. If you have any questions, please comment ❤ Alena~

For all the women following Kayla Itsines BBG, you will see that HIIT sessions are incorporated from weeks 9 onwards. This means that at least one time a week you should be doing a HIIT workout lasting from 10-15 minutes. But that does NOT mean you should stop doing your LISS session, i.e. Low Intensity Steady State cardio, as there are Still benefits to doing this kind of cardio training. I will do another post about the benefits of LISS cardio training soon.
Cardio, Cardio, Cardio…

Most of us have experienced the Cardio obsession at one point in our lives. I.e. Spending hours on the treadmill or elliptical everyday, hoping to loose weight and see the results we’ve always dreamed of. The truth is steady state cardio alone will only do so much for most people, but to truly see a change in your body, and develop some lean muscle mass, you must incorporate a wider variety of training styles, pylometrics, weight training, and HIIT cardio to name a few. And DIET plays a huge part of course! Not restriction, but eating Wholesome, Healthy and Nourishing foods (but that’s a discussion for a different time..).

In the beginning of my Fitness journey, I was the girl who spent all my time at the gym doing cardio and I rarely ventured away from the Treadmill and Elliptical trainers. But after discovering Aussie Trainer Kayla Itsines’s Instagram account Spring of 2014, I began to realize that there were so many other forms of exercise to incorporate and try, including HIIT. I began incorporating High Intensity Interval Training into my routine around Summer 2014, and I have loved it ever since!

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HIIT aka High Intensity Interval Training is now one of my Favorite forms of exercise. But what Is HIIT?

HIIT is an enhanced form of interval training and form of cardiovascular exercise. It is an exercise strategy with alternating periods of short intense anaerobic exercise (strength or resistance training) and less-intense recovery periods, usually 30 seconds “on/active” time and 30 seconds “off/rest”, lasting between 10-15 minutes. HIIT not only burns more calories during the workout, but also continues after you’ve finished your workout. Because the workout is more strenuous, your body needs more energy to repair and recover, so you actually continue to burn more Fat and Calories in the 24 hours following your HIIT session. Meaning it’s an intense and effective workout done in a very short amount of time!

HIIT is known for improving health, boosting weight and fat loss, promoting HGH (human growth hormone) production, and improving strength and stamina, among other benefits. It can be done in a variety of form of workouts, so long as it alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of low-moderate activity or even complete rest. From my personal experience, I saw a greater fat loss when I started incorporating HIIT style training into my routine in addition to a few low intensity cardio sessions. HIIT is a great way to get in a solid cardiovascular workout in a short amount of time.

There are many different forms of HIIT exercises and different on/off ratios and they all have so many benefits! Sprinting, biking, using a variety of resistance training exercises at a fast pace. My personal favorite form of HIIT is Sprinting on the Treadmill, using the 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off method. Sprinting on the treadmill allows me to see how fast I’m going, see the time in front of me and I can easily hope on and hop off to the side during my rest period. I typically do 15 minutes of 30/30 sprints with a 5 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down period as well, for a total of 25 minutes. After warming up with 5 minutes of fast paced walking or a very light jogging pace, I increase the speed to a moderately high speed, but not my maximum. I do 2-3 rounds of sprints at this speed, then for the remainder I up the speed to 90-100 of my capacity, usually ranging from 16.3-17.0 kpm/.

This is what works best for Me and what I like the most. However, I do occasionally switch up my HIIT routine and do a session of a variety of high intensity exercises in a similar format. By combining a variety of body weight and weighted exercises, you can create your own High Intensity Interval Training routine. The key is to complete them in short 30 second bursts, giving your best effort, then have a short rest period. I encourage you ALL to do some research and find out what works best for you. If you are a newbie to HIIT training, I recommend starting out with 8-10 minutes of HIIT and gradually working your way up to 15 minutes total.

imageNeed IDEAS for HIIT? Check out my friend Mandy & Candy’s awesome Youtube channel for 2 different HIIT videos! A Jump Rope HIIT Video and a complete 15 minute HIIT routine, which incorporates 15 different exercises and a timer, meaning your whole Workout is planned out for you! Awesome right? Here it is:

Need More Ideas? Check out these articles: 7 Minute HIIT sesh, 5 ideas for HIIT, Treadmill training

Now get out there and HIIT It!!! ❤ Alena

Finding a Balance: Tips for making Changes towards a Healthier Life.

imagePlease keep in mind these are MY thoughts and opinions. I choose to write about these topics and share my advice and opinions with you all because they mean something to me and I hope they can help someone out in the World. This is a written collection of my thoughts and experiences with the subject. Please comment below if you have any questions.

      Living a balanced and healthy life can take Time to truly achieve. It can seem so daunting, and difficult to manage. Yet, in the end it is all about making those small changes every day and making them a part of your normal routine. Make these changes into habits and a part of your lifestyle, because it is our routine and habits we create that will ultimately help us succeed. I am still learning about how to find a balance with some things, but for the most part I feel very happy and satisfied with my current routine. For me, making the change was not only about creating healthy and sustainable habits, but about cutting out the bad ones that were having a negative impact on my health and mental well-being. Not only did I change my routine by eating healthier, more nourishing foods and exercising regularly, I also stopped doing the things that were bringing me down. Partying at least 3 days a week and over drinking was a big part of my life for years, and cutting it out was one of the Best Decisions of my life. I still go out occasionally and have a drink or two, But it is Nothing compared to the old me. I am still learning so much about health, fitness and taking care of my body everyday. But I have established a routine that works for me, a balance that works for my body and each day I work hard to keep improving.image

 I found a Quote on one of my followers pages and it fit in very appropriately with my theme “You’ll Never Change Your Life Until You Change Something You Do Daily. The Secret of Your Success Is Found In Your Daily Routine”John C. Maxwell This is so very true, You must make a change to see and feel a change. You must make taking care of your body a part of your daily routine.

   You can make simple changes at first, small adjustments to what you’re used to. It could be a dietary change, like switching any heavily processed foods for fresh and natural products. For example:

  • Switching processed white sugar for raw brown sugar, stevia or another alternative natural sweetener.
  • Replacing white pasta and breads for whole grain alternatives, such as brown rice, sprouted wheat,  whole wheat or spelt.
  • Swapping sugary soft drinks and soda for regular or fruit infused water or tea.

BUT with all of these things, You MUST read the Ingredients and labels. There are many ‘Healthy” Alternatives out on the shelves these days, a gluten-free option, sugar-free, low-carb or low-fat, and while some of these are great, there are also many that contain extra preservatives or additives just to give them flavor or keep them on the shelves longer. Do a little research and Be aware of what you are buying. My goal when grocery shopping is to buy as many fresh and plain products as possible, fruits, vegetables, plain yogurt, brown rice, whole grain pasta, cage-free eggs (organic when possible) plain tomato sauce, etc. Then I add the flavoring at home, so I know exactly what I am putting on my food and into my body.

    Another important change is to start incorporating some kind of physical exercise into your daily routine. It can be as simple as:

  • Walking to the grocery store or university, instead of driving or taking the bus.
  • Riding your bike to work or going on a bike ride for fun.
  • Taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Walking around and exploring your city or surrounding towns.

   Each of these small things will add up and they Will make a difference. When you are feeling ready to do something a little more challenging there are soo many options!

  • Join a gym or local fitness center.
  • Sign up for a fitness class or join a local sports team.
  • Join a support group on Instagram or Facebook that will help you keep accountable with exercising and eating.
  • Watch Youtube videos of exercises tutorials and workout routines.
  • Hire a Personal Trainer to get you started.
  • Purchase a structured Workout guide such as the Bikini Body Guide or Tone It Up plan.

     There are soo many options. You must make a little effort and take the time do some research or ask some friends or family for advice and get started! There will always be people to Help you, but Ultimately it is Your Life and You Must put in some Effort!
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   For me,  I cut out unhealthy foods and started at the gym almost immediately, after returning home from Spain. I knew that personally I needed a bit more of a challenge physically and was very motivated at the time, so I started going at least 4-5 days a week. At the beginning I was doing mostly cardio for about an hour at a time, followed by a few classic abdominal exercises or using a few of the weight machines for legs. Now, more than a year later, I do a mixture of resistance training using my body weight and light weights, High Intensity Interval training, heavier Weight Lifting, stretching (beginners Yoga) and some typical cardiovascular such as jogging or walking. I follow Aussie Trainer Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide, as well as my own extra routines. I have a very diverse and balanced routine in my opinion, and this is what has been working the best for me, but I absolutely respect those who choose to focus on just one or two of those methods.

 image    On an average week, I work out 5-6 days a week, for anywhere from 1-1.5 hours including warm-up, my routine and stretching, be that a bit of cardio, weights, or circuit training and always take at least one rest day. Currently, I eat home cooked meals 90% of the time and rarely drink. I try to have a semi-set schedule of when I wake up, eat, work, exercise and go to sleep, but my work schedule can vary greatly from one week to the next and so I have had to learn to be flexible and go with the flow.  My normal habits do not not change, but the order in which I do them and the amount of time I dedicate to each one sometimes has to be adjusted. But that is okay, because I know I have created a lifestyle and habits that are sustainable for me and I will absolutely keep it up. (will do a separate blog about my workout routine and schedule soon!)

Remember we are all capable of changing our habits and routines. Find what works for You and give it your best every single day!  ❤ Alena