Thinking of a Core-Barre Challenge?

So, you’re thinking about a Core-Barre Challenge but still in two minds?

My advice…

JUST. DO. IT. *

(*thank you, Nike for that epic slogan)

As of September 2017, I’ve only participated in a single Core-Barre challenge, throughout which I documented my weekly progress here. Day in and day out I did not feel a difference: I tried my best to go to the classes and stick to eating healthy. Yes, my clothes felt a bit more loose but other than that I still was the same clothes size and the healthy eating increased my energy levels a bit. Ultimately my “transformation” was a huge shock to me – and without the photos I would not have realised the difference in my body.

After eight weeks of classes and diets (I’ll go into more detail on these a bit later) I lost 2.9kgs. The biggest loss? My measurements… 8.4cms off my waist and 4cms off my hips. And I’m starting the get definition in my tummy! #winning

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What is the challenge like? 

I won’t lie… you need to make a commitment to yourself.

As with anything in life, do it as your own choice – not because someone wants you to do it. Sign up for the challenge if you want to do something good for yourself. No one is going to “police” you by making sure you are doing four workouts and eating right. It is a very self-based challenge – you chose your classes, your diet, your lifestyle; which I love. No micromanagement (thankfully) – I would hate someone having to bug me to go to class and make me feel bad if I did not eat healthy or skip classes (I can make myself feel bad all by myself, thank you very much!).

If you do need accountability, I’m sure you can ask for it! Robyn, the mastermind of the challenge, and the awesome instructors (Taz (Barre), Tyla (Barre) Kristie (Pilates)) are AMAZING. They all make you feel comfortable throughout the challenge, inspired to keep going and provide loads of fun and laughs during classes… I have awesome memories!

Think of the challenge as your very own version of “Khloe Kardashian’s Revenge Body”. In retrospect that is what the Core-Barre Freddy-SA Get Fit Challenge did for me.

I started the challenge very insecure, low confidence, little to no self-worth and not very happy with myself – after eight weeks, there has been an increase in my confidence, self-worth and being truly happy. I’ve become physically and mentally/emotionally strong.

The “Get Fit Challenge” is first fitness challenge I had ever signed up for – and the only challenge I have ever completed.

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With Robyn (Left)

 

How many workouts are in the challenge and what are they?

The prescribed workout schedule is to fit in FOUR classes a week. I quite enjoyed doubles: which was Barre class and Pilates thereafter. Being the overachiever I am (more like getting away from my life – the challenge was an escape for me) I sometimes completed six classes a week.

Barre classes are a ballet type exercise that gets the heart rate up, gets the blood pumping (and if you’re like me… sweating) as well as making you “feel the burn” (and having a good laugh). Pilates is a more “slow-paced” yet very muscle controlled so you also feel EVERY muscle. Both classes have increased my balance, flexibility and coordination (though my coordination could still use work)!

I was afraid I would get bored in class but the combinations of movements and the instructors guiding you make you concentrate. Like really concentrate. And sometimes I just can’t get the combinations but thats OK. I have never felt bored in either barre or pilates so it kept my Attention Deficit Disorder brain in check.

 

What is the diet like? 

There is a diet plan accompanying the challenge. However, I did not stick to it… I am vegetarian who does not consume meat, fish or eggs. My biggest vices were fast food and sweets and I knew I needed a change.

With respect to my diet I aimed for a more lifestyle change and cut out all sweets, ready-made meals, take aways, junk food and “just add hot water” drinks. Apart from that there were no big changes… I still ate dark chocolate, low fat fruit yoghurt, loads of fruit, homemade meals, wholewheat couscous, wholewheat/ seeded/ rye bread, Emmental cheese, homemade baked goods (always reducing the sugar intake). I never felt deprived and apart from a few sugar withdrawal headaches I did not and still do not crave sweets.

 

Do you have to take any supplements?

I did. My diet is not rich in protein at all so I do have to supplement. For the protein supplementation, I always had a protein shake or protein bar post classes.  I also took a probiotic and Omega 3 capsule (from algae) daily.

It is also important to ensure your body is in homeostasis. Electrolytes are something we don’t take notice off and incorrect concentrations may be the reason for headaches, cramping and fatigue. When I was doing multiple classes a day, I always sipped on an electrolyte supplement.

 

Is the challenge worth it? 

YES. YES. YES. Apart from a fun workout, you meet the most incredible, inspiring people. The highlight of the challenge is definitely the friends I made: we were able to support each other through the challenge and learn to laugh at ourselves.

If it wasn’t for the challenge, I would probably be still hating myself, in superficial relationships, numbing my emotions and not happy. It sounds like a stretch but honestly the challenge has changed my life – the classes and the friends I made in class got me through some tough times during the challenge. I do not know how I would have stayed sane without it! My reflection of the challenge can be found here.

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Barre-Girls 🙂 

 

Will I stick to Core-Barre or do another challenge? 

OF-COURSE (to both questions). I’ve found something I really enjoy doing, that kicks my ass, given me incredible friends and makes me happy – so I’m definitely sticking with the studio, As for another challenge? I’ve already signed up for the “Abs Sculpt”!

Hope to meet you at the barre!

If you have any questions please feel free to contact me 🙂

k x

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#GetFitChallenge: Reflections

Three months ago, I signed up for a challenge. Specifically an in-person fitness challenge.

My track record of challenges is dismal. I’ve signed up for NUMEROUS challenges online… have I ever completed them? No. Hell, I don’t even think I read the daily emails.

In addition to my challenge record… my fitness level is a joke. I love sports but despise exercising… even though I feel good afterward, I dread dragging myself to the gym – which, I only started about three years ago.

So I’m not 100% sure why I did sign up for the Core-Barre GetFitChallenge, but I did. The challenge provided a diet plan (which I did not follow, mostly for my own reasons – written about here) and at least four classes – either Barre or Pilates –  a week.

A bit of history 

Growing up, I was a tomboy – give me sports, things to take apart and experiment with, Lego to build, trees to climb and bodies of water to swim in. Ballet, modern dance, traditional Indian dancing were NOT for me (and trust me, my mom tried). My little sister is a dancer (modern, traditional Indian dance) and was into all the reality-TV dance shows since their inception. She purchased the Zumba set too – I sat laughing at the videos…

Fast forward 20-something years: A bout of insomnia late last year lead me to stream season 23 of Dancing With the Stars. The show introduced me to dance as a form of exercise (it also introduced me to how gorgeous those professional male (straight!) dancers are!). I was hooked and kept watching, as well as having in depth post-mortems with my “work-mom” (who is obsessed with dance and a latin dancer herself).

Doing something remotely close to “dance” for me is huge. Yet, something clicked in me: I desperately wanted to dance (Argentine Tango is still on the bucket list), be graceful and “elongated”. Knowing I have two left feet, ungracefulness, funky body shape and serious balance issues; I have to take baby steps.

I noticed Instagram posts for Core-Barre and decided I wanted to try at least three Barre classes (which I wrote about here, prior to even thinking about the challenge), improve my balance/ flexibility and definitely be bikini-body ready for summer.

So, I signed up.

The Challenge

At the introductory evening a few days prior to the challenge I was TERRIFIED. Everyone looked amazing already… what did I get myself into to? After measurements, weighing in and “before” photos *cringe* I felt, well crap, but motivated… I was doing something for me. I did not even care about the winning… all I wanted was to prove to myself that I can do something “good” for myself.

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2017 has been THE cherry on top of a craptastic (yes, I love making up my own words) 4 year long “bad patch”. By actually committing to the challenge for myself and knowing it was time to take care of “me”. Taking care of myself has never been high on my priority list – I am the picture perfect people-pleaser and give way too much off myself (to my own detriment). I’ve never had much self-worth and the past four years led me down a spiral of unhealthy coping mechanisms… Things get tough? It’s fine, I’ll fix it all for you and numb myself to deal with my own emotions around the matter.

So it was scary to decide to do this for me. I’m in my thirties and I do not want to live a live of “what if’s” but rather a life of “oh well”. I do not want to die with regrets – I already have so many and the list does not need to be longer! To hold myself “accountable” (and none of my friends were around to do the challenge with me) I started documenting my weekly progress.

Barre and Pilates 

Overall I managed at least four classes a week (sometimes I’d do six). Both barre and pilates were new to me. Yes, classes are intense but SO MUCH FUN! My favourite part of the classes… the stretching at the end (and I managed to get VERY close to the splits!).

For some reason I was the only one sweating in barre class – flip, the concentration and muscle groups you work are damn hard. In addition to my sweating, I am ungraceful, my body can be hyper-mobile so I look weird and very uncoordinated… however this all lead to lots of laughs and deliriously happy moments. I have never in my 30-odd years remember being happy while laughing at myself and my “weirdness”. It was a new feeling and I kinda liked it.

Diet 

Yeah, did not follow the diet. But I did cut out sweets, milk chocolate, take-aways and my latest addiction “Hazelnut Latte Hug-In-A_Mug”. I also stopped my tendency to pop a pill to make myself feel better – no more sleeping pills, antidepressants, painkillers. I went cold turkey… The insomnia was a bitch but I had to go through it.

However, my addiction to peanut butter grew stronger (there is nothing better than eating it straight out the bottle (the Black Cat Sugar and Salt free crunchy one)).

Emotions 

Felt all the feelings. For. Real.

I went through every possible emotion throughout the challenge. From crippling insecurity, feeling sorry for myself, not sure how to deal with stress to actually having happy moments.

It did not help that I experienced some of the roughest weeks of my life during the challenge: intense work schedules, lots of travel, (multiple) cancer diagnoses in my immediate family, being with my family through surgery/ appointments/ treatment, tough medical decisions to be made for myself, doing a prayer for my gran who passed away six months ago, my self-imposed drug free period, friends who needed me and my support during their own struggles, finally letting go of a no-good relationship.

My double and triple sessions during the challenge was my escape. The one place I could go to where for an hour, or two.. or three I could have fun and just be me… like a relaxed kid again. Every single time I left class I was happy (so much so that a friend thought I was drunk while voice-noting her on the way back home from class)! And the sessions did help exhaust my body so sleeping became easier.

The finale

Very unexpectedly I did win the challenge. I couldn’t believe the change in my body. Without taking photos I would not have seen the change… I stayed the same weight for the longest time. While I did not lose much weight, I lost centimeters and the shape of my body changed… I actually have muscles now!!! (Like my legs are toned… not skinny Indian legs!).

Here are my pics:

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Lost: 2.9kg; 8.4cm waist; 4cm hips

Most of all….

Core-Barre introduced me to an incredible group women who I am proud to call friends, allowed me to tone my body, made me prioritize myself and my health, stop the numbing mechanisms and after classes I am genuinely happy (endorphins for the win!). The challenge allowed me to be more me and allow me to experience moments of self-worth. The INCREDIBLE and INSPIRING women I met during the classes have given me strength and support. In comparison to my teens and 20s, I am and feel so much stronger (physically and emotionally), pill-free, less sad/ anxious, more authentically me, a touch more confident and HAPPIER in my 30s! 

Thank you, Robs and team!!!

Looking forward

There is another challenge at the studio “Abs Sculpt”. And yes, I’m doing it!!!

k x

#GetFitChallenge – Recap of Week 8: I MADE IT!

Eight weeks of committing to a challenge… for myself.

Eight weeks of making sure I showed up… for myself.

Eight weeks of creating a healthy lifestyle… for myself.

Eight weeks of being disciplined… for myself.

Eight weeks of just doing it even when I didn’t want to… for myself.

Eight weeks of being motivated to be better… for myself.

Eight weeks of achieving things I thought I was incapable of… for myself. 

Eight weeks of prioritising… myself, my health, my life.

Stats

I did measure myself and I’m hovering around my Week 4 weight! Even with all my travelling etc. And I am down two more centimetres in my waist… but up one on my hips (though I did measure over my gym pants… wishful thinking? Perhaps!).

The official weigh-in (and photos, I guess) is on the 6th of September so I will keep you posted then!

Training

The last Saturday of week 8 was a struggle. It was the first time in my eight weeks where my body could not handle a double class. And I’m pretty used to doing triples, by this stage. Half way through the first class I knew I could not cope with a second barre class.

I think my current bout of insomnia, incredibly high stress levels (personal and work) and hormones cumulatively played a role in my body slowly shutting down.

Overall I only completed four hours of barre, one hour of pilates and one hour of training with P this week. No hot yoga…

I did however attend a stretch workshop on Saturday by one of our barre instructors Taz! It was awesome – my body has seriously never stretched in some of those ways before and I am pretty close to the splits… something that has been on my “try to do” lists for 2017! WIN!

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Almost there!!! 

Diet 

Diet… Sigh, the diet. LOL 😀

The diet has been the part of the challenge where I have failed. I did not follow the recommended plan but rather tried to modify my diet into a lifestyle change. While I could have been more strict with my diet, I did manage to stay away from junk food and confectionary (except dark chocolate)!

Emotions and Achievements 

Eight weeks ago I started the challenge with a bit of reservation – I had not signed up and completed a challenge before and I was nervous. To be honest, I’m not 100% sure WHY I signed up – but I knew I had to (weird, I know).

Barre is something I have been wanting to try for a while – and what better way than to dive into a challenge. Growing up I was the typical tomboy – dance lessons were not something I was interested in; give me sports and climbing trees instead! Since being introduced and slightly addicted to “Dancing With The Stars” last year (Season 23 was my introduction), it is as if my body craved moving that way, improving my posture, pushing my uncoordinated and ungraceful self to be better. I also knew I needed to be more comfortable in my skin and start figuring out who I am.

Fast forward to today –

I’m truly not the same person who went into the challenge. Mid-way, I dealt with serious family health issues, my own emotions and work schedules. It sucked. Yet, the challenge kept me focussed and the classes took my mind off the rest of my life. For at least one hour (or two or three) I could just focus on moving my body and having a good laugh… it is definitely what got me through “life” during the stuff being thrown my way,

I hope to write a longer post about what I gained from the challenge a little later but here is a summary of what I achieved…

  • Meeting INCREDIBLE people!
  • At least two barre sessions a week
  • At least one pilates session a week
  • No sweets!
  • No take-aways
  • No ready-made meals
  • No “hug-in-a-mug”
  • Four kilo’s down!
  • Centimetres of my waist and hips!
  • I’m NEARLY close to the splits!!!

Things I am still working on

  • Learning to love myself… just the way I am and not be too self critical.

Will I keep on with barre? Will I do more Core-Barre challenges?

HELL YES!!!

 

And on that note, let me get ready for class!

All my love,

k x

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#GetFitChallenge – Recap of Week 6: Training to be a badass!

I’ve survived 75% of the challenge and haven’t given up yet!!! GO ME! Even when I am in the middle of a class, screaming silent profanities in my head (directed at the instructor) and my body is plotting its revenge on me… I still keep going back. Post a double class I voice-noted a friend – who thought I was intoxicated by substances… I sounded so “happy” – yet, it was just endorphins!

Stats

And… I gained weight. It was not a measurement week so I have no idea what THAT will say. We are supposed to take photos of ourselves every week. I have not… I’m not photogenic at all – less so with nothing but a sportsbra and leggings! I did bite the bullet and take pics this week *cringe*. The result….

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THERE ARE CHANGES! Like visible changes. 

Side by side photos from the beginning of the challenge to the end of week 6 shows a HUGE difference… even though my weight has not dropped a lot. I have felt some of the clothes being a bit looser, and my butt feels more toned but other than that I just figured I was working off the excess food I was consuming (more on diet later). But FLIP! It actually works. And I have a two-pack developing 😀

Training

I only arrived back in Jozi midweek so managed to fit in a double on Thursday and my second triple on Saturday. My second barre class on Saturday was my first with another instructor… awesome! Lesson of the week: Pilates before barre is a challenge! I usually do barre class (or a double barre) then pilates but Saturday’s schedule has pilates sandwiched between two barre classes. It was only a total of five hours of training this week but judging from the pics… it works!

No additional training with P or hot yoga this week… Yet, from the progress pics I can tell my body is really responding to barre and pilates. It is VERY different from standard training or even hot yoga and dance-based training is something I thought I could never do (thanks to my lack of grace and coordination).

Diet 

Sigh, still not the best but I’m still ready-made meals, ready -made drinks, fast food, added sugar (to cereal/ hot drinks) and confectionary (excluding dark chocolate – in particular Lindt Roasted Hazelnut Dark Chocolate goodness) FREE!

I wanted this challenge to be a lifestyle change and yes, by not eating a lot of “junk” I do feel less lethargic. The withdrawal symptoms are still there – headache mostly – but otherwise, its been good. I feel a lot better – less moody – than I used to be. One of the aims of the challenge was to get into ketosis – something I wrote about here and it is something I don’t want my body to get to – it is not sustainable for me or my body. My personal aim was to get into a healthy eating pattern.

Thanks to #vegetarianproblems I have been supplementing with Omega 3 and a probiotic. Still searching for a good protein shake though…

Emotions 

I feel as though I am dealing with one crisis after another… so I haven’t really had the time to process and figure what what exactly I am feeling. I was surprising chilled while I spent five hours waiting at a government office… I think the lack of sugar is making me calm? And less agitated…

Deciding to document my weekly progress by blogging has actually kept me disciplined and parts of the discipline is seeping into my daily life. I’ve got a long way to go but it is pretty good to be focussed again.

In terms of my body, I have never been this fit, strong and toned before. It was always skeletal anorexic or chubby. As the featured image says; I’m not training to be skinny, I’m training to be a fit badass. There is something so empowering to be strong – physically and mentally… I believe those two are linked. The more physically strong I feel, the more challenges I can handle without freaking out (mentally, that is). I LOVE IT!

Looking ahead: Week 7

Only two more weeks! I’m traveling again this week (thanks to work) so can only really fit in a triple class and perhaps hot yoga… Hopefully I can take some time to run a bit or even try one of my sister’s Zumba videos!

Just a closing thought…. images

Till next week…

k x

#GetFitChallenge – Recap of Week 5: Sore…but worth it!

These weeks are flying by! Officially only 3 more weeks until the end of the challenge! The Core-Barre GetFitChallenge has kept me inspired, motivated, determined and disciplined – something I definitely wanted… and I have not quit yet!

Stats

Nope, no stats this week.. However I did formulate a document for myself, which includes a comprehensive measurements. I just need to get hold of a body composition scale so I can assess my health more carefully.

While there are only 3 weeks until the end of the challenge the “finale” is only on the 16th of September… so in my mind I have six weeks to further improve of my health and wellness. It is a goal for myself and the challenge is keeping me focused and disciplined!

As I’ve mentioned in one of my very first posts about this challenge, I’m doing this as a kickstart to a healthier lifestyle – more “real” food, less ready-made, fast-food; more movement. A healthy lifestyle is something I am craving – being confident in myself and my body, being present and living in the moment, feeling healthy – fit – strong, being productive and efficient, being disciplined, being able to have good sleep, being able to conquer any challenge that comes my way. Too much to ask?

I’m considering booking a photo-shoot – just to be pretty and have cool pics taken… I’ve never had one and perhaps it will be good for my self-worth? Or maybe I will overanalyse and hate myself even more… I’m definitely in two minds about it. Anyway, on to the rest of my Week 5 summary…

Training

I completed my first TRIPLE! Two barre classes followed by a pilates class! In the moment during each class I felt every muscle hurt, yet after the class I felt good! I also had an hour training with P the day after…followed by a double barre the next day… Six hours of training in three days.  And… I FELT it!

I absolutely adore barre and pilates – even though I lack coordination and grace! It does make for funny classes and loads of laughs! How am I supposed to remember those combinations? 😛

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Accurate depiction of myself in barre..particularly the “help” one!

For the GetFitChallenge, we aim for four classes a week – I must say I’m leaning more towards five a week… especially if I do doubles or a triple. My body feels good! It was also great to get back into training with P… I’m doing about six hours of training a week (well, for the past two weeks) and it feels amazing! The “high” I get post-workout – and the ability to sleep deeply – is something I can get very addicted to!

Now to try add a hot yoga class to the mix 😀 (yes, I am a sucker for punishment!).

Diet

This has been the one area where I have not been so good 😦 And I have not taken my supplements… or my protein shake (it is currently discontinued and I’m currently searching for a vegetarian/ vegan alternative)!

I’m trying VERY hard to “eat clean” however with the travel and odd hours – I’ve been succumbing to hazelnut latte’s and energy bars… Weird observation though: I find these items too sweet now! I have never added sugar to hot drinks and now I find the flavoured lattes too sweet!

I am at my parents for a bit of a long weekend/ family break and they do not believe in any diet (perhaps because they saw me through my disordered eating). As a result, I have been consuming a large quantity of “sweet” foods… Not part of my clean eating plan! However, I am just going with the flow… There are always going to be days when I fall off the wagon but I must remember to not be too hard on myself.

Yes, I want to eat healthier but I also do not want to deprive myself. From past experience I know depriving myself will only cause me to binge and go four steps back in my health journey. I’ve been down that road too many a time to revisit the patterns.

I am considering a juice cleanse – but I do not know how my body will react. Not a long cleanse, perhaps just one day? Has anyone tried one?

Emotions

A much, much, MUCH better week! Week 4 was probably the lowest I’ve felt during the challenge: sleep deprivation, headachy, moody/ grumpy/ bitchy/ withdrawn aka PMS, overwhelmed and emotional. I was a bit more of myself during Week 5.

My headache is still ever-present but I think it’s getting better? I’ve realised my low moods and dull headaches were as a result of sugar withdrawal (I used to eat a LARGE amount of sugar).  Damn, the withdrawal symptoms are painful (to say the least).

I’ve also learnt the hard way that I must not sacrifice sleep… Waking up at 3am to watch Game of Thrones before working a full day followed by two hours of training does NOT work for me. Good, deep sleep has been something I’ve struggled with for a few years. Sleeping pills make me depressed and ‘out-of-it’ the next day so I stay as far away from them as possible. I generally fall asleep to some series playing in the background – yes, I know electronics should not be in the bedroom but it is a hard habit to break… I also should switch off my phone (we may be pushing it, there!).

Looking ahead: Week 6

I’m only flying back to JHB on Tuesday evening… so my exercise regimen will start again on Wednesday morning with a P session before I drag myself to work (on a public holiday). I’m scheduled to have double barre on Thursday and a triple on Saturday – my first ever barre-pilates-barre combo (and my first class with another barre instructor).

The “goal” I am adding to week 6 is deactivating Facebook (again), and taking time off Twitter and Instagram – kind of like a social media detox. I hope it will give me a chance to “reboot” and focus on other priorities (not indulging in work-avoidance-behaviour (WABbing) by scrolling endlessly through social media). With this “detox” I also want to try and put my phone off for a few hours every day while I focus on certain tasks… easier said than done!

Until next time

k x

#GetFitChallenge – Recap of Week 2: Down & Out

I knew weeks 2 and 3 would be hard… however, I did not think it would be THIS hard.

Why?

I came down with some form of cold/ flu/ viral hybrid-infection. It started with a sore throat and losing my voice last weekend. This symptom slowly, but surely, progressed to a fever midweek and I’m still pretty congested. Feeling physically drained, congested (thank you, sinuses!) and all headachy is probably the worst limbo out there… you’re ill but it is not quite stay-at-home ill. You just feel crap. And the meds you take make you too restless to sleep – even though your body craves sleep. In addition to my “poor health”, I flew home to my parents for a few days.

Training

Exercising in any way, shape or form when you are ill is not advised. You put additional stress onto your already fragile body – plus you need the extra energy diverted to your immune system to fight off the bad guys or you’ll progress to more severe symptoms.

Because I can be an idiot sometimes; I thought I was fine and completed my second double class of barre and pilates on Tuesday. Physically I felt good and got through it. In fact, I really enjoyed it… until Wednesday morning. I woke up (not having the best sleep in the world) feeling more congested and just iffy. My sore throat seems to be returning and my sinus headache was unrelenting. Mid-morning I broke out in a fever – the first for this period of illness.  Blegh.

I decided to listen to my body and did not exercise for the rest of the week… While Week 1 of the GetFitChallenge saw me complete around 6 hours of training, Week 2 only saw me complete 2 hours. Sadness.

Diet

The win of week 2? I still have not succumbed to any confectionary items and soft-drinks (yay)! Or added sugar to any hot beverages.

I did however have lots of honey to soothe my throat…. Yes, I did “indulge” in sweet and fried foods. No, I did not stuff my face or binge eat. Which I’d like to see as a win. I’m not depriving myself at all… everything in moderation. Maybe I am taking this challenge into a new lifestyle?

Stats 

Yes, the dreading weighing and mugshots happened in Week 2. we are to weigh ourselves and take progress pics weekly. I dread this part. I am the least photogenic person around (thank God for SnapChat filters!). Surprisingly, I managed to lose about a kg from Week 1 to Week 2. In addition I *think* I can see a difference in my photos (a bit more definition in the abs)… or maybe I’m wanting to see something so badly I’m tricking myself!

Emotions

As always, this is my most challenging battle, and perhaps the main reason I registered for the GetFitChallenge. This past week I have been exceptionally mean to  myself – especially seeing that I did not train as recommended. With me, there is always a head vs heart battle; intellectually I know I can’t stress out my body physically, yet emotionally I feel like a failure.

Seeing everyone on our group chats pushing themselves is truly inspiring but also makes me feel worthless… which makes me “hate” myself for not trying… and sends me into a slump and makes me feel physically worse… making me hate myself for being “weak” and getting a cold and not trying – it is a vicious cycle.

I’m consciously trying to work on my internal dialogue with myself and treat myself with more love, care and kindness. But it’s a 24 hour job and damn hard work!

The women in the challenge, particularly Robyn – our mastermind – are amazing; all smiling, energetic, ready to go out and kick ass… all so positive and full of life. These women are the epitome of what I strive to be… just being around them in class bring a smile to my face and brightens up my day. There is no drama, no external influences bringing me down. They make me want to lift myself up and be happy with myself. The pic below was taken after my one and only double class in Week 2 – I look so happy and chilled…. I’d love to carry that around with me.

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Feeling good after completing my Barre and Pilates double!

For this challenge, I made a contract with myself more than anyone else. Robyn’s challenge gave me a platform and a gentle push in the right direction. I’ve always broken promises to myself before and I REFUSE to break this one, too. I can’t handle breaking another promise with myself.

Even just coming to the end of the 8 weeks will be an achievement for ME. I am in competition with myself, the old me: quits when she hits a wall, has crippling self-doubt, very little self-worth and no self-love. I need to remember I can do no more or no less than what my body is capable of – and I know it is capable of a lot.

I need to do what’s best for me: physically, emotionally and mentally.

I need to cut out toxic relationships and mines negativity in all areas of my life…. and I’m worth it. I deserve to be confident and happy in my body and mind.

I need to take this challenge one day at a time.

Looking forward

Week 3!

I’m only back into routine on Wednesday and do hope to squeeze in three core-barre sessions this week – one on Thursday and two on Saturday morning… Unfortunately I’m working on Saturday so it threw my plans of trying the triple for a Saturday: barre, pilates, barre. Maybe next week…  The plan is to also train with P at least once. And – if I am feeling up to it, a hot yoga session with E on Saturday afternoon/evening.

Although I am feeling better physically, I need to remember not to strain myself and my body.

Diet-wise: I need to reset a bit and eat-clean once I get back into my routine. I am proud that I have not had any sweets or soft-drinks though. I am craving fresh food right now!

Emotionally – I need to remember what my friend Miranda always says (and which has become my source of motivation)…. Remember No Matter What: Chin Up, Tits Out. (I reviewed her first book here)!

Until next week!

k x

 

Hot, Sweaty…and worth it!

One of the new things I tried in 2016 was… Hot Yoga.

For those of you not used to Yoga lingo… Hot Yoga (the style I practice is of the “Bikram” style) is a series of 26 postures, performed twice, in a room heated to around 37 degrees Celsius with 40% humidity…. in 90 minutes. Sounds like hell? I thought so, too.

Me? Yoga? Are you crazy?

The only reason I gave it a go is because I had two people independently (they don’t even know each other) bug me about trying it out. Now, I have attention deficit disorder and I need a lot of stuff going on around me to feel at peace – weird, I know. I dabbled with a few yoga classes a few years ago but – to be very honest – I got bored. And the stillness was my version of hell. I couldn’t do the postures, my mind was going a million miles a minute and I felt anxious and awkward. After two classes of that, I wrote off yoga – it wasn’t stimulating enough for me.

So for two people who know me pretty damn well to suggest I try “hot yoga” for 90 minutes… I felt as though I was on an episode of Punk’d. But, these are people I trust with my life so I thought, what the hell – if it is anything like before or worse (now its in a heated room!) I will forever have “I-told-you-so” bragging rights.

Disclaimer 1: These are my perceptions and experiences.

Disclaimer 2: I’m Indian – (well, of Indian ancestry – my family has been in South Africa for more than a few generations) and while Indian people should do yoga or be good at it.; I’m not that kind of Indian (I suck). I just look… tanned. 😛

#FirstEncounter

I got to my first class on a Saturday morning at 7:30am.

What. The. Hell.

I walked into that room wanting to sprint back out! So hot. So humid. Already near sweat.

After the first BREATHING exercise – I was into full sweat mode. And that was just breathing. I was convinced I was going to die. Convinced. But I somehow miraculously made it through the class (I did all but two postures).

And something weird happened. My mind went “blank”. In the room, trying to survive the class (literally just trying to keep myself alive) while listening to the instructor and focusing on putting my body where it needs to be. It was…peace, relaxing, contentment. That’s what it felt like. And THOSE are brand new feelings for me! I felt like I checked out of life, my problems, my issues for an hour (it took me a while to stop thinking) and that felt AMAZING.

Once you hit that final corpse pose, you are so sweaty and almost proud that you survived the class (even if you didn’t do all the poses). You walk out of the room and a rush of cool air hits you – it’s heavenly.

#ConsequencesOfMyFirstClass

Me = Emotional wreck.

I could not keep hold of my emotions and feel “blegh”. And tears. A fair amount. But it almost felt like a release (trust me, I know how weird and “out there” this sounds). After googling, I realised it was normal. Normal? These yoga people are crazy, I thought.

But…

I went back five days later. I don’t know why – I seemed to be drawn there.

It was a shorter class – 60 minutes, you only do some of the postures twice – not all. But I felt as though my HEART WAS BREAKING IN TWO when in “Camel pose”. I really thought my heart was being ripped out of my chest and crushed. However, after I stepped out of that room and had my protein shake… I felt lighter (here I mean emotionally, not just the copious amounts of fluid I lost sweating).

And I wasn’t emotional at all. Win for me! And I went back, and back, and back….

So yes, I had to go back to P and V and tell them they were right. I resisted doing this for a long time…. 😛

#addict ? 

Still a newbie to yoga, I do feel “changed” in some way and I almost seem addicted to it.

When I practise at least twice a week, I find myself WANTING to take better care of myself: eating healthier, sleeping well, feeling less burnt-out, drinking more water and electrolyte supplements and being more in the moment – I can actually concentrate a little (weird feeling for me). Now on holiday, and not having practised in a few weeks – I feel all those good things disappear – slipping into bad habits of junk food, low energy, irritability.

You may think the same repetition of poses is boring, especially for an ADD-er like me. That was my assumption too. But its not the case for me at all. Somedays I can’t do a damn pose without falling out of it. Other days I can last a bit longer. And there have been a few days where I could do it!  I think knowing which poses come next also helps my need for control.

The heat really keeps my mind blank and at peace (well, that’s peace to me)…and you get to a point in the class where you don’t care about comparing yourself to other people. Its hard to not try to compare myself other people but you get to a space where you focus on yourself. I can’t seem to look at myself in the eyes yet – so I focus on my leg/ knee/ shoulders. And I’m still very body conscious, you won’t see me in a sports bra and tiny shorts/ figure hugging yoga pants (don’t laugh, but its kinda my goal – and to look myself in the eyes).

 I am not so emotional anymore (damn backbends) but it all depends on how I am doing on the day and how I treated myself that week. If it was a crazy week where I repressed a lot of emotion/ feelings – be assured the class will be tough for me. If it was a busy, angry week – I am more determined in class (almost to the point of over-doing it with poses and risking injury).

I practise mainly at Zen Hot Yoga World in Bryanston, Sandton (Johannesburg, South Africa) as it is closer to me. I have also had a few private classes with the awesome Eliza (I’ll write more about my facilitation sessions with her in another post) at the eco-friendly Yoga Republic studio in Randburg and will definitely try out the more adventurous “Air Yoga” classes and the calmer “stretching” class in the new year.

#LessonsLearnt

Here are some of my personal tips to help… or at least I try to follow them

  • I have never sweated that much in my life. Towels for the mat are a must – I try not to wipe off the sweat during class as it does interfere with the temperature homeostasis (yay for my biology-driven brain!)
  • Tie-up hair – the sweat pours off me… and my hair is drenched!
  • Eat a little a fair amount of time before you go to class (for me its coffee (strong with a smidgen of milk, no sugar) and a handful, or two of almonds… and a banana about 30 minutes before class
  • Stay hydrated! I like to sip on an electrolyte supplement/ coconut water before class, water during (sips only)
  • I like my protein shake with L-glutamine AFTER class – again, sipping it while sitting down recovering after class (NEVER drink a protein shake before class…. it will end badly, you WILL feel like throwing up especially during the poses where you are on your tummy)
  • Finish the electrolyte supplement/coconut water
  • Lukewarm – cool shower when you get home (I don’t do cold showers)… it feels really good!

Till next time

k xx

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