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

Regret

The featured image above is a beautiful sunset I witnessed arriving home late from work a  day this week. The world keeps turning, we get older and have we really lived? We go from school to university to the working world. We wake up, work, sleep. Does that define a life? I don’t think so. Sure, there are holidays and moments of “awesomeness” within those days but those are few and sometimes far between. Are we really happy? What do we regret? Am I happy with my life as it currently stands? Am I fulfilled? Or am I talking myself out of things and experiences that, at the very least, be something new I’ve tried?

I’ve been thinking a lot about regret lately. And how to live without regretting anything.

I do have regrets – things I should have done and paid more attention to, people I trusted when I should not have. I can’t change the past – nobody can. But I can move forward and change the way I live.

I wish I felt this way sooner in my life. I want to try new things and learn new things about myself; not to feel held back by my own excuses (I’m great at making excuses). My excuses are the usual: I’ll be rubbish at it, I’m scared of making myself look like a fool, I can’t afford it and the two biggest excuses…. I have too much work to do and don’t have the time; I’m too exhausted.

And I do regret not trying things and I’m going to try an experiment… for the next 6 months (until the end of 2017) there are a few things I want to accomplish. And I want to write about my experiences here… to keep myself (publicly) accountable.

  • Try at least three core barre classes (I’m scared I won’t be able to keep up – I’m very competitive)
  • Try to go to latin dance classes and dance the Argentine Tango (my favourite!) (My lack of balance will make me fall flat on my face)
  • Complete and submit my big project (I’m scared of failure)
  • Work out at least three times a week (common excuses: I don’t have time, I’m exhausted)
  • Be more “present” and “in the moment” when I am talking to people… not scrolling through my phone… (I don’t have time so let me scroll Instagram while I talk to you – which to be completely honest is damn RUDE of me)
  • Go completely offline for one weekend a month: no email, no blog posts, no Facebook, no Instagram, no Twitter – I can relax/ work by reading, writing on actual paper (the excuse is I can’t be offline because I will miss something… major FOMO (fear of missing out))
  • Look after my body – cut down on the sweets and junk food!!!

SO there it is… The first three scare the living daylights out of me. Honestly.

But, I will try. No use in not trying and regretting.

I need to start living my life.

x

 

Regret

Disillusioned…

I think the turmoil of the past few months is hitting me, hard.

Personally and globally. The personal turmoil –  I understand that; I have not fully dealt with or comes to terms with the losses in my life.

But with the rest of life….not only in my geographical region either… across the world it seems as though human kind has lost the plot. Apart from the natural disasters we cannot stop (drought here in RSA, wildfires in RSA and Portugal), WHAT THE F%#! is going on with us?

  • Politically, the US and UK can rival our good old JZ with “scandals”.
  • There radicalised people committing acts of terror in the name of religion, causing hate and fear.
  • Racism, sexism, discrimination against religions, sexuality, pretty much anything that differs from the “norm” are all pervasive in our society (our global society, no less).

Honestly, these things affect me a lot. I’m the kind of person who needs to know everything that is going on – probably the control freak in me. And I over-analyse EVERYTHING. Yet, it does all seep into my subconscious and keeps me up at night.

It may sound overdramatic but what kind – what level – of hell is this? Are we living in Dante’s inferno? Why? How can we make this better?

I think I need hope. I need faith. I need to breathe. Just like the quote featured above says – but how do you having hope and faith? What do you do when it feels as though your very soul has taken enough of a beating? How do you keep positive in times of despair? How do you keep smiling when the world is suffering?

Or am I a freak who feels all this too much?

This has been a very depressing post – and I do apologise…  Definitely no suicidal tendencies here, just curiosity. Any comments and suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

x

 

Dancing In The Rain

This is something paraphrased from my Instagram which I recently posted… but I think it is necessary here as well.

To my loved ones:

I must apologize.

It’s no secret that I’ve had the WORST past few weeks, if not months.

I was an angry bitch for about two weeks… and only one of those weeks could be attributed to hormones….before which I was just sad.

 I could feel myself falling into deep despair, struggling to keep afloat…

Life is hard when you forgo your wellbeing – physical, mental, emotional – to take care of others. My body, my spirit have taken a beating this year and I’ve tried to be ok with it. But I can’t.

After I failed horribly at a hot yoga session (as in sat out of the whole floor series), went home and cried for what felt like the millionth time, I had a light-bulb moment.

I took responsibility for my behavior, apologizing to those I lashed out too and realized that I need to take care of “me”. This past week was better than the weeks prior but I still have a long ass way to go.

Yes I’m overwhelmed – too much to do, too little time – and emotional…. but right now it is the best I can do, for me.

Please be patient with me – I am my own worst critic and I don’t know how to fix it.

Every month around my gran’s death day I slump badly; I miss her terribly and I know she’ll want me to be happy but it is so freaking hard. So, so hard. But I am trying to be ok.

I’m trying to learn to “dance in the rain”.

This quote is something to remind me to let go of my own need for perfection and expectation. I need to be that free kid again… doing what I love, not because I am obliged to… I need to stop the self-hate and self-criticism.

I need to smile from my soul again.

I’m so grateful for you rockstars in my life.

Thank you for being there and helping me be me again.

X

Gone But Not Forgotten

I have not written in a few months. I’ve wanted to multiple times, but unfortunately could not bring myself to do so.

My last post was about my gran dying.

On the 11th of February 2017, I watched my gran take her last breath. It was the culmination of two weeks of torture for me – watching her decline very fast. I am fortunate I could spend the last two days by her side, talking to her (she was in a comatose state).

As with most “traumatic” events in my life, I reverted to my default mechanism. Shut off the emotions and get stuff done. It is what I do. As a Hindu, there are a number of rituals we go through, which I followed for my gran. So I was pretty busy getting things sorted and making sure everyone was ok.

However, like all things that we try to ignore and not deal with… they come out raging, when we least expect it.

It has been 4 months since my gran left and I miss her.

Every. Single. Damn. Day.

I love you my Nans so much and miss her terribly.

It is heart wrenching – i just want to talk to her, discuss politics and sports with her, let her go off on tangents an ask me the same question in the space of a few hours.

As I write this I am crying…it is hard for me to “open” up about it… my grief is raw and I don’t like being vulnerable. Maybe someday I will write more about it – but not now. I hope this post will get me writing again – I miss it.

 

Growing Older

People say growing older is a privilege, one that is denied to many. I agree, but at what point do we draw the line?

My maternal gran – the only grandparent I have left – is dying. I grew up with three grandparents, lost my maternal grandfather at 16. I lost my paternal gran at 27.

My maternal gran is the one I am the closest too. My mom is her only child and my sister and I are her only grandchildren. Ever since my grandfather passed away in 2001, she’s lived with us… and I speak to her everyday – especially since I moved away from home to Cape Town and now Joburg.

Over the past three years my gran has become a lot less stable, and has been losing weight.  Since July 2016, though, she has not been well. Her eyesight has deteriorated rapidly and she’s become a lot more forgetful. In December, she was frail and weak.

A mere four weeks since I last saw her, my gran can barely walk on her own. She needs help and has been asleep a lot. I stayed with her during my stay and learnt she was afraid – but she could not tell me of what. She’s in pain but her medication provide no relief. She sometimes forgets who I am. She has no appetite. She’s far from the person she used to be. It breaks my heart. And I can’t fix it. I can’t make it better.

A family friend who visited over the weekend said that this “dying process/stages” can be a way for us to say goodbye while she is still here. I understand that (my grandfather died suddenly)… but it is still so hard to see her go through it. My paternal gran went through the same process…

I know it is only a matter of time. And I already miss her. I miss talking to her every afternoon – hearing her tease me about something or the other. I’m crying writing this. I’m anxious and scared that at any given moment I could get the phone call.

The only thing certain in life is death. It’s sobering and puts life into perspective (especially since I had a man die on me (he had a sudden heart attack and fell on me) at an airport this Tuesday…but thats another story).

Cherish the people in your life now, tell them you love them. Be with them.

My nani made a huge difference to my life. I love my nani with all of my heart. I already miss her, even if she does not know who I am.

k x