#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

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#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 3: Baby Steps

I can’t believe Week 3 is over and we have begun Week 4… almost halfway! To be honest, I’m feeling a bit emotional that this challenge is flying by!

If you have not read my previous recaps, you can find Week 1 here and Week 2 here.

Week 3 was all about me finding my feet again, and taking things one baby step at a time. I was still on the mend from my viral infection, and even though I felt “left behind” I knew biologically it was not wise for me to train in any way, state or form while still on medication. I was surprising ok with this – perhaps because it wasn’t a flaky excuse and I was pretty ill (not “pretending” to be more ill than I am).

Training

Post-illness, I was feeling good and managed to successfully complete 30 minutes with P and a barre class on the Thursday. My first exercises/ training since the previous Tuesday – and I FELT IT.

P focused on legs… and I leg pressed more than my body weight. But it was cool. Except… at barre, Tyla decided it was LEG DAY. I made it through the class. But as soon as I climbed into bed (at 8pm – don’t judge) I was exhausted.

The inner of my thighs and sides (love handles) had the good post-workout feel. I LOVE the feeling; probably because I don’t feel it a lot. My body breaks down lactic acid pretty quickly so the day after training I don’t feel much.

Saturday saw me complete my first double of Week 3; barre and pilates. Barre was high intensity, pilates was murder with the pilates ring thing. After the double I had to drag my sorry ass to work where I felt as though I could have fallen asleep at any given moment. Alas, it is the life of a scientist…. the struggle is real people. Trust me. 😉

And no… no hot yoga for the past two weeks… I do miss it. But my favourite teacher Eliza is doing a class on a Sunday at the end of Week 4 so I may join it (if I survive Week 4…more on that a bit later).

Diet

My downfall. As usual. While I still have not indulged in sweets or ready-to-drink hot beverages (yay me!) I did have extra sugar.

Quite a bit of honey for my sore throat and sugary, deep-fried goodies at my folks. I must admit that I did not binge (as I expected)! And I did not feel bad and hate myself for it – perhaps because I knew what was coming so I could mentally prepare.

I’m still struggling with drinking enough water. A lot. It’s winter and its cold… (yes, excuses). But it is my aim for the next few weeks.

In terms of supplements I am religiously taking Omega 3, 6, 9 (Flaxseed oil) mostly cos my joints “creak” when I train! (Yes, old age – I know!). I am also taking Vitamin effervescents and realised I need a probiotic (too much info?).

Post-training, I have been taking my protein shake with some L-glutamine. However my protein shake of choice has been off the market for a while and I AM DESPERATE for SOMETHING! So I am on the look out and ANY vegetarian suggestions would be most welcome!

I’m officially down to two shakes….. I feel as though the shake gives me a boost… I can have a meal-replacement shake with milk – but that increases the dairy content. I’m still hooked on fat-free milk and low-fat yoghurts (yes they have artificial sweeteners) – for some reason I have mental block against full cream. However, it may be my disordered eating patterns from a few years ago.

Emotions

Week 3 was better emotionally – I accepted that I was ill and took it easy. I was also at home with my folks and extended family… we always manage to make each other laugh and it is a good distraction. I did shed a few tears but it was more circumstantial than self-criticism.

What was interesting, though, is that I did notice the more I physically healed from the infection, the more and more anxious I felt. My body CRAVED movement of any sort. My trip back to Jozi was only on Tuesday so by the time Thursday rolled around I was VERY ready to get active.

Stats

I weighed in on Saturday…. and I lost 2 kgs. How, I have no idea. I’m scared I’ve lost muscle, especially since I was ill. But we will see how the next few weeks progress. No photos this week – I ran out of time and wasn’t that brave – plus I knew my diet was craptastic (to say the least).

One of the aims for myself in the challenge – is to get some sort of ass. I mean, it is “booty barre” for a reason… As usual, my body does things weirdly and I think I’m losing what little of an ass I have. EEK!!!!!!

I also want to get more definition in my tummy as well as get rid of the love handles – which I do believe may be going away a bit – though it could be my imagination.

 

Week 4 

I’m stretching myself for Week 4… perhaps being a bit overzealous. But I think I can kick ass. Mind over matter, right? I hope!

It is doubles all the way for me this week – barre and pilates today (Monday), Tuesday and Saturday. I’m keen to try the triple on Saturday but we’ll see how I feel on Wednesday! In addition to the barre and pilates, I am training with P for 30 minutes on Tuesday and Thursday. I also want to try and attempt a hot yoga class on Sunday (beginning of week 5) but I will listen to my body…

Dietwise, I want to cut down the sugar (no more honey or refined sugar for me). I also need to desperately increase my intake of water (I am severely lacking). My electrolyte supplements unfortunately do contain some sucrose so I can’t get away from that entirely – especially if I do not drink enough water, my body requires the supplement.

In my enthusiasm to move more and eat clean in Week 4, I did forget that I am also on a lab rotation that is insanely busy… All. The. Time.

All this means is that I will (hopefully) sleep REALLY well this week and I need to be super prepared!

Good luck to me 😐

Support

The 8 week #GetFitChallenge was always going to be tough for me. I knew it even before signing up:

  • The discipline to complete the required classes per week (I can flake really easily and have some pretty lame excuses) and to get focussed in other non-work related areas
  • Trying to not eat sweets or drink highly processed ready-made beverages and consciously choosing to “eat-clean”
  • Learning to accept myself, my weaknesses and tune down the self-hate… boosting confidence

It was freaking scary to sign up. I was going solo on this. Some scary stuff; especially for someone who is very fond of my comfort zone and being invisible (yes, I know I need to change that). I’m very used to feeling “not good enough” and even signing up was HUGE for me. For some weird reason Robyn kept asking if I was keen on joining… I was – perhaps she sensed it? I don’t want to live a life of “what ifs” and I want to be more open and “seen” but I truly feel that I’m not worth it… Yes, my self esteem is shot. But this challenge is helping rebuild it…piece by broken piece.

To be honest I never in a million years expected anyone – let alone Robyn, the mastermind of the challenge – to read about my journey through the eight weeks. Robyn has truly been a pillar of strength, sending my words of encouragement and motivation. I can truly say it is because of Robyn that I have not thrown in the towel not the challenge yet. I love that she has created Core-Barre: a studio that is welcoming and a pleasure to visit. Everyone in the challenge is awesome: friendly, supportive, welcoming. It is kinda a “safe space”.

Now I need to get my ass out of work and off to class!

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

 

#GetFitChallenge – Recap of Week 1: Internal Struggles

Week 1 of the #GetFitChallenge is over… Seven more weeks to go….  How do I feel?

Finding my feet and struggling with comparison. 

Here is a quick, raw, honest overview of my experience during Week 1… As always these are my personal views and opinions.

Training

I think I did well… I successfully completed 4 sessions – including my first double: barre followed by pilates. My sessions included 3 Barre and my first ever Pilates workout. I wrote about my first Barre session here.

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Early on a Saturday morning, getting ready for my first double session of Pilates & Barre… Classes 3 and 4 at Core-Barre for Week 1!

Fifteen minutes into starting my 3rd barre class I began wondering HOW THE HELL I would be able to complete the double. But, head down and had to just do it. It did help having a fellow challenger do the double with me…

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Lezanne and I did our first double-class together!

Furthermore I successfully completed a 90 minute Hot Yoga class on Sunday the 2nd and a 30 minute session with P (after which I did a Barre session), as well as just 30 minutes of light cardio by myself. It felt good! I’ve been drinking my protein shake loads, always with L-glutamine.

Robyn, the director and mastermind of the challenge, joined in for our early sessions of Barre and Pilates on Saturday. It was awesome to have her there training with us. Inspiring and motivating. Thank you, Robyn!

Overall this past week, my body worked with me and I felt ok. I’ve struggled with the emotional side of life and my personal demons, which I will get into a bit later.  However, I don’t feel comfortable enough to take a weekly progress photo or weigh myself… but I just need to bite the bullet. Just. Do. It.

Diet

EEK! While I stayed clear (!) from all confectionary and adding refined sugar to any of my drinks and meals (yay for me…it’s the little things, people)… I did “enjoy” a single Jungle Oats Peanut Butter Energy Bar – every day for four days (including BEFORE Barre class on two occassions)… Naughty, I know.

I’m also struggling to drink enough water – and at some stages I feel as though I may not be eating enough – which is perhaps why I craved something sweet before bed (hence the energy bar). So I do need to look at that for this week. I did get some Lindt Dark Chocolate with Mint (and Lindt Dark with Roasted Hazelnuts) so I’m hoping a block or two before bed will do the trick.

In better news I have not had my go-to hot drink! I, quite frankly, am ADDICTED to the Hazelnut cappuccino from a local brand flavour –  Pour a packet into my mug, add boiling water and stir. Quick, easy… and full of unhealthy “stuff” – I read the ingredients and nearly passed out from the amount of chemicals in it! I’ve been putting all that in my body… multiple times a day *cringe*  Does my body really need anti-foaming agent? Um, I think NOT!

I must admit I do absolutely adore the smoothie treat after classes on a Saturday – so yummy and combinations I would never think of! Now, if only I can make the time to make myself these every morning….

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Delicious, healthy, nourishing smoothies on a Saturday post class!

Emotions, Emotions, Emotions

Toward the end of the week – from about Thursday –  I’ve been struggling. Its been tough. I’ve been very self-conscious, to be honest. There has also been body-hate. I’m not sure why but its just how I feel.

Everyone at the classes for the GetFitChallenge look AMAZING and could be models in their spare time. I feel very…frumpy, ugly and lumpy. I go to work in jeans, sneakers and hoodies, with no makeup (at most, I will have eyeliner and lip gloss on). After work I head off to gym. For the challenge, my fellow challengers look flawless and are all very sophisticated. I do feel a little intimidated… and as though I need to wear makeup every time I go to class. Wrinkles and dark rings under my eyes have become insanely worrying. I feel as though I’m getting and looking very old, very fast.

I know I need to get out of this mode and slay these demons. Its hard, though. However, one of my goals for the challenge is to be more confident and comfortable in my own skin. Week 1 was a step back – and sharing this so openly is scary.

In hindsight, the anniversary of my gran’s death is coming up and I’ve noticed I’m in a slump around that time… It’s been quite consistent for the past few months now so I have come to know and recognise know the sadness and withdrawal that clouds over me around and before her death day.

The cold-like symptoms I’m currently experiencing also do not make me feel any better…

Just hoping I can move past this, soon. It is nothing but self-destructive.

As ridiculous as it seems – trust me, my intellectual side knows this; the emotional side does not – I feel crap that I have not seen any change in my body yet – where are those damn abs… why are the love handles STILL there? Why is my butt not growing? Yes the instant gratification I expect is in full force. I just need to keep my head down and keep swimming…. progress NOT perfection.

Yes, that was my biggest lesson this week. I need to remember the little things, the little achievements and I always have to Strive for progress, not perfection”! As a perfectionist, I need everything to be perfect – but that is neither possible nor productive. I should be proud I managed four classes at Core Barre, a hot yoga class, a 30 min light cardio session and a 30 minute session with P this week… around 6hr30min of working out!

Looking forward:

Weeks 2 and 3 will be even more challenging for me…

Week 2 has not begun on a good note. I seem to have laryngitis (not sure what the root cause is: either bacterial/ viral or acute sinusitis). I did not take my a Hot yoga class and well rescheduled some of my Barre classes – so I will only take two classes (a double) this week. Hopefully I can still make my two sessions with P. Yes I know I should not be exercising when I’m ill…but right now, the only organ affected is my throat. If I get worse, ofcourse I will slow down.

Thanks to my sore throat, I’ve been adding honey to my tea and living on lozenges (which do contain some sugar). Sunday the 9th has been a bit of a disaster… ready-made pizza (not good) and a lunch-size packet of ginger biscuits.

Toward the end of week 2 and the beginning of week 3 I am out of my normal routine. I am performing a ceremony for my late gran back home, which means lots of family and food (some deep fried and a fair amount of refined sugar!).

Being away and out of my normal routine means no training – no Barre classes, no Hot Yoga and no training with P for 5 days. And not the best diet in the world.

I do hope to focus on my emotional/mental side and put in a fair amount of work on my project, as well as try to be more grateful for myself and learn to not compare myself to others. This is my journey – again, intellectually I get it… emotionally I’m stuck in comparison mode. This body-hate needs to go down a couple of notches… it is not healthy in any way, shape or form.

Let’s hope my review of Week 2 will be a more personally positive one! Here is my current mantra for the next few weeks:

Unknown

k x

#GetFitChallenge*

*Please note these are my own views and goals. 

My last post, Regret, was a little over a week ago. I wrote about wanting to try new things and not making any lame excuses…  I also gave a few examples of things I would’ve liked to try before the end of the year. One of those? Try a barre class… how things work out!

I found Core-Barre on Instagram and started following them. I’ve practised at Zen Hot Yoga and always walked past Core-Barre (they are Zen’s neighbours) but did not really have the guts to walk in and enquire about it. So when I saw the Instagram post about the new challenge coming up – right after I wrote about wanting to try it – I emailed Robyn, the director of Core-Barre for more information. And… I took a leap of faith.

In the 32 years and 4 months of my life, I have NEVER signed up to ANY fitness challenge or trained for huge events (like a marathon/cycle race etc). EVER. So this is a new experience for me. 

INDUCTION 

We had our introductory session about the program – with weigh-ins, measurements, photos (worst nightmare) on Thursday 28th June 2017. No, I’m not in ketosis. Yes, my blood glucose levels are fine. Yes, my measurements and weight could be better. We also received kick-ass goodie bags! 

2017-06-29 20.04.25
Goodie Bag contents courtesy of Core-Barre and Freddy SA for the 8 week #GetFitChallenge

Standing around listening to Robyn my thoughts were: “what did I get myself in to”. The program, in collaboration with Freddy SA, consists of 4 classes a week (either barre or pilates) and eating plan (going sugar-free and a low carb high fat diet).

As it is a challenge, it is a competition for the most “dramatic” transformation. At the end of the 8 weeks, the winner receives a host of goodies from Freddy, Core-Barre and SA culinary institute.

Given my competitive nature, you would think I’m in-it-to-win-it. However, to be 100% honest… I don’t really give a damn about the competition. Maybe I’m growing up? However, I think it is because I want to do it for different reasons, not to be the most physically transformed. I think it is awesome to have that as a goal, but at this stage of my life I need a more holistic transformation for me, not for any-body else and not in competition with anybody. 

PERSONAL GOALS

My aim of the 8 week #GetFitChallenge offered by Core-Barre is probably 100% different from the other participants. Ofcourse; I want to be stronger, more toned, more supple, have more balance and maybe even lose weight. 

Yet… I’m focussed more on making the challenge a kick-start to a lifestyle change.

A transformation for ME will be CONFIDENCE, SELF-LOVE and DISCIPLINE in all areas of my life. 

As far back as I can remember I’ve always had body issues and a very low self-esteem. I’ve already noticed a change in my overall mood by working out (as I recently expressed on Instagram). Now, I need to work on loving me, the body I have and I want to be proud of myself – this is the confidence and self-love. 

With the amount of training I aim to accomplish, the new lifestyle changes, working full time and major projects (not work related) due around the corner I need to be disciplined to be able to make this a success! My lazy side is already cringing.  

TRAINING PROGRAM

In addition to the 4 classes per week as recommended by the program, I will still be training twice a week for 30 minutes with P. I’m also hoping to fit in at least one hot yoga session per week. It will a be a lot. But I think my body can do it. All different yet enjoyable styles of moving my body. 

A good workout, regardless of the type and duration, always makes me feel good. I complain and am just lazy which makes me skip workouts…. making me feel worse (its a vicious cycle). After meeting the organisers and my fellow participants (its a handful of us) it seems like an awesome group who can keep each other accountable. 

DIETARY PROGRAM

While I am down with the exercise schedule, the low-carb-high-fat diet will be difficult. 

First, I’m vegetarian (no meat, fish, eggs) and protein will be a problem.

Second, the ultimate aim of the challenge is to get into ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state of using ketone bodies for energy (aka fats for energy) as opposed to glycolysis (aka carbs for energy). With a veggie diet it is a challenge to be in ketosis. Moreover, I’ve been in ketosis before and to be honest I felt crap – it may have been the (extreme weight loss as well) but my body was shutting down. That is just my experience and I’m not keen to try it again. Maybe with being healthy, I can slowly lead my body down that path but my body is not there yet. 

Third, due to the lack of protein in my diet I chug down a protein shake after training.  I also sweat a lot (especially with hot yoga) so I do need an electrolyte supplement. I’m not 100% sure if these are in the program (I haven’t studied it completely yet), but the supplements sometimes do contain a portion of glucose.

My biggest vice, however, is refined SUGAR. I am always with sweets, chocolate, biscuits… and emotional eating. Or just eating out of habit. And eating junk. 

My dietary goal is to decrease my refined sugar intake as much as possible… and perhaps decrease my gluten intake a bit. If I have a craving, hopefully, I will have the willpower – and discipline – to enjoy it in moderation. I just want to ultimately overhaul my diet so I am not using food as comfort. 

PROGRESS

We are to take weekly progress photos for the challenge. I will definitely take the photos and no, these will not be publicly shared. In addition to the photos I really hope to blog about my journey through this challenge. 

I’ve summarised my goals and these are the things I want to try to accomplish (or try my best and be proud that I could give it 100%). This list is proudly displayed on my phone, my home and office! 

Mental & Emotional (& Intellectual) Goals

  • Confidence
  • Self-love
  • Discipline

Body Goals

  • Get a defined tummy 
  • Work toward getting a booty 
  • Lose the love handles 
  • Sort out the hip dip (yes it has a word, is a thing and I have it!)
  • Rock a bikini in public without covering up and show up to gym/ hot yoga in a sports bra and shorts (not that I think I would ever work out in public with just a sports bra and shorts)

Dietary Goals

  • Stop the emotional eating and eating out of habit 
  • Reduce refined sugar: sweets, milk chocolate, cakes & confectionary 
  • Reduce ready-made meals and quick junk-food – so I need to stop being lazy and cook!
  • Substitute more grains, complex carbohydrates (as opposed to white pasta/bread)
  • Drink more water! 

 

Thats it. I’m doing it. My first ever fitness related challenge and two exercises I have NEVER tried in my life. Wish me luck! But… I am so very excited and keen…. or I’m crazy 😜 Thank you SO much to Robyn and her team for the challenge (and allowing lil old me to give it a go)!

 

Have you guys participated in fitness challenges? Any tips/ tricks to stay on track? 

kush x

 

Acceptance… Why is it so hard?

I was in my hot yoga class on Sunday and there is something my favourite (and awesome) instructor said something that just stuck. Stuck like I can’t-get-it-out-of-my-head, stuck. Its been ruminating within me…and making me feel a bit vulnerable.

While lying in corpse pose mid-practice, Eliza mentioned that moving your body in yoga allows you to learn how to love yourself (side note: I am paraphrasing). Loving yourself is not in a vain way – it is more accepting yourself wholly for who you are, what you are, what you look like, what you believe in.

And thats a big thing for me.

All my life, for as long as I can remember, I have been hating myself… for not being enough – not smart enough, not pretty enough, not thin enough, not confident enough. I take things too personally and am too sensitive, I trust too much and place too much emphasis on what people say about me. I am a people pleaser.

Society has placed a lot of expectations on the world and in this digital age we are bombarded by images and an influx of advertising imprinting on us what we should look like, how we should act, what we can do. I am also a millennial – a member of the instant gratification generation…we want things our way, and we want it now. Not a good combination.

So, why did the phrase “love yourself” stick out to me  THIS class. Especially when the same two words are everywhere – from social media to local magazines… It is the theme du jour, so to speak. I’ve heard and read the phrase many times before. What changed in that moment, in that yoga class?

Perhaps it was the “right time”. I was too exhausted to over-think and analyse and question. I was sweaty and vulnerable and my mind was “still” (well, as still as an ADD mind can get!). It was the first time I actually heard the words. I “felt” the words. And it scares me (not just because I feel very un-scientific saying that I “felt” words).

Just the day before I heard news that threw me… and made me sink into the depths of self-pity. Not the most attractive trait, I know. It made me question the world and the unfairness of life. Why do “good” things happen to “bad” people? “Good” as in lucky, getting everything handed to them, not struggling. “Bad” as in  superficial, arrogant, treats people as consumables. The whole nature of it all makes me question and over-analyse life….is life really that unfair? Or is it a perception? What do I really feel about “everything happens for a reason” and “all in good time”?

To add insult to injury, I’ve been feeling forgotten… I seem to attract emotionally unavailable people to my life and then berate myself for giving 150% of myself to a one-sided relationship. I care too much. I love too much. Almost to the extent of losing myself in the process. While they only know me when they want something. It sucks.

I get that each person has their own journey in life. Their own obstacles, trials. But why is it that those who suffer the most are the most humble, genuine, compassionate people? I’m not saying I am any of those qualities but I feel as though I am respectful and caring. Why have things been such a struggle for me these past ten years? Why have their been so many bricks along the path which caused me to stumble at every single step? These questions have been haunting me for the longest time.

As I was in the corpse pose during that class, my heart physically felt as though it was being squeezed, constricted….remnants of muscle breaking away and falling into the deep abyss (so to speak).  I’ve felt this way before – I know it well. It is my not-good-enough feeling – I remember it from early 2015, when I had my heart broken. When Eliza said the words “love yourself” it was as if it was a “lightbulb” moment. Don’t get me wrong, the feeling is still there…but my thoughts have “shifted” slightly.

I know I need to persevere, keep at it, take it all in my stride. Intellectually, I know this. I need to move forward. “Embrace” the lessons and learn from them. Grow as a human being – and get stronger, more adaptable, resilient, disciplined (shout out to my 2017 theme)! However, emotionally I am “stuck”… It is so much easier to feel sorry for myself and stay in the same metaphorical place while lamenting my fate, blaming the world – hell anything and everyone – for my situations. I have so much to be grateful for and when I reflect on this it makes me feel worse for even feeling sorry for myself. Vicious cycle all leading to “hate-me” avenue.

It is much, much harder to be an active participant in my life and love myself – flaws and all.  The perception requires me to take 100% responsibility for my life, my actions, my decisions. Which is scary because there is no-one or nothing I can blame but myself. When I am in the middle of a hot yoga class and sweating profusely, thinking I am going to fall flat on my face, my mind screaming at me (you’re going to die!)…the heat, the instructions and pure instinct kick in and my body surprises me. I can do it and make it through the class. So perhaps I need to trust my instinct and intuition more in everyday life…and learn to accept myself – flaws and all. Easier said than done.

What do I need to accept in life?

  • I will never have supermodel looks or a supermodel body or look like anyone else.
    • But I can be the healthiest, fittest person I can be.
  • I will never be the smartest person in my field.
    • But I can work hard, be disciplined and focused on where I would like to be.
  • Some people will only know me when they need something.
    • But I can set boundaries to protect myself.
  • People I love and care about will not feel the same about me.
    • But I can hold a place in my heart for them, wishing them well, without expectations.
  • Some people will not have the same values in life as well.
    • But I can know my own values, morals, ethics and not be pressured into saying or doing things that does not feel authentic to me.

All these things require diligent action –  especially when I’m having a bad day and my default is to feel sorry for myself. Its damn hard work. Today, is a particularly hard day. I deep in wallowing mode and trying to pull myself out of it. My discipline and habits for the day have fallen to the wayside and I’m harder on myself because of it. Talk about a catch-22. Again, vicious cycle. But my crappy feeling is somehow different this time around… I’m fully aware of it… not just feeling “bleh” for no real reason.

I’d like to think my hot yoga practice and my facilitation sessions with Eliza have opened the gates to a new perception of myself and my world. The combination seems to have pushed my boundaries – in and out of class. I only started hot yoga in October 2016, at least once a week so I am still a newbie! My first and second facilitation sessions were in December 2016.  Those are the only new things I’ve incorporated in my life and since then I found I’ve been bubbling with the urge to write more. I’ve somewhat started to  accept my body (the moments are few and FAR between but there have been glimpses of acceptance).  I’m still working on being disciplined, learning to set boundaries and say no… hopefully it will come with time! And I am definitely a work in progress when it comes to comparing myself to others.

Hopefully putting my words down here will allow me to “let go” of some of the thoughts occupying space in my mind and let me get on with my priorities and goals. And, I think, most importantly figure out my vision and passion in this world… so I can see the bigger picture and accept myself more…

Am I the only one who struggles with this? What do you do to get yourself out of a slump? Do you find accepting yourself hard? Please let me know below 🙂

kush

x