I’ve written this post a few times before and kept chickening out of actually posting it. Mostly because I’m afraid of coming off like I know what I’m doing. I’ve learned a lot over the last year about nurturing my body and found a good balance of diet and exercise for myself but I definitely don’t know it all. Several friends have been asking me for more details on my work out/ diet regimen and I’m so happy to share any info that could help someone, which is why I’ve eventually decided to post the details here.
HOW I GOT STARTED:
Several months after having Tucker I started working out regularly, which mostly included working my way up to being able to run a mile without stopping. I always wound up wandering around the gym doing random exercises until I felt like I’d done enough for the day. I was so frustrated with weighing in 10 pounds heavier than my pre-baby weight. My sister told me about Kayla Itsines, a trainer out of Australia. She showed me her Instagram page which is full of transformation photos. Angie begged me to join her on her 12 week guide and I reluctantly agreed to give it a try. The first workout was HARD. I knew the half way point was when I would normally quit but having Angie with me gave me the motivation to finish.
I loved scrolling through Kayla’s instagram feed and seeing all of these very normal looking women transform their bodies into athletic fit ones. I really wanted to see what I could make of the body God gave me. I started focusing on making my body strong and feeding it well, rather than looking at workouts as punishing my body for eating bad. I decided to really commit to doing the full 12 weeks alongside eating a very clean diet. I wanted to give it my absolute best effort and see what would happen. I gave up morning weigh-ins and took weekly progress photos instead. This did wonders for me. I stopped getting disappointed and started realizing my body was changing form, slowly but surely. I didn’t let anything stop me. Normally I’d have a bowl of ice cream and feel completely defeated and give up for a day or two. This time if I “cheated” or had a rough day at the gym, I just kept going. I gave each workout more energy than I knew I had. I’ll admit I was digging deep to finish most of them. I was talking myself into “keeping on” the entire time. But, I loved seeing myself get stronger. Suddenly squats were getting a little easier and those seemingly impossible workouts were becoming possible.
MY WORKOUTS: Monday, Wednesday, Friday
CIRCUIT TRAINING: She gives you 3 workouts a week and you do low-intensity cardio on the in-between days. Her routine is comprised of four circuits that are 7 minutes each, so you’re working out for 28 painful minutes with a minute rest in between each. Each circuit has four different exercises and the reps you’re supposed to complete of each. When you finish a circuit you start back over and keep going until the full 7 minutes are up. It’s typically legs on Monday, arms on Wednesday, and abs on Friday. Although a lot of the workouts really work your core regardless if it’s considered an “ab” exercise. She does a ton of plyometrics stuff (cue the huffing and puffing), some weights, and lots and lots of variations of burpees (yuck). Her guides are meant to result in a certain look for females to be strong, yet lean. Follow her on instagram and you can see all the amazing women that make up “Kayla’s Army”. 🙂
MY WORKOUTS: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
LIIS: Kayla wants you to perform 35-45 minutes of low intensity training (speed walking, elliptical). Walking for 35 minutes gets a little boring especially when you’re not really working up a sweat. I would do a light jog sometimes just to feel like I did a little something. After several weeks, I started doing HIIT which she suggests for later in the program. I’d been doing a little bit of that before I started the bikini body guide though so I went back to that routine.
HIIT: I run 1 mile at a normal pace. Afterwards I turn the treadmill up to a sprint for 20 seconds on/ 10 seconds off for four minutes. I do four sets of four minutes with a couple minutes of rest in between each. There are lots of great tabata apps out there that help with timing it. I just jump onto the side of the treadmill during the 10 seconds of rest. These are awesome because they really boost metabolism and make you sweat a lot!
I have a couple rules that I try hard to stick to on a regular basis: no bread. no sugar. This might sound like a death warrant to some, but I promise if you give it time, it gets easier and your body stops craving these things. I can tell a huge difference in my energy levels and even digestion when I’m eating clean. Working out after a big cheat is torture- my body always feels so sluggish.
After I finished the first 12 weeks of Kayla, I started back at week 8 and finished again. The last four weeks I got even tighter with my eating and got rid of cheese (my favorite thing ever). I also cut out all the pistachios I’d been eating at night and replaced them with drinking tea. It’s so hard for me to watch tv without eating or drinking something, so tea became my new “late-night snack” of choice. Since then, I’ve completed Kayla’s second guide for weeks 13-24 and am starting that back over.
A typical day for me would look like this:
Breakfast- Apple with homemade almond butter or just coffee (I’m usually not super hungry in the mornings)
Lunch- Egg scramble (2 eggs, spinach, mushrooms, onions, tomato, avocado, salsa)
Dinner- Protein and veggies for dinner (grilled chicken, bunless burger, or salmon and asparagus, mushrooms, or broccoli).
Green Tea Lattes– Mix a teaspoon of matcha green tea with water and almond milk. It boosts metabolism, curbs appetite, and gives energy. I did this everyday for a few weeks in the middle and then got away from it for some reason- it’s worth a try!
Advocare SPARK– I’m obsessed. Drink it before your workout and come home with energy leftover to clean the house and play with the kids.
Apples and Almond Butter– I would eat an apple with a small spoonful of almond butter anytime I was hungry. No guilt about that snack!
Rewards– I set a few goals throughout the process and would reward myself for reaching them. Instead of rewarding myself with a big cheat night, I’d reward myself with some cute athletic clothes (added motivation to hit the gym). I’d been wanting some new running shoes and made these my reward for making it through the first four weeks. Worth it! 🙂
Willpower– I’ve attempted getting in shape without it and it always fails. For some reason I felt super empowered to start this journey to being fit. It was hard the entire way and every workout is still painful but I love feeling strong and healthy. I’m all about enjoying life and having a balance. Now that I’m at a place I’m happy with, I’m fine with indulging in treats every so often but I’m glad I buckled down for the months it took me to get here.
Losing weight after having babies was NOT easy for me. I had plenty of disappointing mornings on our bathroom scale when my body was seemingly comfortable with staying 10-20 pounds over pre-baby weight. It feels incredible to conquer a goal that seemed so lofty at one time. The best part is that I’m stronger than ever been and I have energy and flexibility to run around and play with my kids.
I have never considered myself athletic and this whole process has totally inspired me that we can all change and grow outside of the boxes we put ourselves in. If you’re wanting to get fit, I would totally suggest Kayla’s bikini body guide. I love knowing exactly what to do at the gym, rather than wandering around aimlessly. Also, it’s so encouraging to know women around the world are doing it at the same time and see people’s before and after’s on her ig feed.