These last few months I’ve had an unbelievable journey. It started back in April, when I made the decision to up my health game. I’m sure you’ve seen on the blog that I’ve been looking more at my body and how to look after it with food, through my more plant based lifestyle and cutting out dairy. But when looking after your body you need to add physical exercise so that is what I did.
I’ve always been an averagely active person. What I mean by this is that, sure I did exercise, but not super regularly. I played netball once or twice a week, do yoga and occasionally went to the gym, but I never was particularly active. Along with my house mate Annabelle I decided to embark on Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide. I’ll admit, I do dislike the name of this programme. In my opinion any body is a bikini body so you don’t have to follow this guide to get one. However, I bought this programme about 4 or 5 years ago, when my body confidence was low, with the hope that I would miraculously love myself if I did it.
I started this programme when I bought it. I lasted a week, which is about three sessions. I had no motivation, no drive and my only goal was to “get a bikini body” which is a negative goal to have. At this point in my life I wasn’t the best to my body, I wanted to change a lot about it and thought some magic guide would help. It didn’t so I gave up.
Fast forward to April, and I am confident in my body. I love every part of it. So why start this guide? Because for me, this guide isn’t about getting a bikini body, because news flash, I already had one! The guide for me was structure, it was pushing myself, challenging myself and getting healthier. You might remember in my New Year goals I said I wanted to be able to do push ups. Well this was one of the ways I was going to hit that goal. I want to be stronger, healthier and just all round fitter. That’s what this guide is for me.
So we started the guide and by god was it hard!
I think it was after the first session, and for those that don’t know the guides each session is just 28 minutes long. Sounds like nothing but it kills. I was a sweaty mess, but I guess that made me realise how much work I wanted to make. I wanted to be able to make it through the 28 minutes without feeling like death.
By focusing on health rather than weight or body image I feel I worked through the programme so much better. I’m still not finished but have just a few more sessions to go.
I have noticed that the activities I used to dread in the first few sessions I now do without even thinking about it. There’s harder ones for me to dread now! But it was seeing these progresses that spurred me on. Now, where 10 burpees used to make me cry, I’m doing 60 without much problem. (I say much because it still occasionally makes me cry haha)
The point is, I set my goal as being able to do more with my body. To get stronger, to get fitter, to get healthier. I didn’t set the goal as weight loss or to reach a “bikini body”. For me this made the whole experience so much better. I don’t even know what I weigh, because to be honest the only time I ever weigh myself is at the doctors when they ask for medical checks. For me my weight doesn’t dictate my happiness or how I feel about my body. How many press-ups/burpees/ab bikes I can do are the only way I measure myself.
Progress. That’s what it is about for me. Yes, I have seen changes in my body and so have other people. But that’s only because I’m stronger and healthier. Dieting to lose weight isn’t healthy. Working hard and exercising and pushing yourself is. As humans we strive for progress. For me, I have no goal weight or goal “look. I have goals like how many reps of something I can do. That to me is progress. Because what will happen when you meet your goal weight? There isn’t a new goal to strive for, there’s not that one thing pushing you anymore.
Ultimately focus on health. Focus on how your body feels not how it looks. Focus on the progress you have made and adjust your goals accordingly. Being able to adapt and change is such a key part of progress. There’s times I’ve been at the gym and thought, I need to give my body a rest, so I did. I would miss a session to allow my body the time it needs.
It isn’t bad to want to lose weight or to look a certain way, but it is bad if you have these ideals because you think thats what society sees as ‘beautiful’. The pressure on everyone to be beach body ready is something that shouldn’t exist. I love Kayla’s programme, but I hate the name. I love her programme because it does push your body to get stronger and healthier, but I hate it because it presents the ideal of being for a ‘bikini body’.
I’m still going to maintain this programme because I still have goal to reach. But my next challenge is a 10km run, wish me luck!