what i learnt from completing Kayla Itsines 12 week challenge

Last friday I posted this photo on instagram of me doing what I thought was a semi-average dancer and talking about how I just finished Kayla Itsines 12 week challenge. The comments that flooded in warmed my heart and I was totally surprised and caught off guard. 

In the caption I wrote about how proud I was. But I'm not sure if that is the right word. I felt ... weird. Like it really wasn't over, I really didn't do it, that nothing much actually changed. BUT I DID DO IT.

On the 9th of January Kayla invited her instagram followers to all join together and complete her 12 week workout guide. So I (along with the support of Luke) went off to the gym and signed up. The next 12 weeks were filled with hard out gym sessions, outdoorsy walking things and hardcore commitment. Basically it consists of 3 x interval training / gym sesh, 3 x low level sustained intensity (like walking). and some rolling and recovery. Its the second time I've done the challenge. But this time I DID EVERYTHING. I started walking three-four sometimes five times a week. I wore gym clothes a lot more than I ever have. Instead of doing brunches I ask people to do walks instead (plus it saved me a penny haha). And I began to appreciate and respect myself and my body. And thats the best thing for someone like me, who has grown up with a distorted relationship with food. THE. BEST. DAMN. THING.

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So, after 12 weeks, these are the things I learnt. 

~ ITS NOT JUST ABOUT EXERCISE, food is important too. 

I think that this one of the biggest take aways for me this time around. Because even though I did everything and really pushed myself, I didn't make as much progress as I would've liked to. And I think this is down to my food. I think of myself as being quite healthy. BUT i know my diet can be unbalanced. I've been trying to up my protein intake (in a vegan way) and I'm going to minimise my bread eating too! BECAUSE I DO LOVE MYSELF SOME BREAD. Takeaways though, Luke and I have been having those a little too frequently. Just out of ease. Being unorganised when it comes to food is one of our biggest downfalls. So I'm going to work on that this month.

 

ITS A JOURNEY, not a magic cure.

Loosing weight and increasing your fitness level isn't an over night thing. And I know that. BUT it doesn't stop me from feeling discouraged when I look in the mirror and think that nothing has changed. Its so important to remember that it is a journey. And each time you work out you're taking a step closer towards your goal of better fitness and what ever type of body you're aiming for. The journey doesn't stop at week 12. It keeps getting better!

 

~ I CAN PUSH  MYSELF HARDER THAN I THINK, i can do it. 

Sometimes we give up to easy. But its important to push yourself. And I learnt that I can push myself further than I initially thought. And that pushing will go a mile in the long run.

 

~ PICTURES HELP, they really do. 

As uncomfortable as it is to take progress pictures they help you to see what you won't notice and give you a chance to feel PROUD of what has changed. When your body is changing little by little each day you won't notice those differences. BUT when you compare your start and finish photos you will notice those changes.

 

~ EXERCISE IS AWESOME, fun and can make you happy.

Grumpy days were solved at the gym. HECK. I even cried at the gym. Overwhelm, saddness, you name it, the act of going to the gym helped. Because after a long day at work feeling bad I could go to the gym and do something FOR MYSELF that made me feel GOOD. 

 

ROUTINE IS KEY

When I didn't have a routine or workout plan at the gym I kind of just floundered about. Dabbled in this. Did that. one day skipped it. Maybe this week I'd go 4 times. Maybe the next only once. What I found doing this challenge was that it kept me accountable. It kept me challenged and motivated. And it put me into a routine. GYM. WALK. GYM. WALK. GYM. WALK. ROLLLLLL. Routine and regularity really is key! And the cool thing about the structure of this workout guide is that it got me to go exploring: hiking, beach walks, walks around domains. And that was awesome. 

 

~ I LEARNT TO APPRECIATE AND LOVE MY BODY, at least a little.

This is a big freakin deal. Because I used to hate my body. I hated it so much I could not look myself in the mirror or make eye contact with other people. And mentally I still struggle with self-esteem sometimes!! SURPRISE. Being able to appreciate the amazing things my body does; respect it by fuelling it correctly, letting it rest etc; and love (woah there) the skin I am in is AMAZING. And I have to be honest my journey is not complete but even just loving myself a tiny bit (for now) is enough. 

 

I would highly recommend Kayla's guides. They really push you to be your best self and actually enjoy your workout. And at the end of each week, when you complete all the little activities you will feel a sense of pride! It really helped me commit to working out. I've seen my strength increase and I've slimmed down. I can do proper burpees now (not ashamed to say I couldn't before). AND I can do proper pressups too. No joke my upper arm strength was shiiiiiite. SO if you're on the hunt for something, give it a go. It might work for you too.

wellnessBrit Hazeldine