Hello again everyone!
So a lot of people have been asking me about what kind of exercises I do (particularly glute building exercises) as well as what I do for nutrition/meals and how I learned so much about different workouts and proper form. Well let me start with telling you a little bit about when I started my fitness journey and how I have progressed over time. I started my journey (and took it seriously) back in 2012 and I have learned so much along the way and have seen so much progress (and have also had my fair share of setbacks). This post is really a general introduction & of course my experience with two popular fitness influencers training programs but I’m hoping to write more fitness journey related posts along the way. Anyways, lets begin!
I have always been a really skinny lanky girl. I was one of the lucky ones that could eat whatever I wanted and wouldn’t gain any weight. I was active in my childhood doing Japanese Jiu Jitsu, Okinawa Te, and soccer so that helped as well. When I got into 8th grade I stopped doing any kind of sports or physical activities (aside from gym class and walking to places when I didn’t have a car) but the fast metabolism was still in my favor, and I was skinny, albeit “skinny fat” and not fit whatsoever. My biological father’s side of the family from what I can remember was a lot heavier, and so I knew eventually this would all catch up to me. But it hadn’t yet, and it wouldn’t really catch up to me until I hit my twenties…
I remember the moment I looked into the mirror and realized how much weight I had gained. I wasn’t obese or anything like that, but I had definitely jumped up in weight up to the mid 140’s, the highest I had ever been, and none of that was muscle that’s for sure. At that point in my life I was in college working a retail job and often worked the closing shift. My friend and I would be so stressed out by the end of the day with classes and work that we would buy a bunch of junk food and go back to my house and just binge and rant about life. It was nice and all, but it really did take its toll. I was unhappy, depressed, and I felt ugly and disappointed at myself. I knew that I needed to make a life change and get into something active again. I started off slowly getting into working out at the gym with a friend, and I highly recommend trying to get a partner who is just as motivated as you are, it really does help you stay on track and pushes you to keep going! My father is in the military so while my ID card was still active I was able to use the gym on the military base for free so we would go every so often, mostly doing cardio machines, but eventually slowly started incorporating the weight machines. The whole experience was always so awkward and uncomfortable for me, but having a partner really helped with the nerves. Eventually my card finally expired and I bought my first membership at 24 Hour Fitness and started going with my cousin all the time. Again, it started off mostly cardio, weight machines, and some basic mat work. Consistency was the key and we went as much as possible, even if it was almost midnight, we always went. I downloaded the My FitnessPal app and started logging my food and counting the calories. My caloric intake was low, and though I did lose weight from cutting back on calories and all the exercising we were doing, my body still wasn’t looking quite the way I wanted.
When I moved to the North End of Tacoma I joined Anytime Fitness which is a 5 minute drive from my house. I started incorporating free weights, smith machine, and using the squat rack in my workouts. I become more innovative and creative with my execises and got ideas off of Youtube videos, internet articles, friends, trainers and fitness people off Instagram, and Pinterest. It really helped me to break out of my plateau and get very comfortable at the gym. My boyfriend then decided to start working out with me, and at that point I had been working out alone for almost a year. Working out with him has been great. I know a lot of couples like their alone time at the gym, but we really push and help each other. We do a lot together but we also go off and do our own things since we have different goals, but I really do believe in that phrase, “the couple that works out together, stays together”.
I had been following Katy Hearn (@katyhearnfit, @katyhearnvideos) on Instagram for a long time. I really admired her for not being sponsored and her creative exercises. Obviously I also admired her amazing physique. I am a really shy person, especially when it comes to posting things about my body and my progress. I rarely ever do, which is going to change with this blog! I also am not very interactive, even on social media (I am an introvert after all ;P) and so as much as I loved the idea of this community of girls helping each other and having email support from Katy, this was just one of those times where I felt that this wasn’t for me, so even though her challenges were intriguing, I held off…until she started offering her Promo Plans! Her Promo Plans come at a cheaper price ($100 for the promo as opposed to $200, I believe, for the Challenges) and they usually become available in the middle of the challenges or a little after they end, and they do not come with email support from Katy and weekly check-ins, the community of girls, or the chance to win prizes at the end. Essentially, it is for someone like me. Who wants to try her plans without going through the structure of the challenges and interacting as much, someone like me who maybe is pretty comfortable at the gym already and just wants a new routine to switch it up a bit (although I am sure beginners buy her promo plans as well!). It comes with 8 weeks of full body weight training, cardio, and plyometrics, as well as a nutrition guide and Instagram hashtags that show you videos of proper form and technique of each exercise. The nutrition guide has a FAQ section, as well as information on macros, supplements, food ideas, and such. It really helped me transform the way I eat and keeps me feeling energized throughout the day. She has a macros calculator on her website www.katyhearnfit.com which makes the whole process very easy. Do I think it is worth $200, or even $100? No, not really. But for the convenience of it all I don’t regret the purchase. However, there are other fitness trainers out there with programs for a much cheaper price (more on this later).
The 8 weeks of training is pretty good although I will say it is more like 4 weeks of exercises and then you repeat them the next 4 weeks. You get workouts for 5 days each week and she does a good job at targeting each muscle group while giving time to recover. She also disperses cardio in the weekly workouts, although you can modify doing more or less depending on your goals. By the time I had purchased my first plan, I was already extremely comfortable at the gym and strength training. I had been making decent progress in terms of building muscle, but not quite as much as I had envisioned that I would be at in that point of my training. Her plans helped me take my body and muscle building to a whole new level! I am definitely stronger, with bigger muscles, and more defined and toned. I have also enjoyed learning about macros and changing my eating habits. I went from calorie counting a little under 1300 calories a day when I first started (I know, so bad), to now eating about 1768 calories a day to sustain my body and new muscle growth, and having a perfect carbs/protein/fat count for me! I have bought two of these promo plans and have done each one twice from start to finish. Sometimes I still use them and I go back and forth between using one of her workouts for the day in its entirety, or using them as a base, while adding in my own stuff. It is really nice for those days you don’t want to think about what you’re going to do at the gym, and just go there, pull the plan up, and get to work! I have learned exercises I probably would have never attempted to learn on my own (such as deadlifts), but I will say that your attempt and successes at these exercises are YOUR doing. Especially since nobody is hovering over you and coaching your form with any of these online programs like a personal trainer would in real life. Be proud of that accomplishment. I am also impressed when I see all of the other girls’ progress on her Instagram. I have to admit that the nutrition has always been the hard part for me and a constant work in progress as I continue this fitness journey. Overall, I think it’s a decent plan and if you’re a beginner or more advanced at fitness I think these plans really are made for everyone’s fitness level in mind (albeit it is not customized in any way). I will reiterate that I do not think it is worth the price at all.
Another person I love to follow on Instagram is Alexia Clark (@alexia_clark) for super creative and tough workouts. She posts workout videos every day and they are all so unique and definitely kick your ass! They don’t call her the “Queen of Workouts” for nothing! I subscribed to her fitness subscription in August 2017 and I can say that it is worth every penny. I haven’t been very consistent however (life’s been hectic, yes I know excuses) but am trying to commit to the 5 days a week and putting 110% into my nutrition. Once I get a good groove going for at least 3 months I will be checking in with you guys and showing you my progress as well as a thorough review on her plan. Then I will check in again at 6 months and so on. With Alexia’s subscription you get a gym workout and a home workout Monday-Friday and they are all different each day. She writes out the workouts each week (from my understanding) and is constantly filming new clips so nothing is ever recycled. Each night she sends an email to notify you that she has posted the next day’s workouts online. They focus on different things (upper body, lower body, full body, core, etc.) and on Friday’s she does super tough challenges. These workouts are INTENSE and hard. I am dripping in sweat by the end of them and I know I am going to see the lean-out/lean muscle progress I have been trying to aim for. Just look at her Instagram account and you’ll get an idea of the kind of workouts you will be in for when you sign up. I love that her plan has a great mix of workouts. Heavy lifting, functional training, compound workouts, Crossfit-style circuits, resistance band/ROM exercises, EMOM’s, cardio, plyos, HIIT, isometrics, exercises that help with mobility, etc. It is a VERY well-rounded training plan! You will feel more than accomplished by the end of each workout and also very tired and sore haha. The gym workout can take anywhere from 1-2 hours and the home ones are normally about 30-60 mins with your busy schedule in mind (the home ones are also great for travel!). She is also available for any questions you have via email. The website has video demos of each workout for the day (gym and home) and even stretching video demos for upper body, lower body, or total body days. It is worth more than the $29.99/month for sure! (And this is what I’m talking about when I say I don’t feel that Katy’s plans are worth $100 or $200…). For only about $30/month you get TWO intense and creative workouts for almost every day of the month minus weekends (never recycled) and you can cancel at anytime! You also get email coaching support from Alexia whereas with Katy’s you only get that during her challenges which are $200. She also recently incorporated a “live” feature on her website where she will hold “live” workout sessions, Q&A’s, and I think she will be adding cooking in the near future. She has a nutrition tab on the website as well. If you are interested I am attaching a link to subscribe to her program below. Remember you can cancel anytime. Also be sure to follow her on Instagram because she will do random sales for her plan where you get a discounted rate for 3 months!
A couple other fitness Instagrammers I love to follow: Sami B. (leanmachine21) is awesome! Sami is incredibly creative with her workouts and I love the intensity of them. She has great form, and I really enjoy watching her exercise videos and her tips which she posts daily. She does challenges as well, but I have not tried one yet but I am very interested. Her prices are on par with Katy’s. I love that she responds to a lot of her followers which adds a personal touch and I sure do appreciate the effort when you have that many followers. I do think you should appreciate those that helped you get to where you are, and she definitely shows it. She also does Youtube vlogs, and not just workouts, but healthy cooking and life in general. I find her very easy and refreshing to listen to. She has also launched a fitness apparel line, Ptula Active, and I am impressed with what I’ve seen so far. I have yet to buy any yet but am hoping to soon, however they sell out quick. Her clothing pieces are named after real women with interesting and relatable stories behind them. I thought that was such creative marketing and added a sense of realness to the brand. A brand by a woman for women in every sense. Caroline Candace (@carolinetusiuk) is also a great person to follow for incredibly informative nutritional/hormonal information and exercises. I really enjoy her health advice and she covers a lot of topics that I had never heard of before. Her skin is flawless as well, I just thought I’d throw that in there! She says that coconut oil is her holy grail. Lastly, Karina Elle (@karinaelle) is seriously fitness level goals! Her body is amazing but not only that but she seems like she has a beautiful personality to match. I love her feed because it is so positive. You can just tell she is such a positive person exuding good vibes and tons of positive energy. She is strong as hell and I love her lifting and HIIT posts, they really motivate me to get up and get moving as I always seem to scroll past them when I’m being a lazy bum on the couch! She has a fitness program as well that I’m interested in trying out (in the $70 range). Maybe I’ll try out everyone’s programs and make blog reviews on them because surprisingly this blog post gets the most traffic out of any post on my page! And I am thrilled to know that I am helping people make informed decisions on these kinds of purchases (at least I hope so).
A tiny piece of advice from me that I’ve learned throughout this fitness journey (which began in 2012)…I want to stress to you ladies to not worry so much about the scale!! And to not be afraid of strength training! Even if it’s just light weights. As I mentioned earlier, when I shot up to the mid 140’s with no muscle at all, you could really tell that I was soft and not very fit. When I was a “cardio bunny”, I dropped down to 130 and had a much smaller waistline and the tiniest bit of tone, but everything was much smaller. Now I go back and forth between 155 lbs-165 lbs, but you would never guess it. The muscle has really added some weight to the scale, but my body is overall much better looking, more toned, and you can tell I am strong and healthy. I am happy with my muscle progress and now I REALLY want to lean out. This is a little difficult for me due to my curvier genetics, but not impossible. It is just going to take a lot of time, and I’ll keep you guys posted in this health and fitness section along the way! I won’t lie, I still worry about the number on the scale all the time. It can be such a big discouragement and make you feel like you will never lose the weight. But you have to remember all the other factors that play a role in this number, and also that weight fluctuates constantly, even just the time of day can change the number. I know it is hard, believe me, but always try your best to not get so focused on that scale!! I even had a doctor tell me I’m overweight, nearly obese, based solely on generic height/weight chart. She asked me what I was going to do about it. She was very condescending. I really wanted to say to her, “Do I really look unhealthy and obese to you?” while pointing to myself, someone that is clearly not unhealthy or overweight (and I mean overweight to the point that it’s affecting your health and can lead to complications/death). I just simply stated I exercise plenty. Strength training, cardio, plyo, the works. She said to portion control better. Okay, I can give her that. I’m still appalled by it all. No doctor has ever acknowledged my weight and have always told me that I’m very healthy. I think most doctors know that other factors come into play when they look at me and the number they see on the scale. We all carry weight differently. Anyways, my point is do what is right for your body and concentrate on how you feel v.s. a stupid number. Do not let a number define you!
Anyways, I apologize for the long post, but this is something I really wanted to write about and express my honest opinions.
Before I go, I want to ask, have any of you ever tried Katy’s or Alexia’s plans or someone else’s online plans? Was your experience good or bad? Any scams? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks again for stopping by! I truly appreciate your views!! Have an awesome day!!
Until next time,
Here is a little picture of my glutes progress. Not the best pic, sorry!
“After” picture taken in 2016. For recent pics, follow me on Instagram! @theintrovertsjourney