More than anything that every single woman deserves to feel empowered, dignified, and capable. I feel like there is this perceived invisible barrier we put up between ourselves and other women, a barrier that says “she can __________, and I cannot.”
“She can stay energetic all day, and I cannot.”
“She can wake up and feel joy, and I cannot.”
“She can lose ten pounds easily, and I cannot.”
The root of every single ‘thing’ we put in that blank has a root that can be chased back to one word: value. What we are truly feeling is not based on one task or issue, because if we are honest with ourselves, we don’t really care if another woman has more talent than us. Good for her. We are afraid that below everything on the surface, another woman has more value than we do, that for some reason, we aren’t as important or as good as ‘her’ because of our inabilities, or failures, or insecurities.
I sent a list of questions out to two different women who are making waves in the fitness world, and also happen to have the BIGGEST hearts I’ve ever seen. They are strong and beautiful and motivated, and have agreed to share the places they’ve hurt and the ways they struggle so that you can see the ways we all wrestle with the biting thing inside us that makes us feel less valuable, and see how these powerful women overcome it.
Tell me about one thing that makes you look forward to working out and eating well?
Jules: Knowing I’m investing in my body! These days people are so busy, always on the go. I like to view my workouts & eating healthy not as punishment and not for staying at a certain “weight” or number, but as something I’m doing for myself that will have long lasting, positive effects on my life. Every drop of sweat goes toward something and that something is being the healthiest version of myself that I can be.
Ally: I have a skin condition that’s rare. It causes my sweat glands to stay open rather than close like most people and the less weight I have on my body, the less I get then. It’s been a huge motivation for me to keep going and to keep hard. I look forward to having clear skin and having healthy skin.
Let’s talk about consistency. What does a consistent healthy routine look like for you?
Jules: Ah- consistency is KEY! It’s all about creating the HABIT and then it becomes a lifestyle (aka consistent healthy routine). I keep it simple- workout 3-4 times a week, have a GRACE day or two (because LIFE happens), and get plenty of sleep. For me, if I keep those specific things consistent, I can crush my goals week after week.
Ally: Since I started my bootcamp, it’s been easier to keep my routine. I wake up everyday at 630, drink my lemon water and then drive downtown for an hour-long HIIT Routine that I create for the workout. Then I go to work, with my snacks and meals prepped for the day and meet with my client at 630 for his training session. It’s a long day but I wouldn’t change any of it.
How do you handle it when you break that routine? Is it easy to get back into it?
Jules: Let’s be real here, CRAP HAPPENS. Life is busy and full of unexpected, unpredictable situations that set us back. Here’s what I do when I break my routine: I DO NOT sit around and dwell on it- the very next chance I get to get back in the routine, I TAKE IT. If you have to start over, start over! But don’t wait to start again. Don’t beat yourself up. Just get back in it. Form the habit again. The more time you let go by before getting back into it, the harder it’ll be to start again. Is it easy to get back into it? Hell no it’s not. It’s hard. It’s gritty. It’s frustrating, but IT IS WORTH IT. If you can keep that in mind, you can push past that hard, gritty part and you’ll find yourself right back in that routine feeling like a million bucks.
Ally: I believe I’m flexible dieting, so if I break my routine, it’s pretty easy for me to get back into it. I have a lot of self-motivation, so I constantly remind myself that the progress that I made is from A LOT of hard work and I don’t want that hard work to go to waste.
How do you maintain your routine when life changes or you’re traveling?
Jules: Roll with the punches baby!! I use to HATE change. Hated it. I’m such a routine person-it’s just who I am. I’ve learned over time that change is inevitable AND it’s not always negative! Life changes can be great and when they happen you ADJUST, keep your focus, and KEEP. GOING. How do I maintain my routine while traveling? Funny story: if we’re traveling and staying in a hotel, I will literally book our hotel based on the gym it offers (my husband totally makes fun of me for this lol). Traveling is your chance to CHANGE things up (coming from the girl who use to despise it lol)- it’s a change of scenery, maybe you hop on the treadmill and lift some weights instead of your normal spin and yoga classes! You also don’t have to have a gym to get a good sweat in! If you’re traveling somewhere that doesn’t offer that, step outside for some fresh air and a nice run! Point is, you can still keep with your routine while traveling even if it means changing things up a little ;)
Ally: I stick to it the best I can. I’m about to take a job that involves A LOT of traveling but I’m determined and motivated to keep working hard. I give myself small reminders and I have my before and after photo saved as my background on my phone.
What is your number one go-to when you get discouraged?
Jules: Okay, I have two: #1 is MY HUSBAND- find your person (spouse, bestie, accountability partner, mentor etc.)! The person who’s willing to lock arms with you and lift you up. The person who’s going to encourage you and speak life into you! ALSO: I’m going to keep this one simple because in this life you’ll get a lot of bull crap answers full of fluff that in reality has nothing for you to hang onto. REMEMBER WHY YOU STARTED. Find your WHY and you’ll be encouraged again! I know that sounds so simple it’s almost silly or unbelievable, but seriously, try it. Next time you’re discouraged think about why you started and push for that! It’ll help you find your FOCUS again and vision is everything.
Ally: Pep talks. I give them to myself everyday. I sit in my car with my favorite song on & tell myself I CAN and I WILL and I’M BETTER THAN THIS. It’s really motivating to tell myself those things. No one knows what I go through everyday to stay positive, so giving myself talks really helps.
When you’re having a bad week, how do you get back on top?
Jules: Ready for this? Here’s an answer you won’t find in your local fitness magazine..I find time to REST. I don’t push myself harder. I don’t push myself into the hustle and grind. When I’m having a bad week it’s usually because I’ve placed *unrealistic expectations on myself! I will seriously look at my calendar and clear everything that doesn’t HAVE to be done and REST. There is so much wisdom and strength to be found in resting and totally being transparent here, I struggle with that! I’m constantly having to keep myself in check otherwise I will exhaust myself and feel totally discouraged when my goals aren’t being met. It’s not just okay to rest. It’s wise to rest. (Side note: the first blog I read of yours was the “6 ways to kill busyness” and it spoke SO much life to me. Hence why I have read EVERY article you’ve written after that. LOVE your blogs & the truths you speak in them.)
Ally: I cry. A lot. I cry to myself in the shower and tell myself that everything is going to be okay. Then I get myself to the gym and give myself a really hard routine to push myself. It helps me mentally and physically. Emotionally, I know that I have the positive attitude to make it back to the top.
Tell us about a time you wanted to give up. How did you get through it?
Jules: I’ve always been really driven when it comes to my health & fitness goals. When I decided to audition at Rush Cycle to become a spin instructor I went all in. I made the auditions, but I honestly had no idea what i was getting myself into. We had to go through an 8 week training program that pushed me to the MAX physically and mentally and I definitely had moments where i wanted to throw the towel in. I was an avid runner for years before Rush and when i started the program i literally didn’t know if i could physically handle it. There were several times that i got to a point in training where I wasn’t doing something as good as I thought i should be and I wanted to give up. I told my husband at least twice that i was done, but he of course didn’t allow me to give up (so thankful for his encouragement). Here’s the thing..I had to learn to be okay with making mistakes and growing from them! I had to be okay with the fact that this goal of mine was going to take ME putting in a lot more practice than any of the other instructors in training! I had to decide that it was worth fighting for and no matter what the outcome looked like, I was going to give it everything I had to reach the goal of being a spin instructor at rush. I put in a lot of sweat (and tears) and found breakthrough moments that eventually lead me to becoming a spin instructor. Now here I am a year later, so much farther along than I would’ve ever imagined and LOVING every single minute I get in that spin room.
Ally: After I lost 60 pounds, I gained about 20 of it back when my work schedule got incredibly busy. I HATED getting up in the morning but after I saw myself in the mirror and hated the photos I was in, I asked myself “this isn’t me, is it?” “What am I doing?” “Who am I becoming?” And I NEEDED to make a change. And change I did. I’ve lost that 20 pounds and 10 more and I’m toning up better than I thought I ever could.
What is one piece of fitness advice you wish everyone would stop saying?
Jules: That’s easy. Behold my LEAST favorite fitness quote (regarding healthy diets): “Don’t reward yourself with food. You’re not a dog.” First, I would like to give a shoutout to my dog for eating the same thing at every meal and never complaining. Secondly, I’d like to roll my eyes. Yes we should eat healthy and yes food is fuel, but that doesn’t mean you can’t plan an awesome cheat meal at the end of your week to reward yourself for all the hard work and “clean” eating. It’s all about BALANCE. Also, I freaking love burgers.
Ally: “Keep going, It gets easier.”
It doesn’t. It gets harder. You have to STAY dedicated and find the motivation to keep pushing yourself. Because if you don’t, you’ll lose your vision and you won’t reach your goals.
What kind of things make you feel “not good enough”? How do you combat those fears?
Jules: Oh all sorts of things. I make mistakes. I slip up. I unconsciously compare myself to others. I put too much expectation on myself sometimes and when i don’t meet my goals I feel like crap. All the human things. That’s just it though, we’re HUMAN. I combat these things by reminding myself of GRACE. It’s so easy for us to give grace to others, but why is it so hard for us to extend that very same grace to ourselves? Do yourself a favor and lighten your load by giving yourself some GRACE. YOU ARE ENOUGH. The end.
Ally: I lost 70 pounds for my husband. And sometimes I feel like I’m never good enough. After I lost most of it, I realized that I shouldn’t be doing this for him, I need to be doing it for myself. And I remember how it feels to look at myself and realize that I’m becoming the woman I always wanted to be. And that keeps my fear away.
If you could share one message with a girl who is struggling with her self worth and discouraged about her health.... what would it be?
Jules: LOVE YOUR BODY RIGHT WHERE YOU’RE AT *NOW* because if you can’t love your body now, the truth is no amount of weight loss will ever satisfy you. *You can know that change is needed to be a healthier you and still love your body through the process. How do you learn to love your body? You stop comparing (the thief of all joy), you let go of the desire for “perfection” (so much freedom in that) and you don’t dwell on your mistakes -throw shame out the window baby! Remember when things get tough, YOU ARE WORTH FIGHTING FOR.
Ally: That YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN YOU THINK. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says, or thinks, as long as you have the motivation and the dedication to make yourself the version of you that you want. Only you can determine who you are. And never let anyone stop you from reaching your goals.