With the excitement of the 21 Day Challenge official kick off, as well as the high i’m still riding coming out of the TIU Tour, I wanted to share WHY I chose Tone It Up and why I continue to be eternally grateful. Not only that, but I want to encourage you to join me with the useful tips and tricks I’m sharing to get you started.
Why Tone It Up?
Since diving into the community and sharing my transformation and story publicly, many people have reached out asking me about the program as well as for personal advice. So with that, I decided to create this post as a helpful tool – just in time for this new challenge! A 21 day challenge is a perfect length of time to test your boundaries and experience the amazing change and growth that Tone It Up’s program causes. As the saying goes, it takes 21 days to create a habit. So what better time than now?
I joined Tone It Up officially in January of last year. I familiarized myself with the programs prior, but never really understood the community aspect. I closed myself off from that component and instead just opted for their ab routines at the end of my regular workouts. The idea of taking pictures of my body and sharing them with strangers seemed unnecessary and scary to me at the time. Simultaneously, however, I was becoming frustrated with my own lack of change. I followed Tone It Up on Instagram, and always admired Karena and Katrina, but it wasn’t until I followed actual members of the community that I really felt motivated to make the leap. When you see transformations your jaw drops, and when you see transformations of your friends or acquaintances, it drops even further. While scrolling down on my feed, I literally had to scroll back up because it was that significant. That was enough motivation for me to research more. I bookmarked the daily workout page on my phone immediately, but was waiting to dive into the nutrition plan until January. Rather than form my New Years Resolution around strictly weight loss, I opted for a healthier, more confident version of myself by committing myself to the TIU plan. If you’re questioning if you should pay to be an official nutrition plan member, i urge you to do it! There is no better investment than your health. It is the best possible gift to yourself. Added bonus: the recipes are delicious and workouts are fun!
Flash forward to now, and I still feel like I’m living in a dream. I still can’t believe I was a Bikini Series grand prize winner. I’ll never forget the morning that it happened. I woke up with an extremely sore throat, hardly able to speak or swallow and rolled over to check my phone and Instagram to see everyone’s morning check-ins for motivation (my daily routine because it gets me up and at ’em, too!). Someone had commented on my most recent post, which at that time, was a meal prep picture. The comment said “Congratulations, you are a grand prize winner.” Suddenly I was AWAKE – wired, actually. I was extremely confused but felt an anxious rush of energy pouring through every vessel in my body. At this time, I actually thought that comment was a random spam. A few similar messages appeared in my DMs. I found nothing in my inbox, so I still felt like I was being pranked. From there, I finally found myself on ToneItUp.com where I saw my picture. I was legitimately shaking and saying “oh my god, oh my god….” out loud to my boyfriend who was just barely awake. When I saw my name and photo on the page, listed as a winner, I just immediately broke into tears – in complete disarray, disbelief, and insane gratitude. Honestly, I’m about to cry while writing this because I truly can’t get over how surreal that moment was and this feeling continues to be.
This transformation was so much more than physical. I have always experienced body image and self confidence issues, and as soon as I committed to a challenge and a community, holding myself accountable, I saw a complete 180 in myself. Yes, there are moments I’m too tired to workout, and moments that I crave chocolate, but I don’t deprive myself and I am truly happier with my mind, body and spirit than I have ever been (More of my body story here). Before you take the leap to join, make sure to set goals that go beyond your physique. What will make you feel proud, powerful, strong, unstoppable?
Prepare yourself to be vulnerable and open yourself up to strangers. Eventually, they become your sisters and best friends. They cheer you on through every booty call, every meal, and every check-in. Yet, they find their way to get to know you beyond the Instagram. I talk to my original accountability partner on the phone or on FaceTime on average once a week or every two weeks. The relationships formed are truly special, you have a common bond, a common trust in the process, and overall genuine interest in watching each other succeed and grow into their most confident selves. Don’t let your fear of the outside world finding your second Instagram keep you from achieving your health goals. I was so intimidated and genuinely afraid of the judgments and behind-my-back conversations. People who want to follow you will follow you, and thanks to the community, that is all the support you will need. Members of the community as well as your friends and family will LOVE following you on this journey and you once you get past the initial awkward feelings, you will LOVE sharing too!
Convinced? Here are my tips to get started
Take Before and After Pictures (+ any additional measurements, as desired)
The best way to see results is visually, not numerically. While some people opt for the scale and others refrain from it, (non-scale victories are AMAZING!) a picture truly does speak 1,000 words. Often times, the scale doesn’t even change, but your inches and body fat percentage likely changed, and your body will visually tell that story. If you don’t want to share the photos publicly, no sweat, save them for yourself as a reminder of how far you’ve come.
Create an Instagram
As eluded to earlier, creating an Instagram was likely the scariest leap I made in my fitness journey, yet the most critical to my progress. When you break down the walls and let people into your life, there’s an added layer of accountability you didn’t know existed. Your followers and community are completely comprised of like-minded people that will support you 100% of the way. When you put your real, true self out into the world and share goals, workouts, food, etc. people will respond, react and relate. You will make friends, expose yourself to what’s going on in the health and wellness community, and be constantly INSPIRED.
Get a Journal
While Instagram helps share your daily fitness and nutrition regimen with others, your journal is private and special to you. Some set their daily or weekly intentions in it. I, personally, use it to write down my workouts, meals, as well as plan for the week. I love having a journal that’s small enough in size I can bring it with me, and I also love when the design is with an inspiring quote. An extra little dose of inspo never hurts ;). The notes app in the iPhone is great for this too!
Start Fresh (pun intended)
Before you start and do your first big “haul” clean out your fridge and pantry. Likely, you have some junk food – probably your weakness, stuffed in your pantry somewhere. Out of sight, out of mind just doesn’t cut it, throw that stuff AWAY! The purge will be cathartic and added bonus – you will have a clean fridge and pantry to store all of your fresh new produce and dry goods!
Plan Everything, but don’t go overboard
Meal prep is the #1 step in a fit-chicks nutrition regimen. I, however, understand how daunting and intimidating that can seem (but I promise it isn’t). Save yourself the hassle by planning for more instead of less. Plan out all of your meals for the week, then your grocery list will follow, and also plan out your workout routines. When you join the #TIU21 challenge, they make it easy by sending a meal plan as well as a weekly meal guide. Feel free to follow this if desired, but don’t feel stressed if you don’t want to either. It’s okay to cultivate your own schedule, as long as you are sticking to the rules from the plan itself. Same applies to workouts. If you feel the need to take a mid-week rest day or a nice yoga routine to stretch, listen to your body and DO IT.
To add ease to the process, simplify M2/M4. On “lazier” weeks I love to stick to fruit or a bar for M2/M4. Another tip is to make one big salad for lunch all week, and one big tray of veggies/protein to mix and match for tray dinners or buddha bowls all week. That type of efficiency is what makes meal prep so great. There’s nothing better than coming home and knowing you have freshly cooked food that just needs to be plated and heated! On the other hand, don’t panic if you don’t cook it all on Sunday. I often times times break up my prep throughout the week. I LOVE cooking my salmon or one of my dinners that requires anywhere from 30-40 minutes while I do a quick PMWO in my gym at home. Find even more meal prep tips here.
Finally, plan an awesome playlist! There’s nothing better than some new music to motivate you through a workout…or dance through it.
Download Studio Tone It Up
When planning your fitness workouts, Tone It Up makes it easy with a weekly workout schedule send the week before. This go around, they’ve introduced a new app called Studio Tone It Up. While their daily workout page will continue to be my most frequented web page, the Studio feels like you’re taking a class with your girl friends! It is so fun to chat and introduce yourself with the fellow TIU girls in class, and once again, you’re held accountable by “checking in” and “booking” classes! The On-Demand feature also allows for you to choose from an array of TIU faves at whatever time you like. Some of my favorites are: Sandy Sweat HIIT, Head-to-Toe Toning, Flex Friday, Totally Gorgeous Arms, Booty Burn and Core on the Floor. Find it in the iPhone app store, here.
Whether you’re new to Tone It Up or a seasoned veteran, happy 21 day challenge!
[professional photos courtesy of Paige Babilla]