Sparkly & Slimming….a Weight Loss Blog

Samantha's journey to slim down, while remaining sparkly!

Fit-spiration (times two)!


I was on a big kick for a while where I interviewed friends (and new friends!) who had lost weight. I loved hearing all about their transformations. My focus changed when I found Jess and Jolene and saw their complete dedication to fitness and health. These girls have Excel trackers for workouts! Who does that?! 😉 I had to learn as much as I could about them. I should also mention they are actually triplets – not twins (which I have mistakenly said in the past!). I have not met Jen yet but I know from Facebook she is married to a cutie, had a gorgeous daughter and just got her PhD! I’m sure she’s equally kickass!

I decided to interview Jess + Jo and share with you insight I found really valuable! I encourage you to check out both their blogs: Jess is EatDrinkBreatheSweat and Jo is DeterminedToBe.

This reminds me of them:

Away we go! Older sister first! By a mere 2 minutes! (Jess came first, 2 mins later Jen arrived then Jo was last).

Jessica:

I’m a PR, communications and social media pro by day, fitness fiend the rest of the time. I love, love, love to cook (usually in “throwdown” fashion with my husband!) and to entertain in my spare time. I’m also a huge wino, but anyone that follows me on twitter, Facebook or my blog knows that very well by now. 😉

How was EatDrinkBreatheSweat born? What were you hoping to accomplish by blogging?

It started out as just my little corner of the Internet where I could share my love of fitness with whoever stumbled across my blog. In large part, I was following my sister’s lead – Jo had already been blogging for a while and I was so impressed with the community she built up around her blog and I wanted a community of my own where I could chat with like-minded people from all over the place. Who knew that over two years later, I’d have made some of the most incredible connections ever through blogging. Some of my closest friends are of the “blog” variety. I love it.

Were you healthy growing up? Were you involved in sports?

I actually wrote about this recently – where my passion for living a healthy and fit lifestyle stems from. In part, my upbringing certainly instilled those values in me, to choose healthy when possible, keeping ‘treats’ to just that – a treat, or special occasion thing versus an everyday thing. I didn’t always have the luxury of having healthy food at my fingertips though – from around middle school and into the start of high school we went through some tough times as a family where money was tight and spending an arm and a leg on healthy food wasn’t a priority. So we did our best during those years – choosing healthy when we could, making do the rest of the time. It was during that phase where I learned to really appreciate the sheer ability to choose healthy. It wasn’t always a ‘given’ at that point like it is today.

It’s funny – I actually didn’t play sports in school (unless you count one year of ice hockey – yes, ice hockey! – in middle school and one year of cheerleading, also in middle school!). I really didn’t get into physical fitness until high school when I started going to the gym here and there. I wasn’t very active even then though. I really didn’t appreciate fitness like I do today until well into my college years. It’s so interesting to me though – the evolution towards fitness being such an integral part of my life. Today I can’t even fathom not living an active lifestyle, yet I do remember back then that working out was very much a chore. Today it’s a gift, an honor, something I never take for granted. I love to move!

How have your attitudes towards fitness changed as an adult?

Oh, absolutely. Fitness is such an integral part of my life today. I cherish every chance I get to sweat, to move, to feel alive through fitness. It’s not a chore to me like it was back in school. My friends laugh when I say it but I truly LOVE to workout, love, love, love.

Was Scott active when you met? Did you guys bond over a love of running?

Oh yes, he’s always been an active guy. I distinctly remember when we first started dating, I laughed at one of his jokes and playfully tapped him in the chest (or maybe it was his stomach), and I was floored. He had a rock-hard body under all the layers of clothes he routinely wore to work (we met at Shaw’s where collared polyester shirts with hideous green sweatshirts were the dress code…<shudder>). I pretty much did an “arm pump” in my head when I realized that not only was this guy probably the nicest, kindest guy I’d ever met but he was HOT too. 😉

But I digress (whoa, did I ever!). We used to go to the gym together – he’d lift weights while I did some cardio on the machines and then he’d help me lift weights too. We really didn’t start running seriously together until a few years ago (we attempted it in our first year or so of marriage but not very seriously). And now, some of our best “couple time” is spent on our rundates. We sometimes don’t even talk while we run, but just being there together, in those moments, such a bonding thing. And some of our convos, when we do decide to chat it up while running, have been the best ones ever. Not just catching up on our day but daydreaming the run away together (“if you could build our dream house, what would it look like” is a big rundate theme; another – dream vacations on our bucket list).

I think as someone who’s always been overweight I assumed for most of my life that only obese people had body issues – I now realize that’s very far from the truth! Did you ever have “body issues” growing up? If so how did you overcome them?

Even though I’ve never been considered “overweight” per se, I’ve always struggled to get to a happy weight, one that I could both maintain *and* one that left me with a body that I felt good about and good IN. As you know, this past year at barre n9ne has totally changed me, on the outside, sure, but on the inside even more so. I have never felt as confident and as happy and “me” as I do right this very minute. It’s a far cry from the “me” you would’ve met a year or two ago where I covered up my perceived imperfections in billowy blouses and only the most flattering cuts of clothes, I never ever wanted anyone to see those imperfections so I did my best to cover them. I’d stand a certain way to hide the (perceived) belly I had, or avoid any pictures that made my face look too round or “cheeky.” Most of my friends probably didn’t notice it all that much, bu I did. I felt self-conscious, uncomfortable being “me.”

Now I’m just happy. Happier than I ever remember being before. My husband probably notices it the most. He tells me all the time how much happier and comfortable I am, and how proud of me he is that I’ve finally accepted myself for me. Sometimes he knows just what to say, that boy. 😉

What foods do you crave? How do you stay within your number and still enjoy them?

I love wine. Love, love, love. I also love our homemade pizza (it’s a known fact around our circle of friends that our homemade pizza is the best everrrrr). That to me, is a real treat of a meal. And the calories in that kind of meal really add up fast. So I plan for it. I don’t stress about it. I plan. I eat a lighter breakfast and lunch, or maybe a bigger breakfast and more of a “snacky” lunch that I spread out through the afternoon so I’m never ravenous. On a day like that, I might build out my food log starting with the “money items” (the pizza and the wine) and then I fill it in with my breakfast and lunch or snack choices for the day and see what will work best. It’s truly a tool for me, the food log – it helps me enjoy the foods that I love, in a smart and healthy way. Never deprived. Never having to say “no” to things that I love. Just planning ahead. Plain and simple.

Before you knew about the number system, did you track calories/points/something?

I loosely followed the weight watchers points system years ago and also did my own food log using the points system as my guide. I didn’t love it though. I hated that a banana had more points in it than a bunch of cool whip on top of jello – all filled with fake sugars and things, nothing real about it whatsoever, but I would regularly choose that stuff over real, wholesome, nutritious foods (like that banana!). I did that for a few years but never really saw much in the way of results. It did teach me about portion control, I’ll say that. But it was after learning about my “number” and sticking to it consistently during the week, on weekends, on vacation, etc., that I finally, FINALLY saw the results I was looking for all those years ago. And it’s totally a doable, forever lifestyle thing for me now. Totally second nature. My body has adjusted to the number and loves it.

What kinds of classes were you involved in (teaching or taking!) before barre n9ne?

I got certified to teach Group Kick (by Body Training Systems) about a year and a half ago and routinely took (and taught) those classes, plus spinning and weight lifting-style classes as well. I dabbled in taking barre classes at other studios now and then but not with any regularity. Everytime I went to a barre class though, I loved it. I guess I just never thought I’d be “good enough” at it to stick with it. It was such a challenge everytime I went, but I LOVED how I felt after. So “worked” yet “cleansed” if that makes any sense at all.

How did you find barre n9ne?

The credit on this one totally goes to my sister who saw a deal on Gilt for a 5-pack of classes. We were both psyched to see a barre studio in our area – we’d always had to drive into the city to take classes and it was never very convenient (and maybe that’s why I never got into it as regularly as I would’ve liked to!). My first class was actually April 25, 2011…and it was just a couple of weeks later that we entered and won the contest Tanya put on to find a spokesmodel for her studio, one that would go through her 60-day challenge program and be able to share, first-hand, how much of an impact it had on their lives. Little did I know how utterly transformative that process would be, or that a year later, I’d be in the place that I am today – so confident and happy in my own skin, strong and the most fit I’ve ever been in my entire life. For the first time, all the hard work, energy and effort I had been putting into fitness had finally paid off. In ways I never, ever thought was possible before.

 (In fact, I can’t wait to share my perspective on this past year when we hit the one-year mark since embarking on the challenge…it’s coming up on May 12th!)

Jess on the left, Jo on the right in her signature pink!

When did you realize you wanted to be a b9 instructor?

It was when I hit my initial goal weight in November. NOT that weight was the defining factor for the success of the challenge for me (because it truly wasn’t), but because it was that moment when I realized that I had followed my goal all the way to the finish line. Not stopping halfway and thinking “ok, that’s good enough” – but taking it all the way to the finish. For the first time, I stepped on that scale and wasn’t afraid. And I looked in the mirror and legit liked the person staring back at me. No…I loved her. Finally. It was such a defining moment for me – and it was then that I realized how important it was that I pay that feeling forward by teaching. I am still so, so, so incredibly thankful for the opportunity to teach every single day.

From your blog I can tell you LOVE teaching (and from taking your classes I’ve seen it first hand!). What is your favorite part of leading a class?

I love being able to motivate clients to push through the shake and seeing the total and utter satisfaction on their faces when they complete a series at the barre, or a series of upper body work, and you can just tell that they’re mentally patting themselves on the back for powering through. I LOVE that.

I also love that I get to share this love of teaching with my sister. Even more fun that way!

Favorite move?

Chair! (it’s a love-to-hate move for me!)

Chair – my most dreaded move! LOL

Favorite barre n9ne moment (as a teacher or student!)?

As a teacher? Hearing a client say that they loved the butt-kicking they got from my class, or that they loved a particular move or series I included that day. It’s so much fun to hear those words…it’ll never get old for me, I’m convinced.

As a student? The first time I made it through an entire series of shoulder work with those evil gray balls during b9 fusion. I seriously wanted to jump up and down and arm-pump for pushing through. That – and the first time I made it through thigh dancing without stopping for a break. 😉

You, Jo and Steph have “fit dates” – how did you start incorporating fitness and friendship? Was it a natural progression?

We actually trained to teach Group Kick together – that’s where we first met and became friends. So truly, our friendship has always been rooted in fitness. Steph Jo and I are like three peas in a pod –we totally “get” eachother and have such an awesome shared passion for fitness, good food and good wine (and vodka haha) that we seriously could spend everyday together and never get sick of it. We regularly have rundates, barre dates and any other kind of “date” we can drum up (pedi dates are fun!) – and usually our conversation somehow always circles back to barre n9ne and our ongoing love affair with the studio and the classes and the community. We are truly barre n9ne cult leaders!

How do you think traveling for work impacts your ability to stay “on” with your number/fitness routine?

It’s a challenge, for sure. But I’ve sort of made it into a fun challenge – figuring out the best options to bring with me on the plane and for my hotel room, packing up little snack packs before I go. And I always scope out the restaurants and things in and around the hotel so I’m armed and ready to make healthy choices. At the end of the day, I may not be able to log to my number exactly when I’m traveling, out of my element, with food choices not entirely in my control, but as long as I can make healthy choices, fit workouts in wherever I can (DVDs in my room, the hotel gym, run or barre dates with friends in the area I’m traveling to, etc.) and sleep as much as I can, I’m doing a-ok in my book. I’ve learned that I have to strive more for excellence when I travel vs. perfection. It’s just not realistic otherwise (and I’ll become a total head case if I try for perfection when out of my comfort zone!).

Lastly, what quote/ story sums up Jess for someone who’s never met you?

“Have no Limits Today” – per the Dove chocolate I opened right before New Years’ Eve this year. It’s become my mantra for 2012 and beyond. Take every day as a blessing, chase every dream you possibly can, run with every opportunity that comes your way, and own your days on this earth. That’s what I’m trying to live by, it’s what drives me, makes me the happy and super-passionate (if not dorky) person I am right now.

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Jolene:

Jess and Jo (in her signature pink barre shirt!)

I’m a PR and social media manager by day, secretly masquerading as equal parts wine lover, runner, barre-obsessed, traveling fiend. I live in Andover with my man (and two most-adorable cats who I swear, are part-dog), who I lovingly refer to as ‘M’ in shorthand, who I’m convinced was tailor-made for me and just me, in this world. He keeps me sane, balanced, makes me laugh, live and inspires me to push myself to the next level in everything that I do.

Growing up were you someone who loved healthy eating and enjoyed exercise? Did you play sports?

I purposely did not read my sister’s answers to any of these questions in advance (though I know some of them are different), but I would say that growing up, our mom instilled healthy eating habits in us and I would consider myself a ‘casual’ exerciser in high school, college and in my former marriage. I’d work out a few times a week, but I was also known to overcompensate on the other end of the spectrum and fall into the ‘well, I worked out today, so I can eat whatever I want.’ Um, no.

Sports? Ha, nope. I wish I did growing up, but tended to veer towards the arts (band, art programs etc), but did dabble in gymnastics for a short time.

How did your blogging adventure begin?

I started blogging originally about three years ago, as I started to go through separation and divorce from my (now) ex-husband. I used my former blog (that I have since ended) to chronicle my journey through divorce. I kept it as private as I could, as it was a cathartic journey for me, and about a year and a half ago, started my current blog Determined…To Be. (a runner, sister, lover, living a fit and happy life) to focus more on the journey I now live, well past divorce, into the ‘best life now’ that I am living, that’s filled with being the best me I can be, and honing my running, fitness, and barre-loving journey.  I have met so many incredible people since I started blogging, including YOU, and it’s been one of my most rewarding endeavors, in meeting ‘virtually’ and ‘in real life’ those that just ‘get’ me and that I ‘get’ in return, on so many levels.

I think as someone who’s always been overweight I assumed for most of my life that only obese people had body issues – I now realize that’s very far from the truth!  Did you ever have “body issues” growing up? If so how did you overcome them?

Absolutely. I was always very sensitive to weight as our sister Jen has had her fair share of ups and downs with weight and I always wanted to be supportive and help her in any way that I can. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have my own body issues. Body issues that I really had in earnest a year ago, (so perfect to be writing this on our one-year barre-oversary!!) and thus why I signed us up for the 60 day challenge contest – the best decision I ever made, in fact. I was at a point where I just tore myself apart, I’d nit-pick, and I’d compare myself incessantly to anyone and everyone. It was then that I knew I needed to just FACE these issues head-on, and the 60 day challenge really helped me do that. Seeing my measurements, seeing the areas I wanted to improve. And honestly, seeing that there were areas of my body that could use some, shall we say, ‘refinement.’ Tanya and Julianna and the barre n9ne family truly helped me push past the comparison and nit-picking and focus on the strength gains, refinement gains, and ultimately, some weight loss too.

What role did your sisters play in your self-esteem growing up? As triplets did people compare you (physically or otherwise) to each other?

There was some comparison, growing up, but mostly between our third sister and me and Jess, given she was heavier than we were, partially just by nature of her build. We have, and still are, each other’s biggest support team and cheerleaders and I think that definitely plays a huge part of building a strong self-esteem foundation. Having support, encouragement and motivation around you.

Had you ever taken/taught group exercise classes before?

Yes! Jess and I both taught Group Kick for about 6 months or so at a local gym. The training was pretty rigorous, but in comparison to barre n9ne, the biggest difference is how passionate I am about this approach vs. that one and how much I want to help barre n9ne clients push themselves, see strength gains and just enjoy each and every workout, getting the most of that hour that they possibly can. I tend to ask – why are you here? What got you here today? Focus on that. Focus on WHY you are working out. This is just such a natural class for us to teach, because we are both deeply passionate about it, we love the approach, and we stand behind it 110%.  We always joke that we are barre n9ne cult leaders…but honestly, it’s pretty darn true!! 😉

What foods do you crave? How do you stay within your number and still enjoy them? 

Cheese! Wine! Chocolate! I just plan for these things. Staying within my number for the last year has become so much a part of my day, so natural, and ingrained, it is *almost* effortless. My body has completely adjusted to my number and that really helps me stay on track, focus on wholesome, satisfying and energizing foods, as well as the foods I love that may fall just outside that category. Like wine 😉

Before you knew about the number system, did you track calories/points/something?

On and off. I’d done weight watchers for awhile, counting points and such. But it really never worked for me. Probably because I was still consuming far too many calories for my body. And I wasn’t consistent. I think consistency and staying at your number EVERY DAY and not just during the week is the ultimate key to this approach. Sounds simple, but it’s genius. It’s why I have finally seen the changes I have always wanted in my body.

How did you find barre n9ne?

Gilt Groupe! I got a 5 class package and Jess did too, and as they say…the rest is history 🙂

Looking at your life in the rear-view what would you say to yourself a year ago? How have your attitudes changed about your body?

Good question. I would say to trust that your body can do you think it cannot. It’s got a memory just like our brains. Trust that it can move, and it will. And trust yourself that change is possible. That habits can be refocused. And that going for the touchdown in life, and not just the field goal is absolutely the best, most rewarding feeling in the world.

Having taken your classes I can tell you love teaching! What is your favorite part of being a barre n9ne teacher?

I LOVE seeing the look on faces of those clients that have come for the very first time. Their reaction is just incredible to watch. They experience the hardest workout of their lives, one they never even saw it coming! This workout sneaks up on you and hits you with the best, most effective workout ever. It never gets old, that look, that excitement, and that challenge.

Favorite barre move? (You’re going to say blue ball….I know it!!)

Of course I will say the blue ball 😉 I LOVE chair with the ball, but am also quite partial to Tanya’s incredible side leg series in the Long and Lean Legs class!!

Favorite barre n9ne moment (as a teacher or student!)?

So many to choose from, honestly. First reaction to this question? Reaching my goal weight at the 6.5(ish) month mark. Realizing that my body is capable of something I never thought possible. Reshaping and refining.

And of course, teaching my very first class. What an adrenaline-filled rush. I will never forget it!

You were active when you met M, was that a quality you looked for in a partner? Do you share a love of fitness? Is he a healthy eater too?

Yes, absolutely! That was actually a pretty big deal-breaker for me when I was dating (we met on match.com!). I wanted someone that shared my passion for fitness, and if they liked to run, that was a double score. Luckily, M loves likes to run too, we even ran a half marathon together, and he is into healthy eating as well. In fact, after his divorce (another thing we share in common…our pasts), he lost 60 pounds and has kept it off ever since.

M and Jolene

You, Jess and Steph have “fit dates” – how did you start incorporating fitness and friendship? Was it a natural progression?

We met THROUGH fitness and it just sort of fit (we actually all taught Group Kick together!) and since Steph joined us at barre n9ne, we’ve truly become the best of friends. It’s an incredible friendship, I must say! 🙂

How do you think traveling for work impacts your ability to stay “on” with your number/fitness routine? 

This has been huge for me. I always plan ahead. I find a local barre studio, I make sure there is a gym nearby, I map out running routes, I bring any DVDs I may have with me, and when I was training to teach, I’d literally teach myself a barre n9ne class in my hotel room. Toss some bands in my luggage and I was good to go J

As for eating, I consider myself a pro at planning ahead for the flight and dealing with the three hour time difference in California, where I travel for work quite a bit (that time difference does a number on your appetite! Hungry all the time!). I bring chia, mini PB packets, oatmeal, fruit, 100 calorie nut packets, energy bars (Steph turned me on to Standard Process peanut butter protein bars, and they are delish! Nothing fake, all natural, 200 cals and 15g of protein!), and lots of water.

Lastly, what quote/ story sums up Jolene for someone who’s never met you?

These 🙂

“She believed she could, so she did”

2 Comments »

Put Up or Shut Up!


TGIF!

Oh man what a wonderful Friday. Why you ask?

5 reasons:

1. I have barre n9ne tonight with the lovely Jess from EatDrinkBreatheSweat

2. I have NO WORK this weekend! Hooray! I was onsite last weekend and between being “on” and traveling I was spent come Monday.

3. I get to have a girly lunch and pedicure with my Mom on Sunday.

4. I have a barre n9ne class with Jo from Determined To Be on Sunday

5. I feel like I’ve hit a point in my life where I have balance. I love my job. I love my family. I found a hobby that is good for my body and my soul. I’m so exactly where I need to be, it’s not even funny!

I am also happy to say today is day 18 on Lent and I don’t miss desserts! OK….that’s a lie. I DO miss desserts, but I haven’t cheated or had a craving headache or cried and screamed when thinking about dessert! LOL.

I have seriously upped my fruits and veggies intake – which I think is helping my body get more on track.

I haven’t started juicing yet. I’m still back and forth about doing it for a 10-day stretch. Everyone says the first two days are the worst – I need to find 2 days where I won’t be risking meetings / work commitments in order to begin.

I’ve mentioned a few times how excited I am to be taking barre n9ne classes in person (as opposed to just virtually, which I had been doing since the summer). I can’t tell you what a change I feel in my body after just 6 in-person classes! I leave a sweaty mess and then I feel sore and strong and amazing within a few hours. Knowing how HARD I work at the barre forces me to make better choices. Thirsty? Drink water. Hungry? Find protein/fruits/veggies. My whole attitude has really changed. I think I’m at a point where I am sick of carrying the same fat around for 20-something years. I realize I can’t keep doing what I always did and expecting different results. I need to put up and shut up!

 

I’m even more excited because Tanya just announced they are opening a sister location in Andover! Hello super close! HOORAY! 🙂

I signed up for the next “Skinny Jeans Challenge” at the studio – it will help me stick with my weekly classes and get me accountable for April and May. Wanna join me? Here’s the deets!

The Skinny Jean Challenge!

 This challenge includes:

  • 16 classes in 60 days! (2 classes per week!)
  • Nutritional Information, Guidance & Analysis
  • Initial measurements before April 1st!
  • Measuring Inches Lost at the 30 day mark!
  • Measuring Inches Lost at the 60 day mark!
  • Before & After Pictures!
  • Unlimited support from our instructors and Jessica and Jolene the original 60 day challenge ladies!
  • 2 Open Forum Q & A Sessions with Tanya (one before and one during!)
  • Access to the exclusive barre n9ne challenge facebook group!
  • 10% off class packages until July 15, 2012(cannot be used during a promotion, not valid for single classes)
  • Fit Tips, Recipes & More
  • Price $185 (for an over $385 value)

Purchase the Skinny Jean Challenge NOW!  

With that I am off to change for barre – yay!

Happy weekend all!

10 Comments »

The Fat Ballerina


I took dance from the time I was 4 until I was around 13. I remember loving the costumes, the sparkles and the moves my older cousin and her friends had. I wanted to be a cool kid. I wanted to be a dancer. I still have every old costume saved in the attic, and I still have fond memories of those years. I started off taking tap and jazz. I loved jazz, it was funky music I knew from listening to the radio. One year we danced to “Hot Stepper” by Ini Kamoze. Years later I would hear that song at work and bust into choreo. No lie. 😉

Here I am (being a ham) dancing to “Yellow Polka Dot Bikini”. Someday when I reach my goal weight I will buy a yellow polka dot bikini and do a comparison picture!  (Please note the “Yeah, I’m awesome” face I’m making. Haha. )

I never took ballet. At the time I think you had to be 12 to start and by then I wasn’t interested. I had moved on from my dreams of being a dancer to wanting to be a doctor (but then I found out blood was involved and that dream fell by the wayside too, LOL). I’ve always held a soft-spot ballet; I’ve seen “The Nutcracker” several times and I find the art form to be one I respect and admire. However, as a 311 pound adult I didn’t think I was cut out to try a ballet workout. I was SO wrong. Being a fat ballerina is totally possible!

I found Jess and Jolene‘s blogs on a whim (I’m really not sure how I stumbled upon them, kismet I guess!). They both mentioned the barre workout at a studio called barre n9ne in Danvers. I was intrigued. I wanted to hear about their 60-day challenge with barre n9ne and was blown away by their progress in the first 30 days!  Jolene lost 8.25 inches all around and Jess lost 6! That’s over a foot of loss! Go ladies, go!

This morning I had my very first barre n9ne virtual workout. Literally it was just me, my laptop and my living room. How cool is that?! I expected to be slightly challenged, but I figured as a long-time dancer (and now bellydancer) I could handle this like a pro. I was so, so, SO wrong. I almost died. Ok ok…I didn’t almost die. But it sure felt like I might! Tanya is a *professional* – and she is in excellent shape. We did a full body workout – legs (plies, leg lifts of doom, squats lifting one heel), abs (roll-ups, plank of death etc) along with a bunch of other stuff. My brain is mush. However, I distinctly remember laying on the ground thinking “Dear god are we almost done? I cannot do one more leg lift. It’s been an hour!“. I glanced at the clock – it had been 3 mins. Well…it FELT like an hour!

I can’t wait for the next one. Honestly. I never thought I would say this, but I love getting up before the sun and getting my ass kicked! Wanna join me? All you need is a good internet connection and Skype 5.0 or higher! Sign up here! Wednesday mornings at 6:15am! 🙂

I asked Jess and Jolene about their experiences with the barre n9ne workouts and I wanted to share their feelings with you guys:

Jess: 

This 60-day challenge has changed me. Infinitely. And we’re only a little bit more than halfway through – and I am so very grateful. I’ve learned (already) to love what my body can do – that it can take on any challenge I ask it to. That I can eat healthfully and wholesomely and still have “fun” – especially on the weekends (my nemesis, or it *was* my nemesis I should say!). That I am stronger than I thought – especially mentally. Some of the movements we’re asked to do in barre n9ne require ridiculous concentration and control – and it hurts (so good). I’ve learned that by closing my eyes when the going gets tough, I can breathe through it and conquer those loonnnnnng sets of never-ending reps. But most of all? I’ve learned to love what I see in the mirror – because I did that. It is the most empowering feeling I’ve ever felt. And I’m grateful.

Jolene:
What I love: All of it. Every single minute of class. These classes are the right balance of intensity with endurance and I always feel so loose and strong and powerful by the end. And I realize that the more classes I do, the more I want to keep taking classes and make this a lifestyle change for me. No more gym. No more spinning. No more kickboxing. JUST Barre N9ne and running. I never in a million years thought I’d say that. I used to love spinning more than anything and now? I couldn’t care less. The results I’ve seen in a month have been incredible and the mix of these classes, with running and eating to ‘my number’ have been the magic combination for me.

What I’ve learned: I’ve learned that you definitely need to love your workout to stick with it. Not to totally compare this to Core Fusion, or the 30-day at-home challenge Jess and I did awhile back, but I look back at that and while I did like the DVDs (and the classes are hands-down, the best, especially with Fred DeVito co-creator, at the helm!), I didn’t love them nearly as much as these workouts. I think barre n9ne is the right mix for me. It’s always different, there are constantly new moves and tweaks to moves we’ve done before to keep my body guessing. I’ve also learned that keep tracking of calories and being held accountable (even if I know it’s just me and Tanya peeking at my journal in FitDay!) has helped me focus and even more think twice before eating something. Am I hungry? Or am I just thirsty? Or bored? Eat to fuel, don’t eat to cover up another emotion or feeling or need.

What I’m surprised by: I’m surprised at how I view food now. I LOVE to eat, don’t get me wrong. But I no longer see food as a driver to happiness…and I think I sort of did equate it with that before. Food is fuel and sure, food makes me happy, but it shouldn’t be a big reason for that. It’s hard for me to explain, but now, when I do choose to go out to dinner (rarely!), I enjoy the company and the glass or two of wine MORE than the food, because I see the food as fuel and not as indulgence. I don’t gravitate towards the middle of the road/semi-bad, I veer towards as healthy as I can be. I look up nutritionals before I go out so I have an idea of my calorie intake and planning ahead for it. Because I view food this way, it doesn’t feel like I am deprived. And honestly, I am eating much of the same foods as I was before, but just with a lot less daily indulgence. It’s cleaner, it’s moderated and I just FEEL better.

Doesn’t it sound totally awesome? I know! 🙂

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