The Trick to Maintaining Your Weight Loss

by: Danielle Ternyila

With the promise of so many fad diets and quick fix weight loss programs, my fear 75 lbs ago was that no matter what I lost, I would gain it back anyway and be at the same spot. It seemed impossible, so rather than throw in the towel, I sought out the answers for the best trick of all: keeping off the weight after you lose it.

Losing weight is a huge success that comes with so many challenges along the way, but the hardest part is the part that comes next, maintaining that win long-term instead of falling into old habits again. This was the most important part of my weight loss journey for me, and it’s something we all struggle with, yet don’t talk about enough. We do, now, talk about it plenty in my Facebook support group, and I’ll talk about it here again.

To maintain your weight loss achievements, you can’t stop now. You’ve worked hard to get here, you’ve made changes and done courageous things, like perhaps stepping foot in a new gym or entrusting a surgeon for assistance. No matter what, the next step is to stay healthy.

The trick to keeping it all off is to make changes to your lifestyle that support your health. Creating a healthier lifestyle that supports your weight loss is your hack, and it will feel easier said than done. Don’t let that stop you, especially when it is your health and wellness on the line.

I started making changes to my overall lifestyle to help improve my health and keep going at this goal. If I wanted to be healthy, I realized that I actually had to do exactly that. I cut out all the unhealthy snacks and processed foods in the cabinets; I started filling my fridge with more fruits and vegetables, and I started cooking much different meals than I was used to growing up in an Italian family addicted to pasta and bread.

Giving up my favorite snacks and even meals was a hard decision, but I learned it was not about cutting it out entirely. Moderation is key. Instead of enjoying these guilty pleasures regularly, they became a treat, which I sometimes think makes it that much more enjoyable than having it every week. I also limited my beverages and cut down on excess sugar in my diet too by switching to water and black coffee or teas.

Every day is a challenge, but I prioritize my health regardless. Though it has been years since I started this journey, I still crave all of my favorite unhealthy delights, but cravings pass.

3 Rules for Healthier, Supportive Weight Loss Talks

by: Danielle Ternyila

The way we talk about our weight has changed so much in my family over the years, and it has definitely been a change for the better. Weight seemed like such a private matter, and it could be considered rude to discuss or hurtful. That’s the way we all are used to thinking, but I think that’s only holding us back.

My mom and I, for example, have regular conversations about our health, and I don’t mean just updates on doctors appointments out of curiosity. We talk about recipes, we talk new healthy cooking hacks and swap ideas, brainstorm new workout routines when I get in a rut, celebrate our successes weekly or even daily… Health is not an “bad” topic in our family, even when we fall off the wagon and haven’t been making the healthiest choices; those times are most important to communicate so we can get help and motivation to keep going.

That said, there are a few important ways the conversations have changed that make these most beneficial to us. Use these 3 tips to have more positive discussions around weight and our health, whether in our families, friendship circles, or an online support group of like-minded friends. Here’s a few rules to keep it positive:

Judgement Is Not Invited

The discussions we have aren’t judgmental; they are supportive and encouraging. We do our best to compliment each other and celebrate wins, as well as help overcome the battles and struggles along the way too. It feels a lot more possible and real in your mind when you have a team of support behind you, starting with your family or those closest to you. When there is no judgement or feel of embarrassment, the conversations are better all around and more productive.

This is most important on the bad days especially. We need to be supportive of each other, and so whether we are having a bad day or our friend is having a bad week, those are the most important times to hold all judgement. Things happen, life can change, and it’s okay to not be perfect all the time. Just support one another all the same.

Honesty Supports Succcess

If the whole idea of positive health talk in your family is new, everyone has to start somewhere. It can be hard and feel personal to talk about your weight, and it can feel really hard to admit your inner thoughts, even to the most cherished loved one. However, you need to know you are in a supportive environment and can say anything without judgement. Be honest and don’t tell lies about your journey.

The only person you are doing a disservice to when you lie about your health is you. Think about that! Whether your doctor, your mom, or your significant other knows you’re still eating junk food, skipping the gym, or lying about your weight, you’re only hurting yourself at the end of the day. Use honesty and their support to help motivate you in your weight loss endeavors.

Share And Learn As You Go

Not only has this completely shaped the way our family talks about health, but I think the biggest impact has been sharing everything we’ve learned as we go. My sister will call me with a new healthy cooking hack, my mom will email me a new recipe, my dad will unwillingly sign me up for a 5k at random. Not only do we support each other, but we can provide more support for one another when we are involved. Even if I can’t go to the gym with my mom due to conflicting schedules and I can’t have dinner with my sister every day, we still share our successes and lessons so we can all benefit from it.

No matter what, taking any steps, big or small, toward achieving your weight loss goals is going to push you further along. Having support from home or around you changes your own mindset and helps you believe in yourself.

Not to mention, there are so many benefits to having a workout buddy too! It doesn’t have to be about sharing your own journey with someone on the same path. If there is anyone you can talk to about your weight and health goals, it should be your gym buddy, and if you don’t have one yet, there’s too many reasons why you should.

4 Healthy Habits to Impact Your Mindset

by: Danielle Ternyila

Changing your mindset can be a really hard thing to do, but it is far from impossible. It takes time; it won’t always be easy, but nothing worth it ever will be “easy”.

There are at least some things you can do throughout your day to help change your mindset slowly but surely. By doing things that bring more positivity, focus, and energy into your every day, you can gain the confidence to do anything! The first step towards anything is believing in yourself, and these mindset tricks can help get you there.

Make Your Bed Every Morning

As soon as you crawl out of bed, turn around and make it again. It’s your first task of the day, so it’s sure to give you a huge sense of self-accomplishment immediately. Who wouldn’t want to start their day like this?

Doing so is known to improve your mood, much like some of these other simple habits. Make your bed so you’ll sleep better later, to reduce your stress levels, and improve your productivity. It’s the little things in life, after all.

Say Thank You Instead of Sorry

This is a big flaw we all can struggle with easily. When we make a mistake and get called out on it, our instinct is to apologize, but we’re human and can make mistakes. We are always learning, always growing, so we should be saying “Thank you” to those who catch the mistakes, help us through them, or just point them out. Thank you for your attention on that, thank you for pointing that out, thanks for explaining this.

When we break the habit of diminishing our work by apologizing, we can appreciate all our efforts, achievements, and growth instead of feeling guilty. Saying thank you, or at least learning not to immediately blurt out “I’m sorry!” when something isn’t done right, changes the attitude of the whole conversation. We shouldn’t have to feel like we have to be perfect all the time; just your best is exactly enough, and never apologize for that.

Drink Water First Every Day

Instead of starting the morning with coffee or your favorite tea, drink down a glass of water first, and maybe even add a splash of lemon for extra flavor! After sleeping for 8+ hours (by following the next tip), your body needs to be replenished. It has basically been in fasting mode for those long hours overnight, so you want to nourish it with what’s good for it, like hydration!

Play Your Happy Playlist

If you haven’t already, prep a “happy playlist” on your music app of choice. This should be all of the songs that make you feel good, the ones that lift you up and make you feel like you’re on top of the world. Be it a childhood favorite, some upbeat vibes, the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack or bagpipes, music can be a great tool for our mental health, and it’s something we can do daily.

Music can provide more benefits to your mental state than you could think. It is actually linked to having positive effects on the brain and natural chemicals like dopamine, the “happy” hormone! Start playing that feel-good playlist, and find somewhere to fit it into your every day, maybe when you are feeling your most anxious during the day. I listen to my playlist in the car on the commute to work or anytime I need to clean but not feeling it; a quick dose of “Walking on Sunshine” or “Dancing Queen” to get myself excited!

What are you doing every day to improve your mindset? What songs put you in your best mood? Share with us in our private support group on Facebook!

Two Reasons to Avoid Measuring Weight Loss Success Against Clothing Sizes

by: Danielle Ternyila

Your weight loss goals and achievements can’t be reached if you’re measuring it all by pant size, or any clothing size for that matter. Our bodies are all unique and with so many different designers, brands, materials, and styles in clothing out there, there is not enough consistency to compare yourself to a tag. You may think you need to be a size X to be happy, but by what standards?

Over the course of a year, my most determined self committed to getting in shape and losing the 60+ pounds I had gained in college. During this time, I weighed myself daily and saw great progress at first, but once I shed the first few “easy” pounds, it got harder and I felt hopeless when I began to fluctuate and struggled with losing the rest. I would get so upset to put on a size 8 that barely fit after a 6 just the week before, but now when I look back, I see that those 2 different sizes actually were more similar in the waist after all being bought in different stores and made by different designers.

We can get so torn up over a number on the scale, but what’s far worse is the fear of our “fat pants” never fitting well again. Our clothing sizes are so inconsistent , however, that you can be a Medium in one brand while an X-Large in another fits the exact same!

Clothing Sizes Always Vary

By measuring my weight loss success through the size-18 jeans I hadn’t zipped up in years, the feelings of failure crept in eventually, and not fitting into them or still wearing bigger sizes did not leave me feeling encouraged to try harder. I’m not doing it right. I will never lose this weight. I have to just love my body for what it is, I thought.

Yes, you have to love yourself, but also remember you cannot give up on yourself either. At the end of the day, all the clothes in stores today come in so many varied styles and materials, waistlines and collars, inseams and hemlines. All of these things make each pair of pants in your closet unique, and I’m sure you’ll see inconsistencies if you laid out a few pairs in the “same size” and compared. Our bodies are different too! We all lose weight in different places and at different rates. I couldn’t get my jeans to snap for a while at first, but after another 20 lbs down, I realized I was actually losing a lot in my chest first, instead of my gut and thighs that affected the pant size I was holding myself to.

When I did get the pants on, I kept working on myself, and I started using measurements to track my progress. My weekly routine included measuring my upper arm, chest, waist, thigh, etc. Even though my favorite skinny jeans didn’t fit, I could see exactly how I was doing and get a more realistic idea of my achievements than when I bet it all on wanting to be a certain size for my closet.

Our Bodies Aren’t Perfect Fits

I dropped from size (barely fitting in) 18 to a comfortable but shocking size 2, but then I noticed I started going back up in terms of sizes. Now I wear a 6 more often, but I also have a lot of pieces in an 8-10. It was hard not to see this as a failure because we all assume we have to be the smallest size. That’s not true!

Like I said, every piece of clothing is so uniquely designed with different materials, ideas, and intentions. After becoming a Zyia Active Independent Rep, I can see how all of these factors change the way things fit, just like our bodies are all unique. Some of our leggings have an encased band at the top to stay put for those who are more active or have more they want to “hold up”, but we also have leggings without that or ones designed intentionally less compressive for more casual or comfortable wear. Some of our clothing accentuates the abdominal area, while others aim to flatten it or draw less attention to the area altogether. This changes how every piece is designed, just like our bodies all require different styles and fits. It’s not all about the size on the tag.

All of our bodies are so unique, just like the clothes we love shopping for. We can’t just expect ourselves to be the perfect image we are looking for. The most important lesson of all was in learning to listen to my body more. Activity, balanced nutrition, and positive mental health routines are all a part of my day to day now, and no matter what Jean size I’m wearing, I feel better mentally and physically, which is the only thing that should matter to us as we lose weight and take back our health.

January Check-In: Supporting Your 2022 Resolutions

by: Danielle Ternyila

The whole purpose of a New Years Resolution is to start new and fresh again focusing on your biggest goals. The most common resolutions surround self improvement, weightloss, career, and financial aspirations, but these resolutions don’t make it past January sometimes.

If you visit the gym throughout the year, you’ll notice a significantly less amount of people the more months go by since January. Once life starts getting back to normal after the holidays, it’s easy to just forget your New Years Resolution and continue doing what you’ve been doing, which just leaves you wishing you could have done it, regretting the past, or convincing yourself these things aren’t important to you anymore.

At the start of every month, I write down how I did in the last month, what my goals are for the next month, and the steps to achieve those goals in the upcoming 30 days. Instead of trying to plan a whole year and 52 weeks of good behaviors and crushing goals, focus on the next 4-5 weeks ahead of you at a time. It’s easier to plan, and gives you room for growth as you continue learning what works for you and what doesn’t.

Checking in monthly is important for adjusting and realign your goals. Are you on track or do you need to make a change? What went well this month and what didn’t? These questions can pinpoint particular challenges you have to overcome, plan around your constantly-changing schedule, and help you figure out how to do better the next month.

Some months will be easier than others, and some might be overtaken by vacations or holidays! This is the perfect time to plan ahead for those times. You can’t predict every event from the start of the new year, which is why monthly planning is better!

Ready to start preparing for your best month yet? With February here, take time to write down and reflect on the last 31 days. Answer the questions below to help you figure out what to do next, and feel free to print more planning pages to start this month strong!

  • What was my goal last month? Was this achieved or a work in progress?
  • What did I do well to achieve this goal?
  • What challenges came up during the month?
  • How can I improve next month? What changes should I make to overcome the challenges of last month?
  • Looking ahead, is there anything I predict will be a challenge this month? How can I still succeed?

I already can see with Valentine’s Day and a few birthdays in February that I will have some obstacles when it comes to staying true to my healthy diet. To be prepared, I’ll plan to bring my own healthy appetizer or dessert, and I’ll plan to stay on track the rest of the month to ensure I don’t feel guilty if I have a few bad days!

Share your January successes and challenges in our Facebook group to celebrate and connect with people with big goals just like you!

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall: Let’s Not Compare To Them All

by: Danielle Ternyila

Why don’t I have her body? How does she stay so fit? Why do they get to travel so much? How do I get my home be that clean?

Social media can be the devil, especially when we start making comparisons as if we are looking in a mirror. From the outside looking in through an old friend’s social media, for example, it’s easy to assume things are just easier for them when things look good. They don’t post their bad days for you to see, which makes you start thinking worse about yourself.

Nothing looks good on me. I wish I could love the gym. I don’t get to go on vacations. I don’t have the time to clean and make my house look that nice. That’s just not me, I’ll never be like them.

There is no reason you should be doubting yourself by comparing yourself to your friends and influencers. The only real thing you can compare yourself to is the old version of yourself. Look at where you were before: that’s your competition.

Whether I am looking back at my teenage self, college self, or myself 1 year ago, that is where I am making my comparisons. How much have I achieved since then? Am I happier today than I was then? Have I surrounded myself with the right people? Do I take better care of myself? Have I learned from my mistakes and made myself better?

This is the most accurate and only way to measure your growth and the success of your life, through looking at yourself then and now, and of course staying motivated to make “future you” the best version of yourself, not backtracking or staying in place. We all get scared to try new things, which leads to us settling in our comfort zones, be it your job that’s easier to stay at than leave or how you spend your time.

Everyone has a dream of their own: to lose weight or get in shape, make more money, raise a great family, have the best job, own a business, or live in the dream home, for a few examples. None of those can be achieved if you don’t start believing that you can achieve all of these things. The only thing stopping you is yourself when you don’t apply, you don’t show up, and just give up.

Start with a plan and understand what your goals are. Take time to consider how you can get there. I honestly hated the gym when I was up 60 lbs a few years ago, so I prioritized eating healthier and tried new ways to be active so that I could achieve my goal. Every day since, I continue to compare myself to my “past self” and how far I have come. It makes me feel a lot more proud than comparing myself to someone else who has led a completely different life than me.

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to looking in the mirror and comparing yourself to the fairest of them all (that’s you!), I have a few questions below to get you thinking positive and living the life you have been lusting after. You deserve it, that’s what you need to believe! You can live your best life, as long as you do your best to achieve that!

You get what you work for, not what you wish for.

  • What is your dream for your future?
  • Why is this important to you? What would it mean to you to achieve this goal?
  • What is holding you back?
    • Time, funds, commitment, knowledge, motivation, support, etc
  • What steps can you take to overcome those challenges?
    • Time management, finance planning or finding free programs, build a support system, join a team, make an inspiration/vision board, educate yourself, ask for help, etc
  • How will you hold yourself accountable?
  • In what way can you measure your success?
    • Monthly or weekly check-in’s, weigh-in’s, goal tracker, etc.

A support system is an important part to any journey! Join our group on Facebook for more inspiration and a positive group of people all doing their best!

Practice Gratitude Year-Round

by: Danielle Ternyila

Time and time again this simple method of gratitude has gotten me through the hardest days. I try my best to practice gratitude every day, but especially on the worst days. You know, those days or sometimes weeks when you just dont want to get out of bed in the morning, the day lags on miserably, or perhaps you’re most stressed at night as you recap your awful day. Maybe it’s just winter in general and the cold!

Instead of giving into those negative vibes, remind yourself of all the good. Ask yourself, “Well if this isn’t particularly going well, what is doing me good?” If you can’t think of a single thing or person you’re thankful for, for any reason whatsoever, then you aren’t trying hard enough.

Reflection is so important for us and our growth, especially mentally. Gratitude grounds us and finds the light in the darkest places. Next time you’re stressed, start listing what you are thankful for that day, including the driver who moved over for you when you were rushing to work, the woman who held the door when your hands were full, or that you had a filling breakfast.

Be thankful that you woke up early on the weekend and could spend more time enjoying your coffee or get ahead on your day. Be grateful if you slept in and got rest you needed. It’s like looking at a half-filled glass of water. Is it half full or half empty? You decide.

Ways to Implement Gratitude in your Life:

Journal! Take a moment each night to list 3 to 5 things you’re thankful for. Doing this will reinforce gratitude and keep you thinking in the future about what you’re thankful for!

Redirect Negative Thoughts! When you’re feeling particularly negative, pause to think about what you are grateful for instead, like an opportunity you’ve been given, a lesson you may be learning from a challenge, or the person you can lean on through it.

Thank Others! Make it a point to thank someone every day. Not only will you feel good, but it will reinforce gratitude in others as well, making those around you feel appreciated too.

By practicing gratitude regularly, you will learn to appreciate the little things, which will help in balancing your mental health in the long run. The longer you practice this, the easier it will be to recognize the little wins throughout your day.

Achieve Your Health Goals Like a Pro

by: Danielle Ternyila

I wish I was the kind of person that meal prepped. I wish I liked salads and healthy foods. I wish I could afford organic ingredients. I wish I had time to cook better meals. I wish there was enough time to go to the gym.

No, you’re not the only one thinking these things and struggling to take back your health for reasons like these. These wishes sound so hopeless, but telling your self any of this is NOT going to make things happen for you. Your health should be your number one priority, above anything else you do, and there is no reason you can’t.

No one is born to meal prep or cook specialty meals. Those people who do, though, actively choose to live that life. They don’t wish for things to happen, they make them happen. And if you have been struggling to get past the wishing and daydreaming, start acting.

We’ve all heard it in so many ways: actions speak louder than words. This is true even in achieving your goals. Telling yourself you can’t do it with these petty wishes and “Debbie Downer” thoughts will never will it to life. You set yourself up for failure every time you talk down about yourself, whether it is in the privacy of your mind, your car, or in a rant to a friend.

The only thing standing in the way of achieving your goals is the excuses you allow yourself to believe. At the end of the day, it is all just that. You don’t like salad is an excuse to eat bad instead. You don’t have time is an excuse to get out of 30 minutes at the gym. You can’t meal prep “right” so you stick to your old unhealthy habits.

Make the decision to follow your dreams. Do what you need to do make them a reality. Go the extra mile, put in the time even when you think you can’t, and tell your mind to “shut up” every time it tells you another excuse.

You can’t just wish for it. You have to work for it. And it never gets easier, you just get stronger!

My Weight-Loss Journey: It’s All Mom’s Fault

by: Danielle Ternyila

From the moment I started my weightloss journey, my mom couldn’t have played a more vital role; she was my workout and accountability buddy. My biggest fan, cheerleader, constant therapist and the greatest role model a girl could ask for, Mama has been by my side through it all, including countless sweat sessions in the gym.

She herself had started her own journey around the same time I started mine, which was a real wake up call for myself. If mom could lose the weight, what was my excuse? She lost 90 pounds following a weightloss surgery, known as the sleeve, and major changes in her lifestyle. Getting myself to the gym every day was a daunting task, but she was there every step of the way, which was sometimes all the motivation I needed to keep myself on track.

She came to the gym with me every single time I asked. She tried new things with me and showed me new workouts or machines in the gym. Having her by my side, even if just to have someone to laugh with me when I fell off the treadmill or used a machine wrong, made it that much easier for me to go. With your workout buddy by your side, you feel like you can conquer anything, even the terrifying gym filled with fit athletes and big meatheads.

You may not even need an actual “workout” buddy more than you need an accountability buddy. Tell someone your plans, your goals, and your aspirations. Let them keep you in check, ask about your progress, and always be open and honest. The only person you’re hurting by lying is yourself.

They say it takes 21 days to create a habit and 90 days to create a lifestyle. I started hitting the gym with Mama in late September of 2016, and I went every single day the rest of that year, all with Mom’s help. When she couldn’t go with me to the gym herself, she still kept me in check. She asked me if I worked out, she gave me suggestions when I was trying to figure out a busy day’s schedule, and I can’t ignore all of the awesome videos and motivational quotes she shared with me. Even on the days I had to bare the gym alone, she was still always there in some way, holding my accountable.

Just a year before we started our health journeys, the 2 of us made it to Disney World together, and we had a hard time sharing photos of those adventures. We were both in such unhealthy places, every picture seemed to highlight our double chins, and so many photographs from this incredible trip were shared only between us.

Now several years and a pandemic later, feeling free of the weight that once held us down, we got to enjoy a trip to Hawaii together. This time, I made sure to splurge on a photographer to capture these memories. I didn’t have to sit and take breaks throughout the day because I was out of breath, I didn’t have to call it early some days because my feet were in so much pain, and we didn’t feel as guilty eating donuts for breakfast this time around either. Being able to share this journey with someone, whether it’s a friend or you own parental unit, makes it that much more enjoyable in the end.

With your best friend by your side, you can conquer the tallest of mountains and all of your dreams. If you need to lose weight or get healthy, don’t try to do it alone. Tell your friends, tell your mom, ask for help, or at the very least tell them to check in with you! It holds you accountable, and having the support of your bestie as you go makes it all that much easier. If you’re as lucky as I am, there will be lots of laughs too. My mom is the best buddy I’ve got, and I couldn’t have gotten to where I am today, mentally and physically, without her support.

Don’t forget to pop in our private Empowerment group on Facebook, where there is a whole group of us ready to cheer you on and support you as you try to take back your health or lose weight.

Why Not Every One Loves Working Out

by: Danielle Ternyila

If you don’t enjoy working out, you’re doing it wrong. And yes, it IS that easy. If you’re not enjoying working out, you’re just doing it wrong!

Getting into exercising is not as hard as it seems once you find something you love. When you love what you’re doing, you’re going to enjoy it. That’s just fact, but you have to find what you love in the gym; you can’t just call it a day after forcing out an hour on the treadmill.

For me, my fitness journey really started by trying everything available in my gym, which was the best decision I ever made. They had a lot of different classes, so I was able to go and pop in to these weekly and try them out, whether it was yoga, cycling, Zumba, or HIIT (high-intensity interval training), even boxing and trainers who always had great advice when asked. I really didn’t have any experience working out since I never even went to a gym before, so it wasn’t until I started trying all these different workouts that I was able to love working out.

It really did take a while though, and it took a lot of trial and error. It was essential to be open to new experiences, even though I was definitely nervous stepping into a Zumba or CrossFit class, but in the end I ended up finding what I loved. While CrossFit was something that I really enjoyed doing, especially the competitive part of it and how everyday was something new, I also learned that my body was not able to do such intense workouts. I need to keep my heart rate down, so slower workouts are for me. I wouldn’t have learned that if I didn’t try it first, though!

Finding what I actually enjoyed doing in the gym made it my happy place, and now I am able to find the right gyms that best accommodate my routines (like having the right hours because I more often go at night or having multiple locations because I’m always on the go!) I rely on it not only to workout for my health but when I’m stressed or could use a pick-me-up.

I challenge you to try new things and dare to fall in love with the process. Get out of your comfort zone. There are so many programs available for you to try right from your home even! Beach body, for example, offers a number of online programs you can try from home, or you can always check out classes on your nearby gym’s schedule. Try to visit a friend’s gym and try their routine, or drop into a fitness fundraising event! I fell in love with barre classes after stopping in one that a charity was hosting to raise money.

My First Barre Class in 2018

Don’t forget, no one in the gym is watching you! Read more about why the gym may be the safest place from judgement!

Out of My Comfort Zone

by: Terry Ternyila

Two years ago my husband and I had joined The Max Challenge of Old Bridge for a 10-week program. Normally this is not something I am comfortable doing but because my husband was willing to do this with me, I agreed to go. I suffer from anxiety in group situations, so having a partner helped with that feeling. I was not sure how comfortable I would be working out with other people watching, considering I am no spring chicken and it had been a good year since I had a regular exercise routine.

THE MAX Challenge is a 10-week body transformation program that is designed to make fast and lasting changes to your overall well-being through group fitness classes, motivation, and nutritional counseling.

It was very intimating at first because you can see that most of the people there have been attending these classes for a while and have become a close knit family of support. They knew all the warm-up exercises and routines, and it seemed so intimidating at first. However, we quickly learned that they all were there to help us along; the staff and other members just made you feel welcome.

They all helped us with our technique and showed us what needed to be done.   It was like a community of people who would just take the newbies under their wing and show you the ropes. It wasn’t their job, but you can see they just wanted you to succeed. They all cheered everyone on, and there was no judgement.  There were people of all ages and all fitness levels.

The coaches always provided a modification to each routine and encouraged you to do it how you needed as long as you were moving and trying. Of course we were watching all these people work out and wanted to impress them so we had pushed ourselves a little too hard. Even though everyone kept saying it’s okay to modify or do less…. let’s just say, lesson learned.  I can tell you the first day when we left, we both were pretty beat up, and the next day we both were so sore that we missed the next day class to recover. 

Over the next few weeks we saw our progress. It actually was quite impressive how in such a short amount of time the things you remember struggling with in the beginning of the class you could now do so easily. You felt your confidence grow and how strong you got for sure.  They always end the class with a plank, and yeah, the first few weeks you would struggle to keep up. But with each passing week it became easier, and we could go longer. 

By the end of our time we there we would see the “newbies” come in, and we would take them in and try to help them along. I can say it was such a wonderful environment of respect and support.  It still is a bit out of my comfort zone, but I would go again.

It really taught me that you can change your body and mind in a short amount of time.  Years ago I would have never tried anything like that. I had belonged to a gym for years but never once took any of the classes. I would just go in and work the machines and go home. But I can say that experience made me open up to different possibilities of exercise outside of my normal independent routine. You pushed yourself more, you fed off the room of support and having someone else there guiding you along the way, you got the most out of your work outs.

Step out of your comfort zone, give something new a chance. The results are worth it.

No One in the Gym Is Watching You

by: Danielle Ternyila

Let’s be real. When you’ve never stepped foot in a gym, or you just aren’t a regular [yet], it can be so intimidating! But why? The whole place is filled with mirrors because everyone is too busy looking at themselves. It’s the one place I’m sure no one is thinking about anyone else. Afterall, they are there because they want to grow! They want to get stronger. They can’t do that, and nor should you, by paying attention to every one around you.

When I joined my first gym in 2016, I was so nervous that everyone was watching me and judging my lack of coordination. It was nerve wracking to try something new because I has no idea what I was doing, and so I was sure everyone around me would know it. Forget the weights section! It was filled with muscle and men, all of which I was not.

The truth is, no one is watching you. No one is paying attention to how many or how little reps you do, they’re not focused on your form and wondering why you’re even there. I only ever had one person approach me in the gym about a workout I was doing, and it was someone who had no idea how to use the machine I was using. She asked me how!

It isn’t easy to stop caring what others think, but the gym is the last place anyone will pay attention to you. Everyone around you paid money to be there. They carved out time to be there from their day doing who knows what, and they are there to focus on themselves and their growth. It’s the only place I feel like no one will judge me. And if anyone should know what it’s like to start at the bottom and everything feels knew, it is everyone at the gym who did not come out of the womb doing sit-ups and hammer curls and got their start in a gym like you.

I always figured, if I’m doing something that wrong, they’d better tell me before I hurt myself and not judge me. If they’d rather laugh at me then help, I shouldn’t care what that person has to think anyway!

Make the gym your happy place. Find workouts you love. Try tons of new activities and classes until you do. Blast your music, hum to it if you want to! Don’t feel embarrassed when you make weird noises [or fall off the stairmaster]. Nike says it best; just do it!

Put yourself [your body and your health] first. Life is too short to not give it your best shot. The only one you’re cheating is yourself if you don’t.

Free Cardio, It’s a Mindset

Somewhere along my fitness journey, I coined the term “free cardio,” and it really stuck. It probably doesn’t make much sense, but to me it does, and it has become something I live by. It is a mindset that gives me more energy during the day and makes me feel happier, even when I’m doing stuff I really don’t want to do (like bending over to dig all the dog toys out from under the couch – again!)

Did you know by simply standing that you could burn at least 100 calories per hour? That’s so easy, so imagine how much you can do when you start moving too! Free cardio is about celebrating and enjoying anything that gets you moving, because no matter if it’s something small that takes 20 seconds or something you dread that might take an hour, your body is moving more than you were expecting.

I’ll try my best to write a definition, but it all comes down to mindset.. Hopefully when you find yourself active during the day, you think more positively and feel happy in whatever you’re doing because you are burning calories, no matter how it may be!

Free Cardio (n.) – Unexpected activity requiring the body to move to complete a minor or undesirable task, yet remains physical activity nonetheless

Hey mom, I’ll take the trash out for you while I am here, you know I love free cardio!

Examples:

Did the kids bring home some extra dirty clothes today?

Laundry = free cardio!

Standing up, switching the wash, folding clothes all gets your body moving, so instead of thinking about how aggravating it is to wash all the clothes, maybe when you’d certainly rather be watching the latest episode of the Bachelor or something, remember your body is moving more, and that’s a good thing!

Forget to order eggs in your grocery pick-up?

Get back in the car and drive over to the corner store to grab them! Who cares if you are going out of your way? You weren’t expecting to walk around the store today, but now you get to burn a few unexpected calories!

Need to check the mail box?

It seems so silly, but especially during a pandemic when we are all so used to staying in, it could feel like a chore to walk out and grab the mail. Instead of another item on your honey-do list, think of it as free cardio!

Whatever it is you find yourself doing, be proud of yourself for moving! It can be so easy to get stuck in your seat and not get active, so be grateful for every excuse you have to get up! It’s a Mindset. When you find the good, even in something as boring as vacuuming the house, cleaning under the kids’ beds, or scooping dog 💩, you will feel good too!

Mind over matter – you can choose to be tired, agitated, or just simply “over it”, or you can choose to accept what needs to be done and find the plus side! There is something good in every thing, even if it just knowing you got your body moving a little extra!

Looking to enjoy your free cardio? Check out some unique ways below to have fun with friends and family, while also getting a workout in simultaneously!

Shopping: peruse the mall or outlets with your loved ones for a fun day out, and there’s no rule that you HAVE to shop when you walk around the stores 😉 it’s okay to be in it just for the free cardio!

Dog Walks: Spoil your pup and get some exercise next time the weather is nice

Flea Markets & Yard Sales: don’t just drive by – Park the car and add a few steps to your fitbit exploring some old goodies along the way

Visit a park or playground: the family will all have fun, and you’ll probably spend most of the trip on your feet!

Charades: who remembers this game? Next game night, have everyone on their toes while they guess what you’re doing while you’re getting that free cardio in too

What activities do you enjoy doing, or have found joy in doing? Honestly, a good dance party while cleaning the bathrooms really changes the tone!